Introduction to the city
Tampere city is located in southern Finland
between two lakes, Näsijärvi and Pyhäjärvi. Since the two lakes differ in level
by 18 metres,
the Tammerkoski rapids linking them have been an important power source
throughout history, most recently for generating electricity. Tampere has always been a centre for inland
traffic on land and water. Railway tracks from many parts of the nation meet at
station, making it an important junction in the government railroad system.
Tampere, with about 200,000
inhabitants in the city itself, and more than 300,000 including the
neighbouring municipalities, is the second most important urban centre in Finland after the Helsinki region and the biggest inland city
in the Nordic countries. In terms of population, Tampere
is the third largest city in Finland,
and the largest city outside the Greater Helsinki area.
The bedrock of Tampere and the whole
Pirkanmaa region is considered to be one of the oldest in Europe.
From organic relics found from Aitoniemi it has been estimated that the rock
formation is close to two billion years old. The whole bedrock is part of one
of the oldest chain of mountains on earth.
During the last ice age the melting ice drifted lots of gravel and soil
which resulted in the birth of a long line of ridges. The ridge of Pyynikki
rose from the Yoldian
Sea blocking off the
connection to the ocean and creating pools of sweet water on both sides of the
ridge. Those pools became the two lakes outlining Tampere, Pyhäjärvi and Näsijärvi. As a result
of land rising higher in the north side of the ridge Näsijärvi started flowing
towards the south and the lowest point in the line of ridges evolved into
rapids today known as Tammerkoski.
The first signs of habitation in the Tampere area date back to 6500 BC. But it was
in the 7th century that the habitation in the area was much more settled and
houses were formed to create villages which would much later on become part of
the city. By the 13th century the area had developed into an important market
All the way up to the 16th century the village that developed to become Tampere was know simply as
Koski (eng. rapids) until the name Tammerkoski became stable. The villagers got
their living from agriculture and cattle. The river offered great opportunities
also for fishing especially for salmon catching. In the beginning of the 17th
century Tammerkoski had become a significant centre of commerce.
city in development
Tampere was founded as a market
place on the banks of the Tammerkoski channel in 1775 by Gustav III of Sweden and four
years later, 1779, it was granted full township status. At this time Tampere was a rather
small town, consisting of only a few square kilometres of land around the
Tampere grew as a major
market place and industrial centre in the 19th century. During the latter half
of 19th century Tampere had almost half of Finland's
industrial labour. The town's industrial nature in the 19th and 20th centuries
gave it the nickname "Manchester
of the North", Manse for short.
Tampere was the centre of many
important political events of Finland
in the early 20th century. On 1 November 1905 the famous Red Declaration was
given during the general strike on Keskustori, the central square of Tampere,
subsequently leading to universal suffrage in Finland and the Tsar of Russia
granting larger freedoms to Finns. In 1918, when Finland
had recently gained independence, Tampere also
played a major role, being one of the strategically important scenes during the
Civil War in Finland
(January 28 - May 15, 1918). Tampere
was a red stronghold during the war, with Hugo Salmela in command. White forces
seizing about 10,000 Red prisoners on April 6.
Prevalent in Tampere's
post-World War II municipal politics was the so called Brothers-in-Arms Axis
(fin. aseveliakseli), the alliance of conservatives and social democrats
against the communists and Agrarian party. During this era some of the most
renowned city managers of Tampere were Erkki
Napoleon Lindfors (who was responsible for many ambitious construction projects
such as the Näsinneula tower and the construction of the suburb of Hervanta, Tampere's "daughter
town"), Pekka Paavola (who gained some notoriety in corruption scandals)
and Jarmo Rantanen. From 2007 on Tampere
will switch to a new model of having a mayor and four deputy mayors; chosen for
the periods of two years in time. Timo P. Nieminen was elected as the first
mayor of Tampere
for the years 2007-2009.
After World War II Tampere was enlarged by joining some neighbouring
areas, Messukylä was incorporated in 1947, Lielahti 1950, Aitolahti in 1966 and
finally Teisko in 1972. Tampere
was known for its textile and metal industries, but these have been largely
replaced by information technology and telecommunications industry during the
1990s. Technology centre Hermia in Hervanta is home to many companies in these
The industrialization of Tampere
is considered to have started in 1783 when Abraham Häggman founded a paper mill
the first industrial facility in the area. The factory was later renamed after plant
manager J. C. Frenckel. The part of city where the factory was is today called
In larger scale James Finlayson was single-handedly the most important
person in the industrialization of the city. Finlayson was born 1771 in Glasgow, Scotland
and became a self-trained engineer. He moved to St.
Petersburg in 1817 to found a textile factory with the backing of
the tsar Alexander I of Russia.
In 1819 Finlayson visited the Grand Duchy of Finland, at the time under
Russian rule. During his religious mission to sell bibles he visited Tampere. The next year
Finlayson received permission from the Senate of Finland to build a factory in Tampere using the water power from the Tammerkoski River,
again with the backing of the tsar. He moved to Tampere with his wife Margaret Finlayson.
At first Finlayson had to import machinists from England to
train new workers. The first factory was completed 1823 with the aid of state
loan; with the stipulation that the technology employed could be freely
inspected by the public to further civic technological advancement. He
manufactured machinery suitable for a textile industry but in 1828 switched
from machine manufacture to cotton mills. He also founded a Quaker orphanage.
On March 1, 1836 Finlayson sold the factory to Georg Rauch and Karl
Samuel Nottbeck in the condition that they would retain his name in the
factory. New owners complied and founded Finlayson & Compagnie. Finlayson
worked in an advisory capacity for a couple of years before he moved back to Scotland. The
Nottbeck family owned the factories up until the middle of the 20th
The Finlayson factory was the largest industrial facility in the Finland for a
long time. The company grew to be Tampere's
largest employer, employing at best over 3000 people. It still produces
textiles. In 1995 the old factories in the centre of Tampere were closed down and the old
buildings converted to a business and entertainment district.
A weaving hall, completed in 1877 and at the time the largest in the
Nordic countries housed a total of 1200 power looms. It was named Plevna after
the Siege of Pleven. It now houses several movie theatres and restaurants. The
Plevna building was the first building in Finland,
and the fourth in Europe, to be equipped with
incandescent lighting. The lighting with 120 "8 candle" bulbs was
first switched on on March 15, 1882. The Edison
"dynamo" No:24 is still located in the building. The system used 110
volt DC current; this system was adopted to all of Tampere, resulting in a War of Currents with
the later introduced Westinghouse AC current.
Since the 1850’s Tampere
developed a lot of large-scale industry. Among the important industries where
wood processing, textile- and metal industries. The powerful industrialization
affected in the fast population growth and shaped the inhabitants structure. In
the 19th century 40% of all Finland’s
factory workers where living in Tampere.
This later made Tampere
a centre for the labour movement.
Advancements in technology
The industrialization brought a lot of new technology to Tampere. Finland’s first
propeller steamboat “Ilmarinen” was build at Tampella’s machine workshop and
the country’s first automobile was tested there in 1909.
Before there was telephone in Tampere
information travelled by mail which you had to retrieve from the post office.
First the post came once a week but with the introduction of the railroad it
started coming daily.
Telephony reached Tampere
in January 1878. By 1920 there were already as many as 2,050 telephones in use.
The first automated exchange was set up in 1934 and the first long-distance
exchange in 1958. Automated calls abroad became available in 1974. Telephony
has been a field of many firsts in Tampere,
first push-button phones were taken into use in 1967. Tampere's
digital telephone exchange was the first in Europe, and the world's first GSM
call was made in Tampere
in July 1991. The number of mobile phone connections exceeded wired connections
in 1998, and in 2004, 94 percent of Tampere's
residents had a mobile phone in their use. 77 percent had an e-mail address and
80 percent an internet connection.
Through out its history Tampere
city has been a pioneer in several fields. During over 200 years the city has
developed from an industrial town into a modern centre of high technology and a
gathering of theatre and study.
List of sources