Helsinki has many libraries in different parts of the city. There are also two mobile libraries that drive around the city. Helsinki City Library is part of the HelMet library. The libraries of Espoo, Vantaa and Kauniainen are also part of the HelMet library. The HelMet libraries have a joint online service. Through the online service, you can search for and reserve material. You can also renew your loans online.
Almost all the library services are free of charge. To be able to use the services, you need a library card. You can apply for a library card at any of the HelMet libraries. Please take along your ID card. Library cards are only granted to people who have an address in Finland. If you do not have a Finnish personal ID code, your library card will be valid for a year at a time.
Most of the books in Helsinki libraries are in Finnish or Swedish, but you can also borrow books in many other languages. Many libraries have books in English, German, French, Italian, Spanish, Estonian and Russian.
The Multilingual Library (Monikielinen kirjasto) is located at the main library in Pasila. It has books in over 60 different languages. You can also order books to be sent to other libraries.
If you have a library card, you can read e-books or e-magazines and watch films on your own computer, tablet or smartphone.
There are also other libraries in Helsinki, for example, in universities.
Read more: Libraries .
Sports and exercise
You can do many different kinds of sport all around Helsinki. Helsinki has many public swimming pools, gyms, sports fields and running paths.
The City of Helsinki organises sports and exercise courses for city residents. In the summer, free fitness classes are organised in parks around the city.
Read more: Sports and exercise .
Recreation in nature
Nature is always near in Helsinki. You can walk, cycle or take a metro train, bus, conventional train, tram or ferry to a park, seashore, forest or nature reserve.
The city website contains information forests in and near Helsinki.
There are also islands intended for outdoor recreation in Helsinki, which are accessible by shuttle boat. Suomenlinna and the Harakka Island are also historical sights. More information on the islands and boat traffic is available on the City of Helsinki website. The site also includes information about boating in Helsinki.
You can freely angle and ice-fish without a separate permit. These activities are free of charge. A chargeable permit is required for other types of fishing. The City of Helsinki website features more information about where to purchase fishing permits.
Lines and other fishing waste must not be discarded in the environment. They can seriously harm birds and other animals.
Read more: Recreation in nature
Theatre and cinema
There are many theatres in Helsinki. Most of the performances are in Finnish. There are also Swedish-speaking theatres in Helsinki.
You can search for specific performance from the event calendar provided on the MyHelsinki.fi and stadissa.fi sites.
Helsinki has a film archive and several cinemas. Information about the films being screened is available on the websites of the respective cinemas. The event calendars provide information about film festivals in Helsinki.
Read more: Theatre and cinema .
There are many museums in Helsinki. You can ask Helsinki Tourist Information for information about museums.
Helsinki Tourist Information
Address: Kaivokatu 1 (Helsinki main railway station)
Tel.: 09 3101 3300
To read more, go to: Museums .
Hobbies for children and young people
Annantalo Arts Centre is an arts centre for children, young people and families in Helsinki city centre. The address is Annankatu 30. Annantalo is a place for art education, exhibitions and dance and theatre performances. There are also other culture centres in Helsinki that offer cultural events for children and young people.
Children’s Culture Centre Musikantit is an activity centre that organises family events, children’s concerts, exhibitions and theatre. At the centre, children can study music, theatre, visual art and dance in different languages.
There are also many sports hobbies available for children. The City of Helsinki organises fitness classes, swimming lessons and lots of other sports for children. Many private companies also offer sports hobbies for children.
The Youth Department (Nuorisoasiainkeskus) offers many recreational opportunities for 9–18-year-old children and young people. The Munstadi.fi website lists many activities and hobbies for young people. The service also includes Ruuti, which collects young people’s own ideas and initiatives. There are also many youth centres in Helsinki where young people can spend their free time.
Read more: Hobbies for children and young people .
There are many different associations in Helsinki, such as cultural associations or sports associations. There are also many immigrants’ associations in Helsinki.
Read more: Associations