About us

Close to the centre of Helsinki by Kaivopuisto park, the island of Harakka is located between the islands of Särkkä and Uunisaari. The closed island, which had been in used by the Defence Forces, was opened to the public in 1989 and is now a popular recreational area for the residents of Helsinki. Harakka Island offers a unique excursion destination, studios for artist and artisans, experiences in the form of art and nature exhibitions and meeting facilities for those    


The first mentions of the island of Harakka date to a map published in the mid-17th century. The island of Harakka was part of the village of Tölö (or Töölö) until the year 1643, when Queen Kristina transferred the land belonging to Tölö Manor by deed to the City of Helsinki. Active use of the island began only after the War of Finland, with fortification work carried out by the Russian government. After Finland gained independence, the island remained in military use and the house that is now the main building on the island was completed in 1929 to serve as a chemical testing facility for the Defence Forces. Nowadays, the main building features studios for artists and meeting facilities.

Casemates and chemistry

Read more about the fascinating history of Harakka Island 


Harakka´s artists and exhibitions

Since 1989, the Cultural Centre has rented studios out to professional artists and artisans based in Helsinki in the island´s main building, which is now called the Artists’ house. 

Harakka ry is an association set up by artists in 1989 to promote creative activity on the island. It arranges exhibitions and a range of art events. International links are maintained by arranging various workshops, for which the island and the surrounding sea provide an effective backdrop. Summer courses arranged here by the artists, in subjects such as nature painting and kite building, have proved very popular.

Get to know 

The activities of Harakka Island´s artists on their website e.g. information about exhibitions is available. (In Finnish)

Looking for workspace?

See further information about the studios in the Artists´ house.


Harakka ry´s Facebook page, where you also find information about the exhibitions and other activities of the association. (In Finnish) 

Read more


The island of Harakka provides a unique window on archipelago nature, the area´s bird species, rare plants and butterflies.  The Nature House of the City of Helsinki Environment Centre is also located on the island. It offers visitors encounters with nature, activities, and information on the Baltic Sea, maritime nature and sustainable living.

Nature Centre

The Harakka Nature Centre offers activities and education. There are various environmental education services for schools and daycare centres. The summertime programme includes free-of-charge nature excursions, island adventures, public events, exhibitions, information on the utilization of renewable energy and displays of renewable energy forms.

Take a tour

Read more about Harakka´s Nature Centre and guided excursions.

Nature House news

Follow Harakka Island´s Nature House on Facebook


Take the birds into consideration

Some of the paths are closed from time to time because of bird nesting. The closed sections are marked with tape.

We are part of the City of Helsinki

City of Helsinki provides services and cultural programmes at Malmitalo in Northern Helsinki, at Kanneltalo in West Helsinki, at Vuosaari House in Vuosaari, at Stoa in East Helsinki, and at the Savoy Theatre, Annantalo Arts Centre and the international cultural centre Caisa in the centre of the city.