Vantaa major districts – Hakunila
Residents of the Hakunila area appreciate its proximity to nature. The landscape is adorned with old manors and parks, and you can even see sheep grazing straight from the downtown apartment buildings while there are many sports facilities nearby. When you are in Sotunki countryside it is easy to forget that you still are in Finland's fourth largest city. Close by you can smell the fresh scent of pastries coming from Fazer's factories in Vaarala. When you need to get most of the summer Kuusijärvi lake is the obvious choice for anyone living in Vantaa.
An eastern pearl
Hakunila is the easternmost suburb of Vantaa with 30,000 inhabitants. It is bordered by Lahdenväylä in the west, Helsinki in the south and Sipoo in the east and north. It is divided into nine districts. The largest district, Hakunila, has more than 11,000 inhabitants, while the smallest one, Länsisalmi, has only 33 inhabitants. Other neighborhoods include Itä-Hakkila, Kuninkaanmäki, Länsimäki, Ojanko, Rajakylä, Sotunki and Vaarala. Hakunila is also Vantaa's most international living area, as about a quarter of the population speak Swedish, Sami or a language other than Finnish as their mother tongue.
Urban rural landscape
The structure of the Hakunila major district is diverse. It is divided into two urban centers, Hakunila and Länsimäki, and the surrounding residential areas. In both Hakunila and Länsimäki, over 80 percent of the housing are apartment blocks. Most of the detached houses are in Sotunki, Itä-Hakkila and Kuninkaanmäki. Sotunki, Länsisalmi and Ojanko are the most rural areas with functional farms and village communities. In Rajakylä and Vaarala the most common type of housing is a terraced house. Länsimäki and Rajakylä are also closely connected to Helsinki.
The coming winds
The center of Hakunila will be renewed in the upcoming years. Plans are underway to renovate the shopping center and expand the center towards the old bus depot. There is a push to increase housing, shops and other services. At least 6,000 new inhabitants are estimated to move into area in the near future. Another important undertaking is Vantaa's first tramway, which would pass from Mellunmäki via Länsimäki, Vaarala and Hakunila to Tikkurila and the airport. Prior to that, the existing bus line 562 would be transformed into a new line 570 that follows the future tram route.
The many places of learning
There are 27 kindergartens and six elementary schools in the area. In addition, there are open day care centers in Länsimäki and Hakunila as well as a resident park in Nissas. Kindergarten and primary school can be attended in both Finnish and Swedish. Youth centers can be found in Hakunila, Länsimäki and Kolohonka in Kuninkaanmäki. Sotunki Upper Secondary School is located next to a sports park and has both a sports-oriented and a standard high school line. There is also a remote learning opportunity to attend secondary education. The nearest offices of Varia Vocational College are in Hiekkaharju and Koivukylä. Music education is provided by Vantaa’s Music Institute at Hakunila, Länsimäki and Västersundom.
The services of the major area are focused on Hakunila and Länsimäki centers. Hakunila has a nostalgic shopping mall with a social and health center, a child health clinic and grocery stores. Länsimäki has its own health center, shopping center and convenience stores. More services can be found in the adjacent Mellunmäki. Libraries can be found in Hakunila and Länsimäki. Also, not far away from downtown Hakunila is the Porttipuisto Shopping Park, which has many specialty stores like the largest Ikea store in Finland and much more. To bolster the already huge array of stores new concentration of outlet stores has been opened nearby to the other side of Ring III motorway. In Vaarala you can find a school trip classic, the Fazer Visitor Center, which was just recently renovated. The center receives over 50,000 visitors each year.
Next to the highways
Hakunila area is located along three major freeways, the Lahdenväylä, Porvoonväylä and Ring Road III, which provide a great link to south, north and west. The many bus lines within the area make moving around easy. Länsimäki is located right next to Mellunmäki and metro station, which enables you to reach downtown Helsinki in less than half an hour. In the future, the first tram in Vantaa is expected to take passengers from the metro station via Vaarala and Hakunila downtown to Tikkurila and all the way to the airport.
Adjoined with nature
The Hakunila area is sided by nature from almost every direction. The city is the greenest part of Vantaa, as 90% of its area is green. Its forests combine with Sipoonkorpi National Park. The greenery continues between the residential areas as forests, fields and parks. An absolute pearl is Kuusijärvi, an outdoor oasis shared by everyone in Vantaa. There people gather to swim, play beach volleyball, hike and do all kinds of outdoor activities. Other waters include Bisajärvi and Gumböle träsk and ponds in Vaarala. There are outcrops such as Högberget and Flatberget in Sotunki. At the southern tip of Länsimäki is the Natura area of the Okralahti.
A heart of endurance sports
Hakunila is known for its unique sports park, and it has been the main stage for many Finnish Ski Championships, Finnish Cup and Ironman competitions over the years. The park has extensive fitness track and ski trails, a ski stadium, an indoor swimming pool, a gym, a skate park and outdoor ball courts. Other sports facilities in the area include Rajakylä Sports and ball park, Tennis Center, Itä-Hakkila mini stadium, Kuusijärvi fitness and beach volleyball areas, Ojanko dog sports area and several riding schools. Sports clubs in the area include Vantaan hiihtoseura, Itä-Vantaan Urheilijat, Hakunilan Kisa, Ponihaan Ratsastajat and Itä-Hakkilan Kilpa.
Activities and events
In addition to sports, many other kinds of events are frequently organized in the Hakunila area. Nissas has its own village days and fun ghost tours and music concerts are organized at the atmospheric Håkansböle Manor by the Kartanon Kummit ry. There is a strong sense of community in the neighborhoods, which is manifested by community events and voluntary work parties. For example, the village community of Hakunila, the Hakunila Society and the Hakunila International Association, which has been in existence for 20 years, are active in the area. They organize events, services and clubs for residents of all ages. There are also resident associations in Sotunki, Vaarala, Rajakylä, Kuninkaanmäki and Itä-Hakkila.
Manors and lime kilns
The history of the Hakunila area dates back to three old villages, Hakunila, Länsisalmi and Sotunki. There are three mansions, of which Håkansböle and Westerkulla were built in the 17th century and Nissbacka in the 18th century. Anders Lorenz Munsterhjelm, the founder of the Tikkurila paint factory, lived in Håkansböle Manor. He also founded the Sotunki limestone quarries, which still have old lime kilns. Medieval farms are also preserved in Sotunki. The Great Coastal Road or King's Road to Porvoo passed through Kuninkaanmäki. In Länsisalmi lies the deserted Gubbaka medieval village. There also lies old fortresses built during the First World War for the defense of St. Petersburg.