Lauttasaari - Drumsö
Lauttasaari (lit. Ferry Island), in Swedish Drumsö, is a mainly residential area just to the west of downtown Helsinki. It's a mostly low island of 3.3 and is surrounded by waters of the Gulf of Finland. It forms an urban district within the Helsinki municipal area.

The island seen from airplane (2007). An aerial view of 1983 by Kai R. Lehtonen.

Helsingin esikaupunkiliitos. Lauttasaarta ja Munkkiniemeä koskeva erikoisselvitys. Yrjö Harvia 1936. Osa Helsingin kaupungin tietokeskuksen julkaisemaa pdf-dokumenttia (46 s, 3,4 MB). Koko liitosalueselvitys. Liitos toteutui vuoden 1946 alussa.

Typical views:

high-rise condominiums
one family and row houses
mostly public shores with roads for pedestrians and cyclists
closeness to the sea (a picture cavalcade). 
Lauttasaari in historical maps
Maps from 1780 to 1943.

Lauttasaari for 25 years
A small cavalcade of pictures
from 1979 to 2016.

Local history with links to the history of Finland

bluedot1550 Town of Helsinki (Swedish Helsingfors) was founded at the mouth of the River Vantaa (Swedish Vanda) by a decree of King Gustavus Vasa of Sweden
1577 The village on the island of Drumsö was destroyed by a Russian Tartar cavalry which crossed the Gulf of Finland on ice. Very little else is known about Drumsö of that time - then known by its original Swedish language name with varying forms of writing: Drumsöö, Drumsiö, &c.
1624 The Swedish Crown donated the island to Rittmaster Gert Skytte
1640 Helsinki moved to its present site. In 1650, the citizens of Helsinki appealed to the Crown to get more land for pasturage and cutting firewood. After an exchange of land estates with Skytte's widow, Queen Kristina of Sweden donated some nearby areas to the reestablished town. Drumsö, with its two homesteads, was one of those places. However, in 1685 the town seems to have lost its ownership to a private owner, Henrik Bertilsson


Lauttasaari, growing importance to the city's defence
Map of 1855
Helsinki and Sveaborg in 1855 by the Russian Military
Topographical Depot. Notice the optical telegraphy line.
1748 Construction of the sea-fortress of Sveaborg (in Finnish previously Viapori, now Suomenlinna) on islands outside Helsinki was started by Swedish authorities. The work was headed by Augustin Ehrensvärd (1710-72). He died as Field Marshal. At that time there were no fortifications on Drumsö.
1809 Sweden lost Finland to Russia as the result of a war. Tsar Alexander I granted Finland a large autonomy as a Grand Duchy within the Russian Empire
1824-1852 Paikallisuutisia sanomalehdistä suomeksi ja ruotsiksi (Newspaper reports with mentions of Lauttasaari and nearby islands in Finnish and Swedish 1824-1852 from the digitized newspaper archives in the National Library of Finland).
1853 Hostilities between Russia and the allied powers of England, France, Turkey and Sardinia (The Crimean War) broke out. Russian authorities started to set up fortifications on the island of Drumsö. Map from the year 1855.
1854-55 See Sveaborg and the Crimean War. Construction of an optical telegraphy line going through Lauttasaari was started in 1854. 
1854-1855. Contemporary newspaper reports of the British and French offensives against Lauttasaari. Suomeksi. Ruotsiksi. (Digitized newspaper archives of the National Library of Finland).
1876 Höyryveneiden paikallisliikenne Helsingistä länteen. Timetable for steam boat service in 1876 in Finnish.
1885 The southern part of the island facing the relatively open sea was declared a military zone by Russian authorities. Extensive fortification (images) work started. Even earlier, in 1863, minor improvements were made in the lines constructed 1853-55. The Sveaborg fortifications esplanade covered a large area around the citadel and nearby islands, incl. Drumsö (later Lauttasaari). (Helsinki City Archives.)
Julius Tallberg
Julius Tallberg
1911 The island (non-military part) was bought by a merchant, Julius Tallberg. He immediately made a very generous tender to the City of Helsinki to buy his acquisition. The City Council turned down his offer. After his death in 1921 his heirs owned a substantial part of the island up to 1950's. Most prominent previous owners were Weurlanders (1725-1836), Gyldén, Silljanders, and a naturalized Russian merchant, Ivan Wavulin, and his heirs (1871-1911).
1913 First zoning plan by architect Birger Brunila. Main feature: villa settlement - confirming the situation which already began to be prevailing
1914 On the eve of the First World War Russian authorities started a major strategic effort to encircle the whole city of Helsinki with a modern fortified defense line. Minor installations were also set up in 1915 on the western tip of Drumsö.
1914 Ferry traffic between mainland Helsinki and the island started. In 1919 Drumsö got its present Finnish language name, Lauttasaari (Ferry Island)
1917 The Finnish Diet declared Finland as independent when previous state powers collapsed in Russia
1919-32 The prohibition era, sparse population and closeness to Helsinki made Lauttasaari some sort of a "paradise" for spirits smugglers from Estonia - 80 km southwards from Lauttasaari
1934 New zoning plan by architect Birger Brunila for the northern part of the the island. In 1936 the plan was approved by state officials
1935 A bridge replaced the ferry traffic.
1939 New zoning plan by architect Ole Gripenberg: extensive industrial areas were to be established on the southern part of the island. The plan was officially approved in 1942
AA battery chart
A positioning chart
for the AA battery "Puisto"
in the southern tip of
the island.
1939-44 Soviet Union attacked Finland on Nov. 30, 1939. The war ended on March 13, 1940. Finland was compelled to cede more than 10 percent of her area. After a brief peace period the war broke out again in 1941. Anti-aircraft artillery bases were built on Lauttasaari to protect Helsinki. A positioning chart for the 8th heavy anti-aircraft battery "Puisto" in the southern tip of Lauttasaari. The batteries all over the city formed a well organized air defense. They got the real fire-baptism when the Soviets launched their massive bombing runs on Helsinki in February, 1944.
1944 A Red Army captain, Ivan Belov, was passing on Nov., 1944, through Lauttasaari in a military convoy from the harbour in Helsinki to the newly formed Porkkala marine base when he was shot dead in the darkness of the night. Four shots were heard at 2 o'clock A.M. The Allied (i.e. Soviet) Control Commission, then already arrived at Helsinki in accordance with the armistice agreement of Sept. 19, blamed the Finnish government for this provocative act. An extensive police investigation followed but nothing was found. The Soviet pressure gradually quieted down. Much later evalutions of the incident concluded that it was a deed of jealousy within the Russian troops. This was probably found out quite soon in Red Army's own investigations but it was never told to the Finns.
1946 Lauttasaari with its 5,600 inhabitants was incorporated into Helsinki
1950-70 Years of heavy construction: residential buildings, light industry
1952 Lauttasaari still with large free areas offered open air accommodation for Helsinki 1952 Olympic guests. Two pages from the Games guide book: the camping area, other camping sites (Leirialueet) near Helsinki & map legend
1957 Lauttasaari Church was built. Architect Professor Keijo Petäjä, a local resident
1965 A new highway bridge was opened for through traffic.


Punainen Huvila (The Red Villa) built 1791-93
  • Lauttasaari-Seura - Drumsö-Sällskapet r.y. (Lauttasaari Association), founded 1963.

  • Literature in Finnish and Swedish/kirjallisuutta/litteratur

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