Mikkeli is a town and municipality in Finland
Finland , officially the Republic of Finland, is a Nordic country situated in the Fennoscandian region of Northern Europe. It is bordered by Sweden in the west, Norway in the north and Russia in the east, while Estonia lies to its south across the Gulf of Finland.Around 5.4 million people reside...

. It is located in what used to be the province
Provinces of Finland
The state of Finland consisted of six provinces between the years 1997 and 2009. The provincial authority was part of the central government's executive branch, not directly elected. The system was created in 1634, and its makeup was changed drastically in 1997, when the number of the provinces...

 of Eastern Finland
Eastern Finland
Eastern Finland was a province of Finland from 1997 to 2010. It bordered the provinces of Oulu, Western Finland and Southern Finland. It also bordered Russia.- History :...

 and is part of the Southern Savonia
Southern Savonia
Southern Savonia is a region in the south-east of Finland. It borders to the regions Northern Savonia, North Karelia, South Karelia, Kymenlaakso, Päijänne Tavastia, and Central Finland...

Regions of Finland
Finland consists of 19 regions called in Finnish and in Swedish. The regions are governed by regional councils, which serve as forums of cooperation for the municipalities of a region. The main tasks of the regions are regional planning and development of enterprise and education. In addition,...

. The municipality has a population of (around 34,000 in the town itself) and covers an area of km2 of which km2 is water. The population density
Population density
Population density is a measurement of population per unit area or unit volume. It is frequently applied to living organisms, and particularly to humans...

 is PD/km2 .

Mikkeli was the site for the headquarters of the Finnish armed forces during World War II
World War II
World War II, or the Second World War , was a global conflict lasting from 1939 to 1945, involving most of the world's nations—including all of the great powers—eventually forming two opposing military alliances: the Allies and the Axis...

. In recognition of this, the town's coat of arms incorporates a pair of crossed Marshal's batons, and the town was awarded the Cross of Liberty
Order of the Cross of Liberty
There are three official orders in Finland: the Order of the Cross of Liberty , the Order of the White Rose of Finland and the Order of the Lion of Finland. The President of Finland is the Grand Master of the two orders, and usually of the Order of the Cross of Liberty as well, Grand Mastership of...

, 4th class, to be displayed with the coat of arms.

The town

The municipality is unilingually Finnish
Finnish language
Finnish is the language spoken by the majority of the population in Finland Primarily for use by restaurant menus and by ethnic Finns outside Finland. It is one of the two official languages of Finland and an official minority language in Sweden. In Sweden, both standard Finnish and Meänkieli, a...

 (only of Mikkelians speak Swedish as their first language).

The centre of Mikkeli is located on a low rise, set back about 500 metres (1,640.4 ft) from the shore of a bay of Lake Saimaa
Saimaa is a lake in southeastern Finland. At approximately , it is the largest lake in Finland, and the fourth largest in Europe. It was formed by glacial melting at the end of the Ice Age. Major towns on the lakeshore include Lappeenranta, Imatra, Savonlinna, Mikkeli, Varkaus, and Joensuu. The...

. There are several small lakes in and around the town. The lakes of the eastern parts of the town belong to the water system of River Vuoksi. In the west the town reaches Lake Puula that belongs to the water system of River Kymijoki
Kymi River
Kymi river is a river in Finland. It begins from the lake Päijänne, flows through the provinces of Päijät-Häme, Uusimaa and Kymenlaakso and discharges into the Gulf of Finland. River passes the towns of Heinola and Kouvola...

. The town centre is built around a large market place, where markets are held twice each week.

There is an observation tower on Naisvuori Hill which visitors are allowed to climb for a small fee. The hill is a rocky outcrop to the North of the town centre and the tower was built as part of a wartime communications and observation network.

Mikkeli has its own airport
Mikkeli Airport
Mikkeli Airport is located in Mikkeli, Finland, west of the city centre. During summer, there are a large number of gliding, powered flight and parachute jumping activities at the airport....

 (domestic flights only), railway station (five trains to and from Helsinki, daily) and a concert hall. The latter is a genuinely world class facility, built in 1988 to commemorate Mikkeli's 150th anniversary as a town. The concert hall provides the main venue for the annual Mikkeli International Music Festival, which attracts musicians and audiences from across Europe. For example Mariinsky Opera led by Valery Gergiev
Valery Gergiev
Valery Abisalovich Gergiev is a Russian conductor and opera company director. He is general director and artistic director of the Mariinsky Theatre, principal conductor of the London Symphony Orchestra, and artistic director of the White Nights Festival in St. Petersburg.- Early life :Gergiev,...

 performs there regularly.

The University of Applied Sciences is now the largest single employer in the town. It employs around 400 full time teaching staff plus around 900 support and services staff. Other local employers operate in the forestry, paper, printing, farming and light manufacturing sectors. Mikkeli is also a major holiday resort within the Finnish lakeland
Finnish Lakeland
Finnish Lakeland or Finnish lake district is the largest of the four landscape regions into which the geography of Finland is divided.The hilly, forest-covered landscape of the lake plateau is dominated by drumlins and by long sinuous eskers...


Mikkeli is famous for its nightlife. There are a plenty of bars, pubs and clubs in it. The most popular clubs are Lounge Bar Kharma, Vaakuna, Wilhelm Club & Bar and Amarillo.

Higher education

In 1965, the town was selected as the site for a new higher education college specialising in professional, engineering and vocational studies. Mikkeli Polytechnic received its first intake of students in 1969. It was originally housed in an old Russian army barracks on the outskirts of town. Purpose built accommodation has since been added, but the old buildings are still in use. For example, the student union is located in the "Officers' Club" building. The Polytechnic changed its name to University of Applied Sciences in 2006 and currently receives around 4,500 students each year from around the world. (Hence, the name has not been approved by the Finnish Ministry of Education.) Its International Studies Centre runs business, engineering and IT courses delivered in English. It offers some degree programmes which are wholly delivered in English. but the University of Applied Sciences's main language of delivery is Finnish.

Several other universities also have operations in Mikkeli. The Mikkeli University Consortium includes units from University of Helsinki, Aalto University (formerly Helsinki School of Economics), University of Eastern Finland and Lappeenranta University of Technology. Aalto offers a highly ranked bachelor's of science degree in international business, taught in English, which draws students and faculty from around the world.


The peace treaty of Nöteborg
Treaty of Nöteborg
Treaty of Nöteborg, also known as Treaty of Oreshek , is a conventional name for the peace treaty that was signed at Orekhovets on August 12, 1323. It was the first settlement between Sweden and Novgorod Republic regulating their border...

 in 1323, with which the pogosta (church parish) of Savilahti was transferred from the control of Novgorod to Sweden
Sweden , officially the Kingdom of Sweden , is a Nordic country on the Scandinavian Peninsula in Northern Europe. Sweden borders with Norway and Finland and is connected to Denmark by a bridge-tunnel across the Öresund....

, is the oldest written record of the settlement in the present region of Mikkeli. The locality received its present name Mikkeli after Archangel
An archangel is an angel of high rank. Archangels are found in a number of religious traditions, including Judaism, Christianity and Islam. Michael and Gabriel are recognized as archangels in Judaism and by most Christians. Michael is the only archangel specifically named in the Protestant Bible...

Michael (archangel)
Michael , Micha'el or Mîkhā'ēl; , Mikhaḗl; or Míchaël; , Mīkhā'īl) is an archangel in Jewish, Christian, and Islamic teachings. Roman Catholics, Anglicans, and Lutherans refer to him as Saint Michael the Archangel and also simply as Saint Michael...

 by the early 16th century at the latest.

On January 23, 1597, more than 200 peasant rebels were killed in the parsonage of Kenkävero in part of the larger Cudgel War
Cudgel War
The Club War was a 1596/97 peasant uprising in the kingdom of Sweden against exploitation by nobility and military in what is today Finland...


In the war waged by King Gustav III of Sweden
Gustav III of Sweden
Gustav III was King of Sweden from 1771 until his death. He was the eldest son of King Adolph Frederick and Queen Louise Ulrica of Sweden, she a sister of Frederick the Great of Prussia....

 against Russia 1788–1790, a battle
Battle of Porrassalmi
The battle of Porrassalmi was a battle fought near the bight of Porrassalmi in Savonia on June 13, 1789. A Swedish force of about 700 Finnish men succeeded in stopping the northbound advance of a Russian force numbering 6,000-7,000 men.....

 took place at Porrassalmi Strait, a few miles south of Mikkeli, on June 13, 1789. In the battle the Swedes (the Finns) victoriously defended their positions against superior numbers of Russians.

Mikkeli was granted town rights in 1838. The provincial government of the province of Mikkeli that had been established in 1831, moved from Heinola
Heinola is a town and a municipality of inhabitants located in the Province of Southern Finland. Heinola is perhaps best known for its summer activities such as the Sauna-sitting World Championships.-History:...

 to Mikkeli in 1843.

In 1918 during the Civil War
Finnish Civil War
The Finnish Civil War was a part of the national, political and social turmoil caused by World War I in Europe. The Civil War concerned control and leadership of The Grand Duchy of Finland as it achieved independence from Russia after the October Revolution in Petrograd...

, the headquarters of the White army
White Guard (Finland)
The White Guard was a voluntary militia that emerged victorious over the socialist Red Guard as part of the Whites in the Finnish Civil War of 1918...

 were established at the Hotel Seurahuone in Mikkeli. Mikkeli was located in a conservative farming area and it was a White stronghold. But elements of the Russian army garrison in the area supported the Reds. A major engagement was fought around the railway station at Mantyharju, about 20 km (12.4 mi) to the south of Mikkeli, when the Whites blocked a Red thrust coming north out of Kouvola
Kouvola is a town and municipality in southeastern Finland. It is located northeast of the capital, Helsinki.The city has a population of and covers an area of of which is water. The population density is ....


During the Winter War
Winter War
The Winter War was a military conflict between the Soviet Union and Finland. It began with a Soviet offensive on 30 November 1939 – three months after the start of World War II and the Soviet invasion of Poland – and ended on 13 March 1940 with the Moscow Peace Treaty...

 and Continuation War
Continuation War
The Continuation War was the second of two wars fought between Finland and the Soviet Union during World War II.At the time of the war, the Finnish side used the name to make clear its perceived relationship to the preceding Winter War...

, the headquarters of the Finnish Army was located in Mikkeli. The Army staff made their base in a local secondary school. At the site of that school is the small Headquarters Museum (Päämajamuseo) containing photographs and memorabilia of the era. Because the headquarters of the army was based there, Mikkeli was bombed heavily. But since there was almost no "high-rise" development at that time, the damage was quickly repaired. Architecturally most of prewar Mikkeli doesn't exist anymore.
Wartime Mikkeli is identified with Marshal Mannerheim
Carl Gustaf Emil Mannerheim
Baron Carl Gustaf Emil Mannerheim was the military leader of the Whites in the Finnish Civil War, Commander-in-Chief of Finland's Defence Forces during World War II, Marshal of Finland, and a Finnish statesman. He was Regent of Finland and the sixth President of Finland...

, the commander of the Finnish army and later President of Finland. His personal railway carriage, which he used as a command post during the war, is parked in a siding at Mikkeli station. It is possible to look inside the carriage through its windows at any time. But public entry to the carriage is only permitted once a year, on Mannerheim's birthday (June 4). The carriage was the venue of Mannerheim's famous 1942 meeting (near Immola
Immola Airfield
Immola Airfield is an airfield in Imatra, Finland, about northeast of Imatrankoski, the centre of Imatra.-History:Planning of the airfield began in 1933, and the airfield was opened in 1936. Before and during the Second World War, the airfield served as a base of the Finnish Air Force. The German...

) with Hitler, on which occasion a private conversation between the two men was secretly recorded. Photographs of this meeting are on display in the carriage. Mannerheim was a regular diner at the Mikkelin Klubi, where his favourite drink was schnapps.

One of the main museums in the town is the Infantry Museum (Jalkaväkimuseo) located in one of the former army barracks, close to the University of Applied Sciences. It contains exhibits from the four wars in Finland's modern history – the Civil, Winter, Continuation and Lapland wars.

In 1997 there was a province
Provinces of Finland
The state of Finland consisted of six provinces between the years 1997 and 2009. The provincial authority was part of the central government's executive branch, not directly elected. The system was created in 1634, and its makeup was changed drastically in 1997, when the number of the provinces...

 reform, which made Mikkeli the capital of the new province of Eastern Finland
Eastern Finland
Eastern Finland was a province of Finland from 1997 to 2010. It bordered the provinces of Oulu, Western Finland and Southern Finland. It also bordered Russia.- History :...

. In a separate reform, the rural municipality of Mikkeli which had surrounded the town and the municipality of Anttola were consolidated to Mikkeli in the beginning of the year 2001. The municipality of Haukivuori
Haukivuori is a former municipality of Finland located in the province of Eastern Finland and part of the Southern Savonia region. The municipality had a population of 2,361 and covered an area of 505.11 km², of which 108.07 km² is water...

 was consolidated with Mikkeli on 2007-01-01.


  • The former and present Finnish commissioners
    European Commission
    The European Commission is the executive body of the European Union. The body is responsible for proposing legislation, implementing decisions, upholding the Union's treaties and the general day-to-day running of the Union....

    , Erkki Liikanen
    Erkki Liikanen
    Erkki Liikanen is a Finnish social democratic politician and the Governor of the Bank of Finland.-Career:...

     and Olli Rehn
    Olli Rehn
    Olli Ilmari Rehn is a Finnish politician, currently serving as European Commissioner for Economic and Financial Affairs. He had previously served as Commissioner for Enlargement...

    , are both born Mikkelians.
  • The local football team is the First Division
    Kakkonen is the third tier of the Finnish football league system.-League structure:Kakkonen is divided to three groups of 14 clubs. A club plays each of the others in the same group twice, once at their home stadium and once at that of their opponents. Clubs gain three points for a win, one for a...

     Mikkelin Palloilijat
    Mikkelin Palloilijat
    Mikkelin Palloilijat is a Finnish football club, based in Mikkeli. Club was formed in 1929 and has also had teams in volleyball, ice hockey and bandy. It played in the Finnish First Division from 2004 to 2006 but was relegated to Kakkonen at the end of the season...

     (MP), for which Olli Rehn use to play for 13 years (youth teams 1968–78, first team 1979–82). Source: European Commission
  • On August 9, 1986, there was a siege in Mikkeli after a bank robbery that had taken place the previous day in Jakomäki, Helsinki
    Helsinki is the capital and largest city in Finland. It is in the region of Uusimaa, located in southern Finland, on the shore of the Gulf of Finland, an arm of the Baltic Sea. The population of the city of Helsinki is , making it by far the most populous municipality in Finland. Helsinki is...

    . The siege lead to a car explosion at the edge of the market place, in which the bank robber and one of his three hostages were killed.


Jukurit is an ice hockey team in Mikkeli. The team has won four Mestis
Mestis, , is the second-highest ice hockey league in Finland.The league was established in 2000 to replace the first division. Since 2000, Mestis has been the highest hockey league in Finland that can be reached with playing merits only; the SM-liiga was closed in 2000...

's championships (2001, 2002, 2003 and 2006).

Mikkelin Kampparit, or just Kampparit, plays in the highest bandy
Bandy is a team winter sport played on ice, in which skaters use sticks to direct a ball into the opposing team's goal.The rules of the game have many similarities to those of association football: the game is played on a rectangle of ice the same size as a football field. Each team has 11 players,...


Sister cities

Békéscsaba is a city in Southeast Hungary, the capital of the county Békés.- Geography :According to the 2001 census, the city has a total area of .- Name :...

, Hungary
Hungary , officially the Republic of Hungary , is a landlocked country in Central Europe. It is situated in the Carpathian Basin and is bordered by Slovakia to the north, Ukraine and Romania to the east, Serbia and Croatia to the south, Slovenia to the southwest and Austria to the west. The...

 Luga, Russia
Russia or , officially known as both Russia and the Russian Federation , is a country in northern Eurasia. It is a federal semi-presidential republic, comprising 83 federal subjects...

Olonets is a town and the administrative center of Olonetsky District of the Republic of Karelia, Russia, situated on the Olonka River, to the east from Lake Ladoga. Population: -History:...

, Russia
Russia or , officially known as both Russia and the Russian Federation , is a country in northern Eurasia. It is a federal semi-presidential republic, comprising 83 federal subjects...

 Saint Petersburg
Saint Petersburg
Saint Petersburg is a city and a federal subject of Russia located on the Neva River at the head of the Gulf of Finland on the Baltic Sea...

, Russia
Russia or , officially known as both Russia and the Russian Federation , is a country in northern Eurasia. It is a federal semi-presidential republic, comprising 83 federal subjects...

is a city and municipality in Møre og Romsdal county, Norway. It is part of the Romsdal region. The municipality is located on the Romsdal Peninsula, surrounding the Fannefjord and Moldefjord...

, Norway
Norway , officially the Kingdom of Norway, is a Nordic unitary constitutional monarchy whose territory comprises the western portion of the Scandinavian Peninsula, Jan Mayen, and the Arctic archipelago of Svalbard and Bouvet Island. Norway has a total area of and a population of about 4.9 million...

External links

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