The Helsinki City Rescue Department was founded in 1861. One of Finland’s oldest public organisations still in operation, it is the second oldest municipal professional fire service in the Nordic countries. The Rescue Department is a key piece in the history of the Finnish capital, which can also be witnessed in the urban structure and in urban planning. Additionally, the work carried out by the fire brigade has played a major role in the city’s and the citizens’ resilience in difficult times.
Over the years, reflecting the city’s safety needs, the Rescue Department has transformed from a fire-watcher into a multidisciplinary producer of safety and health, together with our partner organisations.
In the Fire Museum on Korkeavuorenkatu, and in the Civil Defence Museum on Siltavuorenranta, we maintain and disseminate information about the Rescue Department’s history.
Helsinki Fire Museum
Come visit the Helsinki Fire Museum to experience a journey full of nostalgia through the decades – you’ll also learn more about the colourful history of rescue services in Helsinki.
The Fire Museum specialises in the Helsinki Rescue Services Division and its history, and it:
- studies, collects and documents materials associated with the history of the fire service, and restores fire and emergency response fleet and equipment into museum objects
- guides and transmits traditional knowledge about the history of the service
- showcases the Rescue Department’s current activity, and sensitises to fire-safety issues.
The Fire Museum is housed in the Erottaja Rescue Station, completed in 1891 and still in operation. Originally serving as Helsinki’s main fire station, the building was designed by architect Theodor Höijer. This historic framework provides a valuable setting for the Fire Museum.
Visitors to the museum can learn more about the history and development of the Helsinki fire and rescue services, ambulance services and emergency medical services through pictures, scale models, video presentations and the old equipment and fleet exhibited there. The majority of the collections consist of equipment and fleet used by the Rescue Department or the contract fire brigades. Additionally, the Fire Museum provides a wealth of fire safety knowledge, and showcases the Rescue Department’s current activities.
Guided groups can choose to take advantage of the opportunity to visit the station tower, offering breathtaking views, nearly all the way to Tallinn. All vehicles of historical interest are kept in the Roihupelto civil defence shelter, and it is also possible to take groups there to access our collections of vehicles and to learn about their use history.
Visiting the Fire Museum
The Museum is open to the public from September to May on Wednesdays and Sundays 12–16 except the following Wednesdays:
Museum is also closed on Christmas Eve, Sunday The 24th December.
We welcome group visitors on Tuesdays and Thursdays by appointment. Inquiries and bookings: +358 40 334 5304.
Adults 5€/person; pensioners, students and unemployed 2€, under-15-year-olds free admission.
Group visits: 80€/group (min 15, max 20 persons), and smaller groups subject to agreement.
Civil Defence Museum
Run by Helsinki City Rescue Department, the Civil Defence Museum provides visitors an opportunity to learn more about the civil defence activities undertaken during the wars, as well as about the general history and the current state of civil defence, in a genuine wartime bomb shelter. The museum showcases a collection of unique materials, especially from the periods when Helsinki was bombed.
Located in Kruunuhaka, at Siltavuorenranta 14, the museum is open on normal Saturdays between 10.00–14.00, from September to May. Admission to the museum is free of charge.
The Civil Defence Association of Helsinki, and its voluntary guides, are responsible for the maintenance of the museum and for the museum guide activities.
Additionally, the Association can also be contracted to organise safety training events on the Civil Defence Museum premises.
For further information and contacts details, visit the Civil Defence Museum website.