15 facts about Kouvola
Kouvola is a delicious raisin bun with enough raisins to share with everyone. What should everyone know about the most significant suburb close to nature in the most populated area of Finland?
1. Location, location, location. Kouvola is situated between two metropolises. Just over an hour from Helsinki and two from St. Petersburg.
2. Nature. You can admire the monumental Pohjola building from the window of a train, but you can’t see Kouvola’s 450 lakes or the River Kymijoki from there.
3. Architecture. In a poll of a Finnish newspaper, Kouvola City Hall was voted the most beautiful in Finland. While the city centre is a perfect example of 60's modernism, you will also find designs by the famous architect Alvar Aalto, numerous manors and other historical buildings elsewhere in Kouvola.
4. Boating. A new waterway will be opened in time for the 2020 boating season: the Kimola canal. The canal will link Kouvola to the boating region of Lake Päijänne.
5. Silk Road 2.0. The Helsinki-St. Petersburg railway line that runs via Kouvola will turn 150 next year. One of the largest railway junctions, Kouvola is also a gate to Asia, with a container train running to China in just about 12 days. There is also an intermodal terminal under construction, it will combine different transport modes. In the future, trains as long as one kilometre will be handled in Kouvola.
6. Space. For the price of a one-bedroom apartment in Helsinki, you will be able to buy an apartment AND a summer cottage in Kouvola. In Kouvola, nature begins from your garden. Half of the city’s residents live in detached houses.
7. Time. Do you want an annual holiday’s worth of additional free time? When you live in Kouvola you are just 10 minutes away from everything you need. At the same time, you’ll half your mortgage.
8. Wonders. What other city has a national park, a UNESCO World Heritage Site and an amusement park? Kouvola has Repovesi, the Verla Groundwood and Board Mill and Tykkimäki. And of course, the largest and oldest forest park in Europe: Arboretum Mustila.
9. Rock city. Many successful Finnish bands, such as Peer Günt, Viikate and Tuure Kilpeläinen, have learned their trade at the band facilities in the old city hall. Among the newcomers are the indie band Have You Ever Seen the Jane Fonda Aerobic VHS and Finland’s Eurovision representative Norma John. The karaoke restaurant Pyöreä Torppa is well worth visiting. Pato Areena has climbed to the top of the ranking list for gig venues.
10. Culture. The detective novel event Kouvolan Dekkaripäivät, which has been running since 1997, is one of the largest literary events in the country. Kymi Sinfonietta and the Kouvola City Theatre provide excellent sustenance for the culture hungry.
11. The city of army uniforms. Kouvola is the largest garrison city in Finland. The Karelia Brigade and the Utti Jaeger Regiment train 4,400 conscripts a year.
12. One big allotment garden. With its 7,700 summer cottages, Kouvola is the 7th largest locality for summer homes in Finland. It has about 30,000 summer-time residents.
13. Tastes. Kouvolan Lakritsi liquorice is enjoyed all over the country and even abroad. Sysi-Kymi and Kouvola-kahvi coffee is roasted at Inka Paahtimo in Voikkaa. Kaslink is known for its high-quality dairy and oat products. The vegetarian pasty Vihis, made by Hoviruoka, has become the symbol of the vegan boom.
14. The capital of the paper and forest industry. Stora Enso runs the Anjala paper mill and the Inkeroinen board mill, while UPM Kymmene runs the Kymi paper and pulp mill and Kalso Veneer Mill. Anjala is home to the Ankkapurha Industrial Museum and Jaala to the UPM Verla Mill Museum.
15. Sports enthusiasts. Kouvola has 8 sports centres, 4 ice stadiums and 5 public swimming pools. It also has more than 110 sports clubs and sports organisations. Plus 110 km of lit ski tracks, 292 km of cycleways and 350 km of nature trails.