In Europe the university has had a perceptible influence on the town. Most of the early universities were founded in medium-seized and often wealthy towns. This was the case with the founding of the Royal Academy of Turku in March 1640 in Finland, the present University of Helsinki, at time when Finland still was a part of the Swedish realm. Although Queen Christina’s academy on the banks of the Aura River was small impoverished and peripheral, there was a determination to anchor it firmly in the European university tradition. This was to be conveyed by means of academic ceremonies and symbols, academic self-awareness and self-esteem compared to the other townspeople, in particular middle classes.
The town of Turku had never seen anything like the pomp of the founding ceremony. The intention was propaganda: the express purpose was to underline that something had been created. As in all academic occasions the imposing founding ceremony consisted of a procession and solemn formalities with appropriate music in the university building it self and a ceremonial festival of worship. The academic processions – of which were many (9) – engendered much publicity. The relationship with university and the city was established:
• academic ceremonies and regalia
• university speeches & ritualism
• student life
• professors and students as citizens
The Royal Academy of Turku was a part of the European university system characterized by such common features as teaching in Latin and a division into four faculties. The academic community comprised 11 professors and 250 undergraduates. University education provided its members with a common language, conceptual system and view of the world. The primary purpose of the Academy was to train clergy, civil servants, physicians and officers to convey and utilize the best available knowledge. The University also engaged in research and published the scientific results. Even though the University was small, it was crucially important as a conveyor and inspirer of new thought. The members of the Academy contemplated issues such as the structure of the universe, the essence of matter and the laws of mechanics.
But first something about the city of Turku:
Turku (Swedish: Åbo , founded in the 13th century, is the oldest and fifth largest city in Finland. Located at the mouth of the Aura river in the southwest of the country, it is the capital city of both the region of Finland Proper and the province of Western Finland. Due to its location, the Port of Turku is one of the busiest seaports in country.
Turku has a cultural identity as Finland's historical centre, as it was the largest city in the country. Turku had a long history as Finland's largest city and important administrative centre of the Kingdom of Sweden. During the Middle Ages, Turku was the seat of the Bishop of Turku (a title later upgraded to 'Archbishop of Turku'), covering all of Finland until the 17th century, and the only city in Finland to trade with the Hanseatic League. The Cathedral of Turku was consecrated in 1300, and together with Turku Castle and the Dominican monastery (founded in 1249), the city became the most important location in medieval Sweden-Finland.
The city has over the last two centuries given up its “head” position to Helsinki, that of younger origin, but capital of Grand Duchy of Finland from 1812. This happened after the Finnish War, which ended when Sweden ceded Finland to Imperial Russia. The government offices and university that remained in Turku were finally moved to the new capital after the Great Fire of Turku, which almost completely destroyed the city in 1827. After the fire, a new and safer city plan was drawn up by German architect Carl Ludvig Engel, who had also designed the new capital, Helsinki. Turku remained the largest city in Finland for another twenty years.
The first stage in the history of the Royal Academy of Turku covers the period from its founding in 1640 to the War of Finland in 1808. In the second stage of its history, covering the period when Finland was a Grand Duchy of Russia, from 1809 to 1917, the University was part of a university network in the Russian Empire.
As Finland became part of the Russian Empire in 1809, Emperor Alexander I expanded the University and allocated substantial funds to it. Higher education within the country was moved to Helsinki, the new administrative heart of the Grand Duchy, in 1828. In the capital the primary task of the University was to educate the Grand Duchy’s civil servants.
The University became a community subscribing to the new Humboldtian ideals of science and culture, studying humanity and its living environment by means of scientific methods. The new statutes of the University enacted in 1828 defined the task of the University as promoting the development of “the Sciences and Humanities within Finland and, furthermore, educating the youth for the service of the Tsar and the Fatherland”.
The Alexander University was a centre of national life that promoted the birth of an independent Finnish State and the development of Finnish identity. The great men of Finland, J.V. Snellman, J.L. Runeberg, E. Lönnrot and Z. Topelius, were all involved in the activities of the University.
What happened with the city of Turku when it lost its university? Turku has a longer educational history than any other city in Finland — the first school in the city, the Cathedral School, was founded along with the Cathedral of Turku in the late 13th century. It was not a surprise that some decades after the “loss” of the almost 200-years-old Academy, already was considered to be unfair. The citizens of Turku felt that their city had been treated unjustly. However, the city recovered quickly from the war years and prospered on trade, commerce and industry. Culturally it continued as the centre of ecclesiastical life and education even without the university. One of the local newspapers as well as the gymnasium formed centers of liberal opposition against what was considered as submissiveness and conservatism within the government and university circles in the new capital. Not only the liberalism but also the romanticism of the old Academy survived in these circles, which were dreaming of a united, patriotic people, loving its country, regardless of whether they spoke Finnish or Swedish.
The increasing economic prosperity soon after the Crimean War gave the wealthier citizens new possibilities to foster their cultural interests. A sense for historical traditions and the Swedish cultural heritage, as well as a new interest in improving the conditions of the working class, formed the ideological basis of the local merchants and industrialists, who concurred for various projects enhancing the welfare of the city and its inhabitants. The first project aimed at raising a statue in memory of a professor of the old Academy, who was the first to take interest in Finnish language and history. Two decades later, around 1880, the same group raised money for a statue in honor of the Swedish governor general of Finland, count Per Brahe, who in 1640 founded the old Academy. He was acknowledged as a man who respected the law (in contrast to Russian arbitrariness) and education (specifically in Swedish language).
The same group of wealthy citizens also first took an interest in the education of the working class but, as a consequence of the radicalization of the workers' movement, moved on to arranging public lectures for the Swedish-speakers of the city. Following examples from Sweden lectures on academic level for the public were arranged from 1903 onwards. In 1906 some teachers and students at the State University in Helsinki started a campaign with the purpose of making the university completely Finnish. This forced the Swedish-speaking elite in Finland to develop a new strategy. Their main idea was to create a parallel system of cultural institutions, one for the Finnish- and one for the Swedish-speakers to avoid the risk of bilingual institutions turning into unilingual Finnish ones. The newly founded Swedish-People's Party stated this aim in 1907.
In reference to the university issue, there was a general dissatisfaction with the fact that there was only one university, strongly influenced by the Russian-Slavonic ideals of the Empire. It was well known that during the previous decades, for instance in Sweden and Germany, new university colleges had been founded outside the old universities and that they were privately financed. Suggestions were made to found new universities in almost all cities of the country. The only place suggested for a Swedish university was Turku. During the following years the discussions grew on the possibilities to found a Swedish university in the city more intensive and more concrete. The plans also got some support from Swedish-speaking professors in Helsinki, which was felt to be important.
Soon after these events the wealthy circles organized themselves in the Academy-committee. In 1911 the committee overtook the public scientific lectures and received its first donation intended for a university college. In 1913 the committee took the initiative to give summer courses in Swedish for university students in the city. The city itself and one of the wealthy families of the city financed these courses. From 1915 onwards the impact of the First World War was felt in Turku as a war boom. In the end of 1916 the new prosperity made it possible for the local families to present to the Academy-committee the so-called "Christmas present", a substantial donation which aimed at founding a Swedish university. At the same time the need for more engineers resulted in the establishing of a foundation for higher technical education in Swedish, donated by other circles.
In 1917, after the March revolution in Russia, the political situation was stabilized and it was again possible to make plans for the future. A special board was appointed to make concrete plans for the new university. Its plan contained a suggestion to found a Swedish-language university, working for "civic deeds in the service of the country". The Academy-committee and a group of wealthy persons outside the committee, who convened on 18 June 1917, accepted the plan. The university was to consist of three faculties, one of arts, one of natural sciences and one of political sciences, the last one would be the first of its kind in the Nordic countries. Soon the first buildings were bought for the new university, close to the place were count Brahe's Academy had been situated. The government confirmed the foundation of the new university in the autumn of 1917 and the new governing bodies of Åbo Akademi Foundation replaced the Academy-committee.
The Civil War in the spring of 1918 delayed the project, but soon after the war ended the first professors were appointed and the university's senate or consistorium convened for the first time on 2 September 1918. Some weeks later the senate elected from its midst a Rector, Deans and other functionaries for the university. Later in the autumn the Foundation appointed a chancellor and a vice-chancellor. Academic courses started in January 1919 with 47 registered students. More donations made it possible to start a faculty of chemical engineering in the autumn of 1920. The last faculty of the private university, the one of theology, was founded in 1924 based on a donation by one single donator. Three years later, in 1927, a separate School of Business was founded, which later merged with the faculty of political sciences.
Two years later, the Finnish-language University of Turku was founded alongside it. Then in 1920 - the now independent Finland - Turku became the venue for the world's first Finnish-speaking university. Its establishment had wide popular backing supported by a fund-raising campaign contributed by thousands of Finns. The history of the establishment of Turku University is somewhat special. The Finnish speaking intelligentsia therefore wished to set up a university which would operate through the medium of Finnish. A nationwide fund-raising campaign was organized, to which altogether 22 040 donors contributed, mainly very ordinary people - artisans, farmers, shopkeepers and teachers. University of Turku was founded in 1920.
To honour the memory of these donors, the University has named its specially created liqueur "22 040". This liqueur has been developed by the University´s own food chemists, and also does homage to some of the distinctive fruits of the Finnish landscape: the cloudberry, the rowan and the sea buckthorn.
There are probably not many universities in the world with their own
gold treasure. At the end of the 1940s, the University of Turku received
a major bequest from the Johnsson/Joutsen brothers, sons of a smith in
the village of Nummenmäki (nowadays incorporated into the Turku city),
who had made their fortunes on the Klondike gold field in the Yukon in
Canada. The brothers had no heirs, and Karl Fredrik Joutsen bequeathed
to the University all his property, including real estate and a gold claim.
So we have two universities in one city with different language: Åbo Akademi University being the only comprehensive Swedish language university in Finland taking care of the higher education of the Swedish minority amounting to 300 000 individuals (6 %). In 1918 university had three faculties:
• Mathematics and Natural Sciences
• Political Sicence
1920: The Faculty of Chemical Engineering
1920: The Faculty of Theology
1927: The Åbo Akademi School of Economics and Business Adninistration
1974: The Faculty of Education in Vasa
1981: Äbp Akademi becames a state university
1992: Ostrobothnia high school founded, later
University of Turku, logo: A free people's gift to free science
1920: Faculty of Humanities
1922: Faculty of Mathematics and Natural Scienses
1943: Faculty of medicine
1967: Faculty of Social Sciences
1974: Faculty of Education
Universities in the city space:
The third university of importance is Turku School of Economics. The university was previously called Turku School of Economics and Business Administration. It is the second largest school of its kind in Finland, with approximately 2000 undergraduate and 250 postgraduate students and a staff of 350. The university was established in 1950, as a private establishment; it was acquired under state control in 1977.
Both universities occupied already existing buildings, owned by the city, church or other institutions. Location: close to market place and church, Old Turku. By this time the University of Turku was outgrowing its original premises, in the Phoenix building on the Market Square. The bequest made it possible to start construction in the 1950s of a new campus on Russian Hill (now known as the University Hill), and the first building was the new Library.
ÅA could take advantage of many old buildings close to old centre, still used by the ÅA.
UoT moved to the University hill during 1950s. The main building, main library and building for Natural Sciences was design by architect Aarne Ervi. Ervi in the spirit of modernism. Many former military areas were emptied and used by the UoT, already during 1960s and 1970s
Student housing project after 1945, two student houses close to the University hill.
Large national collection of money.
Student village Ylioppilaskylä, biggest separate student housing unit in Finland, is close to university and River of Aura, 2 km from University. A shop & pub, sports fields, day care centre, church, schools. Low houses with 4-floors
Co-operation during 1980s and 1990s
1. University Hill / Campus Hill / University Campus – all buildings
Kampusta on laajennettu jatkuvasti mm. puolustusvoimien aiemmin käyttämälle kasarmialueelle. Esimerkiksi Turun yliopiston historian laitos siirtyi vuonna 2006 aiemmin Turun sotilaspiirin esikuntana toimineeseen, vuonna 1834 valmistuneeseen Pehr Johan Gylichin suunnittelemaan empire-tyyliseen rakennukseen. Uudisrakennuksia Sirkkalan kasarmialueelle on tarkoitus valmistua vuonna 2009 .
The newest university buildings during 2000:
* Faculty of Pedagogy: Educarium
* Faculty of Political and Social Sciences: Publicum
* Information Centre and Information Technology 2006 ICT-talo, jossa sijaitsevat mm. informaatioteknologian laitoksen tilat.
2. In 1990s: Creation of Turku Science Park Group - a large community of experts that speeds up the growth of high-tech businesses in Southwest Finland through its operations. Development work is done in close co-operation with the universities, polytechnics, companies and public actors. The mother company Turku Science Park Ltd is responsible for the strategic management of the Turku Science Park area and activities as well as marketing and business development services. Its subsidiaries ICT Turku Ltd and Turku Bio Valley Ltd are responsible for developing the bio and ICT industries in Southwest Finland.
The principal shareholder of the Turku Science Park group is the City
of Turku.Three universities form it: University of Turku, Åbo Akademi
University and Turku School of Economics and Business Administration.
Focal areas are biotechnology and ICT branded BioTurku and ICT Turku:
A strong platform for innovations Turku Bio Valley area