Info - Häme University of applied sciences


Living and leisure time in Hämeenlinna

10.05.2022 15:31

Hämeenlinna is vibrant educational city in the southern part of Finland that has an ideal combination of nature and culture, countryside, and urban sceneries, all within an easy reach. The city is very well connected to surrounding areas, and it only takes about one hour to drive to Helsinki and to the Helsinki-Vantaa airport, 45 minutes to Tampere and Lahti, and two hours to Turku.

Hämeenlinna and the surrounding areas (the Häme region) offer many ways to spend your free time. There are many stunning attractions in the Häme region: lakes, forests, parks, and a medieval castle. For more information: Culture and leisure time in Häme region.

The City of Hämeenlinna offers a wide range of services for residents, such as public library, sports, annual events. Shopping opportunities are plenty. You can also find opportunities to study Finnish language, do volunteering work or get a paid job in and around Hämeenlinna. Services for religious and LGBTI groups are also available.

Student accommodation

The Hämeenlinna Student Housing Foundation has provided the Hämeenlinna area with housing services for students of various educational facilities since 1987. Most student houses are situated next to the University Centre. University Centre is located about 2 km from the city centre.

Read more:

HAMK Student Services: student accommodation of Hämeenlinna campus

Häme Medieval Castle

The most famous landmark in Hämeenlinna city is the the Häme Medieval Castle. The castle is located right at the heart of the city, and therefore has become part of the city scenery. In both winter and summer, you can see locals doing the “castle walk” (linna lenkki) around the castle and the shore of Vanajavesi Lake. It is also an inseparable part of Hämeenlinna residents´ everyday life.

Birthplace of Jean Sibelius

Hämeenlinna is the birthplace of the famous Finnish national composer Jean Sibelius. He spent his first 20 years in Hämeenlinna. You can visit the house where Sibelius was born, in which you can see a home place with artistic design from the era of between the 1860s and the 1880s.

You can also visit the Sibelius Park located right at the center of the city, and sit on the musical benches, which have been equipped with sensors. When you sit on the bench, it will play the set of five piano pieces, ‘The Trees’, Op. 75.

You can also visit the famous national park Aulanko, which was believed to have an inspiration on Sibelius´ composition of the timeless Finlandia.

Museums and castles

Hämeenlinna is a region where you can explore a world of history, art, and design. The region has been inhabited since the Stone Age. You can get to know about the region´s medieval history by visiting the various museums. Before your visit, it is good to check out their opening hours and tickets information. You can also purchase a museum card, which will allow you access the city’s major museums as well as a number of smaller specialized and local museums.

The city´s major museums

Häme Castle

Hämeenlinna City Museum Skogster

Palander House

Birthplace of Jean Sibelius

Museum Militaria

Prison Museum Vankila

Hämeenlinna Art Museum

Nature trails and outdoor activities

There are many national parks in Häme region, where you can go hiking do various kinds of outdoor activities both in winter and in summer. Hämeenlinna has a unique combination of nature, culture, and history, so when you visit the nature, you can also explore the cultural and historical landscapes. For example, in Liesjärvi National Park, you can hike on forestry trails, visiting forests of varying ages, beautiful shorelines and valuable mires, whereas at the same trip, you can get a feeling of past times in Finland by experiencing traditional life styles in a well preserved Finnish old wooden farm. Check the following links and get more information about direction instructions, things to do, tips for preparation, accessibility for visiting the natural areas.


Liesjärvi National Park

Torronsuo National Park

Hämeenlinna National Urban Park

Lake Vanajavesi watershed area

Evo hiking area

Komio nature reserve

Ahvenisto nature park

Read more:

Finnish national parks: National Parks


In Hämeenlinna, you can practise a wide range of sports, including skiing, football, ice-hockey, martial arts, bouldering, basketball, volleyball, floorball, badminton, orienteering, dancing, tennis, swimming, and athletics. Some of the sports are free of charge (e.g., skiing), whereas others are subject to fees (e.g., indoor swimming). For more information, read sports services offered by the city.

HAMK Moves offers a broad selection of sports activities on all campuses to all its students. As a HAMK student, you have the right to use the university´s premises for sports. You need a sports pass to use the services. Pay attention to the access control to HAMK´s sports facilities before using.


There are events held in Häme region all around the year. Whether you are a fan of history, art, sports, music, or of festivals, you can find an event that suits your interests. You can try out the Escape the Castle adventure with your friends or welcome Christmas with your families at the Janakkala welcomes Christmas event. For more events, check out the local events organized in Häme region. Besides, as you are in the birthplace of Jean Sibelius, do not miss the opportunities to find joy in the local musical events based on Sibelius´s musical heritage.

The student union HAMKO and its partner associations also organise events in Hämeenlinna. Stay tuned with the events for students organized by HAMKO.

Public library services

You can use the public library services provided by the Häme region. The biggest library in Hämeenlinna is the Hämeenlinna Main Library, in which you can find exhibition spaces, meeting and groupwork spaces, music room, music studio, open stage, reading room and other working spaces. You could also digitize images, LP and CD discs, VHS and C cassettes or edit picture and sound in the editing and digitizing space. There are other libraries of different sizes and with different service modes in Häme region. You can check for their opening hours and services by visiting the Vanamo Libraries page.

When using the public library services, you need a library card. You can bring a photo ID to the library service desk. The first library card is free of charge. Remember to read their user regulations before using the services.

Hämeenlinna University Center has its own library, which is located at 2nd floor of building N. For more information, visit HAMK campus libraries and contact details.


S-group markets and K-group markets are the two most common supermarket chains in Finland, from which you can shop for everyday groceries. There are also Lidl and Tokmanni. R-kioski is the convenience store chain, where you can get a prepaid SIM card for your mobile phone. There are other specialized stores, for example, Gigantti for electronics, Motonet for tools and parts for cars, Puuilo for hardware tools (department stores).

Secondhand stores

There is a saying in Finnish, “one’s trash is another person’s treasure”. You may be surprised to find a big number of secondhand stores all around Finland. People living in Finland value sustainable lifestyles a lot. Read more about living everyday life sustainably in Finland.

You can check the list of secondhand stores located in the city of Hämeenlinna for clothing, books (mostly in Finnish), cutlery, cups and plates, decoration and other small home items. Good luck with the treasure hunting!

Shopping for furniture and bicycles

You can find furniture from both nationally and internationally known brands. Some of them are for example IKEA, Masku, Jysk, Isku, and Asko. You can find IKEA stores closest to Häme region in both Tampere and Vantaa. See also the list of physical stores for furniture in Hämeenlinna.

There are also some stores where you can find secondhand furniture, bicycles and other things for your everyday life. See the list of physical secondhand stores. There are also some free-trading online secondhand groups/platforms from which you can get items with good bargains. They are Tori, Buy & Sell Hämeenlinna Facebook group, Hämeenlinna Kirpputori Facebook groupSuomen kasarmin aarteet Facebook group, Suomen ylijäämävarasto, and Luotsin kierrätysmyymälä. Please note that most of the time you need to take care of the transportation of the furniture purchased from private traders.

In the city center of Hämeenlinna, you can find one K-Citymarket, S-Market, Tokmanni, and Lidl quite closed to one and another. There is also the Hämeenlinna shopping center Goodman right at the heart of the center. About 3 kilometers away from the city center, you can find the Tiiriö neighborhood with bigger supermarkets such as Prisma, another K-Citymarket, Lidl and Motonet.

Working and internship

International exchange and degree students are allowed to work in Finland, with certain restrictions. Students from outside the EU/ETA countries are allowed to work for a limited number of hours per week during term time. See Working in Finland for more information.

If you work in Finland, you must pay tax. You need to apply for a tax card and/or a tax number from the Finnish Tax Office Vero before starting to work.

HAMK offers career support services for our international students. HAMK Talents is a digital career and recruitment service that provides our students with an easy and fast platform (Tiitus) to find jobs, work placements, and thesis opportunities. Information of companies who are interested in hiring students from HAMK is gathered in Tiitus, which creates a fast and safe tunnel for our students to reach out for the job markets. Create a Tiitus profile at the beginning of your studies and supplement it as you proceed towards your studies at HAMK. You can also check Tiitus WIKI for more instructions on how to use the platform.

If you want to look for job opportunities outside of HAMK, below are some portals that you can use.

TE-services (the national vacancy services)

JobsinFinland (for English speaking jobs)

Summer job searching usually starts in January and February. The vacancies fill up quite quickly. The collective agreement for each industry determines the minimum salary. Familiarize yourself with the employment relationship in Finland. You can also find all the rules and regulations regarding working in Finland from the Finnish Occupational Safety and Health Administration.


There are many organizations that offer a possibility to do some volunteer work and meet new people while doing so. It’s best to contact them directly.

You can explore volunteering work opportunities in Finland through Vapaaehtoistyö. With this platform, you can choose volunteering tasks in English, or choose a task that is church/non-church based.

OmaKamu is a nonprofit organization who trains and support adults to be long-term friends for children and youth. The Finnish Lions Club is another nonprofit organization where you may find volunteering opportunities.

You can join the Finnish Red Cross FRC as volunteer, member, or donor. There is the Friend Activities programme which might be interesting for you. There is also a Red Cross service point in Hämeenlinna (information in Finnish).

Finnish Committee for UNICEF runs different kinds of programmes all around Finland to protect children´s rights. There is also a UNICEF service group in Hämeenlinna (information in Finnish).

You can also find volunteering activities with churches. For example, the Lutheran church in Hämeenlinna, Hämeenlinna-Vanaja church.

The Hämeen Setlementti support persons can help you with information on volunteering in Häme region.

Language studies

When you have free time, why not studying Finnish more? From 1 January 2020 onwards, HAMK grants scholarships based on Finnish language skills. The scholarship programme awards scholarships to those students who are liable to pay tuition fees. Check out more on HAMK´s tuition fees and scholarship programme. The aim of HAMK’s scholarship programme is to support the future employment of international degree students in Finland by encouraging students to gain a good level of Finnish language during their studies.  We encourage you to study Finnish as it will greatly help with your integration into Finnish society and cultures, especially when you plan to develop your career in Finland.

If you are interested in learning languages when you are studying at HAMK, or you want to find more opportunities to study Finnish other than participating in HAMK´s scholarship programme, you can consult the student services of your campus. We support your languages and communication studies at HAMK.

The main library of Hämeenlinna organizes language clubs and cafés for students learning Finnish. You can follow the Hämeenlinna city library Facebook to keep yourself updated with the schedules of such activities.

Hämeen Setlementti offers Finnish language courses free of charge. You can contact their personnel or follow their Facebook or Instagram for more information.

Vanajavesi Adult Education Center also offers Finnish language courses. They offer a variety of courses, including Survival Finnish, Finnish 1 – 5, or you can even choose to study with a teacher in pairs. The cost is about € 80 to 150 per course.

You can also use Finnish Courses in Finland search engine if you want to look for more opportunities to study Finnish outside of HAMK.

For religious and LGBTI+ groups

There are communities for different religions in Häme region and bigger cities such as Helsinki and Tampere. Group activities are organized by those communities. See also parishes and communities in Hämeenlinna.

Seta is a human rights advocacy organization in Finland. If you identify yourself with the LGBTI+ groups, it LGBTI rights in Finland by Seta is a good place to start for more information and group activities.