Senate Square (Helsinki, Finland)

    Senate Square and its surroundings form a unique and cohesive example of Neoclassical architecture. The square is dominated by four buildings designed by Carl Ludvig Engel (1778-1840): Helsinki Cathedral, the Government Palace, the main building of the University of Helsinki and the National Library of Finland. A statue of Alexander II (1894) stands in the middle of Senate Square.

    Senate Square in Helsinki

    It is a place that resonates more history (patriotism, class struggle, celebration …) than any other in Finland – also film history, since it has stood for St. Petersburg, Leningrad or even Moscow many times in productions such as Warren Beatty’s REDS (1981) and most of the cynical action/spy movies of the cold war era such as THE KREMLIN LETTER by John Huston (1970), GORKY PARK by Michael Apted (1983), and TELEFON by Don Siegel (1977). It also features in pretty much all the films that want to point out that now we’re in the only urban haven in this country, in Helsinki’s old empire centre (and maybe feeling psychologically isolated from the rest of the world). The Helsinki episode in Jim Jarmusch’s NIGHT ON EARTH also takes place around the square.

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