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Vasikkasaari

A local island for adventurers

Vasikkasaari protective wall, photo by Teemu Saloriutta

Vasikkasaari, located on the west side of Santahamina in Helsinki, is a recreational island of about 18 hectares. The island is available for the city residents’ recreational use, and it also has summer residents with small cabins.

The island has been in recreational use for a long time. In 1808–1917, it was used as a storage island of the Russian army and, later, the Finnish Defence Forces. This can be seen in the island’s nature as the small patches of plants some that have escaped from gardens and as some eastern alien species.

“For a small island, Vasikkasaari is full of surprises. You can discover something new every time!”

Maria, 32 v.

Today, the island has about 50 small cabins, mostly located in the northern and eastern parts of the island. The northern part of the island is also connected to Sauna island, which is operated by a private sauna entrepreneur.

A small valued meadow can be found on the west side of the island, close to the Commandant’s House or ‘the White House’, as it is also called. The meadow features plants such as Vernal sedge (Carex praecox), lesser burdock (Arctium minus) or Russian dock (Rumex confertus), which are alien species from the east and tend to stay close to the house thanks to the runoff nutrients and the gravelly soil that is slightly more nutrient-rich.

Rugosa rose (Rosa rugosa) and Purple foxglove (Digitalis purpurea) are the most notable garden escapees on the island.

Vasikkasaari is in an archipelago environment, which means that its nature is delicate, rugged in appearance and low in nutrients. There is an overgrown pond in the middle of the island, and the surroundings of this former pond differ from the rest of the island’s rugged environment, forming an moist oasis. The pond is surrounded by the remains of a structure known as ‘the wall of China’.

Vasikkasaari has a view of both the Suomenlinna Fortress and the silhouette of the City of Helsinki.

 

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