Go to content
Image 17. Ekenäs residential area (Source: Johan Ljungqvist/Ekenäs municipality)

Case 2: Ekenäs, Finland: Attractive and small-scale service centre by the sea

Ekenäs (or Tammisaari in Finnish) is situated on the inlet of the Pojo river in the south of the Finnish archipelago between Helsinki and Turku (Image 17, Map 3). The town is the main urban centre in the municipality of Raseborg, beside its neighbouring town Karis. The majority of the 8,500 inhabitants are Swedish speaking. Raseborg Municipality was created in 2009 when the municipalities of Pojo, Karis, and Ekenäs merged. Built on the sea in a strategic location, the town has a long and dramatic history dating back to the Middle Ages. Ekenäs received town rights in 1546.
Today, the town attracts tourists and second-home owners with its beautiful setting, historic small-scale wooden architecture, restaurants, green areas, and marinas. The town centre is located in the old part of the town and boasts the very first shopping street in Finland. Housing supply is characterised by single-family housing, also in the centre, and, to a lesser degree, small scale, modernist, multi-family housing. Student housing is also available.
An industrial area stretches out along the major throughfare and the sea. The business sector mainly consists of small- and medium-sized companies. Major employers are the hospital, the municipality, and the armed forces. Education is offered up to upper secondary school level. There is also a higher vocational education facility teaching agriculture, forestry, construction, and coastal management. The military educates 1,500 recruits each year on the campus located at the entrance to the town. Ekenäs is connected to Helsinki through the road and train networks via Karis. In the last decade, Ekenäs has experienced a slight decrease in population and strives to attract new inhabitants. The municipality markets itself as ideal for remote work.
Map 3. Ekenäs and its surroundings (blue dot). (Source: Nordic urban-rural typology)