Vartiosaari is probably the least explored neighbourhood of Helsinki. With its diverse topography and wide variety of habitats, the island is a piece of paradise. It is so well- preserved that it is easy to imagine how everyday life and nature have once been in the Helsinki archipelago. Vartiosaari is home to valuable deciduous groves, traditional pastures and old-growth pine forests characteristic of rocky upland terrain. The island also has one of the largest intact wooden villa communities in the capital region.


Helsinki City owns most of the island and about half of the villas. The spatial planning process of Vartiosaari has been a contentious issue for years and the future of the island is still uncertain.


This participatory photography project presents 54 snapshots from Vartiosaari. For all the participants, the island is an important and empowering place, a magical spot worth protecting. As one of the most rapidly growing European cities, Helsinki needs wild untamed places to maintain the physical and emotional wellbeing of its inhabitants.


The project was open to all. Thirteen works were selected by a jury and exhibited in various public locations around Helsinki. Due to limited gallery space, a number of high quality photos had to be left out. You can now explore this larger selection online. It includes photographs from all who contributed to the project. Enjoy, and feel welcome to visit the wild green island!