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Havis Amanda

Burgher's House
Address: Kauppatori Square

The Havis Amanda Fountain with a bronze statue of the naked nymph is located at Kauppatori (Market) Square. The fountain, which is made of granite, and the bronze statue were created in 1908 by Ville Vallgren, Finnish sculptor, who lived in Paris. Havis Amanda is one of Vallgren's Parisian Art Nouveau works. The legend says, that she is a mermaid, rising from the water with four fish spouting water at her feet and surrounded by four sea lions. Choosing this person Vallgren wanted to symbolize the rebirth of Helsinki. The height of the statue is 194 centimetres, but along with the pedestal it is 5 metres tall. According to the letters of the sculptor the model for the statue was Marcelle Delquini, a 19-year-old Parisian girl.

The naked sculpture in the very center of Helsinki caught a great deal of protests and harsh criticism nevertheless Ville Vallgren's nymph remained at the place. Vallgren called this statue Merenneito ("Mermaid" in English), but soon it got the name Havis Amanda ("Sea Nymph" in Swedish) and Haaviston Manta or simply Manta (in Finnish). Havis Amanda stays the common name of the statue. Over time this graceful bronze figure became a real (but still unofficial) symbol of Helsinki.

Every year during cheerful and a little bit mad Vappu - students' festival held in May Eve - rowdy students put on Manta's head a white cap. This tradition dates back to 1930-s. The "ceremony" begins strictly in 6 p. m. In 1995 when Finland's national hockey team became a world champion, this cheerful bronze nymph was dressed in national hockey uniform.

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