Espoo (Swedish: Esbo) is a city in Uusimaa, in the Helsinki
metropolitan area, on the shores of the Gulf of Finland. Its
neighboring municipalities are Vihti and Nurmijärvi in the north,
Vantaa and Helsinki in the east, Kirkkonummi in the west and
Kauniainen within Espoo. On 30 June 2020, the population of Espoo
was 291,086. It covers an area of 528.03 km² (1 January 2020), of
which 312.32 km² is land, 17.91 km² is inland water and the
remaining 197.80 km² is sea. Espoo is part of the Helsinki
Metropolitan Area, whose municipalities have waste management and
public transport as their statutory co-operation obligations. HSY is
responsible for waste and water management in the area and HSL for
public transport. In addition to Espoo, the wider Helsinki region
metropolitan area includes 13 municipalities in Uusimaa. The urban
structure of Espoo is strongly connected to Helsinki and other
surrounding municipalities. Almost all of its population lives in
the Helsinki city center area.
Espoo is the second largest municipality in Finland in terms of population. The population of Espoo passed Tampere at the beginning of 1991. Espoo is also known as the hometown of Nokia, the energy company Fortum, the game company Rovio, which developed Angry Birds, and several other high-tech companies, Nuuksio National Park and the Otaniemi campus area, where six Aalto University universities are located. Espoo is also home to the largest landfill in the Nordic countries, the Ämmässuo waste treatment center, which stores waste from approximately 1.2 million inhabitants and industry in the Helsinki metropolitan area.
At the end of 2004, slightly less than a third of Espoo's land area was zoned. Espoo has quite a lot of forest as a city. There are about 2,000 ha of forest in the zoned area, and there are also unplanned forest areas. There are several lakes in the northern part of Espoo, the largest of which are Bodominjärvi, Nuuksio Pitkäjärvi, Pitkäjärvi, Loojärvi, Velskola Pitkäjärvi, Saarijärvi, Matalajärvi, Siikajärvi and Lippajärvi. There are a total of 73 lakes of at least one hectare in Espoo.
The Espoo area has been inhabited for at least 8,000 years. The settlements of the prehistoric period are known from the Stone Age as well as the Early Metal Age. The oldest historical mention of Espoo dates back to 1431. Espoo became independent from Kirkkonummi as its own parish in the 15th century. The first municipal meeting of Espoo was held in 1868 and the first representative meeting of the municipal council in 1910. Espoo became a township in 1963 and the city in 1972.
Espoo Day is celebrated on 27 August.