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The first decade of the 20th century was a revolutionary period for Finnish artists. Painters, sculptors, writers, and architects pioneered a new decorative style characterized by organic shapes, flowing lines, freedom of expression and life. This period is referred to as The Golden Age of Finnish Art.

Art nouveau was used in churches, office and industrial buildings and in blocks of flats as well as villas. About 600 buildings in Helsinki date back to the Art Nouveau era. The Katajanokka district is full of fantastic Art Nouveau buildings and it is almost unique in the world.  Other neighbourhoods that are rich in Art Nouveau houses are Eira, Ullanlinna and Kruununhaka.

The largest concentration of Art Nouveau buildings in Northern Europe makes Helsinki a major city of architecture.