Actor Jasper Pääkkönen
Jasper Pääkkönen is a Finnish actor who is currently starring in History Channel’s hugely popular Vikings TV series as Halfdan the Black. He is also one of the most popular actors in Finland and has starred in over 15 Finnish films. Pääkkönen is also known as a passionate fisherman and a spokesperson for promoting the protection of Finland´s endangered fish species (such as salmon and trout).
What’s your relationship to Helsinki?
Helsinki is and will always be my home town. I can’t think of a better place to live. Besides being the second safest city in the world (right after Luxembourg), it’s also more lively than most cities of its size. And summertime is beautiful: people are happy and full of energy after hibernating during the long winter months.
I live in Kaartinkaupunki, right in the heart of the city. I have never owned a car nor felt a need to get one as everything is within a walking distance and public transportation works perfectly. Everyone uses it too, and it’s possible to spot even our old president riding the tram. That also says something about how beautifully casual the culture here is.
What are your favourite places in Helsinki?
I love spending the summer by the water. My absolute favorite spot is naturally the rooftop terrace of Löyly which offers the best sea views in town. Another favourite is Mattolaituri. It’s great for watching boats and people pass by and for enjoying amazing street food with a glass of wine. Suomenlinna fortress island is a must for picnic and just a few minutes ferry ride away.
When you dine out, where do you go?
There’s an amazing variety of great restaurants here. Muru, Baskeri & Basso, Ask are all nice options, although a bit fancy for a casual dinner. The brand new Finnjävel is a true experience. Often I’ll just grab something easy at one of the many Nepalese restaurants in town.
Your newest project is to be a builder for sauna and restaurant complex Löyly in Hernesaari. How was this idea born?
All tourists know that sauna is originally from Finland and that it’s an essential part of our culture. But there are no places in Helsinki for visitors to experience a real traditional wood heated smoke sauna combined with taking a plunge in a lake or the Baltic Sea, so we needed to change that. I wanted Helsinki to have a place for locals and visitors to relax in the best sauna in the world. Our restaurant is stylish but casual, and the location by the water is quite special on a nice summer day.
Are you yourself a sauna enthusiastic? Why?
I love sauna. It’s a purifying experience to jump into the cool water after sweating out toxins in the hot, dry sauna. The atmosphere in a traditional Finnish sauna is very meditative and it’s good for both your body and soul. I often describe sauna as being the common Finns’ church: it’s our own place of peace.
You’re also known as a nature lover and as a passionate fisherman. What are the best nature places in Helsinki in summertime? And what about fishing, is it possible here?
The seaside of Helsinki offers fantastic views and nature is always present in Helsinki. You can do some urban fishing around the shores and catch some zander or even sea run brown trout, but for a better fishing experience I would recommend using the services of one of the many fishing guides who will take you pike fishing in the archipelago.
What are you currently working with and how does your summer look like?
My summer is filled with filming the 5th season of Vikings in Dublin but I’ll fly home every weekend now that Löyly is open. I don’t want to miss a day of the summer in Helsinki, that’s how special it is for me.