In 1914–1999, Nikkilä hospital took care of thousands of mentally ill patients living in Helsinki. The hospital was of great significance not only to the patients but to the staff, consisting at best of some 1,000 persons. During its peak time, the hospital had 1,200 patients and took simultaneously care of 600 persons in home care.
Several famous Finns were once patients at the hospital: authors Uuno Kailas and Elmer Diktonius, the poet Maila Pylkkönen, the photographer Signe Brander, and the author L. Onerva, whose memory and works feature strongly in the events during the coming summer months. Arguably one of the most famous people to have worked in the hospital is the painter Rafael Wardi, who began his career as an art therapist there in 1959. The most renowned of the hospital psychiatrists was Oscar Parland, also called the “Nikkilä icon”. Parland was not only a psychiatrist, but also a writer, painter, composer, and a pianist.
The Nikkilä hospital was a pioneer in art therapy. The art produced by the patients was valued and collected. There are over 10,000 items in the hospital art collection owned by the City of Helsinki. Nikkilä hospital is also well-known for beautiful architecture. Some of the old buildings have been renovated, for example for accommodation use. Nowadays, the hospital area is called Itäinen Jokipuisto (eastern Jokipuisto, or “eastern park by the river”).
Hopeapajukuja 5, 04130 Sipoo