Street art was an old passion of the deputy mayor, Source: Depositphotos

Helsinki deputy-mayor arrested for graffiti painting

Helsinki deputy-mayor arrested for graffiti painting

That was his particular way of spending Midsummer’s Eve

In a bit of curious news, Finnish media reported that the deputy mayor of Helsinki, Paavo Arhinmäki, was detained last Friday night after being caught painting graffiti in a train tunnel in the district of Pasila. It’s more common to hear of politicians and high-level administrators being caught red-handed due to corruption, but this shows that in the Nordics, even the mayors can be kind of cool rebels.

Apparently, graffiti painting was an old hobby of the mayor’s, stemming from his youth days, and clearly, something that he still feels passionate about. In that light, he, together with a friend went to a train tunnel leading to the Vuosaari harbour and got busy with the spray cans. Their idea was that being Midsummer’s Eve and a public holiday, no trains would be running through.

However, much to their surprise, they were caught red-handed by security guards patrolling nearby who told them to stay where they were, detained them and called the police, apparently not being fazed by the status of one of the infractors.

Facebook apology

Mr Arhinmäki then took to Facebook to tell his view on the story and issue an apology. In his words, Pasila was “Finland’s graffiti cradle” and a place where he had dabbled in street art in his youth.

He acknowledged that although there are now legal surfaces for graffiti painting in Helsinki (since 2008), there are also many places that no one really checks out, such as the train tunnels. So, he thought it would be a nostalgic trip down memory lane without consequences. It turned out he was wrong on that one.

The deputy mayor then ended his Facebook post with an apology about the deed:

It was stupid of us to think that no one would be interested in us painting in a place like that. We were just thinking that there was a fine Pasila spirit in the train tunnel and clearly nobody is bothered.”

Arhinmäki told Helsingin Sanomat newspaper, after the incident, that the situation was handled in good cooperation. On Saturday, he could not take a position on whether there will be consequences for an act classified as an act of damage.



Growing City


Smart City


Green City


Social City


New European Bauhaus




ECP 2021 Winner TheMayorEU