Hämeenlinna is a city and municipality of about inhabitants in the heart of the historical province of Häme in the south of Finland and is the birthplace of composer Jean Sibelius. Today, it belongs to the region of Tavastia Proper, and until 2010 it was the residence city for the Governor of the province of Southern Finland. Nearby cities include the capital Helsinki, Tampere and Lahti.
There was a settlement called Vanaja by the lake Vanajavesi where the city now stands since the Viking Age. The castle was built in the late 13th century to secure Swedish power in central Finland. A village was established near Häme Castle to provide services and goods to its inhabitants.
The village was granted city rights in 1639 and soon after that the King of Sweden moved it one kilometre south to the hill on which it still stands.
The city is known for its schools and academies where many famous Finns have studied. Schools, government and the military have characterised Hämeenlinna's life throughout history.