Iisalmi (/ˈiisælmɪ/ EE-sahl-me; Finnish: [ˈiːsɑlmi]; Swedish: Idensalmi)[5] is a town and municipality in the region of Northern Savonia in Finland. It is located 87 kilometres (54 mi) north of Kuopio and south of Kajaani. The municipality has a population of 20,618 (31 December 2023),[2] which makes it the second largest of the five towns in Northern Savonia in population, only Kuopio being larger. It covers an area of 872.20 square kilometres (336.76 sq mi) of which 109.22 km2 (42.17 sq mi) is water.[1] The population density is 27.02 inhabitants per square kilometre (70.0/sq mi). The municipality is unilingually Finnish.

Iisalmen kaupunki
Idensalmi stad
Iisalmi railway station
Flag of Iisalmi
Coat of arms of Iisalmi
Location of Iisalmi in Finland
Location of Iisalmi in Finland
Coordinates: 63°33′24″N 27°11′18″E / 63.55667°N 27.18833°E / 63.55667; 27.18833
Country Finland
RegionNorthern Savonia
Sub-regionUpper Savonia
City rights1891
 • City MayorJarmo Ronkainen (2013–)
 • Chairman of the City BoardJuho Pulkka (2021–25)
 • Chairman of the City CouncilKati Åhman (2021–25)
 • Total872.20 km2 (336.76 sq mi)
 • Land762.99 km2 (294.59 sq mi)
 • Water109.22 km2 (42.17 sq mi)
 • Rank110th largest in Finland
 • Total20,618
 • Rank53rd largest in Finland
 • Density27.02/km2 (70.0/sq mi)
Population by native language
 • Finnish95.8% (official)
 • Others4.1%
Population by age
 • 0 to 1414.9%
 • 15 to 6458%
 • 65 or older27.2%
Time zoneUTC+02:00 (EET)
 • Summer (DST)UTC+03:00 (EEST)

In the 2010s, Iisalmi is known as an export industry town,[6][7] as well as a significant study town in the region.[8]



Iisalmi traces its roots back to 1627, when the parish of Iisalmi was formed around the local church.[9] The town's old wooden church, Gustav Adolf Church, was consecrated in 1780.[10]

In the 18th century, when Finland was under Swedish control, Sweden was frequently at war with Imperial Russia, and the area of Koljonvirta in Iisalmi was a battlefield on which one of the greatest Swedish victories occurred. However, Sweden lost its last war with Russia and had to surrender Finland to the Russian Empire in 1809.

Iisalmi gained its status as town on October 20, 1891.[9]



There are 111 lakes in the Iisalmi region, the largest of which are Lake Onkivesi, Lake Haapajärvi, Lake Porovesi and Lake Nerkoo.[11]


The Olvi beer restaurant in Iisalmi

Olvi, the last big independent beer brewery in Finland, has its factory and headquarters in Iisalmi. (Other big Finnish breweries have been bought by multinational companies.)

Genelec, a manufacturer of active monitors and loudspeakers] used in recording studios worldwide, has its factory and headquarters in Iisalmi.

Normet, engineers and manufacturers of mechanised equipment for underground rock-mining and tunnelling, also has its factory and headquarters in Iisalmi.[12]

Profile Vehicles makes ambulances and police cars.

Iisalmi has its own railway station on the VR network. The line between Iisalmi and Oulu was electrified in December 2006, replacing diesel haulage of trains.


Iisalmi Youth Center



Iisalmi, even though being a relatively small town, has many cultural events on small and somewhat larger scales. One memorable event, of the many, is "Rompepäivät", which translates as "the days of old junk and stuff". People gather together bringing various old items, from small sewing needles to old tractors, for everyone to see and many small things to be sold. A few old restored cars, trucks, motorcycles and tractors, some of them Finnish-made, are displayed for others to see. Here people talk about "good old times" or wonder over "ancient artifacts". Sometimes some of the finely restored machines are for sale to anyone interested to buy—of course if they can afford it.

"Oluset" is a music festival organized each July annually. The main sponsor is local brewery company Olvi. "Oluset" roughly translates to "a few beers". Also a smaller festival, "Limuset" ("Little soft drink festival" is organize as well by Olvi. "Limuset" is mainly dedicated to kids and young people, and no alcoholic drinks are sold in the area.[13]


Restaurant Kuappi

In the 1980s, each of Savonia's municipalities voted for its own parish dishes. Muurinpohjalettu, a thin pancake or crêpe made of wheat and barley, were chosen as the traditional food of Iisalmi.[14]


According to the Guinness Book of Records, the world's smallest restaurant, Kuappi, is located in Iisalmi.[15][16]



Currently the most famous Iisalmi-based band is a humorous country-rock orchestra Halavatun Papat. A rough translation of the name is "Damn Grandfathers".

20th-century composer Joonas Kokkonen was born here, as were singer-songwriter Jaakko Teppo and jazz pianist and composer Jarmo Savolainen.



Iisalmi is best known for its football club, PK-37 and ice hockey club, IPK (Iisalmen Peli-Karhut). Other known sports clubs are FBI (floorball club), Iisalmen palloveikot, Klubi-36, Iina, Iisalmen Visa and Koljonvirran ratsastajat (riding club).

Iisalmi has many good locations for playing sports. There is a very nice frisbee golf place near the Paloisvuori ski center. There are also many good beaches in Iisalmi, for example Perttu's beach and the Beach of the City. Many beaches offer an opportunity for beach volleyball too. In winter time Iisalmi offers good ski trails and skating rinks; winter sports fans can also go downhill skiing and snowboarding at the Paloisvuori ski center. In addition, Iisalmi has good facilities for gym workouts, swimming, bowling and minigolf.

International relations


Twin towns — Sister cities


Iisalmi is twinned with:

See also



  1. ^ a b "Area of Finnish Municipalities 1.1.2018" (PDF). National Land Survey of Finland. Retrieved 30 January 2018.
  2. ^ a b c "Population growth biggest in nearly 70 years". Population structure. Statistics Finland. 26 April 2024. ISSN 1797-5395. Retrieved 29 April 2024.
  3. ^ "Population according to age (1-year) and sex by area and the regional division of each statistical reference year, 2003–2020". StatFin. Statistics Finland. Retrieved 2 May 2021.
  4. ^ a b "Luettelo kuntien ja seurakuntien tuloveroprosenteista vuonna 2023". Tax Administration of Finland. 14 November 2022. Retrieved 7 May 2023.
  5. ^ Heikkilä, Mikko. "Iidesjärvi ja Iisalmi pisteenä Iin päälle – tutkielma Suomen Ii-alkuisten paikannimien alkuperästä ja suhteesta lapinrauniohin". Muinaistutkija (in Finnish). No. 3/2015. Suomen arkeologinen seura. pp. 30–48.
  6. ^ "Luulitko, että Itä-Suomella menee huonosti? Iisalmen ihme imee enemmän työntekijöitä kuin seudulla riittää väkeä". Helsingin Sanomat (in Finnish). 6 June 2018. Archived from the original on 9 July 2021. Retrieved 2 July 2021.
  7. ^ "Iisalmen seudulla löytyi keino saada vienti vetämään ja tilauskirjat täyteen – Ylä-Savoon syntyi oikea suomalainen talousihme". Ilta-Sanomat (in Finnish). 10 December 2017. Archived from the original on 9 July 2021. Retrieved 2 July 2021.
  8. ^ "Opiskelijaelämää – Ylä-Savo". Ylä-Savo (in Finnish). Archived from the original on 9 July 2021. Retrieved 2 July 2021.
  9. ^ a b Iisalmi: Historia Archived 2021-09-21 at the Wayback Machine (in Finnish)
  10. ^ Kustaa Aadolfin kirkon historia Archived 2022-05-07 at the Wayback Machine – Iisalmen seurakunta (in Finnish)
  11. ^ Iisalmen järvet – Järviwiki Archived 2021-07-24 at the Wayback Machine (in Finnish)
  12. ^ "Defining the future underground". Normet. Archived from the original on 12 August 2021. Retrieved 13 August 2021.
  13. ^ "Oluset". www.oluset.fi. Archived from the original on 22 April 2013. Retrieved 19 January 2013.
  14. ^ "Savossa äänestettiin pitäjille nimikkoruoat". Helsingin Sanomat (in Finnish): 19. 20 September 1984.
  15. ^ Laine, Oona: Maailman pienin ravintola löytyy Iisalmesta – intiimi tunnelma on taattu! Archived 2022-06-19 at the Wayback Machine, Ilta-Sanomat 19 July 2018. Accessed on 30 June 2022. (in Finnish)
  16. ^ The world's smallest restaurants Archived 2023-02-13 at the Wayback Machine, Fox News 23 January 2013. Accessed on 30 June 2022.