Restaurant Kuninkaan Lohet is located in a gorgeous setting full of cultural history right next to the roaring rapids of Vantaankoski. Helsinki-Vantaa airport, a waypoint for millions of people, is only 6 km away, the major highways Ring III and Tampere motorway are a stone’s throw away, and it only takes about 20 minutes from Vantaankoski to the centre of Helsinki. In the summer of 2015 transport links improved even more as the Ring rail line was completed.
Restaurant Kuninkaan Lohet is open upon request. We offer idea-rich meeting areas, atmospheric cabinets for festivities and dinners, beautiful saunas (by reservation), sporty or culinary activities, and experiences! Vantaankoski is the best possible meeting place for good service, high quality cuisine, and nature tourism. We serve our customers with joy and caring!
Where did it all begin?
The Vantaankoski area, due to its excellent location, has been a popular place to live since the prehistoric period. In the historic times the area developed into an important crossroads between the waterway leading North, and the roads from the West to the East and from the South to the North. Kuninkaantie, King’s road, crossed through Vantaankoski, and in fact through all of Southern Finland. It was the most important land route from Turku to Vyborg since the medieval times up until the late modern era.
The water power of the Vantaankoski rapids attracted habitation and industry alongside its banks. In the 1500s, after a mill was founded, a village called Myllymäki (“Mill hill”) was born, comprising of only two houses at its largest. At its best there were three mills in the area, used by several villages nearby. On the eastern bank of the most northern rapids there was a mill used by the villages of Voutila and Viinikkala, and on the western bank the mill for Myllymäki and Martinkylä. The Myllymäki mill grew to be the biggest of the three, but in the 1830s the situation changed again after an iron works was founded. The Martinkylä mill came to be owned by the iron works, and a dam that was built in the river made it better than the Myllykylä mill.
This bustling passageway was naturally accompanied by taverns, which offered travellers places to rest and the locals places to spend time. The mills functioned as meeting points for the villagers, and several taverns were established in their vicinity. This was the story for Vantaankoski, too—in Myllymäki there probably was a tavern since the mid-1500s. In the 1700s there were at best two taverns in the area, and they stayed operational until at least the end of the 1700s.
After 1809 the Finnish iron industry was faced with new challenges. Until then the Finnish iron works had been supplied mostly by ore from Sweden, and its import was at risk to halt completely as Finland became Russian territory. Efforts were made to increase searching for and using ore from Finland, and this gave a spark also to establishing the iron works in Vantaa. Nils Gustaf Nordenskjöld began forming a limited company in Vantaankoski to construct a blast furnace and an iron works. The iron works company bought the Martinlaakso mill on the West bank of the Vantaankoski rapids, along with its piece of land and part of the rapids. Operations started in 1838, and gathered a community of 60 employees in the area.
Ten years after its founding, the company ran into difficulties and, despite support from the government, was forced to sell the iron works. The iron works in Vantaa, along with all its properties (a sawmill, a mill, a mine in Hämeenkylä, half of Månsas and a right to rent the Erikas and Petas farms) was bought by Viktor Zebor Brenner, who already owned the large iron works in Teijo and Mathildethal. Bremer’s financial situation declined in the 1860s, and he went bankrupt. The iron works was subject to auctions a couple of times without results, until in August of 1862 it was bought by Aurora Karamzin, maid of honour for Aleksandra, the spouse of Nikolai I. Karamzin is famous for founding the deaconesses’ institution and for being a great philanthropist.
To continue production in the iron works Karamzin attempted to form a company, but without success—they were unable to revive the iron works. Karamzin sold the iron works, and in 1890 it landed in the hands of W. W. Wahlberg from Sweden, who rebuilt the mill that had fallen into ruins, and founded the Dahlfors file factory in its place. The file factory was the last industrial facility near the rapids to continue its original operations, and it remained a file factory even in the 1960s.
History of the file factory, its origins and construction, has been difficult to unravel due to the lack of source material. The first written record was found in W. Wahlberg’s documents, in which the founding year of the file factory is stated to be 1888. Then the operations began in a wooden factory building, into which a steam engine was installed for the mill. So, in addition to the file factory, there was also a mill, and Wahlberg built a sawmill, too, which opened a year later. The steam engine in the factory did not produce enough power to supply the mill, the file factory, and the saw mill, and so Wahlberg applied for permission to use water power from the rapids in his facilities. The intention was to build a temporary dam in the rapids to ensure sufficient supply of water, but the dam ended up being permanent.
The original building where the file factory and the mill operated had two storeys, and was made of timber, but it had to make way for a factory building made of bricks in 1903. The brick building was built in the exact same location as the old wooden structure, and multiple extensions were made to it. As late as just before 1912 a curved extension was built to the South side of the factory. The surface of the building was originally made of brick, but later it was plastered white, and the large windows were made of small screens. Next to the factory building there were situated Wahlberg’s 1.5 story house, utility buildings, and houses for the factory employees. Along with an extension to the factory, a terrace garden that was adjoined to Wahlberg’s house was built on top of the attachment by the riverbank.
Wahlberg replaced the wooden mill of the iron works with one made of brick in the early 1890s. Straightening the river and building the dam had left the old wooden mill in a difficult place, and a new one was needed. Wahlberg built an electricity plant in the mill in 1914, and the Myllymäki village was one of the first in the Helsinki area to have electric lighting.
On a point of land south of the file factory there was a cotton waste factory that burned down in the 1900s. The factory operations were relocated to the mill on the West bank of the river.
The file factory ceased its operations in the 1960s, and Wahlberg passed away after that. His heirs sold the file factory area, along with all its buildings, to the city of Vantaa. The city could not find use for the empty factory, and as years passed its fate seemed to be sealed. The factory building was subject to arson in June of 1984: the fire destroyed the wooden parts of the building and damaged the structures. In a couple of weeks, it was decided that the building would be demolished.
When the decision reached the citizens of Vantaa, organisations in Vantaa started to actively lobby to prohibit the demolition. This gained a lot of attention, and the organisations were joined by citizens who were worried that the cultural history of Vantaankoski was disappearing, and wished to rebuild and repair the entire area. With perseverance and persistence, the file factory building was placed under temporary protection from the provincial government, and the city was forced to take a stand on this decision to protect the building. In June of 1985 the file factory and the surrounding area was placed under protection by the National Board of Antiquities and Historical Monuments.
The file factory has great cultural historical value, and it is an important monument to the industrial plants that made use of the river’s water power for over 150 years.
In 2002 the city of Vantaa completed repairing the file factory and the surrounding area, and the company Kiinteistö Oy Kuninkaantie that was chosen to lease the file factory could begin renovating the insides of the building and do alterations necessary for opening a restaurant. In August 2002 restaurant Kuninkaan Lohet opened its doors in the Old File Factory, and it continues the honourable tavern-keeping traditions along the King’s road.
Today we serve more than good food and wine—we also serve experiences and unforgettable, historical moments in the middle of all the rush in the heart of the capital region! The surroundings of Vantaankoski offer a great chance to take a break from the everyday routine with canoeing in the beautiful countryside or with fly fishing.
Come and enjoy!
The file factory and the Vantaa river belong together seamlessly
Rebuilding the dam in the Vantaankoski rapids has already been completed, and the dam, over a hundred years old, has been restored. The low dam, about 90 metres long, was made of stone, and the western end of it had partially collapsed. It was rebuilt stone by stone to preserve the original appearance. At the same time a passageway was built into the rapids by making use of an old opening used for timber floating, so that the fish swimming upstream could pass through. Restaurant Kuninkaan Lohet is in continuous co-operation with land owners, companies in Vantaa, the city of Vantaa and the TE-office. This co-operation is aimed at developing the Vantaa river to ensure catches for fishermen and to promote its use as a recreational area for the citizens of Vantaa.
The Vantaa river has in the last 10 years, due to restorations, become the most valuable river in Southern Finland, and it attracts the most fishermen, too. It was a drain in the 1970s, but it has been made into a river rich with salmon. All procedures are aimed at reviving the sea trout population and restoring the natural cycle. The sea trout as a species is an excellent indicator of environmental quality. If the water is good enough for the trout, it is good enough for people, too. A big bright sea trout swimming upstream from the sea is every fisherman’s dream, an immensely strong opponent, and catching one will remain in your memory for a lifetime. The goal for the near future is that the sea trout could spawn in the Vantaa river rapids unhindered, and increase the population for future fishermen as well!