Congratulations Viherlaakso on 80 years – the oldest upper secondary school in Espoo focuses on arts and quality learning

25.11.2022 8.53
Pupils of Viherlaakso Upper Secondary School photographed in the autumn of 2022.

The City of Espoo is celebrating its 50th anniversary this year, but Viherlaakso Upper Secondary School, too, has cause for festivities: it celebrated its 80th anniversary and new school building on 18 November 2022. Despite the city changing around it, the school has retained its passion for arts and ensuring a high-quality path of learning through the decades.

Viherlaakso Upper Secondary School is the oldest of its kind established in Espoo


Why not start with a brief overview of the past decades.


When Kauniainen Coeducational School, which later became Viherlaakso Upper Secondary School, was established in 1939, Espoo was a Swedish-speaking agricultural town, and Finnish-speaking youngsters aiming for secondary school had to travel elsewhere, usually to Helsinki. The Tapiola and Leppävaara districts were yet to grow, and Espoo was largely countryside.

To compare: in 1940, the entire Espoo–Kauniainen region had slightly more than 5,500 Finnish-speaking residents, when currently our upper secondary schools alone have roughly 7,000 young people, slightly more than 550 of whom attend Viherlaakso Upper Secondary School.


Education in Viherlaakso was not interrupted by World War II but, according to archived records, schoolwork during wartime was sometimes tumultuous. Once the war was over, education was still considered to be important enough to warrant the entire Viherlaakso community pulling together to construct a new school building. Architect Aarne Erville, whose most important designs include the centre of Tapiola, was tasked with designing the school building and drawings.


In the 1940s, the school was not yet owned by the city, which meant that the funds had to be raised from other sources. In addition to financing issues, the construction was held up by a severe shortage of construction materials, since a variety infrastructure had to be rebuilt after the war and the obligation to provide reparations swallowed up the majority of the resources. There was also a significant dearth of housing. Despite the uphill battle, the school building was eventually completed: The requisite concrete reinforcements, nails and pipes were donated from Sweden. It is told that owner of Leppävaara manor Kaarlo af Heurlin himself transported logs to the school site for sawing into boards.

Considering the conditions at the time, it is quite the miracle that the school building was completed in 1947. The school was expanded in 1948, and the first upper secondary school graduates were celebrated in 1951.

Viherlaakso Upper Secondary School is the oldest of its kind to be established in the current Espoo region. Over the decades, the school building gained new expansions. The latest brand new premises were completed in 2021. The secondary school pupils of Virhelaakso School also attend school around the same yard area.

Viherlaakso Upper Secondary School now: art is reflected by the school's hallways, operating culture and education


Art has been an essential part of the upper secondary school’s day-to-day activities through the decades. It is reflected by the school’s education and premises.

To get a glimpse of the upper secondary school’s ample collection of art and its new premises, you can visit the school on weekdays during its opening hours. The hallways feature the works of famous artists, such as x and x, from different decades. Welcome!

The school’s pupils can delve deep into the world of visual arts, since Virhelaakso Upper Secondary School boasts an excellent visual arts programme alongside its general programme. Pupils of the visual arts programme have the opportunity to find their own strengths in visual arts with regard to the techniques of classical visual expression, media and the myriad manifestations of design. The new building also accounts for the new techniques of design, media and digital arts, including Mac and photography studios as well as laser and 3D printing.


Opiskelijoita Viherlaakson lukion valokuvastudiossa kuvaamassa. Uudistetut tilat tarjoavat mahdollisuuksia monipuoliseen kuvataiteen tekemiseen.

Did you know?

  • Viherlaakso Upper Secondary School operates on new premises that were completed in 2021. The yard area still features the old school building completed in 1947, which is now used by the secondary school students of Viherlaakso School.
  • Viherlaakso Upper Secondary School is the oldest of its kind to be established in Espoo.
  • Viherlaakso Upper Secondary School for Adults also operated in Espoo in 1972–2005.
  • Introductory events for 9th graders interested in studying at Viherlaakso Upper Secondary School will be organised on 19 January 2023 and 24 January 2023 starting at 1:30 pm. In addition to this, the upper secondary school will be holding an evening event for young people and their parents/guardians on 30 January 2023 starting at 6 pm.


Heartfelt congratulations to Viherlaakso Upper Secondary School on 80 years of operation!

Koulun ensimmäinen nimi oli Kauniaisten yhteiskoulu, ja se oli aikanaan Espoon ensimmäinen suomenkielinen oppikoulu. Arkkitehti Aarne Ervin suunnittelema koulurakennus valmistui vuonna 1947 (talo I).
Uusi Viherlaakson lukion rakennus.
  • General Upper Secondary Education
  • Viherlaakson lukio