Last year, Matti Myllymäki bought a houseboat from the United States to serve as a home for himself and his family. The two-million-euro floating home features top of the line ecological equipment like wind turbines, solar panels and water recycling systems.
Myllymäki was met with an unpleasant surprise, however, when he returned to Helsinki and tried to find a place to moor his new home. The city was happy to cough up a berth for storage, but no places could be found for a boat with people living inside it.
Toe to toe with the city
After visiting a few unsuitable piers, Myllymäki piloted his boat into the quay at Herttoniemenranta. The place suited him fine, but the city of Helsinki didn’t like the idea of the Myllynens living in the boat.
The houseboat was allowed to stay for the winter, sans inhabitants. But in the spring even that right was taken away, and the boat was steered into the docks at Mustikkamaa.
”It’s a fantastic location, but it’s the same here, we aren’t allowed to live here because the dock hasn’t been zoned for domestic use,” Myllymäki explained. He says he has had just about enough.
“This is an absurd situation,” he went on. “Helsinki prides itself on being a maritime city, and yet it denies houseboats full access – the only Nordic capital to do so,” he added.
Location is a go, living there is not
Myllymäki says that the city has since then designated a place for his family’s houseboat in Kipparlahti. But the ship-owner’s troubles are far from over, as an old, rotting boat sags in the way of the new berth.
“Not only that, but we aren’t allowed to live here either – even though this pier has specifically been zoned for living conditions,” Myllymäki said.
In the autumn, he is going to keep up his fight to protect his right to live in the docked houseboat he owns.