Lieven Ameel
Humanist of the day

Lieven Ameel

A Belgian scholar of Finnish literature, who wrote the first book-length study of Helsinki in Finnish-written literature. After a Ph.D in which he studied Helsinki in literature, he now looks at narratives in urban planning, more particularly, in the development of Kalasatama and Jätkäsaari (Helsinki). Ameel also works as a teacher, critic, and translator.

Lieven Ameel

Born 9.11.1978, Hasselt (Belgium)

Doctor of Philosophy 2013 (Finnish Literature, Comparative Literature), University of Helsinki & JLU Giessen (Germany)
Master of Arts 2006 (Finnish Language and Culture), University of Helsinki
Master of Arts 2000 (English and Dutch Philology), University of Ghent

Postdoctoral Researcher 2013–2016, University of Helsinki (funded by the Ella and Georg Ehrnrooth Foundation and the Kone Foundation)
Junior researcher/doctoral student 2008–2013, University of Helsinki, Finnish Literature
Translator and teacher 2001-

Recent publications, projects and other scientific activities
Research interests: City in literature, parkour, narrative planning

Helsinki Literature and the City Network founder and coordinator
Finnish Society for Urban Studies board member

Written by Lieven Ameel (Tomas Sjöblom, ed.)

Lieven Ameel has long been interested in how space, and urban space, in particular, is experienced, and how this experience is rendered in literature. This research interest, combined with his fascination for Helsinki, became the subject for his doctoral dissertation, in which he examined experiences of the city in literature written in Finnish during 1890–1940.

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After spending five years working on Helsinki in literature for my doctoral dissertation, I felt the need for something quite different. I wanted to take some distance from the city of the imagination, and move into the direction of today’s real and tangible built, urban environment. Instead of looking for the city in literature, I wanted to look for literature in the city: for narrative structures in planning new city districts.

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As far back as I can remember, I always have been involved with the University of Helsinki – at least during my Finnish years. First as an exchange student, then as a majoring student, at some point as a teacher, a junior researcher, and currently as a doctoral researcher. I have met many of my best friends directly or indirectly through the University.

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Parkour & the Beauty of the Concrete City

For several years, I have studied, together with professor Sirpa Tani, parkour – perhaps one of the most fascinating innovative (urban) ways of moving. Our research involved interviews with several practitioners in Finland, and we focused on experiences of urban public space, emotional attachment to space, and the…