Located about 140 kilometers north of Helsinki and in the region of Päijänne Tavastia

Heinola used to be a remote village of Hollola then larger, until it acquired greater importance in 1776 when a Gustavo III of Sweden promoted it to be the governmental center of the provinces nearby. Heinola also became a trading center for nearby regions.

When Finland became a part of Russia in 1809, the provincial capital moved eastward with the border. After World War II, Heinola was widely known as a spa town, and until 1972 it served as a place for an institute (seminaari).