Helsinki’s popularity as an expat destination has grown thanks to its healthy economy, dynamic cultural scene and high standards of healthcare and education. Finland's capital city continues to be at the forefront of design, with many areas and suburbs boasting their contemporary architecture and inventive cuisine. The wide avenues of Helsinki are lined with buildings that showcase centuries of architectural excellence from the neoclassical era through to art deco and cutting-edge contemporary buildings. Expats will find Helsinki lacks none of the sophistication of home; it may even surpass it.
In the Uusimaa region of southern Finland, Helsinki is the country’s largest and most heavily populated city. Set on the shore of the Gulf of Finland, it’s located about 50 miles (80km) north of Tallinn, Estonia, 250 miles (400km) northeast of Stockholm, Sweden, and 242 miles (390km) west of St Petersburg, Russia. Spread across a cluster of promontories and peninsulas, Helsinki stands as the political, educational, financial and cultural centre of Finland.
As an economic hub, many foreign companies which operate in Finland have bases in this region and the city's job market draws in many expats. When it comes to entertainment and lifestyle, Helsinki with its prolific coffee culture has something for everyone. While the cold may put a damper on the mood, Finnish sauna culture will surely raise one's spirits and central heating systems keep residents cosy in their comfortable accommodation.
For expats relocating as a family with children, there's plenty of things to keep them occupied, and parents will be pleased to know that both public and international schools provide an excellent standard of education.
Whether moving alone or as a family, public transport makes getting around easy, allowing expats to explore Helsinki and other regions of Finland to take in nature, learn about the culture and observe the spectacular northern lights.
Overall, expats in Helsinki will be able to make the most of their time in one of Northern Europe's most attractive destinations, benefitting from accessible social services and indulging in the city's built-up and natural wonders.
►To see how other expats settled in, read some Expat Experiences
"Helsinki has a richer quality of life and better work-life balance compared to my home country. I enjoy nature and saunas the most here." Read our interview with Daiki Yoshikawa to see how he enjoys life in the Finnish capital city.
Are you an expat living in Helsinki?
Expat Arrivals is looking for locals to contribute to this guide, and answer forum questions from others planning their move to Helsinki. Please contact us if you'd like to contribute.
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