Helsinki is the capital city of Finland, a Nordic country located in Northern Europe. It is a beautiful city with a population of over 650,000 people, making it the most populous city in Finland. Helsinki is renowned for its modern architecture, peaceful lifestyle, and proximity to nature. With it’s great appeal many people have thought about living in Helsinki, but don’t know much about the city. Schumacher has been moving people to Finland since 1977, and have gathered our experience with living in Helsinki.
Read below for our complete guide on the aspects of living in Helsinki.
Housing in Helsinki
The Housing in Helsinki offers a wide range of options to accommodate its residents. From city center apartments to suburban houses, the city has something for everyone. However, the housing market in Helsinki can be competitive and expensive, so it is essential to know what to expect when searching for a home.
Neighborhoods in Helsinki
The first thing to consider when looking for housing in Helsinki is the location. The city is divided into different neighborhoods, each with its own unique character and amenities. The most popular neighborhoods for housing in Helsinki include Kamppi, Kallio, Punavuori, and Töölö. These neighborhoods are known for their central location, cultural attractions, and lively nightlife. However, they can be more expensive than other areas.
Price of Housing in Helsinki
Another important factor to consider is the type of housing you are looking for. Helsinki offers a variety of housing options, including apartments, houses, and townhouses. Apartments are the most common type of housing in Helsinki, and they range from studio apartments to large, luxurious apartments. On the other hand, houses and townhouses reside in the suburbs of Helsinki. These types of housing offer more space and privacy, but they are also more expensive.
The price of housing in Helsinki can vary depending on location, size, and amenities. The cost of living in Helsinki is higher than the average for Europe, and housing prices reflect that. The cost of a one-bedroom apartment in the city center can range from €800 to €1,500 per month, while a three-bedroom apartment can cost anywhere from €1,500 to €3,000 per month. Houses in the suburbs can range from €2,000 to €5,000 per month, depending on the location and size. These are always shifting and the cost of housing in Helsinki could be different than when you read this.
It is also important to be aware of the Finnish rental market’s legal requirements. Most rental properties in Helsinki are subject to a rental deposit, which can range from one to three months’ rent. In addition, tenants are required to sign a rental agreement, which outlines the terms and conditions of the rental. Tenants are also required to register with the local population register and obtain a Finnish social security number.
Transportation in Helsinki
Transportation in Helsinki is efficient and reliable through a public transportation system that makes it easy to get around the city. The system includes buses, trams, metro, and local trains, all of which are operated by Helsinki Regional Transport (HSL).
Here’s a closer look at the transportation options available in Helsinki:
The bus system in Helsinki is extensive, with over 300 routes covering the city and surrounding areas. Buses run frequently, even during the late-night hours, making it easy to get around the city at any time.
Trams in Helsinki operate through an wide network, with 13 different lines covering the city. These have become a very popular form of transportation, especially in the city center, as they provide easy access to many of the city’s main attractions.
The Helsinki metro system is relatively new, with two lines that run through the city. The metro is fast and efficient, making it a popular option for commuting to work or traveling longer distances within the city.
Helsinki has a network of local trains that connect the city center with the suburbs and surrounding areas. These trains are operated by Finnish Railways and are integrated with the HSL public transportation system.
The HSL system operates on a zone-based fare system, where the cost of a ticket depends on the number of zones you travel through. Single tickets, day tickets, and season tickets are all available, with discounts for children, seniors, and students.
Use the Journey Planner of the HSL to plan your trips throughout the city.
In addition to the public transportation system, Helsinki is also a bike-friendly city, with bike lanes and rental bikes available throughout the city. Walking is also a popular way to get around, as many of the city’s main attractions are located within walking distance of each other.
Culture and Arts in Helsinki
Helsinki is a city that is rich in culture and the arts. From classical music to contemporary art, Helsinki has a vibrant cultural scene that caters to a diverse range of interests.
Here are some of the key cultural and artistic highlights of Helsinki:
Museums and Galleries:
Museums and galleries are a big part of the culture and arts in Helsinki. Helsinki is home to numerous of these, which showcase Finnish and international art, design, and culture. The most popular museums in Helsinki include the Ateneum Art Museum, which features Finnish art from the 19th century to the present day, and the Kiasma Museum of Contemporary Art, which displays contemporary art from Finland. The Design Museum is another popular attraction, featuring exhibitions on Finnish design, architecture, and fashion.
Helsinki is known for its rich musical heritage, with classical music playing a significant role in the city’s cultural life. The Helsinki Philharmonic Orchestra, the Finnish National Opera, and the Sibelius Academy are all based in Helsinki, offering world-class performances throughout the year. Jazz and rock music are also popular genres in Helsinki, with many music festivals and concerts taking place throughout the year.
Helsinki has a vibrant theater scene, with numerous theaters and performance spaces located throughout the city. The most famous theater in Helsinki is the Finnish National Theatre, which produces both classical and contemporary plays in Finnish and Swedish. Other popular theaters include the Helsinki City Theatre and the Svenska Teatern, which produces plays in Swedish.
Helsinki is renowned for its architecture, which ranges from neoclassical buildings to modernist masterpieces. The most famous landmark in Helsinki is the Helsinki Cathedral, which dominates the city’s skyline with its grand neoclassical design. This is what is displayed on the top of this guide. Other notable architectural attractions include the Kamppi Chapel, the Helsinki Central Library Oodi, and the Temppeliaukio Church.
Helsinki hosts numerous festivals throughout the year, celebrating everything from music and dance to food and design. The most famous festival in Helsinki is the annual Helsinki Festival, which features a range of cultural events, including concerts, theater performances, and art exhibitions. Other popular festivals include the Helsinki Design Week, the Night of the Arts, and the Helsinki International Film Festival.
Overall, Helsinki is a city that celebrates culture and the arts in all its forms. Whether you are interested in music, art, theater, or architecture, there is always something to discover in this vibrant and dynamic city.
Food and Drink in Helsinki:
Helsinki is a city that offers a rich and diverse food and drink scene, with a variety of restaurants, cafes, bars, and markets catering to different tastes and budgets.
Here are some of the highlights of Helsinki’s food and drink scene:
Traditional Finnish Cuisine:
Helsinki is an excellent place to try traditional Finnish dishes, such as reindeer, smoked fish, and meatballs. One of the most famous traditional restaurants in Helsinki is Savotta, which serves Finnish cuisine in a rustic, cabin-like setting.
Helsinki has a vibrant street food scene, with many food trucks and stalls offering a range of international flavors. One of the most popular street food markets is the Hietalahti Market Hall, which features a variety of food stalls selling everything from burgers and tacos to sushi and falafel.
Cafes and Bakeries:
Helsinki has a thriving cafe culture, with many cozy cafes and bakeries offering excellent coffee, pastries, and light meals. Some of the most popular cafes include Fazer Cafe, Cafe Regatta, and Johan & Nyström.
Helsinki is home to many high-end restaurants that offer creative and innovative cuisine. The most famous fine dining restaurant in Helsinki is Olo, which has been awarded two Michelin stars for its Finnish-inspired tasting menus.
Helsinki Food Markets:
Helsinki is home to several food markets, including the famous Old Market Hall, which has been in operation since 1889. The market features a range of vendors selling fresh fish, meats, cheeses, and baked goods.
Finland is known for its unique alcoholic beverages, including the popular Koskenkorva vodka, gin, and beer. The Helsinki Distilling Company is a great place to taste and learn about Finnish craft spirits and enjoy some cocktails.
Overall, Helsinki’s food and drink scene offers a wide range of options for every taste and budget. Whether you’re looking for traditional Finnish cuisine, street food, or fine dining, Helsinki has something to satisfy every palate.
Education in Helsinki:
Education is highly valued in Helsinki, and the city is known for its excellent educational system, which is among the best in the world.
Here are some of the key aspects of education in Helsinki:
Comprehensive School System:
The Finnish comprehensive school system is world-renowned for its excellence, and Helsinki is no exception. The system provides a free, high-quality education to all children from the ages of 7 to 16, and focuses on promoting creativity, critical thinking, and social skills.
Upper Secondary Education:
After completing comprehensive school, students can choose to pursue upper secondary education, which includes vocational schools and general upper secondary schools. General upper secondary schools provide an academic education that prepares students for university, while vocational schools offer hands-on training for specific professions.
Helsinki is home to several world-class universities, including the University of Helsinki, Aalto University, and Hanken School of Economics. These universities offer a range of degree programs, from undergraduate to doctoral, and attract students from all over the world.
Multicultural Learning Environment:
Helsinki is a diverse city, and its schools and universities reflect this diversity. Students from different cultural backgrounds are encouraged to learn and work together, which promotes understanding and tolerance.
Focus on Innovation:
Helsinki’s educational system emphasizes innovation and creativity, which prepares students for the rapidly changing job market. Schools and universities encourage students to think critically, solve problems, and develop new ideas.
Education for All:
Education is seen as a fundamental right in Helsinki, and the city works hard to ensure that everyone has access to high-quality education. This includes providing support and resources for students with special needs, as well as immigrants and refugees.
Education in Helsinki is highly regarded for its quality, inclusiveness, and innovation. The city’s commitment to education, from early childhood to higher education, ensures that its residents are well-prepared for the future and can contribute to the development of a prosperous and dynamic society.
Outdoor Activities in Helsinki:
Helsinki is a city that offers a variety of outdoor activities, with its stunning natural surroundings and well-maintained parks and waterfront areas.
Here are some of the top outdoor activities to enjoy in Helsinki:
Explore the Parks:
Helsinki is home to many beautiful parks and green spaces, including the famous Central Park, which covers over 10 square kilometers of forest, lakes, and trails. Other popular parks in the city include Kaivopuisto, Esplanadi, and Kaisaniemi.
Visit the Archipelago:
Located on the shore of the Baltic Sea, Helsinki is surrounded by a stunning archipelago of islands. Take a ferry from the city to explore the islands, go fishing or boating, or just relax on the beaches. It could take a lifetime to visit and do all the different activities on the chain of islands.
Walk or Bike Along the Waterfront:
Helsinki has many miles of waterfront paths and trails that are perfect for walking, jogging, or cycling. Some popular routes include the Helsinki City Walk, which takes you through the city’s historic neighborhoods, and the Baana, a former railway line that has been converted into a pedestrian and bike path.
During the winter months, Helsinki offers a range of winter sports, including ice-skating, ice-fishing, and cross-country skiing. Popular places for these activities include the Töölö Bay Ice Rink and the Sipoonkorpi National Park.
Helsinki has several beaches located within the city limits, including the popular Hietaranta Beach and the smaller Löyly Beach. These beaches offer opportunities for swimming, sunbathing, and water sports.
Beautiful nature and campsites surround Helsinki, where you spend the nights with visible stars. When going out for camping, many use a whole weekend enjoying the outdoor beauty. Popular camping destinations include the Nuuksio National Park and the Porkkala Peninsula.
Golfing in Helsinki is popular as they have several golf courses located throughout the city, offering a range of challenges for golfers of all skill levels. Some popular courses include the Tali Golf Club and the Kullo Golf.
Helsinki offers a diverse range of outdoor activities, making it an ideal destination for nature lovers and adventure seekers. Whether you enjoy walking, biking, water sports, or winter activities, there is always something to do in this beautiful city.
Healthcare in Helsinki
Healthcare in Helsinki maintains a high standard while being publicly funded. In this case, all residents of the city have access to healthcare services. The healthcare system in Helsinki is organized by the city’s social and health care services, which is responsible for providing primary and specialized care, as well as mental health services.
One of the key features of the healthcare system in Helsinki is its emphasis on preventive care. Regular check-ups and screening tests are offered to all residents, and health promotion campaigns are regularly run to encourage healthy lifestyles and prevent chronic diseases.
In addition to preventive care, the healthcare system in Helsinki also provides a wide range of services, including medical consultations, hospital care, specialist care, dental care, and rehabilitation services. Most services are provided free of charge to residents, although there may be some small fees for certain services, such as dental care.
There are several hospitals and health centers in Helsinki, including public and private institutions, which provide healthcare services to residents. The city also has a network of specialized hospitals and clinics that offer specialized care in areas such as cancer treatment, heart disease, and mental health.
Pros and Cons of Living in Helsinki
When considering the pros and cons to living in Helsinki, many of the items listed above are the pros. Though this does not mean there are no cons, especially if you are an American thinking about living here.
Pros of living in Helsinki:
- High quality of life: Helsinki consistently ranks among the top cities in the world for quality of life, with excellent public services, a safe and clean environment, and a high standard of living.
- Strong focus on education: Helsinki has a high-quality education system that includes free education for all, from pre-school to university. The city is home to several top-ranked universities and research institutions.
- Thriving cultural scene: Helsinki is a city of culture, with a thriving arts and music scene, world-class museums and galleries, and many festivals and events throughout the year.
- Access to nature: Despite being a major city, Helsinki surrounds itself with beautiful nature, including forests, parks, and lakes. The city also has a long coastline and many islands, making it a great destination for outdoor activities.
- Efficient public transportation: Helsinki has an excellent public transportation system, including buses, trams, and metro lines, which make it easy to get around the city.
Cons of living in Helsinki:
- High cost of living: Helsinki is one of the most expensive cities in Europe, with high costs for housing, food, and other necessities.
- Long winters: Helsinki has long and dark winters, with short days and cold temperatures. Winters here prove difficult to those not used to the tough weather.
- Limited job opportunities: While Helsinki has a strong economy, job opportunities may be limited in certain industries or for those who do not speak Finnish.
- Language barrier: Finnish is the primary language spoken in Helsinki, and while many residents speak English, it can still be challenging to navigate daily life without knowing some Finnish.
- Crowded during peak tourist season: Helsinki can become crowded with tourists during the summer months, which can make it more difficult to enjoy the city’s attractions and outdoor spaces.
In conclusion, living in Helsinki is an excellent choice for those who value modernity, tranquility, and a high standard of living. The city’s modern architecture, rich cultural heritage, proximity to nature, culinary scene, and social events all make it an attractive place to live. Helsinki is a city that has it all – the perfect blend of modernity and tradition, tranquility, and vibrancy, making it a true gem of Northern Europe.
If you’re ready to start your move to Finland, Schumacher Cargo Logistics can help you with your international shipping. Fill out our quote form or call us at 1-800-599-0190 and our representatives can help you start your life in Helsinki.