According to abbreviationfinder, Helsinki is the capital and the largest city in Finland. It is located on the southern coast of the country, on the shore of the Gulf of Finland. Helsinki is part of the Uusimaa region.
Some 580,000 people live in the city of Helsinki (31 of October of 2007) and the metropolitan area (municipalities of Helsinki, Espoo, Vantaa and Kauniainen) has a population of almost one million residents in total. Including other nearby municipalities, the population is around 1.3 million people. One in four Finns live in Helsinki. See population of Finland.
As the largest urban concentration in Finland, Helsinki is the national center for politics, economics, culture and science.
Helsingfors is the original name of the modern city of Helsinki, and it is still the official name in Swedish. However, the Finnish name, Helsinki (pronounced with the accent on the first syllable: [‘helsiŋki]), has been the dominant name of the city in other languages for decades. The Swedish name Helsingfors comes from the name of the surrounding parish, Helsinge (from which the Finnish name Helsinki also comes) and from the rapids (fors in Swedish) that flowed through the original village. It is believed that the name Helsinge According to folklore, it has its origin in the first Swedish settlers who came from the province of Hälsingland. The city is also called Stadi in the local slang, and Hesa by people who do not live in Helsinki.
Helsinki’s economy is mainly based on the field of services, which has gradually displaced heavy industry. Most of the large Finnish companies have their headquarters in the metropolitan area of the city, due to international connections, logistics networks and availability of workforce. The information technology and finance sectors make up the backbone of the Helsinki economy.
The Helsinki metropolitan area contributes approximately one third of Finland’s gross national product. Its GNP per capita is 1.5 times higher than the national average, making Helsinki one of the most affluent capitals in Europe.
Helsinki is also home to the Helsinki Stock Exchange, the country’s main stock exchange institution.
Helsinki higher education is taught in 8 universities and 4 polytechnics.
Preschool and primary education
In most cases, children and young people study at a general basic education institute in the Finnish language or in the Swedish language in their city of residence. These institutes are free.
Students with an immigrant background who do not have sufficient knowledge of the Finnish language or the Swedish language are offered preparatory education. Preparatory education has a maximum duration of one year. In education you learn the essential concepts of different subjects in Finnish or Swedish.
Pupils with an immigrant background from the Helsinki metropolitan area have the right to also study their own mother tongue throughout basic general education. Teaching one’s own language is normally given two hours a week. Also in other subjects it is possible to have support classes in the student’s language. In the Helsinki metropolitan area, education in the mother tongue of immigrants is provided in some 40 languages.
In the Helsinki metropolitan area there are also several private and public schools that teach in foreign languages. Tuition fees are paid in private schools. In general there is an entrance exam for language schools. In some schools it is also possible to study in bilingual classes or classes entirely in a foreign language starting from the first class of basic general education.
In Helsinki there are municipal and state high schools and private high schools. To study in private high schools, you have to pay semester or annual tuition fees.
Secondary vocational education
The institute for the service sector in Helsinki (Helsingin palvelualojen oppilaitos), the institute for the social and health sector in Helsinki (Helsingin sosiaali- ja terveysalan oppilaitos) and the institute for the technical sector in Helsinki (Helsingin tekniikan alan oppilaitos) are institutes maintained by the municipality. In Helsinki there are also private institutes or foundation institutes that operate in the commercial and administrative sector, the cultural sector, the economic sector, the hotel and catering sector, the social and health sector, the technical sector and the transport sector.
Universities and polytechnics
- Helsinki University
- Helsinki Polytechnic University (actually located in Espoo)
- Helsinki Higher School of Economic and Business Sciences
- Swedish Higher School of Economic and Business Sciences
- Academy of Fine Arts
- Sibelius Academy
- Theater Academy
- University of Art and Design
- National Military College (not necessarily considered a university)
- Helsinki Polytechnic Stadia
- Helsinki Polytechnic Arcade
- Helsinki Business Polytechnic
Helsinki is the political center of the country where the Finnish Parliament (Eduskunta), the palace of the President of Finland and also his official residence, Mäntyniemi, are located. In addition, the city is home to most of the Finnish ministries, various other institutions and places of national significance, as well as the embassies of other countries.
The Helsinki municipal council is the highest decision-making body in local politics, comprising a total of 85 seats.
Traditionally, the conservative National Coalition Party (Kokoomus) has been the largest in the city council, and the Social Democrats (SDP) the second. In the 2000 elections the Green Union (Vihreä liitto) surpassed the Social Democrats, but in 2004 the order returned to normal.
The three largest parties hold 75% of the seats in total. Following them are the Union of the Left (Vasemmistoliitto) with 8 seats and the Swedish People’s Party (RKP) with 6. The popularity of the Swedish People’s Party has continued to decline gradually, probably because the proportion of Swedish-speaking people in Helsinki is decreasing.