8 reasons to live in Helsinki

Helsinki, the capital of Finland, is a compact and safe city where rich urban culture, beautiful islands and green parks are all within your easy reach. It is renowned for offering an exceptionally high quality of life, a modern public transport system and great infrastructure that supports a high quality of life. Everything simply works. No wonder that Helsinki often ranks high in the list of the most liveable cities in the world.*

*Economist Intelligence Unit’s (EIU)

With many higher education institutions in the area and more than 70 000 university students, Helsinki is a vibrant student city well set up to cater to all your needs.

The oldest and largest institution of academic education in Finland is ours, the University of Helsinki, established in 1640 and nowadays with 32 000 students and 4 600 researchers. It is internationally renowned for its high-quality teaching, research and innovation, and frequently ranked among the top 100 universities in the world.

If you want to experience the vibrant student life of Helsinki, read more why choosing the University of Helsinki is a good option.



Did you know that in Helsinki every part of the city has at least one park or green area? One third of Helsinki is covered in green areas, so you can easily escape the hustle and bustle of the city. When a yearning for the outdoors strikes, just pack your tent, jump on the public transport network, and in an hour you are pitching up in the heart of nature. Take a walk along the many beautiful nature trails, enjoy the silence of the forest and cook over an open fire.

The University of Helsinki itself has many green spaces including two botanical gardens. At one of the four campuses you can find luscious green fields, the home of many cows and horses.

As Helsinki is a seaside city, you have easy access to water. The gorgeous archipelago of Helsinki consists of around 300 islands, with many accessible by regular ferries. A simple public transport ticket covers a ferry crossing to the island of Suomenlinna, a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Helsinki enjoys good air quality and low levels of pollution compared with the metropolises of the rest of Europe. Only a tenth of the European urban population enjoys air as clean.


Helsinki is one of the world’s safest cities to live in, just as Finland is one of the safest countries in the world. We have a well-functioning democracy, a reasonably stable economy, advanced transportation systems and no risk of natural disasters. This is one of the few countries where lost wallets and mobile phones are regularly returned to their rightful owner, with one report claiming this is the case 11 out of 12 times.

Read the report by the World Economic Forum (WEF).

Are you a foodie or an art lover? Do you enjoy films or live music? In Helsinki, you can enjoy rich culture all year from the cold of winter to under the midnight sun. In summertime, the city is on fire with events from the world-famous music festival Flow to the art and music at the Helsinki Festival. In the wintertime, enjoy the Christmas markets and the amazing LUX light show festival.

The art museums HAM, Kiasma and Amos Rex show intense visual art shows by world-famous artists. For foodies, Helsinki is a must with the Taste of Helsinki festival, street food markets and plenty of other food-related happenings to satisfy your taste buds. Excitement is around every corner, with each neighbourhood having its own distinct feel.

Home of Linux and Angry Birds, Helsinki has a red-hot startup scene and has been called the fourth most innovative city in the world when it comes to startups. Helsinki startups immediately ‘go global’ targeting large innovation markets at a higher rate than nearly any other ecosystem and offer great opportunities for students and graduates to jump into the working life.

Helsinki Think Company functions as the entrepreneurship society of the University of Helsinki. It puts academic skills into action by matching students and academics with innovators in real business life. Business plans are created by combining real-world problems, academic know-how and entrepreneurial action with an open multidisciplinary community. Check out the idea accelerators and inspiring events!

The Helsinki public transport system has been named the second best in among European cities, with a highly effective public transport system of metro, tram, bus and train lines, enabling the whole metropolitan area to be within reach. As a student, you get a generous discount on season tickets.

When the distance is between 5-7 km, biking is the quickest way to get around. Helsinki has 1200 kilometres of cycling routes, 730 km of them paved. About 500 km of them run in recreational areas and 90 km on waterfronts. If you don't have a bike, there's a great bike share system with over 340 bike stations with and more than 3400 bright yellow bikes.

Helsinki has frequent flight connections to other European capitals, Asia and other parts of the world, and Helsinki Airport is considered to be among the best in Europe. Additionally, it is common to take cruise ships to Stockholm, St Petersburg and Tallinn, with the latter being a popular day-trip destination for locals.

Helsinki is acknowledged as one of the trendiest cities in Europe, and Scandinavian style and design have an intense presence in the city and the campuses. This former World Design Capital has its own design week and many smaller design events that showcase young Finnish designers. Many people know Marimekko, Iittala and Alvar Aalto, but in Helsinki you can be among the first ones to discover the new names and design talents in the many design markets. Even the cityscape in Helsinki offers a journey from neoclassicism and Art Nouveau to contemporary architecture, for example Oodi, Helsinki's central library and the world’s best new public library in 2019.

No doubt, at university you will make friends with your fellow international students, however it is worth mingling with the locals too. Your Nordic friend may be here long after others may have left.

The Finns may seem reserved and shy at first, it is a myth that Finnish people are not social. Some of us just warm up to other people a bit slower than others – and when it comes to warming up the famous Finnish sauna can really help. Once you get to know a Finn, you will have a loyal friend for life.

Helsinki has a constantly growing international community. More than 10% of the population speaks a language other than Finnish or Swedish (the two national languages) as their mother tongue

Get to know the Finns with a starter kit for keeping up with the Finnish culture.