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Helsinki Travel Guide, Finland

Helsinki, also known as Helsingfors, is Finland's capital and biggest city.  It is located in the southern part of the country, on the Gulf of Finland's shore, and by the Baltic Sea.  Helsinki's population was 569,892 on March 31st of 2008, which made it the most populated municipality in the country by a broad margin.  The city's foreign-born population is about 10%.

Along with its neighboring cities of Kauniainen, Espoo, and Vantaa, Helsinki is composed of the capital region, having more than 1,000,000 inhabitants.  There are 12 municipalities in the Greater Helsinki area, and it has a population of more than 1,300,000.  Greater Helsinki also accounts for 25% of the population in the country, 29% of the jobs, and one third of the GDP.

This is the country's capital for government, business, culture, education, and research.  The Greater Helsinki area has 6 technology parks and 8 universities.  About 70% of all the foreign companies that operate in Finland settle in the region of Helsinki.  The rural immigration has made the city one of the quickest growing metropolitan areas across Europe.

The main international airline hub in Finland is Helsinki-Vantaa Airport, which is about 40 minutes away from the center of the city, having direct flights across the globe.  The Helsinki and Tallinn route takes up an hour and a half by sea and only 18 minutes in a helicopter.  Turku and Tampere, two of Finland's other big cities, can be reached by train in as much as two hours and by car in a long as two and a half hours.


The metropolitan area of Helsinki generates about one third of the GDP in the country.  The GDP for every capita is about 1.5 times the average of the nation, which make this city one of the wealthiest European capitals.  The local economy grew about 3.2% in 2004.  The economy has become more service-based, even though industries, like shipbuilding, continue employing a significant amount of people.  Major service-based employers include the information technology and public sectors.

Helsinki's metropolitan area is where the headquarters are for big Finnish companies, as well as international companies.  It also has the best highly skilled employee availability in the country and a good support system for businesses and infrastructures.  Since June of 2007, Helsinki's center has hosted the European Chemicals Agency, which is the leader of reallocating several hundreds of global experts, including their families, to the city.

The city has rich and poor neighborhoods all over, where the poor neighborhoods are famous for crime.  Some people have preferred Espoo over Helsinki, which is considered to be managed better, and the city has lost companies to Espoo as well.  There are major future challenges in the region's economic development, particularly with improving the city's economy and the cooperation between the municipalities of the area.
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  • papillonThe Church in the Rock
    travel tip by papillon posted more then 30 days ago
    The Finnish have a knack for coming up with original ideas, even when it comes to something as traditional as churches. The Church in the Rock (Temppeliaukion kirkko in Finnish) is a simple but atmospheric church literally carved...
  • itachanSerena Water Amusement Park
    travel tip by itachan posted more then 30 days ago
    Water parks are not exactly the first thing that comes to mind when thinking of Finland, but the cold climate has never been able to stop the Finnish from having fun. Serena Water Amusement Park is the largest water park in the...
  • tibi60Sibelius Monument
    travel tip by tibi60 posted more then 30 days ago
    Sibelius is probably the most famous Finnish composer of classical music, and even if you don't particularly like his works, the monument dedicated to him is worth visiting. It is one of the most famous monuments in the city, and it...
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