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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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  • andra88Uspenski Cathedral
    travel tip by andra88 posted more then 30 days ago
    In Finland, the Orthodox church doesn't have many followers, but despite that, there are some pretty amazing Orthodox churches in the city. The best example is Uspenski Cathedral, a majestic building with a Russian-style dome. In...
  • tylerdArctic Icebar
    travel tip by tylerd posted more then 30 days ago
    If you want a place to chill out (literally), a freezing evening at the Arctic Icebar will prove to be an interesting experience. While temperature in bars is usually high enough to allow people to wear more or less revealing clothes, at...
  • zangazangaSome practical info
    travel tip by zangazanga posted more then 30 days ago
    During the Summer you will find mobile tourist info all over the city. Young people will walk around in green T-shirts with a tourist info icon on them. They speak more languages and have a lot of flayers and brochures for you. They can...
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