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About Helsinki

The city of Helsinki is the seaside capital of Finland, the happiest country in the world, with a population of 650,000. We want Helsinki to be the most functional city in the world. In practice, a well-functioning city means the concrete actions, choices and services that make everyday life easier for people. Securing sustainable growth is at the heart of our strategy for the future – we want to be a pioneer in the local implementation of global responsibility. Helsinki is a city of equality, well-being and participation.

A safe and trusting society

A recent study found that the clear majority of Helsinki residents feel very safe. In addition, residents of the country claim Europe’s highest levels of trust in others and many authorities. As a sign of this communal trust, lost items are almost always returned. 

As a Nordic welfare state, Finland assumes a shared public responsibility for the economic and social well-being of its inhabitants. The general consensus is that caring for the least fortunate improves the well-being of everyone. This brings freedom and peace of mind, especially in the face of uncertainty.

The most functional city in the world

The City of Helsinki’s highest decision-making authority is the City Council, which is elected every four years. The council appoints a mayor and four deputy mayors to oversee municipal operations.

In 2016, Helsinki’s leadership created a City Strategy that seeks to make Helsinki the most functional city in the world. Sustainability and digitalisation of services have been made top priorities. A new City Council was elected in may 2021. The new council will determine a new strategy for the City of Helsinki at the end of the year.

The City of Helsinki is a member of the Eurocities Network and the EU’s Urban Agenda, which both seek to promote integration.

Helsinki actively works to prevent neighbourhoods from becoming segregated by socioeconomic divides. Helsinki is also the only EU city with falling rates of homelessness. All in all, it can be said that the City of Helsinki does its best to take care of its residents.

Helsinki in a nutshell

Population in Helsinki 656,920
Population in Helsinki Region 1,524,489
Average age of Helsinkians 40.9
Average size of households 1.7 persons
Employment rate (2020) 73.4 %
Number of libraries 45
Kilometres of cycling routes 1,200
Greenhouse gas emissions cut since 1990 26 %
Year Helsinki was founded 1550