Monthly Archives: June 2015

Pets in Finland



Despite Helsinki being a city of apartments, many people have pets in the city.

The City of Helsinki provides dog parks where dogs can go off-leash. Some parks are divided into areas for small dogs ( pienet koirat ) and big dogs ( isot koirat ).

A Pet Guide to Finland

Map of Helsinki dog parks and beaches


Cycling in Helsinki



Helsinki is a great city to cycle in as it is very flat and there are well maintained and clearly marked cycle paths.

You can plan your route and have the cycle paths mapped out for you at: Reittiopas

Bikes can be taken on the Metro and commuter trains, provided there is space. Bikes are not allowed on the commuter train during peak travel times.  Bikes on Public Transport 

The City of Helsinki has a cycle service centre at Narinkka Square (Narinkatori) in Kamppi. The Bicycle Centre ( Pyöräkeskus ) offers emergency repairs, bike parking and a free pumping station. Visit the Bicycle Centre for more details.

Unemployment Assistance

If you are unemployed you may be eligible for assistance from TE-palvelut. They can assist with job searches, CV preparation and provide information on things like having overseas qualifications recognised in Finland.

They may also link you with Finnish classes or subsidise approved classes.

You may be required to attend an interview and provide ID. You may have an interpreter at the meeting. You may also be asked to sit a Finnish language test. It doesn’t matter if you don’t speak any Finnish, they just need to assess your level should you enrol in classes.

Some people will also be eligible for unemployment assistance in form of a payment from Kela or unemployment fund. The TE office can help you apply for this.

For more information, visit

What should I do to apply for unemployment benefit?

Going to the Doctor

Public health care
You are entitled to use public health services in Finland if you have a municipality of residence.
To find out if you have one, contact the Local Register Office (maistraatti).

If you do and need to see a doctor, contact your local health station (terveysasema).
Health Stations directory

Normal hours are 8 am – 4pm, Monday to Friday. You may have to wait for an appointment, unless it is urgent. The cost is generally very low or free. If you have a Kela card, take it with you.

Private Health Care

If you are not entitled to public health services, you can make an appointment at a private clinic. Private health services are more expensive than public ones.

Seeing a specialist

First book an appointment with a general practitioner. Your health centre doctor will then refer you to a specialist.


If you are unwell and unable to go to work, you may be eligible for assistance from Kela.

Kela pays a small part of the expenses of private health care if you are covered by Finnish national health insurance. Sometimes a person who is not covered by Finnish national health insurance may also be entitled to Kela reimbursements.

EU citizens

If you have a European Health Insurance Card, you are entitled to use public health care services. If you use private health care services, Kela may reimburse some of the expenses.

Maternity and pre-school care

Care for pregnant women and newborn babies is provided by Neuvola. There are various clinics around Helsinki. They provide regular child health checks and administer vaccinations in accordance with the Finnish child vaccination program. Visit the City of Helsinki website for a list of clinics.

Municipality of residence in Finland

Health Stations directory


EU Citizens

Who to notify when you move house


You must change your address at a post office or the Local Register Office (maistraatti).

You can submit your new address online, by phone or by using a form.

The notification of move is called muuttoilmoitus and should be submitted at most one month before you move and at latest, one week after.

Your details will then be updated in the Population Information System and with various government agencies.

Who to notify checklist

How to notify of your move

Mail Redirection Service

Population Information System

Social Security in Finland

Kela is the social security agency in Finland. They handle payments related to health, unemployment, children, families and disability.

Your eligibility for social security will depend on how long you are here for and where you have come from. All permanent residents are issued with a health insurance (Kela) card.

For more information, visit the Kela website.



The emergency number in Finland is 112.

This number is free to call from any phone and works across the EU.

Take note of important numbers you may need now and keep them somewhere you can easily find them, should an emergency arise.

24 hour healthline – Phone 09 871 0023

Poisons Information Centre – open 24/7, Phone 09 471 977

Children’s Hospital Emergency Department (Lastenklinnika) – Stenbäckinkatu 11, Helsinki

Emergency Dental Care – Phone (09) 310 51400 8am – 2pm. Outside these hours, on weekends and holidays phone: (09) 310 49999.

 More information on Emergency services in Finland

Study in Finland

(c) Jussi Hellsten / Visit Helsinki

(c) Jussi Hellsten / Visit Helsinki

Many people come to Finland to study or find it is a good opportunity to further their education while here. Many Masters programs at University are conducted in English.

Currently there are no tuition fees charged for higher education, although you will be expected to be able to support yourself in terms of accommodation, food and other expenses.

For more information, visit: Study in Finland

For information on having foreign qualifications recognised in Finland, visit:

The Finnish National Board of Education

Practising Finnish


There are many useful sites where you can practise Finnish exercises and learn more about life in Finland while you do. Try to use a mix of written, reading and audio exercises to improve your Finnish on all levels.

Unilang – Finnish for Beginners

Ateneum Art Museum – audio guides

Finnish Language and Culture for Foreigners

Tests and quizzes on the Finnish natural environment

Understand Finnish!

Working Life Finnish

Exercises and quizzes 

Finnish reading comprehension

Learning Finnish (Suomi)

Minna Sundberg

Minna Sundberg

Despite the fact that most people in Helsinki speak English (and other languages), there are many good reasons to study Finnish. It will help build relationships with Finnish people as well as make many daily activities, such as shopping and reading menus, easier. You will also find that most official correspondence and signage is only printed in Finnish and Swedish.

Don’t be put off by people telling you how difficult it is. Even knowing  a few words is invaluable in certain situations. If you have never studied a language before you may benefit from doing a pre-study course on how to learn a second language.

Just as there are many reasons to learn Finnish there are also many ways to approach your study. Some people will choose to attend class once a week, while others will prefer a more intensive approach where they attend class a few hours everyday. Similarily, some classes are taught mainly in English (or another language), while some are taught only in Finnish from day one.

Whatever you decide remember it is always okay to change your approach later and to seek help with enrolment. If you are linked with the TE-Office you may also find the fees for some classes are subsidised.

Useful links:

Finnish Courses – a great place to start in your search for the right course for you

Ilmonet – Adult Education Centres

Finnish for Foreigners – Helsinki University’s Language Centre