Living and Working in Helsinki

Working in Helsinki | Finland Removals

Living and Working in Helsinki

Helsinki: A Capital City with a Difference

Forget your preconceptions of bustling metropolises – Helsinki, Finland’s vibrant capital, offers a unique blend of urban convenience and island charm. Spread across 300 islands, connected by bridges, this city of 630,000 people is able to create a sense of community often missing in other European capitals.

Helsinki’s pulse beats with innovation. Eight universities and the headquarters of over 2,400 multinational corporations, including gaming giants, solidify its position as a thriving international hub. Finnish companies are at the forefront of developing cutting-edge platforms and technologies, from high-end VR/AR headsets to groundbreaking gaming experiences.

This dynamic environment attracts a diverse talent pool, particularly in the IT and gaming sectors. For those considering a career move to Finland, living and working in Helsinki offers a wealth of opportunities and a supportive ecosystem.

Schepens: Your Gateway to Helsinki

As a UK removals company specialising in Nordic relocations for over a century, Schepens understands the intricacies of moving to Finland. We go beyond the standard movers’ package, offering comprehensive support and guidance tailored to your needs. Let us help you navigate the logistics of settling in Helsinki, from finding the perfect apartment to understanding local customs.

Over the past decades we’ve relocated numerous movers to locations across Finland. Many of them have settled in the capital. We asked some of them to tell us about their experiences of living and working in Helsinki:

Prepare For a Cold Climate!

There’s not much I’d complain about as I love living in Helsinki, but the one thing everyone complains about is the winter. This is one of the world’s coldest capitals and it’s pretty dark for around 4 months. You need to fill your social calendar and book in some fun things to do like skiing, skating, or snowboarding.

Saunas Are Essential, I’ve Learned

In Helsinki, when your head’s full of babble and you can’t shut off, you go to the sauna. It’s somewhere to close down the white noise and regain your equilibrium. They’re dark, or dimly lit, and once you walk into the intense heat you don’t want to talk, you just want to ‘be’. And that feels so good. I have to go once a day, it’s an integral part of living and working in Helsinki.

Great Support for Newcomers

There are lots of groups that will help people who’ve just moved to Helsinki, so there’s no worries about feeling lost, or friendless. One I’d like to highlight is the International English Speakers Association of Finland (IESAF) is a volunteer organisation of English speakers living in Finland who offer a platform for questions, discussions, and sharing of information for all foreigners living in Finland. They are brilliant!

Helsinki Has a Great Transport System

Helsinki is easy to get around by foot, but for those cold and rainy winter days it has an excellent and very inexpensive, transport infrastructure which includes tram, train, bus and metro system, city bikes, uber and an international airport. It’s also one of the most bike friendly cities in Europe.

Navigating the Residence Permit Process

If you’re planning on living and working in Finland, be sure to factor in time for your residence permit application. It can take 2-3 months for the application to be processed and a decision reached.

Visa-free travel allows you to stay in Finland for up to 90 days, so long as you don’t work during that period. Short-term activities like conference presentations or short-course teaching are permitted, but casual jobs or extending your stay for work purposes necessitate a residence permit.

The good news? The application process is streamlined through Enter Finland, an online platform accessible by both individuals and employers. Your prospective employer can conveniently submit necessary information through Enter Finland, simplifying the process for both parties. Remember, if family members accompany you, they’ll also need their own residence permits, and you can conveniently include applications for children within your own submission.

For seasonal positions lasting 6-9 months, a dedicated “seasonal residence permit” option exists. This makes the process smoother if your employment contract falls within this timeframe.

Work-Life Balance in Helsinki

Helsinki’s blend of professional opportunities and personal well-being makes it a magnet for talent, especially in the tech industry. Here, a balanced work-life ethos permeates the culture, creating a thriving environment for both productivity and leisure.

Work-Life Balance in Helsinki

The Finnish Approach to Work:

  • Standard Workday. The typical eight-hour workday provides a clear structure, with approximately 50% of employees enjoying a 35–40-hour week. While longer hours are uncommon, discussions about a potential four-day or six-hour workday hint at future innovations.
  • Focus on Family. Finnish society prioritises family welfare, evident in generous family leave policies and affordable, high-quality daycare. This commitment enables parents to navigate work and personal responsibilities in a non-stressful way, contributing to a balanced workforce.
  • Gender Equality in Action. The near-equal participation of men and women in the workforce (78% and 75%, respectively) showcases Finland’s dedication to gender equality. This inclusive environment fosters a diverse and dynamic professional landscape.

Beyond the Numbers:

  • Work-Life Harmony. The Finnish concept of “sisu” – a combination of determination and resilience – is reflected in their approach to work. While focused and efficient, Finns also prioritise leisure activities and personal time, leading to a healthy balance.
  • Urban Oasis. Helsinki’s unique archipelago setting offers ample opportunities for outdoor recreation and connection with nature. Parks, beaches, and islands provide a refreshing escape from the urban bustle, promoting mental and physical well-being.
  • Thriving Community. A strong sense of community prevails in Helsinki, with friendly locals and a welcoming atmosphere. This supportive environment creates a sense of belonging and connection, further contributing to a sense of ‘belonging’ for foreigners.

Overall, Helsinki’s work-life balance isn’t just a statistic; it’s a deeply ingrained cultural value that permeates every aspect of life. It’s this holistic approach that makes Helsinki such a desirable place to live and work, attracting individuals who value both personal and professional fulfilment.

Living in Helsinki - Where Urban Charm Meets Island Escape

Living in Helsinki – Where Urban Charm Meets Island Escape

Helsinki isn’t just a city; it’s a centre where work and pleasure intermingle. Imagine cobbled streets teeming with cafes and design shops, seamlessly transitioning to serene islands dotted with beaches and saunas. This unique blend of urban buzz and island tranquility is what makes Helsinki such a captivating place to call home.

  • Cultural Attractions. Immerse yourself in world-class museums like Kiasma and Ateneum or explore the vibrant music scene at venues like Helsinki Music Centre. Experience history at the Suomenlinna fortress, a UNESCO World Heritage site, or wander through the atmospheric Hakaniemi market.
  • Design Hub. Helsinki’s design pedigree is undeniable. Explore the iconic architecture of Alvar Aalto, browse the trendy boutiques of the Design District, or catch the latest exhibitions at the Design Museum.
  • Foodie Delights. From Michelin-starred restaurants to cozy cafes serving pulla (Finnish cinnamon buns), Helsinki’s culinary scene is a delight. Sample fresh seafood at the harbour, or indulge in Nordic delicacies at a traditional Finnish restaurant.
  • Island Hopping. With over 300 islands to choose from, each offering its own unique charm, there’s plenty to explore. Hop on a ferry to explore the charming Suomenlinna, soak up the sun on the idyllic beaches of Pihlajasaari, or discover the hidden coves of Vallisaari.
  • Nature’s Embrace. Helsinki’s green spaces are a haven for nature lovers. Hike through the lush forests of Central Park, spot birds in the peaceful Seurasaari island, or picnic in the vibrant Kaivopuisto park, a favourite with locals.
  • Nightlife Buzz. From trendy cocktail bars to quirky pubs and live music venues, Helsinki’s nightlife caters to all tastes. Dance the night away at a nightclub, catch a late-night movie, or simply enjoy a drink with friends under the starry sky.
  • Family Fun. Helsinki is a haven for children, with playgrounds, museums, and activities designed to keep them entertained. Explore the interactive Heureka science centre, visit the Korkeasaari Zoo, or take a boat trip to the charming island of Pikkukasarmi, home to a popular amusement park.

Cost of Living in Helsinki

Helsinki is generally cheaper than London, with an estimated 39% lower cost of living. This means you would need about 39% less money to maintain the same standard of living in Helsinki compared to London.

Personal income tax rates are generally higher in Finland than in the UK, but this is generally offset by the lower cost of living. Whilst traditionally salaries in Helsinki have been lower than those offered in London, the gap between the two has been narrowing over the past few years.

Examples of Prices in Helsinki:

  • Housing. Rent in Helsinki is significantly cheaper than in London, with the average rent in Helsinki costing 63% less than its equivalent in London. However, it’s important to note that housing availability can be tight in Helsinki, so finding suitable accommodation before you move there is a good idea.
  • Groceries. Food prices are also generally lower in Helsinki, with groceries costing around 20% less than in London.
  • Transport. Public transportation in Helsinki is efficient and affordable, with a monthly pass costing around €50 compared to £70 in London.
  • Dining. Eating out in Helsinki can be slightly cheaper than in London, with a typical meal at a mid-range restaurant costing around €15 compared to £20 in London.
  • Utilities. Gas and electricity bills are similar in both cities, while internet access is slightly cheaper in Helsinki.
  • Childcare. Pre-school care, full-day or private childcare is 84% cheaper in Helsinki than the equivalent resource in London.


Removals to Finland with Schepens offers far more than a ‘standard’ service. Overseas moves are stressful, so Schepens uses its many decades of experience to ease the burden for movers. We put customers first, and support you from your first phone call, right through to moving day. Every employee is industry trained, but more than that – they ‘care’, and are always prepared to go the extra mile for movers.

Schepens is a leading UK provider. With over 100 years’ practical experience, we have built reputation for ‘stress-free’ removals to the Nordic countries. The Schepens team makes weekly runs to locations across Finland which means that we can offer our movers flexible scheduling, affordable prices, and full or part load shipping.


“A truly professional and courteous service for our move from the UK to Finland. We organised to have our house contents stored with Schepens and then shipped over by roadtrain 7 months later. Great teamwork by all involved. Timing was perfect. We would definitely recommend using their service.”

Marko Humphrey-Lahti