Moving to Finland
Finland is the land of northern lights and Lapland, not to mention everyone’s much loved ‘Father Christmas,’ and his reindeer. In this article, we’ve given you
- FIVE Money saving and hassle free tips for making your international move to Finland
- Finnish facts demonstrating Finland’s place on the world’s stage
- The Finnish way for health, leisure and wellbeing.
- Getting and staying connected in Finland
- Living and working in Finland
Finnish Facts to boast about
- Finland boasts the best education system in the world, and ranked no 2
behind Denmark in the world happiness report (2012).
- According to The World Economic Forum Finland is ranked 9th for health, 3rd for its workforce, and 1st for enabling environment and follows Iceland as second best in the world for gender equality.
- It’s also THE country for sauna and – you may not know this – the home of the moomins (celebrity hippo like creatures with books, comics and TV shows) plus the digital game Angry Birds – you remember, that game with birds and pigs flying over your screen? So far, two billion downloads.
- No 2 world happiness and best education system in the world? Finland clearly has a lot to offer…
Health and Wellbeing and leisure – the Finnish way
- Be prepared for a patient and time consuming wait to see medical professionals. As a resident you’ll require a European Health Insurance Card to access treatment, and you’ll need to visit the local health centre where you could spend hours making an appointment. It’s impossible to make an appointment via telephone, therefore wise to arm yourself with private healthcare where a relatively simply online or phone call will access your private healthcare provider. Of course, in an emergency simply call 112.
- Finland – Helsinki – is fast becoming a digital health hub, leading the way in product innovation and research. It has the highest number of high tech start ups relative to size of country.
- Prescriptions are valid for one year; foreign prescriptions aren’t valid, unless you specifically request an EU cross-border prescription. Use Internet search to find the nearest pharmacy.
- Think again. The second language in Finland is Swedish. Some say Finnish is related to Hungarian. The phonetic spelling is more complicated than the regular spelling. Small wonder then that most stick to English. So worry not; that is, so long as you speak English!
- Finland’s longest season is winter with 200 days in Lapland and 100 days in the southwest known as Finland Proper where Tulku (182k inhabitants) is the main city. Spring begins in April or May when the temperature rises from 0-10 degrees whilst their summer starts late may until mid September when the temperature is consistently above 10 degrees. Outdoor sports with usual summer and winter skiing pursuits, walking, hiking and cycling. Finland boasts many lakes and waterways making fishing and canoeing and camping popular family activities too.
- Deep sweating is known to alleviate asthma, chronic fatigue, arthritis, sore muscles and flush toxins from the body. Many fit Finns combine it with a quick jump into a freezing cold lake, a good rub down and deeper sweating!
5 hassle free steps for moving to Finland: Money saving ways for a hassle free move. Of course you can move any time of the year, but consider making these steps along the way.
- Why is it everyone wants to move in the summer or the spring? As you’ll expect International Moving Companies will be at their busiest. If you’re making the move with a family, you’ll probably want to move in the holidays. But the same will go for everyone else – quotes will be higher and waiting times longer – make the removal company booking first priority.
- Finnish weather is a serious point to take into consideration. Check out weather issues and traffic challenges including increased fuel costs.
- Is price a consideration? Book a non-school holiday move and take your children out of school.
- Renting? Mid month international moves will be cheaper, so negotiate a lease to begin mid month and move accordingly.
- Go for those who know the area well, happy to provide you with helpful hints as you prepare your move.
Living and Working in Finland
Advice differs whether you need to speak Finnish to secure a job. We’ve researched various forums on this matter, although the jury seems to be out, any expat will know that communicating in the native language makes it easier to fit in to a new country. Top tip: David Beckham, world-renowned footballer picked up the most important language tips by sitting in the bar watching football sipping his favourite drink!
What is clear is that Finland is the most northern country in the EU and one of the most sparsely populated with 5.5 million inhabitants. Therefore living near or in a city if you’re looking for work is sensible, although the internet is perfect wherever you go, you need never leave home! We’ve looked at which regions offer most of the job opportunities and a good level of wellbeing. You should know that the leading economic sector is the service industry with manufacturing and refining second. Finland is bordered by Sweden, Norway and Russia. The Finns have had their challenges with Russia over the centuries but currently enjoy revived economic and trade contacts for the first time since the annexation of Crimea in spring 2014.
- Helsinki (Espoo and Vantaa right next to it) Turku and Tampere are the most international, offering the most of the job opportunities and quality of life.
- Source this website to research cost of living: click here
- Majority of Finns own their own houses. Apartment rental is usually the first way to go, each building block is run by a housing company or a landlord with communal regulations for your building see here: You can even book your sauna slot!
- Be aware that the summer months are where everyone disappears to their summer cottages and Finland is even more sparsely populated.
- If you like hunting or wearing fur then this is the country for you. They aren’t keen on fur farming so choose vintage, and on that subject Finland is known for vintage shopping.
- Finally, the Finns are known to have SISU nearest to an English translation would be to “have guts” willing to face adversity with determination and perseverance.
Getting and staying connected in Finland
It’s official – access to the Internet is guaranteed by law. No matter how secluded you are, wherever you live, you’re guaranteed Internet. Mobiles are the primary method of communication; they’re virtually no landlines in Finland. For emergency services dial 112. Directory enquiries 118 and general enquiries 020202 including timetables, route guidance. You’ll need to pay quite a substantial deposit if you haven’t got a credit history refundable after approx 2 years or set up a prepaid service where no deposit is required and you are good to go! Internet services are fast and reliable with no data restrictions on fixed usage for comparisons of prices go here.
P.S. Face the fear and do it anyway!
The biggest decision most of us ever make is to move home. And moving country is the big one. You’ve made it you’re moving to Finland now… open your mind to adventure! Of course there will be stressful moments, but if you’re prepared to plan small steps, research, check out forums and ask questions of those who have already made the move all will be well. It is guaranteed really, because you have put in place a positive and proactive mindset. That’s all that is needed to ensure you’ll find ways forward acceptable to you!
Top tip: Give yourself 12 months to settle into your new environment – it takes on average six months to move within your own country, so more time is needed to settle in – so plan your calendar with trips, events, meet ups in your new city/town and explore wider afield. It’s so easy just to hit the ground running with head down into new job, without looking up seeing the bigger picture. You’ve moved – a new beginning! Enjoy!