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Living in Finland

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Travelling | Climate and Weather | Language | Cost of Living | Banking, Mail, and Telephone | Public holidays | Driving in Finland

Travelling to and within Finland

Helsinki-Vantaa Airport is international airport with good connections to all the European capitals and beyond, to the United States and Asia. There are good domestic connections to other Finnish towns, some of which also carter to international flights.

From all Finnish airports there is an airport bus service or local bus to centre of the local town, and sometimes to nearby towns too. There are also taxis available, including some special Airport Taxis or Yellow Taxis, which have cheaper rates. You can also arrive by sea, from Sweden, Germany or Estonia. The main harbour towns are Helsinki and Turku. There are international train links from Moscow and St. Petersburg to Helsinki and, from Sweden to northern Finland.

 

Within Finland there are good rail, bus and air networks especially in the north-south direction. There are also ferries and boat connections where necessary. Timetables vary slightly on public holidays, weekends and during the summer. In the bigger cities there are reduced rates for periodical use of public transportation.

For further information, please see the following websites:

Climate and Weather

In general Finland has an extreme swing between summer and winter, with bitterly cold winters when temperatures drop to -4ºF (-20ºC) in many areas, particularly in northern Lapland. Summer, by contrast, can be warm with temperatures rising to 68ºF (20ºC) or more. Temperatures as high as 86ºF (30ºC) are possible in the south and east of the country. The capital, Helsinki, remains fairly temperate varying between an average of 63ºF (17ºC) in July to 23ºF (-5ºC) in February. In the far north the sun does not set for about 73 days during summer, while in winter the sun remains below the horizon for a 51-day stretch.

Weather forecasts:

Language

Finland has two official languages, Finnish and Swedish, but English is also widely spoken in Finland.

For further information, please see the following websites:

Cost of Living

The cost of living in Finland is on average comparable to the rest of Western Europe. For basic expenses such as food, rent, and transportation a trainee/visiting researcher will need 500 - 700 euros per month, which will be roughly spent in the following way:

Rent: 180 - 350 euros
Food: 250 euros
Other expenses: 50 - 100 euros

Banking, Mail, and Telephone

Banking

When opening a bank account you will be given a bank card, with which you can check your balance and withdraw money from automated banking machines. Banks usually open at 9.15 and close at 16.30. At weekends the banks are closed. Electronic banking is widely used. Money can be exchanged at any bank and in special exchange offices. Major credit cards are accepted in Finland.

Banks in Finland, for example:

Business hours

Throughout the year, apart from Public Holidays, business enterprises are open at the following hours:

Offices Monday to Friday      08:00 - 16:15
Stores Monday to Saturday 09:00 - 18:00 (21:00)
  Sunday (during summer time) 09:00 - 15:00 (18:00)
Groceries Monday to Friday 07:00 - 20: 00 (21:00)
  Saturday 09:00 - 18:00
  Sunday (during summer time) 12:00 - 21:00

 

The opening hours of stores may vary depending on the enterprise.

Mail

Post offices are usually open Monday-Friday from 9:00 to 18:00 or 20:00. Stamps can be bought in post offices, R-kioski-shops and some grocery stores and supermarkets.

For further information, please see the following websites:

Telephones

Telephone booths are almost nonexistent in Finland because most people use mobile phones. Mobile phone and pre-paid phone card can be an easy and relatively cheap solution to your communication needs.

International phone calls from Finland can be made by dialling '+' and respective country and area code. Other possibility is to dial 990, 999, 994 or 00 (pan-European code). When calling from outside Finland to Finland, dial the international prefix and access code for Finland (358) and area code, then dial the number you want.

Public holidays

The following public holidays are celebrated annually in Finland. Please note that the dates of some holidays vary from year to year. On these holidays, shops and banks are usually closed and even on the eve of a public holiday.

November 5 All Saints’ Day (Pyhäinpäivä), December 6 Independence Day (Itsenäisyyspäivä), December 25 Christmas Day (Joulu), December 26 Boxing Day (Tapaninpäivä), January 1 New Year’s Day (Uudenvuodenpäivä), January 6 Epiphany (Loppiainen), April 14 Good Friday (Pitkäperjantai), April 16-17 Easter (Pääsiäinen), May 1 May Day (Vappu), May 25 Ascension Day (Helatorstai), June 4 Whit Sunday (Helluntai), June 24 Midsummer (Juhannus).

Driving in Finland

Please familiarise yourself with the booklet “Driving in Finland” which is available on the Internet (transport issues, traffic rules). Please keep in mind that driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs is strictly forbidden in Finland. There is an exact permissible limit of 0.5 per mil for alcohol in the blood. Infringement of this rule nearly always means a penalty in the form of a fine or imprisonment.

For further information, please see the following websites:

: Updated: 04.04.2014 /JVoi  |  Photo: Erkki Oksanen, Metla, unless otherwise stated  |  Copyright Metla  |  Feedback