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Helsinki is the capital city and largest population centre of Finland, situated in the south of the country, across the Gulf of Finland from Estonia. There are eight universities in Helsinki, as well as other higher education providers, and around 60,000 students.
Helsinki is Finland’s premier economic and financial centre and is also an important hub for scientific research and work in the creative arts, much of it supported by the city’s universities.
Postgraduate students in Helsinki enjoy life in one of the most vibrant parts of northern Europe. Helsinki’s architecture combines Nordic styles with neoclassical features and includes work by many famous Finnish architects and designers. Perhaps the most influential of these is Alvar Aalto, who lends his name to Aalto University in Helsinki.
The city is also home to many important museums, art galleries and other cultural venues. In December 2018, Helsinki celebrated the 100th anniversary of Finnish independence by opening Oodi, a ground-breaking library that has 3D printing facilities, music rehearsal rooms and a cinema (as well as plenty of books, of course). Just a short boat journey away, the island of Suomenlinna is one of Helsinki’s most import historical locations and a UNESCO-listed sea fortress that dates back to the 18th century.
Helsinki has a vibrant music scene and festival culture including an annual student carnival to celebrate Vappu (Walpurgis Night). During Vappu, students don caps and salute the Havis Amanda statue near Helsinki’s waterfront.
Beyond Helsinki itself lies the opportunity to explore Finland’s striking coast and countryside, or to travel to other nearby parts of northern Europe. Estonia’s fairy-tale capital Tallinn can be reached in around two hours by ferry.
Another of Helsinki’s attractions is its relatively low cost of living: whereas most major Nordic cities are expensive to live and study in, Helsinki is usually ranked as the most affordable.
The oldest higher education provider in Finland is the University of Helsinki, which has been located in the city since 1829, but was originally founded in 1640 in the nearby city of Turku. It is one of the country’s most selective institutions and is ranked amongst the top 100 global universities.
In addition to the University of Helsinki, Helsinki is home to a number of other prestigious Finnish higher education providers, including Aalto University and the Hanken School of Economics, which is one of the oldest Nordic business schools and whose students are known as hankeit (a designation prestigious enough to be protected by a registered trademark!).
Helsinki is the economic engine of Finland and a significant business centre in the Nordic countries. A vibrant start-up scene also makes Helsinki a popular city for entrepreneurs. Key commercial sectors include ICT, digital and creative industries, and data services.
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A wide range of international study programmes welcome new students to Helsinki from all over the world
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