Helsinki has been a culturally diverse city throughout its history. As of 2023, some 125,000 people with a foreign background live in Helsinki, representing more than 160 different nationalities. Last year, 2,415 of them were granted Finnish citizenship.
The Mayor of Helsinki celebrated this group of new Finnish citizens by inviting all of the newly naturalised Helsinki residents over the age of 18 to join him at a City Hall reception. Invitations were sent out to more than 1,600 residents who had not opted out of direct marketing. Hundreds of guests attended the festive celebration.
Helsinki started the tradition of celebrating new Finnish citizens in 2017, the centenary of Finland’s independence. The tradition, which originated in the US, aimed to congratulate new Finnish citizens, warmly welcome them to the city, and encourage them to be active citizens and Helsinki residents.
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, new citizen receptions were not held in 2020 and 2021. Last year, however, Helsinki was able to celebrate Helsinki residents who had been naturalised between 2019 and 2021.
The event this year was hosted by Mayor of Helsinki Juhana Vartiainen.
“Home is the most important place in a person’s life, an environment that is essential for creating a good life. Helsinki is now your official hometown and Finland is your home country. I hope you will all enjoy your time here,” said Mayor Vartiainen.
A new Finnish citizen as of last December, Enitan Odupitan, who moved here from Nigeria, also addressed the reception.
“Today we gather to celebrate new citizens. Each of us has so much talent and potential. It is crucial that Helsinki and the whole of Finland recognises these talents and chooses to invest in the people that Finland has already attracted here. I am deeply grateful to the nation of Finland, the Finnish people and the City of Helsinki for the opportunities that have made this incredible period in my life possible,” Odupitan said.
The City of Helsinki heartily congratulates all Helsinki residents who have recently received Finnish citizenship:
"It is vital for the city’s development that all Helsinki residents find their place and discover pathways to participate, regardless of their origin. New citizens are a shining example of successful integration and are also a prerequisite for the City of Helsinki to grow and remain functional, competitive and appealing," said mayor Vartiainen.