Cyclists on Huvilakatu.

New website lends helping hand to new arrivals

“How do things work and what do I have to do?” Everyone who moves to a new country from abroad has the same questions, no matter what their background or reasons for moving. The City of Helsinki’s website seeks to provide the answers, with useful information on housing, education and working in the city.

The City of Helsinki’s new English-language website introduces the city and its services to people who have recently relocated to Helsinki or are considering a move to Finland’s capital. It offers practical tips for living and working in the city, along with clear and concise explanations of things like Finnish daycare, schools and healthcare. In addition, dozens of links to the websites of many other services and authorities direct site visitors to the information they need.

The website is a product of the city’s English-language development agenda, a plan to improve Helsinki’s services to meet the needs of its growing international population. Speakers of languages other than Finnish and Swedish already make up close to 16 per cent of the city’s inhabitants, and this number is expected to rise to one-quarter by the year 2035.

“The city recognises that it must step up its efforts to keep members of Helsinki’s international communities informed. Helping new arrivals to quickly complete all the necessary paperwork, settle in and feel at home is a win-win situation for everyone. The new website not only helps to make the process easier, but also explains things that might seem obvious to locals. Shining a light on this kind of tacit knowledge is a clear added value,” says Jukka Jänönen, head of the city’s content production.

Among other things, contains a series of step-by-step lists that walk readers through different processes. For example, the site guides people in how to navigate the housing market, visit a Helsinki health station, and understand the different stages of their children’s school journey. In addition, for people who have just relocated to Helsinki, there’s a First Steps Checklist to determine the key steps that need to be taken after a move.

Even people who moved to Helsinki from abroad years ago might benefit from, as it also contains useful information on outdoor activities, free-time pursuits and getting around the city. Helsinki has developed many new programmes for international spouses, jobseekers and entrepreneurs of late, so even long-term residents might find links to valuable new information.

The website is one of dozens of English-language service improvements the City of Helsinki, led by its economic development division, has made in recent months. Other advances include an increase in capacity at English-language schools and daycares, enhanced health and social services in English, and convenient new digital services in several languages.

The best practices learned in the development of are also being taken into consideration in the revamp of the City of Helsinki’s website, which is currently being streamlined and renewed in stages.

Further information:

Development Agenda for English-language services in Helsinki

Helsinki to improve its English-language services

Photo: Helsinki Marketing