Juhana Vartiainen, the Mayor of Helsinki made a comment that Helsinki could become an English-speaking City.

Vartiainen has been the mayor of Helsinki since beginning of August 2021. According to his recent comment, Finnish and Swedish could be abandoned as the required language for city workers and be replaced with English.

The mayor supported his comment by explaining that Finland does not have enough international professionals. If the language requirements could be loosened, it might make the capital of Finland more appealing for experts around the world.

Many public sector job postings in Finland require knowledge of Finnish and Swedish. In 2018, 36 % of international students moved out of Finland almost immediately after graduating. This is an issue when foreigners move to Finland in pursuit of a degree, they can enjoy the free education, but move out of the country after finishing their studies. They move to lower taxation countries and perhaps to places where they can pursue a career in English.

Juhana Vartiainen does state that making a decision like this requires a national level discussion and Helsinki on its own cannot make that call. But if Finland is in need of international professionals, taxpayers, and students to stay after finishing their higher education, wouldn’t it make sense to change the public sector job language requirement to only English instead of both, Finnish and Swedish? This could increase Finland’s appeal.

We shall wait and see if English will make our Finnish Maiden more attractive.