Greater Helsinki

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Map of Greater Helsinki (Light blue) and the Capital Region (Blue).
Central Helsinki, the focal point of the Capital Region, from the sky.

Greater Helsinki (Finnish: Helsingin seutu, Suur-Helsinki, Swedish: Helsingforsregionen, Storhelsingfors) is the metropolitan area including the smaller Capital Region (Pääkaupunkiseutu, Huvudstadsregionen) urban kernel and commuter towns surrounding Helsinki, the capital city of Finland. Greater Helsinki is sometimes incorrectly called (the) Helsinki Region due to an incorrect direct translation of the Finnish and Swedish terms Helsingin seutu and Helsingforsregionen.

These regions are located in the south of Finland, on the coast of the Gulf of Finland, which is part of the Baltic Sea. The smaller region includes Helsinki, Vantaa, Espoo, and Kauniainen and has a population of about 1.1 million. The Greater Helsinki region is the largest urbanised area in the country with 1 402 394[1] inhabitants and is by far the most important economic, cultural, and scientific region of Finland. Seven out of Finland's 17 universities[note 1] and most of the headquarters of notable companies and governmental institutions are located in Greater Helsinki, as is Finland's main airline hub and airport, Helsinki Airport, which is located in Vantaa.


In the strictest sense, the Finnish Capital Region consists of four municipalities with city status, Helsinki, Vantaa, Espoo and Kauniainen, whose total population is about 1.1 million (2014). This area is most often called the Capital region in English, Pääkaupunkiseutu in Finnish, and Huvudstadsregionen in Swedish, although the use of the terms is not especially consistent. The vast majority of the inhabitants live in the urban areas of the cities, but within the boundaries of these cities there are also suburban and rural areas.

Commonly about ten more municipalities are considered to be part of Greater Helsinki, as they can be considered to be commuter towns and exurbs of Helsinki. When Hyvinkää, Järvenpää, Kerava, Kirkkonummi, Nurmijärvi, Sipoo, Tuusula, Mäntsälä, Pornainen and Vihti are included, the number of inhabitants rises to 1.4 million. All of the municipalities belong to the region of Uusimaa. Of these, Kerava, Järvenpää, Mäntsälä, Tuusula, and Nurmijärvi are part of the urban area, as parts of 6 other municipalities. Additionally, the cities of Porvoo, Lohja, and to some extent Riihimäki, which have very close ties, motorway and (in the case of Riihimäki) commuter train accesses, and are fairly close to the capital, are nowadays often included in regional planning, which raises the total population to about 1,550,000.

As a part of "Urban audit" project the Eurostat has attempted to standardise the concept of 'metropolitan area'. According to this study the Metropolitan area of Helsinki consists of the kernel of Helsinki: Helsinki, Espoo, Vantaa, and Kauniainen. Helsinki Larger Urban Area (Helsingin seutu in Finnish) consists of 12 cities and municipalities: the kernel of Helsinki and the aforementioned eight municipalities.[2]

Statistics Finland define the commuter belt of Helsinki (Helsingin työssäkäyntialue, Helsingfors pendlingsområde) to include a total of 24 municipalities, with a land area of 7,359.80 km2 and a population of 1,431,108 as of 31 December 2007.[3][4] In addition to that, there are people from as far as Lahti and even Tampere commuting to Helsinki daily.


The table below lists population, area, and population density for the largest municipalities of the Greater Helsinki area. (Note that "Helsinki Metropolitan Area" and the other terms used are not firmly established and may vary in different contexts.) The commuter towns of Lohja and Porvoo are not usually included, though, if they were (considering their proximity to Helsinki and their high commuting rate), they would raise the overall population to nearly 1.5 million people.

Municipality Area Population
Population density
Helsinki 213.75 km² 629,512 2,945.09/km²
Espoo 312.26 km² 270,416 866/km²
Vantaa 238.37 km² 215,813 905.37/km²
Kauniainen 5.88 km² 9,395 1,597.79/km²
Urban area (Capital region) 770.26 km² 1,125,136 1,460.72/km²
Hyvinkää 322.62 km² 46,477 144.06/km²
Mäntsälä 580.84 km² 20,726 35.68/km²
Pornainen 146.50 km² 5,108 34.87/km²
Järvenpää 37.55 km² 41,039 1,092.92/km²
Kerava 30.62 km² 35,251 1,151.24/km²
Kirkkonummi 366.10 km² 38,842 106.1/km²
Nurmijärvi 361.84 km² 41,997 116.07/km²
Sipoo 339.62 km² 19,528 57.5/km²
Tuusula 219.51 km² 38,564 175.68/km²
Vihti 522.06 km² 28,933 55.42/km²
Commuter towns 2,927.26 km² 316,465 108.11/km²
Metropolitan area (Greater Helsinki) 3,697.52 km² 1,441,601 389.88/km²

See also


  1. These are Aalto University, University of Helsinki, Academy of Fine Arts, Hanken, Sibelius Academy, Theatre Academy, National Defence University.


External links