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Moving to Helsinki

Moving to Helsinki

3.1. Booking your flights

Metacore pays for your flights and two checked luggages per traveler. We use a service called TravelPerk. You will receive a link to your email with instructions on how to book your flights to Finland.

3.2. Booking accommodation for first days

If you arrive in Finland before your works starts at Metacore, you can book any hotel or Airbnb in Helsinki city centre, or choose one of the options below close by the Metacore office. From the first day you start work at Metacore up to 6 months you can rent one of Metacore’s own residences, which are offered to employees at a concessional rate. We highly recommend that you opt for this accommodation option during this 6 month period.

Holiday Inn Ruoholahti →
Hotel Aida →
Clarion Hotel Helsinki →
Radisson Blu Seaside Hotel →

For longer stays than a week or two, you can also check these out:

Noli Studios Katajanokka →
Forenom furnished apartments →
Comodo furnished apartments→

3.3. Packing

ID card

This is probably self-evident but if the headline says packing, we couldn’t really leave it out: take your passport and official ID card with you. Things go smoother, even though EU citizens can cope without one to some point.


Finland offers you four seasons of different weather. Winters can be considered dark and cold (even -30C), but spring and fall are pretty mild, and summers warm and full of daylight. If arriving from a warmer location, we recommend packing what you got and then purchasing winter-proof clothing and footwear in Finland.


The electrical plug/socket system used throughout Finland is the round two-pin type. Adapters can be used, especially during the early days when you probably still use your current devices. The standard voltage in Finland is 230V and frequency of 50 Hz.

3.4. Arrival

Behaviour etiquette

Upon arrival, people are likely the first touchpoint of your new home. Finns don’t have any specific behaviour etiquette demands, so don’t worry about making anyone angry or uncomfortable. Feel free to be the newcomer that you are, and you’ll be greeted with understanding and amusement. One thing worth mentioning is that Finnish people like having their personal space and might seem pretty shy.

Food & drinks

Helsinki Airport is pretty expensive so having a little snack with you won’t do harm. You can drink the tap water (it’s actually better than bottled), and in the rare case you can’t (e.g. in some national park’s well), there will be a sign saying so.

Getting to your accommodation

Metacore will arrange for your pick-up from the airport to your first accommodation in Finland, be it a hotel, airbnb or Metacore's own residence.

Here’s a little bit more information for getting around in Helsinki. You can trust Finnish taxis but also use Uber or Bolt if you have a lot of carriages. From the airport, it’s probably easier to get an “ordinary” taxi as the taxi stand is right outside the main exit. If you have fewer carriages, there's direct train & bus access from the airport to Helsinki city centre. You can buy the ABC ticket (4.10€, valid for 80min) from a ticket machine or with the HSL app, and show it to the ticket inspectors or the bus driver.

Download HSL app →

In case of emergency

Right from your arrival, it’s good to know that Finland has only one general emergency number to handle needs for health services, rescue, ambulance, fire department, police and social services. Dial 112 in case of emergency.

Language barrier zero

The first thing you probably do is ask for directions or advice at the airport. Finns understand and speak English very well. You might have heard we’re pretty reserved at first, and that’s true, but it’s not because of a language barrier. The local game industry is very international, so we can even say the industry’s first language is English.

Learning Finnish (although you can easily manage without)

You don’t need Finnish (or our other official language, Swedish) to get along, although learning the language will help you integrate into society more profoundly. There are many courses of different levels and learning methods, and most of them are completely free.

Finnish language courses →

3.6. Banking & Taxation

Opening a bank account

Our third party relocation service partner will help you to set up your bank account in Finland.

To open a bank account in Finland, you need an address and something to confirm your occupational status (e.g. employment contract if you're working, letter of acceptance from the university if you're studying, etc.). If you’re a non-EU citizen, you also need to present a valid permit. Note that a driver’s license is not an acceptable proof of identity when dealing with banks, so bring your passport along. Below are some of the banks popular in Finland:

OP →
Nordea →
Danske Bank →

Getting a debit/credit card

Once your bank account is opened, it will take a week or two to receive your new debit/credit card. Make sure you can cope without the new card for the first weeks. Note also that banking fees exist but are very low, and that most issues (from your first face-to-face visit onwards) can be easily handled via online banking (support chat and phone calls).

Using bank verification codes as an online ID

Verifying your identity online (e.g. when dealing with taxes, healthcare and online payments) is done using bank verification codes. Most Finnish banks also provide an equivalent mobile app for that. The bank will do the set-up on your first in-person visit (for which non-EU citizens need to bring a Finnish ID card ordered from the police).

Get your Finnish ID card →

Paying taxes

In Finland, people are taxed individually, according to their personal income. Everyone pays the same flat municipal tax plus a progressive income tax. Your spouse’s income will not affect your tax percentage. Start paying taxes by visiting the tax office (Verotoimisto) and getting a Finnish tax card (verokortti). Once you give the tax card to your employer, taxes will be deducted from your salary. To check your tax information, visit the tax office’s online service (by logging with your bank verification codes).

Tax office online service →
Tax percentage calculator to estimate your taxes →

3.7. Getting around

By foot

Helsinki is a compact city and most services are accessible via walking distance. Just make sure you have the right clothing and footwear, and carry an umbrella with you. In winter, snow won’t stop you from walking as streets will be almost immediately cleared after an (even big) snowfall. During dark times, make sure to use a reflector for drivers to spot you in the dark.

Best walking routes →

By bike

Helsinki has announced its plans to become a top-3 city for cycling. Benchmarking Amsterdam and Copenhagen, Helsinki has quickly added bike lanes to serve the many active cyclists the city inhabits. In addition to “private bikes”, the city provides “shared bikes” from April to October with docking stations around the greater Helsinki area. Pay per season and use bikes easily, 30min per ride (extra minutes will be charged separately but here’s a tip: changing bikes at a station starts the timer again)

HSL City Bikes →

By public transport

HSL is a joint local authority managing public transport and the transport system in the Helsinki region. In practice, you’ll probably have their free app in use, or a physical travel card if desired. You can buy single tickets, 1 to 13-day tickets and monthly/annual plans. The same ticket is valid for all local buses, trams, trains, metro and the Suomenlinna ferry. With each way of transportation, you can trust their frequency and punctuality – also during peak times and bad weather.

HSL journey planner →

For long-distance travel inside the country, you can get a bus from Kamppi bus station and a train from Helsinki Railway Station. Get bus tickets via Matkahuolto and train tickets via VR. National flights are not very popular elsewhere than to Lapland, where you can fly with Finnair and Norwegian at least.

Matkahuolto bus tickets →
VR train tickets →

By car

In Finland, traffic is right-hand sided. Stay on the right side of the road and note the ‘priority from the right rule’, meaning that cars approaching from your right will go before you (if traffic signs don’t say the opposite). Leave enough room for bikers, pedestrians and sound your horn only in dangerous situations.

City centres are better for walking, biking and public transport than own vehicles, since parking costs are frequent and parking slots scarce.

In general, you must pay to park in city centres, and it is not always easy to find a spot to park your car. Many garages (often underground) exist where you can pay for short term parking or rent a parking place for a longer period.

By taxi

Taxis are quite expensive in Helsinki but prices are likely to come down since deregulation has opened space for new entrants like Uber and Yango.

3.8. Internet & Mobile phone connection

You’d probably want to stay connected to the internet from the get-go. There are public wifi networks available in city-owned buildings—i.e. public libraries, museums and railway stations, as well as password-protected ones in cafes, restaurants, hotels and shopping malls.

On your first day at Metacore, we will provide you with a phone and a phone plan. After 6 months, reach out to our contact person to set up an internet connection for your own apartment too.

Here’s a little bit of extra information about internet and phone plans in Finland. You can get a prepaid SIM card or a postpaid one with a monthly bill cycle from one of the operators. The same operators also provide home broadband connections (mobile/cable/ADSL). Just visit an operator’s own shop or any one of many R-kioski corner shops to get one. Note that these operators are very strict about requiring a deposit from a person who does not have a credit card record in Finland for the past two years. Here are the most common Finnish mobile phone and internet contract providers/operators:

Elisa →
Telia →

3.9. Cost of living

Compared to the EU average, the level of wages, taxes and costs in Finland are slightly higher. In return for higher tax payments, many services are funded with tax revenue making them cheaper in Finland than in the EU in general. For example, education and libraries are free, and public health services are surprisingly affordable.

Consumer prices in Finland →

Housing costs

The rent is usually 10€ to 30€ per m2 per month, and much more expensive in Helsinki than elsewhere in Finland. If you’re buying an apartment, the average price in Finland is 2100€ per m2 but in the Helsinki city centre, you might need to triple or quadruple that amount as the housing market has a massive demand but low supply, especially in smaller 1-2 room apartments.

Housing costs in Finland→

3.10. Neighbourhoods

Whether it’s rent prices, walking routes or restaurant options, it’s good to know something about Helsinki's different neighbourhoods from early on. Each part of the city has its own characteristics and unique vibes, and you’re sure to find your favourites, if not based on these descriptions, when exploring them and finding where you’re drawn back to, time and time again.

Hernesaari, Ruoholahti (here’s Metacore office) and Jätkäsaari →
Kamppi and Kluuvi →
Töölö and Lapinlahti →
Ullanlinna, Eira and Kaivopuisto →
Punavuori and Kaartinkaupunki →
Kruununhaka and Katajanokka →
Seaside Helsinki →
Kallio, Alppiharju and Sörnäinen →
Hermanni and Vallila →
Kalasatama, Kulosaari and Mustikkamaa →
Arabianranta, Vanhankaupunginkoski and Viikki →
Pasila →
Herttoniemi and Eastern neighbourhoods →
Lauttasaari and Western neighbourhoods →