Finland is a land of six million inhabitants. It enjoys a reputation as a stable and safe nation, and the capital is no exception. There is certainly always a basic need to keep one’s eyes open in any city, but Helsinki is marked with a distinct atmosphere of trust that you can see in the small deeds of its inhabitants throughout the day: lost items are returned to their owner, a stranger might ask you to watch their dog or bag for a moment. Many call the Finns a trustworthy people.
Everyday life in the city is seen as stable
Every three years, the City of Helsinki assesses its citizens' sense of security. According to the latest study, crime and accidents are seen as less and less prevalent, and everyday living in Helsinki is mainly seen as safe. According to a survey carried out by the Finnish Police University College, 95 percent of Finns trust the police force, and when an accident occurs, help comes quickly.
The cityscape respects personal space and also families have visible trust in the safety of the outdoor environment; children in Helsinki can play freely and independently in yards and parks, and the majority of children in the city make their way to school and back by themselves starting from primary school.
Efforts have been made to ensure traffic safety, which is a factor affecting the general feeling of safety. Traffic deaths are rare in Finland, and many measures are being taken to lower the amount even more. In the 1960s, urban traffic was responsible for about 40 deaths every year while the current average is four – regardless of the fact that car traffic has almost tripled since the 60s.
Helsinki is the best city for me because it is so safe here. The fact that people speak English really well makes everyday living easier.
A low-hierarchy living environment adds to safety
It is not at all unlikely to stand in the supermarket check-out line together with one's favourite artist, or to run into a minister at the swimming hall. Public services are highly rated in Helsinki, and services from hospitals to libraries belong to everyone regardless of their status or wealth.
The social hierarchy in Helsinki is flat. Common urban space is shared by everyone. As an example, the First Lady of the nation, Jenni Haukio, gave birth in a public hospital, and the presidential couple's dog can be spotted in the same dog parks as any other four-legged Helsinkian. You can even bump into the president himself, Sauli Niinistö, in a hockey game or sipping a coffee at the market square – which happened for example right after the summit hosting Vladimir Putin and Donald Trump in summer 2018.
Finnish society is by many measures one of the most most egalitarian in the world. The same is true of the capital city. Here people are equals and trust the environment they live in.
Helsinki's size is perfect. If you approach people in the right way, you can get a meeting with almost anyone. The culture is open, people want to help each other.