Living in Finland

Cities

Ruotsin kieli Suomessa
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Swedish language in Finland

Map: Bilingual municipalities in FinlandBilingual municipalities in Finland

Finland has two official languages, Finnish and Swedish. Approximately 90% of Finns speak Finnish as their native language. Approximately 5% of Finns speak Swedish as their native language. Swedish is spoken the most on Finland’s western and southern coast.

The Swedish spoken in Finland is called Finland Swedish (suomenruotsi). It is pronounced somewhat differently from the Swedish spoken in Sweden.

If you apply for Finnish citizenship, you need a certificate of sufficient proficiency in the Finnish or Swedish language. For more information, see the Infopankki page Official certificate of language proficiency.

You can use Swedish with government authorities, such as Kela or the TE Office. When you register as a resident, inform the local register office of the language in which you want to use services. You can also change the language later.

Municipalities in Finland can be either monolingual or bilingual. Most of the municipalities in Finland are Finnish-speaking. There are bilingual municipalities on the southern and western coasts. If your municipality of residence is bilingual, you can also use Swedish with municipal services, such as the health centre.

linkkiLocalfinland.fi:
Swedish speaking and bilingual municipalitiesFinnish | Swedish

Integration in Swedish

Swedish-language integration may be a good choice for you, if:

  • You live in an area with many Swedish speakers.
  • You have family members or relatives who speak Swedish.
  • You already speak some Swedish.

Swedish language skills could be useful when you look for work. However, please note that most jobs require proficiency in Finnish. Even if you choose Swedish-language integration training, you should also study Finnish at some point.

In some municipalities, you can participate in Swedish-language integration training. If you cannot get into Swedish-language integration training, in some cases you can still get support for independent Swedish studies if it is agreed on in your integration or employment plan. Ask about Swedish-language integration when your preliminary assessment and integration plan is being prepared. According to law, you have the right to choose Finnish or Swedish as your integration language.

Read more about integration services on the Infopankki page: Integration into Finland.

linkkiMinistry of Economic Affairs and Employment:
Information about Swedish-language integrationFinnish | Swedish

Language studies as labour market training

You can also study Swedish as labour market training, if you are a customer of the Employment and Economic Development Office. Labour market training is intended for unemployed jobseekers. On the Infopankki page Services provided by the Employment and Economic Development Office, you can find the conditions for becoming a customer of the office. Labour market training is free of charge. Ask for more information about Swedish courses at your local TE Office.

Children’s day care and education

In Finland, the language of day care, pre-primary education and comprehensive education is usually Finnish or Swedish. If you want your child to attend Swedish-language day care, pre-primary education or comprehensive education, ask your municipality about the possibility.

Some municipalities organise preparatory education for comprehensive education for pupils whose language skills are not yet good enough for normal education. Ask your municipality whether they organise preparatory education in Swedish.

If the child’s native language is something other than Finnish or Swedish, the municipality may organise native language education in the child’s own native language. If the child attends a Swedish-language school, he or she can study Swedish as a second language.

Read more about day care, pre-primary education and comprehensive education on the Infopankki page Child education.

Upper secondary school and vocational school

After comprehensive school, young people can study at upper secondary school or vocational school. There are Swedish-language vocational schools and upper secondary schools in Swedish-speaking municipalities, bilingual municipalities and some Finnish-speaking municipalities.

Some vocational schools and upper secondary schools organise preparatory training for studies. Preparatory training gives you knowledge and skills that you will need in further studies. You can also improve your language skills.

You can search for Swedish-language vocational and upper secondary education and their preparatory training in the Opintopolku.fi service.

Read more on the Infopankki page: After comprehensive school.

linkkiStudyinfo.fi:
Basic information on vocational educationFinnish | Swedish | English

linkkiStudyinfo.fi:
Information on upper secondary school studiesFinnish | Swedish

Higher education

There are Swedish-language universities and universities of applied sciences in Finland. There are also a few bilingual universities where you can study in Swedish.

You can search for Swedish-language higher education in the Opintopolku.fi service.

Read more about higher education on the Infopankki page: Higher education.

linkkiStudyinfo.fi:
Information on studying at an institute of higher educationFinnish | Swedish | English

Where can I study Swedish?

You can study Swedish at adult education centres, workers’ institutes and university summer courses. Ask your local education department, the study counsellors of educational institutes or counselling services for immigrants about Swedish studies.

Read more on the Infopankki page: Studying as a hobby.

Swedish language online

Applications

You can learn Swedish language from applications that you can download onto your mobile phone or tablet. Search for Swedish language applications in your app store (such as Google Play or App Store) with search terms “learn Swedish”, “Swedish language”, “lär dig svenska” or “svenska”. Some of the applications are subject to a charge.

Exercises and courses online

You can find Swedish courses on various levels of difficulty online. You can do things like complete exercises or play games, study grammar and vocabulary and read texts online.

linkkiYle:
YKI exercisesFinnish

linkkiKotisuomessa.fi:
Swedish language onlineFinnish | Swedish | English

linkkiYle.fi:
Exercises and courses onlineFinnish

linkkiBab.la:
Multilingual dictionariesFinnish | Swedish | English

linkkiLangtolang.com:
Multilingual dictionary 'Langtolang'English