Helsinki (in Finnish; listen (help·info)), or Helsingfors (in Swedish; listen (help·info)) is the capital and largest city of Finland. It is in the southern part of Finland, on the shore of the Gulf of Finland, by the Baltic Sea. The population of the city of Helsinki is 569,892 (2008), making it the most populous municipality in Finland by a wide margin. The foreign-born population stands at around 10%.
Helsinki, along with the neighbouring cities of Vantaa, Espoo, and Kauniainen, constitutes what is known as the capital region, with over 1,000,000 inhabitants. The Greater Helsinki area contains 12 municipalities and has a population of over 1,300,000. The Greater Helsinki accounts for a quarter of the population of Finland, 29% of jobs, and a third of the GDP.
Helsinki is Finland's capital for business, education, research, culture, and government. Greater Helsinki has eight universities and six technology parks. Some 70% of foreign companies operating in Finland have settled in the Helsinki region. The immigration of rural residents has made it one of the fastest growing metropolitan areas in Europe.
Finland's main international airline hub, Helsinki-Vantaa airport is 40 minutes from the city center, with direct flights around the world. The busy Helsinki-Tallinn route takes 1.5 hours by sea and 18 minutes by helicopter. Two other big cities in Finland, Tampere and Turku, can be reached in 1.5 - 2 hours by train and 1.5 - 2.5 hours by car.