Living without Finnish in Finland

There are some areas of Finland where Finnish is in fact rarely, if ever, spoken in day-to-day life. In Österbotten, on the west coast, and Nyland, between Åbo (Turku) and Helsinki, there are towns where the vast majority of inhabitants speak Swedish, and you could go days without hearing Finnish.

About 4 % of the 311 Finnish communities are considered Swedish-speaking only, a figure that consists primarily of the population of the Åland islands (0.5 per cent of the country’s total). The majority of Swedish-speaking Finns are bilingual, or can at least manage in both languages.