Family-friendly Finland

A father pushing a pram smiles as his child plays.

Maija Astikainen / Helsinki Partners

Having a family-friendly lifestyle is easy in Finland.

Family means different things to different people, and in Finland, we embrace them all. Learn how moving to this family-friendly Nordic nation can help you build your dream career – and benefit those in your life who matter most.

Embrace Finland’s family-friendly lifestyle

Healthcare and childbirth

Starting a family in Finland is safe and affordable. In addition to its top-tier universal healthcare system, Finland has the world’s second lowest infant mortality rate, and hospitals provide top quality care to mothers and babies at an affordable cost – for example after birth, for roughly 50 euros per day. Additionally, every family receives a free maternity package, or “baby box,” that contains more than 40 items ranging from baby clothes to care products. 

 

Free, high-quality municipal clinics support pregnant women and families with young children, as well as following the child’s physical, psychological, and social growth from the womb until they go to school. Besides looking after the child, young families are supported in becoming parents, taking care of themselves, and maintaining their relationship. 

 

Opportunities for family leave are generous and numerous, with job security for parents who need to take time off to care for babies and young children. In August 2022, for example, a new Act went into effect that allocates a total of 320 days of parental leave for families welcoming a new child into the family. This law applies to both biological and adoptive parents, and leave time can be split between parents any way a family sees fit to support good work-life balance.

Affordable daycare

For families with infants and toddlers, Finland offers high-quality, affordable options for daycare. Here, highly trained teachers and pediatric nurses run municipal daycares aimed at promoting positive self-image, freedom of expression, and thought development. These daycares operate in centres or private homes, and are open to anyone with a residence in that municipality. Fees for one month of care are affordable – less than 300 euros per month – and discounts are provided for subsequent children. For low-income families, daycare fees are lower or may even be free of charge.

Children in bright orange vests circling a tree.

Credits: Jussi Hellsten / Helsinki Partners

Children learn through play and it pays off – the high quality of Finnish education is recognized around the world.

A baby inside a Finnish "baby box."

Credits: Annika Söderblom & Nana Uitto / Kela

Meet Finland's nearly-80-year-old innovation, the "baby box." This starter kit for families comes with infant necessities.

Free education from pre-school until 18 years old

Finnish preschools and secondary schools are free of charge and enrollment is mandatory. Designed to prepare children for comprehensive school, preschools typically welcome children around six years old. At seven, most children begin comprehensive school. This is also free and generally lasts nine years. After completing comprehensive school, teens can choose to attend either vocational or upper secondary school. The latter aims to prepare students for the university matriculation exam, and ultimately, 3-4 years of subsequent study at a university. 

 

If you’re concerned about the language barrier, know that nine out of 10 Finns speak fluent English, and half of the adult population speaks three or more foreign languages. There are multiple international schools – public and private – that provide tuition in international languages. Municipal schools in bigger cities also have preparatory classes that teach Finnish language and culture, easing the transition for foreign students. 

 

Finland has 14 universities, including several that are highly rated on the Shanghai ranking. Finns believe everyone should have equal access to high-quality education – regardless of financial or family circumstances. Higher education is also free – you just pay an annual membership fee to the student union, which is below 100 euros.

Schoolchildren work on their laptops.

Credits: Elina Manninen / Keksi Agency / Team Finland

Cooperation, not competition: the Finnish school systems encourages children to cultivate creativity, curiosity, and empathy.

The bottom line

There’s no denying that Finland is a great place for families. Aside from having one of the world’s best school systems, the country’s emphasis on work-life balance and many paid parental leave options make it possible to spend plenty of quality time with loved ones. 

 

In fact, a recent global study from Expat Insider found Finland is among the best countries for quality of life abroad, ranking high for safety, digital life, air quality, and sanitation. And 99% of expats say they feel safe in Finland – significantly higher than the 84% global average. 

 

Finally, UNICEF ranks Finland one of the top five nations globally for quality childcare and childhood well-being. For more information on family in Finland, visit this website.