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Society

There are approximately 3,000 Polish people living permanently in Finland. It is common for the Poles to come here to work on a temporary basis and as it often happens, some of the workers end up staying as they marry Finns. Most of the immigrants are male and settle in big cities, such as Helsinki, Vantaa, Espoo, Turku and Tampere. There has never been an actual wave of immigration from Poland to Finland but Poles have come here more frequently and in greater numbers since Poland joined the EU in 2004. Although Finland has never been the primary location for the Polish to immigrate to, better income opportunities in Finland attract them.

Despite the ocean separating them, the US and Finland are closer than they appear. Currently, Statistics Finland reports around 4,480 people living in Finland that were born in the States, while some 187,000 Americans visit as tourists each year. Products and services from the US make up 7 per cent of Finland’s total imports – fittingly, 7 per cent of Finland’s exports are to the USA as well.

Nicholas Brain is Argentinean. He is been living in Helsinki since 2005 and he loves going to sauna every weekend.

What do you do here in Finland?

I’ve been working in IKEA since 2007. I am a visual merchandiser, so my job is basically about decorating and showing our products in a good functional way. At the same time I play semi-professional football in the team Bollklubben-46 Karjaa. Football is my life and a way of living for me. I feel empty if I don’t kick the ball around. I’m also a single father of two boys: Aslak, 6, and Alex, 8. They are the highlight of my life and I love them with all my heart.

One of the biggest boardgaming titles of the last couple of years, Eclipse is a local product through and through: the game was released in 2011 by Lautapelit.fi, a Finnish boardgame seller and publisher, and its designer Touko Tahkokallio is also Finnish (and has a day job as a game designer at the mobile gaming company Supercell).

As the percentage of immigrants working in public transport grows larger, 6D takes a closer look at the pros and cons of the profession.

“Why don’t you become a bus driver?” my girlfriend’s mother suggested to me over dinner upon first moving to Finland a year ago from abroad. “What do you mean become a bus driver?” I asked. “All the bus drivers in Helsinki are foreigners now days,” she replied.