You probably already know that most of the Finns speak Finnish as their native language. But not everyone. So what other languages are spoken in Finland?
Finnish and Swedish are Finland’s Official Languages
Finland’s national languages are Finnish and Swedish. The other offical minority languages are Saami, Karelian, Finnish Romani and Finnish sign language. In addition to these, more than 150 different languages are spoken in Finland.
Finnish is the most common language in Finland as 4.8 million people speak Finnish as their native language. The other official language, Swedish is spoken in Finland by almost 300 000 people as their first language. Globally Swedish is much more popular language than Finnish. Approximately 9 million people speak Swedish as their native language.
Finland’s Population by First Language (31.12.2021)
- Finnish 4 800 243 (86,5 %)
- Swedish 287 933 (5,2 %)
- Russian 87 552 (1,6 %)
- Estonian 50 232 (0,9 %)
- Arabic 36 466 (0,7 %)
- English 25 638 (0,5 %)
- Somali 23 656 (0,4 %)
- Farsi, Persian 16 432 (0,3 %)
- Kurdish 15 850 (0,3 %)
- Chinese 14 780 (0,3 %)
- Foreign languages total 458 042 (8,3 %)
Do You have to Learn Finnish?
So if you want visit Finland, do you have to learn to speak Finnish?
No, not at all. Although you might find it fun to learn a word or two in Finnish, but that’s not necessary. Most of the Finns know at least one other language.
The Adult Education Survey by Statistics Finland from 2017 revealed that 93 per cent of the Finns aged 18 to 64 said they knew at least one foreign language. The most spoken foreign languages were English (90 %), Swedish (70 %) and German (30 %).
Swedish is actually a compulsory school subject in Finland, so everyone should know at least the basics. But as the survey revealed, unfortunately that’s not always the case. English instead is quite sure bet. Almost everyone in Finland know at least the basics of English language.