1. Forum
  2. >
  3. Topic: Swedish
  4. >
  5. "Helsingfors är Finlands huvu…

"Helsingfors är Finlands huvudstad."

Translation:Helsinki is the capital of Finland.

July 26, 2015



I think I'll be mixing this up with Helsingborg for a while...


Hehe :) it's funny how things I take for granted can be so confusing to somebody who didn't grow up in the same culture as I did. To me as a native, that'd be like confusing New York with New Mexico.


yeh, funny confusing sometimes.


So the Swedes still call it Helsingfors then? I thought everyone had changed to Helsinki long ago.


Yes, we tend to use the Swedish names for Finnish places. A remnant of centuries of oppression, I suppose. For instance, Turku is called Åbo in Swedish.


Those Finlanders who are native speakers of Swedish and in some cases, you know, live there, definitely prefer the Swedish names.


Yes, of course. There's no need to be sarcastic. I do not think they're the reason we don't use the Finnish names.


I actually hear a lot of Swedes use Finnish names, and many of us only talk about the country's bilingualism in terms of oppression, so I think we're generally not very good at looking at things from the perspective of the Swedish-speaking minority.


I agree. I did and do think about that, though.


And we in Finland use Finnish names for some Swedish cities, like Tukholma for Stockholm and Luulaja for Luleå. Also, King Carl XVI Gustaf is Kaarle XVI Kustaa.


"Kaarle Kustaa", I like that better. :) Thanks for sharing!


Good to know I suppose, could be confusing when in a group of Swedes and/or Finns : )


It has nothing to do with oppression. Geographical places that has had a historical significance to Sweden has Swedish names. Förenta Staterna, Köpenhamn, Nizza (said my parents of Nice), Sankt Petersburg, Rhen, Rom... Just like Göteborg is called Gothenburg in Britain but Varberg is still Varberg.


Of course - and the reason those are of historical significance, and that so many of them have Swedish names, is that Finland was Swedish for a very long time. The vast majority of these cities would use Finnish names in Sweden otherwise.

  • 1607

To add a bit, Finland is still officially bilingual and many places have an officially recognized Swedish name which is used by all Swedish speakers, not only Swedes. Bilinguality goes back centuries when Finland was a part of Sweden and it's so deep in the society that in bilingual areas even road names are translated.

The names are sometimes a bit funny, for example a region in the city of Espoo is called Köklax which of course doesn't have anything to do with kitchens and salmons =) Instead, I recently learned it was just evolved from the place's Finnish name Kauklahti (or Kauklaks back then) so that it sounds somewhat similar.


What does "Helsingfors" literally mean?


"Rapids of Helsinge" - which was an administrative region. But nobody knows from where the name Helsinge came originally. The Finnish name Helsinki is derived from it.


I'm no toponymy pro, but I did study it a bit for a thesis a couple of years ago where toponymy was part of my reasoning for locating a medieval croft that disappeared entirely from written sources in the late 14th century.

The Hels- part, as with the county of Hälsingland on the southwestern shores of the Gulf of Bothnia, as well as with Helsingborg and Helsingør, probably comes from "hals" ("neck, throat") referring to an oblong and relatively narrow body of water of some sort. This would then, in the Helsinki case, then most likely refer to the Gulf of Finland.

The -ing part is a common ending believed, if I'm not mistaken, to refer to the inhabitants of an area (en hälsing/helsing) and thus by extension used to denote a general area where these people live, so Hälsingland is the land where hälsingar live for example. This could well have happened to Helsinki too, and to this -fors was added.


There is more than one way to say (Helsinki is the capital of Finland). (The capital of Finland is Helsinki) This statement is also true!!!!


It's a true statement, but it translates the Swedish sentence Huvudstaden i Finland är Helsingfors.


or Finlands huvudstad är Helsingfors


The Capitol of a country is "ol"


A capitol is a building and a capital is a city. Since Helsinki is a city, it is a capital, with -al.

Learn Swedish in just 5 minutes a day. For free.