Helsinki is the capital and largest city of Finland. It is in the region of Uusimaa, located in southern Finland, on the shore of the Gulf of Finland, an arm of the Baltic Sea. The population of the city proper of Helsinki is 602,200 (30 September 2012), making it by far the most populous municipality in Finland. Helsinki is located some 80 kilometers (50 mi) north of Tallinn, Estonia, 400 kilometers (250 mi) east of Stockholm, Sweden, and 300 kilometers (190 mi) west of Saint Petersburg, Russia. Helsinki has close historical connections with these three cities.
Helsinki urban area includes the city proper of Helsinki and large parts of other municipalities: Espoo and Vantaa, which immediately border Helsinki to the west and north, respectively; and Kauniainen, which is an enclave within the municipality of Espoo. It is the world's northernmost urban area of over one million people, and the city is the northernmost capital of an EU member state. Altogether over 1.3 million people, approximately one of four Finns, live in the metropolitan area of Helsinki.
Helsinki is Finland's major political, educational, financial, and cultural and research centre as well as one of northern Europe's major cities. Approximately 70% of foreign companies operating in Finland have settled in the Helsinki region.
The nearby city of Vantaa is the location of Helsinki-Vantaa Airport, with frequent service to various destinations in Europe and Asia. Since early 2009, Helsinki has been exploring a merger with Vantaa. On 30 March 2009, the city council of Vantaa agreed to review Helsinki's proposal of a possible merger, while emphasizing that the review is not about the possibility of terminating the existence of the city of Vantaa. On 31 January 2011, the city council of Vantaa turned down Helsinki's proposal of a possible merger, with 45 votes against the proposal compared to 22 in favor of it.
In 2009, Helsinki was