Municipality (Finland)

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Structure of the municipalities in Finland (2013)

The municipalities ( Finnish kunta , Swedish kommun ; as, municipality translated ') form in Finland the local level in the administrative division of the country and the main body of the local self-government .


In 2020 there are 310 municipalities in Finland , 107 of which are cities . There are major differences in terms of area and population of the Finnish municipalities: especially in the sparsely populated north of Finland, the municipalities often cover a very large area. The largest municipality, Inari, has an area of ​​17,334 square kilometers with fewer than 7,000 inhabitants. The smallest municipality in terms of area, the city of Kauniainen , covers only 6 square kilometers. The capital Helsinki has the most inhabitants with 648.042, the fewest Sottunga in Åland with 91 (31 December 2018 each).

Historically, the Finnish parishes go back to the parishes (finn. Pitäjä, swed. Socken ) from the Swedish time . In 1865 the administration of the rural communities was separated from the church administration and the political community was introduced as a civil self-government unit. Traditionally there have been three different types of parishes in Finland with different privileges. The actual communities were the rural areas. There were also the market towns (kauppala, köping), urban-like developed places without their own city rights, and the cities (kaupunki, stad) . The market towns were abolished in 1976 and converted into cities. In 1995 the last legal differences between municipalities and cities were abolished. Since then, cities have also been terminologically communes and each commune may call itself a city at its own discretion.

Community reform

After the Second World War, the number of parishes in Finland was 547. Until the 1950s, larger towns were removed from the surrounding communities as market towns, most recently around 1951 Järvenpää from Tuusula . Since then, the number of parishes has decreased through parish mergers. In the 1960s, the Finnish government prepared a law that would enable forced incorporation. While this law was never passed, the response to it was a large number of parish mergers, particularly between 1969 and 1977.

In 2005 the Finnish government initiated a “community and service structure reform”. It is intended to ensure the guarantee of communal services and aims to create larger communal units. As a result of the reform, there were already 82 parish mergers between 2005 and 2013, which reduced the number of parishes to 320. In 2012, Prime Minister Jyrki Katainen stated that his government's goal was to reduce the number of municipalities to 100 by the end of the legislative period in 2015. As a result of the municipal reform, municipalities, some of which are considerable, have also emerged in the more densely populated southern part of Finland. After the incorporation of five neighboring communities , the city of Hämeenlinna has an area of ​​over 2,000 square kilometers.


The municipalities are responsible for public facilities such as schools, health services, water supplies and local roads. You also have the right to collect a council tax of between 16 and 20%, which is up to two thirds of the total tax burden. Other areas such as highways, legislation or the police force are the responsibility of the central government.

The decision-making power in the municipality is exercised by a municipality council (kunnanvaltuusto) elected directly every four years . This elects the municipal government (kunnanhallitus) as the administrative body . Either a full-time municipal director (kunnanjohtaja) or an honorary mayor (pormestari) chairs the municipal government . Whether a municipality is referred to as a “city” is legally and organizationally irrelevant. Any municipality which, in its own opinion, has an urban structure may use the name.

See also

Individual evidence

  1. Statistical Office Finland: Table 11ra - Key figures on population by region, 1990-2018
  2. Miska Rantanen: Katainen Talouselämässä: Hallitus aikoo vähentää kuntien määrän sataan. In: Helsingin Sanomat, January 20, 2012.
  3. The constitution of the municipality is regulated in the municipal law (Kuntalaki) of 1995 (365/1995). See in particular sections 1, 5, 9, 23 and 24.

Web links

Commons : Municipalities in Finland  - Collection of pictures, videos and audio files