Finnish for busy people

The Longest Finnish Word You Will Need

You can find many versions of what is the longest Finnish word on the internet. But which long words will you actually NEED when learning Finnish? What is the longest Finnish word you will need? Which words are actually worth learning?

The Longest Finnish Words You’ll NEVER Need

When are you ever going to use the word lentokonesuihkuturbiinimoottoriapumekaanikkoaliupseerioppilas (airplane jet turbine engine auxiliary mechanic non-commissioned officer student) with 61 letters?

Or epäjärjestelmällistyttämättömyydellänsäkäänköhän (“I wonder if even with his/her/its quality of not having been made unsystematized” / alternatively: “not even by its lack of having been made unorganised, I suppose”) with 48 letters?

The Longest Finnish Word You Will Need

Here’s my list of five words that you might actually need when moving to Finland. These certainly won’t be the only long Finnish words you’ll need. However, they are the ones that I know many immigrants do need in Finland.

5. Sosiaalityöntekijä (18 letters)

Sosiaalityöntekijät (social workers) work at the sosiaalitoimisto (social services). These are not the longest words ever, but so many immigrants struggle with the word. Oftentimes, they just say they’re going to “sosiaali”, which is hardly accurate. So, even though it’s not the longest of words, it’s still one that would totally be worth learning.

Sosiaalityöntekijät are actively involved especially in the lives of pakolaiset (refugees). They provide a tulkki (interpreter) if necessary, help fill out any lomake (form) that’s hard to understand, and help immigrants apply for financial support, if needed.

4. Kotoutumiskoulutus (18 letters)

As soon as immigrants (maahanmuuttajat, 15 letters) get a resident permit (oleskelulupa, 12 letters) in Finland, the unemployment office (työ- ja elinkeinotoimisto) will send them to a kotoutumiskoulutus (integration course).

These courses consist of full-time lessons. They help immigrants to learn Finnish, to integrate properly into the Finnish society and introduce them to Finnish työelämä (working life). These are very important things when you plan to stay in Finland permanently!

3. Maahanmuuttovirasto (19 letters)

The maahanmuuttovirasto (immigration office) is the place where foreigners go first when they’ve arrived in Finland with the intention of living here. They will help you navigate the jungle of laws and bureaucracy.

This is the place you’ll bring your oleskelulupahakemus (residence permit application, 19 letters) to. You can get a residence permit based on many reasons, including family ties and acquired jobs.  Immigrants who come to finland as a pakolainen (refugee) will be in close contact with the maahanmuuttovirasto once they arrive to a vastaanottokeskus (reception center, 17 letters).

2. Perheenyhdistäminen (19 letters)

When a refugee comes to Finland escaping the terror and danger of their home country, they often do so alone. They come first to clear the way, and then have their family follow them. The process of getting the whole family together in Finland is called perheenyhdistäminen (family reunion).

The idea is that an immigrant’s family can join each other in Finland if one can provide for the whole family financially. The toimeentulovaatimus (income requirement, 19 letters) can be looked over in case the immigrant’s children are for example in danger in their home country.

1. Hoiva-avustajakoulutus (22 letters)

When an immigrant goes over their choices of finding a job in Finland, one popular option is in the sosiaali- ja terveysala (field of social services and healthcare). There seems to be a constant pula (shortage) of nurses.

For immigrants, the most realistically obtainable courses are the lähihoitajakoulutus (practical nurse training) and the hoiva-avustajakoulutus (nursing assistant training). A lähihoitaja (practical nurse) studies for 2 or 3 years, and can get a job in päiväkoti (day care center), sairaala (hospital), vanhainkoti (retirement home), etc. If you’re a hoiva-avustaja (nursing assistant), after 6 months of studying, you can also work in those places, helping e.g. the elderly to get dressed, washed and fed.


That’s my top 5! There are other words that I could have included, like the modest keskuskauppakamari (Chamber of Commerce, 18 letters), the lovely käsipyyherullajärjestelmä (hand towel roll system, 25 letters) found in most bathrooms, or the interesting kuumailmapallolentolahjakortti (hot air balloon ride gift card, 30 letters). None of those are as useful to immigrants as the words that made my list though!

Learn more vocabulary here!

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