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Vaasa is the central city of Ostrobothnia. It is located on the coast of the Gulf of Bothnia. The unique Kvarken archipelago off the coast of Vaasa is Finland's only natural heritage site on the international UNESCO World Heritage List.
Vaasa is an international city with about 120 nationalities and 100 mother tongues spoken there. Vaasa has a population of about 67,000, of which almost 70% are Finnish-speaking, just over 20% are Swedish-speaking and about 10% speak other languages. With neighbouring municipalities, the population of the Vaasa region is about 113,000.
There are six higher education institutions in Vaasa. The city has 12,000 higher education students and 4,000 vocational school students.
Vaasa region is the Nordic centre for energy technology. In Vaasa, energy is a positive force that is not only visible in business, but also in people's everyday lives and the development of the city. The Nordic Energy Capital is a unique combination of modern internationalism, young enthusiasm, innovative know-how as well as delicate tranquillity.
Traffic in Vaasa
Read more: Traffic in Finland
Local buses are a good way to get around in the Vaasa region. More information on local traffic, travel, tickets and prices can be found on the Vaasa public transport website. The Digitransit route guide service provides information on how to get from one place to another by bus.
Cycling and walking
Vaasa is a beautiful cycling city. Around 81% of Vaasa’s residents live a mere bicycle ride away from the city centre, i.e. less than 5 km. 179 km of bicycle paths guarantee a convenient way to get around Vaasa. You can find bicycle routes in the Vaasa cycling map application.
Trains, flights and ferries
Vaasa has excellent transport connections, which makes it easy to get to Vaasa from near and far. The airport is only about 10 minutes away from the centre of Vaasa, and the train station is right in the heart of the city. A daily ferry service runs from Umeå in Sweden to Vaasa.
Decision making and civic activity
In Vaasa, a 55 member council decides on the city's affairs, such as operations and finances. Vaasa residents vote on council members every four years in municipal elections.
The council elects the city board, which oversees the city’s interests, represents the city, directs the city administration, and prepares matters for the council.
The mayor of Vaasa manages the city's administration and finances underneath the city board.
Vaasa also has several committees and executive boards. They oversee and supervise operations within their areas of responsibility. The Youth Council promotes and deals with issues concerning the young people in Vaasa. There is also a Disability Council to deal with issues that concern people with disabilities.
If you are a citizen of a country other than Finland, another EU member state, Iceland or Norway you have the right to vote in the municipality elections: if you have been a permanent resident of Finland continually for two years, and you have had the same municipality of residence for at least 51 days before the elections. You will also have to be 18 years old, at the latest on the Election Day.
There are many different religious communities in Vaasa.
You can search for information on the religious communities in Vaasa from the Uskonnot Suomessa website.
Read more: Cultures and religions in Finland
The region of the current city of Vaasa has been inhabited since the 14th century. Finland was a part of the Swedish Empire from the late 13th Century to 1809. In 1606, King Charles IX of Sweden founded the town of Mustasaari on the location of the modern day Vanha Vaasa. Vaasa received its current name in 1611 from the Vaasa monarch family of Sweden.
In 1809 Finland became a Grand Duchy for Russia, and between the years 1855 and 1917 Vaasa was officially called Nikolaistad (Nikolainkaupunki) after Nikolai I of Russia. Finland declared independence in 1917.
The Finnish Civil War broke out in 1918. Finland was ideologically divided into two parts and Vaasa became the capital of one of the sides. Senate sessions were held in the current Vaasa City Hall. Finland’s Statue of Liberty is in Vaasa, and it can be found on the Vaasa market square.