In Finland we don't have the concept of state, we only have paikkakunta, which basically means a city, town, or simply a named urban area.

What would be the proper word to refer to a company's home "paikkakunta" in sentences like this:

Is your company's official [paikkakunta] still Helsinki?

Few possibilities I've found from dictionaries, some of which are probably completely incorrect, and of course others might exist too:

  • locality
  • hometown
  • domicile
  • residency

An example from the headquarters Wikipedia page, where it says

The headquarters of the United Nations in New York City.

This is not what I'm after, I am specifically looking for the place that the headquarters is located in, so I'd like to be able to say something like:

The [paikkakunta] of the United Nations is New York City.

  • Informally or slangily in the U.S., "turf" (adopted from street gang usage) would be easily and instantly understood. Commented Feb 22, 2017 at 9:17
  • 3
    Maybe is IS possible that a word exists which fits your question exactly. However, I'm pretty sure it would be a contrived example. The common way of saying it would be "The headquarters (or, main office, or any variant) is in Helsinki", and that sentence does have the unequivocal meaning you're looking for.
    – Mr Lister
    Commented Feb 22, 2017 at 10:08
  • When translating, rather than working word for word, it is better to focus on the meaning, and then allow that meaning to express itself naturally in the target language. With this approach, I suggest: "Is your company still officially located in Helsinki?" Commented Feb 23, 2017 at 6:27
  • @aparente001 This is for a column name in a webform, and it's just that one word when registering your company, i.e. Hometown: [___________] and then they can select their hometown from a list of Finland's towns. And it really doesn't matter what I write there, it will be understood regardless, but I just got curious on what would be the best word :) Commented Feb 23, 2017 at 7:40

10 Answers 10


Hometown itself works for the purpose. Examples:

  1. "This month, managers and executives from U.S. Security Associates (USA) are making plans to gather in the security company’s hometown of Atlanta, Ga. for the ASIS International 60th Annual Seminar and Exhibits." -- Security Today

  2. "The catalogue is distributed both in stores and by mail, with most of it being produced by IKEA Communications AB in IKEA's hometown of Älmhult, Sweden where IKEA operates the largest photo studio in northern Europe at 8,000 square metres (86,000 sq ft)." -- Wikipedia

  3. "We're proud of our Georgia heritage, and more specifically that we call Atlanta our hometown. Our headquarters, known within the company as the Support Center for restaurant Operators, is located just outside of downtown." -- Chic-fil-a

  • How does this compare to @mahmudkoya's home base, or are they both perfectly viable? Commented Feb 22, 2017 at 8:53
  • 1
    @MarkusMeskanen - At least in the UK, "hometown" is far more common than "home base". That said, "hometown" sounds AmE rather than BrE, but most BrE speakers would still recognise and understand it.
    – AndyT
    Commented Feb 22, 2017 at 14:20
  • 1
    I feel like this wouldn't work if a company had moved its headquarters at some point, especially recently.
    – Kat
    Commented Feb 22, 2017 at 21:37
  • 1
    I agree that there's a connotation in "hometown" that it's not only the HQ but also where the comoany was founded and has been ever since. If the HQ had moved out of where the company was founded I would call it just that: headquarter
    – pzkpfw
    Commented Feb 23, 2017 at 0:48
  • 1
    I agree that 'hometown' wouldn't work, because this implies that the company was founded there. You wouldn't say "The hometown of the UN is NYC." unless the UN was founded in NYC. Commented Feb 23, 2017 at 1:53

Home base -- M-W

(noun) 1. the place in which someone or something lives or operates.
"The company's home base is in New York."

  • +1 The company's home base is in New York.. But what is New York to the company?
    – NVZ
    Commented Feb 22, 2017 at 8:39
  • 4
    New York is his company's home base! Commented Feb 22, 2017 at 8:44
  • 1
    Note this does not work so well in the UK because there is a well-known company actually called Homebase. Its name is heard much more commonly than this phrase. Commented Feb 22, 2017 at 9:47
  • 2
    @Muzer you are right but anyway "home base" is not common in UK English, is it? I can't recall ever hearing it used. I can't imagine anyone saying "Boots' home base is in Nottingham" for example. Commented Feb 22, 2017 at 10:07
  • 1
    @AlfredArmstrong No, I can't say I've ever heard people use it, but my point is I expect you'd be understood without confusion with the company.
    – Muzer
    Commented Feb 22, 2017 at 10:14

I would choose locality as it is not as specific in meaning (definition) as other suggestions.

Good alternative is municipality as the link you provided has this:

Kielitoimiston sanakirjan mukaan käsite "paikkakunta" viittaa varsinkin kuntaan.


According to Language office's dictionary, concept "paikkakunta" refers especially to municipality.


Base of operations. Merriam-Webster:

main offices, headquarters:
The company's base of operations is (in) London.

In your sentence:

Is your company's base of operations still Helsinki?

Note that "official" from your original sentence is redundant, as base of operations implies official recognition.



Definition of domicile from the English Oxford Dictionary:

The place at which a company or other body is registered, especially for tax purposes.


The place within which an organisation is located can be described as the latter's seat, as conveyed in definition four of OxfordDictionary.com's entry:

A principal site or location.

Usage for the provided example:

The seat of the United Nations is New York City.

  • When referring to an operational base, and not an abstract center (seat of operations, seat of power), it would be most unusual to use seat to refer to the location of a private organization's headquarters. No one would say Amazon has its seat in Seattle, or that Seoul is the seat of Samsung.
    – choster
    Commented Feb 23, 2017 at 0:05

Headquarters would truly be the best word to use, and I would advise the OP to disregard their aversion to it. By definition, headquarters is where the head branch of the company is located. Hometown is the next closest thing, but I would consider it a distant second. Hometown is almost exclusively used in a personal sense and has more emotional connotations. You might see corporations or organizations refer to an area as their "hometown" but it can come across as a bit cheesy. Generally, people have hometowns while corporations and organizations have headquarters.

As an aside, I can understand the desire to avoid using headquarters when you have a concept similar to "hometown" that is widely used and accepted in this context in Finland, but it comes down to the nuance of translation and the fact that there's not a direct equivalence in English.


Think of it like the following sentence.

"Delta's corporate hub is located in Atlanta, Ga."


"Atlanta is Delta's home city."

  • Hi @Carl V. Lewis, welcome to English Language & Usage. ELU recommends that all answers include some context and explanation, as opposed to just standalone information. Please include these elements in your responses. Thanks!
    – freeling10
    Commented Feb 23, 2017 at 4:42

Home market -- Business Dictionary

(noun) Country, state, or city where a firm has its headquarters.

But this is only applicable to companies selling products, I think, and not for the UN.


If it has to be official then ‘Is your company's official address still Helsinki?’

It doesn’t matter that ‘The headquarters of the United Nations in New York City’ is wrong.

‘The headquarters of the United Nations is (in) New York City’ is perfect.

There would be an element of guesswork even if the question involved English alone, yet it looks as though by ‘a company's home area’ you mean wherever the head or registered office is situated. (Please remember: the difference between head and registered offices in grammar is irrelevant.)

Acknowledging Finnish as the least usual language in Europe doesn’t alter the fact that it’s extremely unlikely Finnish really doesn’t have the concept ‘state’. City, town, or named urban area are hardly the same things in any language I’ve ever heard.

Even Wikipedia (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/State_(polity)) understands that A state is an organized political entity living under a single government. the idea that Finland has no such concept would be inconceivable, unless Finland had been somehow isolated from the rest of the world until last week…

If Finland has neither single word nor simple phrase for ‘state’, that’s one thing. If even ancient, let alone modern Finnish really had no concept of state but only city, town, or urban area that would be a very interesting characteristic indeed.

Are you really suggesting that Finnish recognises nothing less than city, town, or urban area? No parishes, districts nor, in the US American sense, counties? Are you really suggesting that Finnish recognises nothing but a house, in a street, in a city, town, or urban area, and that’s it? That’s conceivable only in two ways.

First, you could insist that Finnish doesn’t recognise things like cinema or radio, television or computers, automobiles, refrigerators or fax machines because there are no words in pure, ancient Finnish for those things…

Second, you could insist that Finnish people are not capable of understanding those terms in other languages and so are unable to incorporate them into Finnish.

That L’Academie Francaise is alleged to have ‘outlawed’ terms like ‘le weekend’ is wholly irrelevant to whether or not Jean Grenouille ‘has the concept of state.’

There are only two ways ‘The headquarters of the United Nations in New York City’ could be acceptable in English and neither is part of normal speech.

First, if it really was a direct translation, perfect in every detail, and described as such at the time.

Second, if it didn’t even try to present itself as ‘proper speech’ but was used, for instance, as a caption for a photograph. In that style the entire caption would take the place of a single noun and so not need to follow any rules but those applying to nouns; not the general rules of the whole language.

Either way, ‘The headquarters of the United Nations in New York City’ is not a complete English sentence. As such either it is excused from pretty-much all rules, or it is simply wrong or both.

‘Locality/hometown/domicile/residency’ might not quite be grammatically wrong but none of them has any real place here; semantic or idiomatic. The terms simply do not apply.

‘Home area’ is not meaningless but neither is it ever used; in British English, anyway.

‘Home office’ is very much a US American term, for which the British equivalent is ‘head office.’

Broadly a local office is a branch of an area within a region within potentially a few other levels within a corporation or business or company but specifically ‘Locality’ applies to a particular office, not to the company as a whole. That’s doubly true in the US where, for instance, unions have ‘locals’ or ‘local chapters’ which in Britain would always be called ‘branches’ or just possibly, ‘chapters.’

‘Hometown’ might work as a geographical term but it is not used for a business; only ever for a family or an individual person.

‘Domicile’ almost exclusively refers to the personal residence of a family or an individual person. ’Residence’ is almost interchangeable with ‘domicile.’

‘Residency’ is a special term reserved for various high officials of government, such as viceroys, governors or ambassadors and even then it sounds archaic. Even in the context of a business which effectively owned a country, such as the East India or Hudson’s Bay Companies, neither the head office housing the board of directors, nor the personal residence of even the most senior of those directors, could truly be termed a ‘residency’

  • It seems you're trying for "Is your company's address/base/location Helsinki?" How would any of those not serve? With no concept of state, how do Finns compare their land to Norway, Russia or Sweden? Is Finnish stuck with "that place in the east, bigger than a city, town, or urban area? How do Finns compare their country to any city?? Could you drop "still" and use "Is your company's official [paikkakunta] Helsinki?" Domicile, home-town and residency can't apply to a business. Locality might work, at a huge stretch. How is the HQ of the UN in NYC comparable? Commented Apr 14, 2022 at 23:12

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