Maalaiskunta (Finnish), landskommun (Swedish), "rural municipality", abbreviated mlk was one of the four types of municipality in Finland in 1865–1976. Other types in 1865–1959 were city (in Finnish kaupunki) and market town (in Finnish kauppala), in 1960–1976 old city (in Finnish vanha kaupunki), new city (in Finnish uusi kaupunki) and market town. Maalaiskunta was the most common type of municipality. In the 1977 reform, all municipalities were given fully equal legal standing. Previous maalaiskuntas associated with a city retained their name. For example, Rovaniemen maalaiskunta ("the rural municipality of Rovaniemi) surrounded the city of Rovaniemi, but were independently governed. From 2009, no municipalities will carry this name any more, after the merger of Jyväskylä and Jyväskylän mlk.
Rural municipalities were legally independent from the cities carrying the same name. However, in some cases, particularly when the city was in the geographic center of the municipality, rural municipalities have placed their offices in the city, on the territory of a different municipality. Rural municipalities have also changed their names to create an identity distinct from the city. For example, Vantaa was previously known as Helsingin maalaiskunta, as it was the historical center of Helsinki (location of the Helsinki church village).
In addition, in 1926 Lohja was split into Lohjan maalaiskunta, which was known as Lohjan kunta after 1977, and Lohjan kauppala (later Lohjan kaupunki), but the two merged again in 1997.