FINLAND

Date of Independence: December 6, 1917

Brief history:

12th Century: First mentions of Finland in written sources.

1155: Establishment of the first Finnish bishopric in Turku.

1323: Finland becomes part of Sweden.

1809: Finland becomes an autonomous part of the Russian Empire after the Finnish War between Sweden and Russia.

1917: Finland declares independence from Russia after the February Revolution.

1918: Finnish Civil War between the Reds and the Whites, won by the Whites, and Finland becomes a republic.

1939: Winter War with Russia, which Finland loses.

1941-4: Attempt by the Soviet Union to reconquer Finland during World War II.

1947: The Paris Treaties officially end the state of war between Finland and the Soviet Union and the allies.

1955: Finland joins the United Nations.

1995: Finland joins the European Union.

2018: Finland celebrates 100 years of independence.

2023: Finland joins NATO.

 

International abbreviation: FIN

 

Currency: Euro (EUR)

Finland adopted the euro as its official currency on January 1, 2002. Prior to the euro, the Finnish markka was used in the country.

 

Internet domain: .fi

 

Dialing code: +358

 

Time zone: GMT +2

 

Geography:

Finland is located in Northern Europe and is surrounded by the Baltic Sea, the Gulf of Bothnia, and the Gulf of Finland. It borders Sweden to the west, Norway to the northwest, Russia to the east, and Estonia to the south across the Gulf of Finland.

The country is known for its thousands of lakes, with the largest being Saimaa. Overall, there are more than 180 000 lakes in Finland, which form a significant part of the Finnish landscape.

The southern part of the country is mostly flat, while the north is characterized by hills and mountain ranges such as Ylläs, Saariselkä, and Levi.

 

Highest peak: Halti 1 324 m (4 344 feet) above sea level.

It is located in the Ylläs mountains, near the town of Äkäslompolo in northwestern Finland, close to the border with Norway. The mountain is also known for its summit lying on the Finnish-Norwegian border. Although the actual peak of Halti is in Norwegian territory, the summit area of the mountain is accessible from Finland.

It offers both hiking opportunities in summer and skiing in winter.

 

Climate:

Finland has predominantly a continental climate with cold winters and mild summers. The climate is heavily influenced by the country’s northern location and its proximity to the Baltic Sea and the Atlantic Ocean.

Winters are cold, with temperatures dropping below -20°C (-4°F) and in some parts of the country even below -30°C (-22°F). Snow typically covers the ground from November to April, and the snow depth can reach up to 50 cm (19.7 inches) or more. Winters are longer and even colder in the northern parts of Finland.

Summers are relatively mild, with average temperatures around 20°C (68°F), but can be very warm with temperatures exceeding 30°C (86°F), especially in the southern regions. Summers are also characterized by the phenomenon of “white nights,” where the sun doesn’t set below the horizon and remains visible even at night.

Throughout the year, Finland experiences significant differences in daylight hours. In winter, the days are very short, especially in the northern parts of the country where the sun may not rise at all. Conversely, summer days are very long, and the sun doesn’t set below the horizon.

 

Fauna and flora:

Finland has a rich and diverse wildlife with many species of plants and animals. Due to its northern location, Finland is home to species that are well adapted to a cold and dry climate.

The forests that cover about three-quarters of Finland’s territory, consist mainly of pine, spruce, birch, aspen, and rowan trees. Forests also harbor forest berries such as blueberries, lingonberries, and raspberries. The northern part of the country features tundra, covered with moss cushions, lichens, and herbs.

Typical animals in Finland include the moose, reindeer, brown bear, Eurasian lynx, gray wolf, wolverine, and red fox. Along the lakes and waterways, beavers, European otters, salmon, and various fish species can be found. The coasts of the Baltic Sea and the Gulf of Finland are inhabited by seals, cormorants, and various fish and crustacean species.

Finland places great emphasis on the protection of its nature and has many national parks and protected areas where rare plant and animal species are preserved.

 

Agriculture:

Most of Finland’s agricultural land is located in the southern and southwestern parts of the country, where the climatic conditions are more favorable.

The most significant crops grown in Finland include barley, oats, wheat, rye, potatoes, sugar beets, fruits, and vegetables. The country is also a significant producer of milk and dairy products.

Due to the large number of lakes and waterways in the country, fishing is also an important source of food and livelihood for many people. Notable fish species include salmon, whitefish, trout, and pike.

 

Natural resource extraction:

Finland has abundant natural resources, including minerals used for industrial purposes. The most important resource is wood, which is used for paper production, wooden furniture, construction materials, and other products.

Another important resource is metal ore, particularly iron ore, which is mined in the northern parts of the country. Finland also has significant reserves of copper, nickel, zinc, gold, silver, and chromium.

Mineral resources such as marble, graphite, quartz, and mica are also mined. In addition, the country has substantial uranium reserves, but uranium mining is prohibited due to environmental concerns.

 

Industry:

The most significant industrial sectors in Finland include wood processing, manufacturing, engineering, and the electrical and chemicals industries.

The wood processing industry is the largest industrial sector in Finland and involves the production of paper, wooden boards, furniture, and other wood products. Finland is the largest exporter of paper and wood products in Europe.

Metal manufacturing is another important industrial sector in Finland. It involves the production of metal products for engineering, electronics, construction, and transportation. Notable Finnish metal producers include Outokumpu, specializing in stainless steel production.

Engineering is another significant industrial sector in Finland, specializing in the production of machinery, equipment, and tools for industrial and technical purposes. Notable Finnish manufacturers include Wärtsilä, specializing in marine engines and generators.

The electrical industry is involved in the production of electronic and electrical devices such as mobile phones, computers, and electronic components. Notable Finnish manufacturers include Nokia, specializing in mobile phone production, and TietoEVRY, working in information technology.

The chemicals industry is engaged in the production of chemicals, plastics, dyes, and other chemical products. Notable Finnish manufacturers include Kemira, specializing in the production of chemicals for industrial purposes.

 

Services and other sectors of the economy: services, science and research, information technology, transportation, tourism, and telecommunications

 

Natural and historical attractions:

Finland attracts tourists with its beautiful countryside, numerous lakes, forests, fjords, islands and wild tundra. Finland is also known for its winter sports, such as skiing, snowboarding, and snowshoeing.

Among the most popular tourist attractions is the capital city, Helsinki. Also of interest is Turku Castle and the old town in Porvoo. Finland also offers many activities for nature lovers, such as hiking, fishing, kayaking, and in winter, skiing, snowshoeing, and Northern Lights observation. Finland is also known for its saunas and spas, which are an important part of Finnish culture. Saunas and spas offer tourists the opportunity to relax and unwind after a long day spent in nature.

 

 

Form of government: Parliamentary republic

Finland is a parliamentary republic with a multi-level system of governance. The head of state is the president, who is elected for a six-year term. The president primarily has symbolic powers, such as signing laws and appointing the government.

Real power lies in the hands of parliament, called the Eduskunta. The Eduskunta has 200 members who are elected for a four-year term. Parliament has extensive powers, including passing laws, approving the budget, and electing the prime minister. The government is led by the prime minister, who is appointed by the president and confirmed by parliament. The government has executive power and responsibility for governing the country.

Finland is divided into municipalities, which have a certain degree of self-governance and responsibility for local administration. Each region has its governor, appointed by the president. Finland is also a member of the European Union and NATO, and actively participates in international organizations such as the United Nations, the OECD, and the WTO.

The judicial system is independent of the executive and parliament. The highest court is the supreme court which is the last instance of appeal and also deals with constitutional issues.

 

Capital city: Helsinki

It is the capital of Finland and the largest city in the country, with a population of approximately 670 000 people. It is located on the southern coast of Finland, on a peninsula between the Gulf of Finland and Lake Helsinki. The city offers many historical and cultural landmarks, such as Uspenski Cathedral, Senate Square, Helsinki Cathedral, and the Suomenlinna Fortress, which is listed as a UNESCO World Heritage site. Helsinki is also home to many museums, galleries, and theaters. Helsinki is also a significant business and financial center. The city is the headquarters of many prominent Finnish companies, such as Nokia, Finnair, and Wärtsilä. Helsinki is also an important seaport for trade and transportation, with direct connections to many European cities. Helsinki is renowned for its modern design and architecture. The city center features many modern buildings, such as Helsinki Central Station, Kiasma – Museum of Contemporary Art, Finlandia Hall – a cultural center, and newer structures like the Kamppi office building and modern residential blocks.

 

Area: 338 432 km2 (130 684 square miles)

 

Population: 5 560 000 (2022 estimate)

The inhabitants of Finland are predominantly ethnic Finns, who make up about 87% of the population. The rest of the population consists mainly of Swedes, Russians, Sámi people, and Roma. Finland has a relatively low urbanization rate, with about 85% of the population living in cities and towns. The largest city is Helsinki, followed by Tampere, Turku, and Oulu. Finland has a high level of education, with about 99% of the population completing basic education and 86% having secondary education. Finland also has a high standard of living and is often ranked among the best countries in the world in quality-of-life rankings. Finland has two official languages, Finnish and Swedish. Finnish is the most widely spoken language, with about 87% of the population speaking it. Swedish is the second most widely spoken language, with about 5.5% of the population speaking it.

 

UNESCO World Heritage Sites: 7

 

  1. Sammallahdenmäki (1999) – Bronze Age burial site near the Finnish town of Lappi in the Satakunta province.
  2. The Suomenlinna Fortress in Helsinki (1991) – 18th-century maritime fortress built on a group of islands near Helsinki.
  3. The Struve Geodetic Arc (2005) – A network of triangulation points stretching across ten countries from Northern Europe to the Caucasus.
  4. The Old Church of Petäjävesi (1994) – 18th-century wooden church located in Petäjävesi, considered one of the most significant examples of the Finnish national architectural style.
  5. Verla Groundwood and Board Mill (1996) – 19th-century wooden pulp mill and board factory located in Southern Finland, showcasing the development of Finnish wood processing.
  6. Old Rauma (1991) – The historic part of the city of Rauma in Finland. It is one of the best-preserved medieval city centers, known for its narrow stone streets, picturesque houses, and historic buildings.
  7. Kvarken Archipelago (2000) – Archipelago of constantly rising and sinking islands located in the Gulf of Bothnia between Finland and Sweden, demonstrating post-glacial rebound.

 

National parks: 41

 

  1. Archipelago National Park
  2. Bothnian Bay National Park
  3. Bothnian Sea National Park
  4. Ekenäs Archipelago National Park
  5. Gulf of Finland National Park
  6. Helvetinjärvi National Park
  7. Hiidenportti National Park
  8. Hossa National Park
  9. Isojärvi National Park
  10. Kauhaneva-Pohjankangas National Park
  11. Koli National Park
  12. Kolovesi National Park
  13. Kurjenrahka National Park
  14. Lauhanvuori National Park
  15. Lemmenjoki National Park
  16. Liesjärvi National Park
  17. Leivonmäki National Park
  18. Linnansaari National Park
  19. Nuuksio National Park
  20. Oulanka National Park
  21. Pallas-Yllästunturi National Park
  22. Patvinsuo National Park
  23. Petkeljärvi National Park
  24. Puurijärvi and Isosuo National Park
  25. Pyhä-Häkki National Park
  26. Pyhä-Luosto National Park
  27. Päijänne National Park
  28. Repovesi National Park
  29. Riisitunturi National Park
  30. Rokua National Park
  31. Salla National Park
  32. Salamajärvi National Park
  33. Seitseminen National Park
  34. Sipoonkorpi National Park
  35. Southern Konnevesi National Park
  36. Syöte National Park
  37. Teijo National Park
  38. Tiilikkajärvi National Park
  39. Torronsuo National Park
  40. Urho Kekkonen National Park
  41. Valkmusa National Park