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The Republic of Finland (officially: Suomen Tasavalta,
in short: Suomi) is located in Northern Europe and
borders on the Bothnian and in the South on the Gulf of
Finland, both of which are part of the Baltic Sea. In
the east, the country has a 1.313 km border with Russia
, the northern border with Norway is 729 km long. The
country borders Sweden to the west (568 km). At 338 145
km², Finland is about the same size as its Norwegian
neighbor in the north, with the land area increasing by
around 10 km² annually due to the decline in glaciers.
Finland can be divided into four major landscapes:
Finnish Lapland in the north, which occupies about a
third of the country's territory; the Finnish lake
district in the center and south; the coastal plains on
the Gulf of Finland and the Gulf of Bothnia and a skerry
belt made up of small rocky islands off the mainland.
Finnish Lapland is located north of the Arctic Circle
and is part of the Lapland region, which spans the
territories of Russia, Sweden, Norway and Finland.
Large parts of Finland are forested. There are over
55,000 lakes in the country. The largest of these is the
Saimaa in southeastern Finland with 1,460 km², the
second largest of the Päijänne in southern Finland with
1,090 km². The lakes are connected by waterways and
rivers and make up about a tenth of the country's area.
Lakes, rivers and swamps are the result of the glacier
landscape that represented Finland today in the ice age.
The southern part of the country is flat. Higher regions
can only be found in the center, where the central
Finnish highlands between Lapland and the Lake District
reach up to 492 m and in the extreme northwest, where
the Haltiatunturi rises, which is the highest mountain
in Finland at 1,328 m.The wide belt of archipelago
islands, which is off the Finnish coasts, is
particularly strong in the southwest.
Cold snowy winters and moderately warm summers
correspond to a continental climate with subpolar
features. Lapland north of the Arctic Circle in
particular has extreme climatic conditions. The
temperatures here can sometimes drop below -30 กใ C. The
snow only melts in the very short summers and in the
months of May to July the temperatures can rise to a
maximum of 27 กใ C. The Lapland city of Inari has mean
temperatures of -13.3 กใ C in January and 13 กใ C in July.
In regions beyond the Arctic Circle, the sun remains
above the horizon at midnight in the summer due to the
ecliptic (midnight sun).
Further south, the temperatures are less extreme. In
the Baltic Sea city of Helsinki in January they are
around -6 กใ C and in July around 17 กใ C. The harsh
winters cause the coastal waters to ice up from January
and there is an ice connection between the mainland and
Flora and fauna
On the stone base of the Baltic Shield, consisting of
granites, gneisses, mica slate, limestone and quartzites,
there is only a thin layer of soil on which extensive
forest areas, which occupy about two thirds of the
country's area, thrive. Finland is the most forested
country in Europe. In addition to spruce and pine,
individual deciduous trees such as various types of
birch, aspen and willow grow under the boreal coniferous
forest. Tundra vegetation can also be found on the
permafrost in the polar region in the far north of
Finland. This consists of dwarf shrubs, mosses and
lichens, as well as willow species and heather. Almost a
third of the country's surface has been swamped, partly
crippled forests grow on the acid soil.
Finland has a rich fauna. Gulls and terns breed on
the numerous islands off the mainland. Duck species can
be found on the freshwater lakes. Native bird species
include jays, wagtails and eagles (in the north).
Numerous migratory birds nest in Finland and migrate to
the warmer south in winter. The deep forests are
inhabited by bears, moose, wolves, lynxes, wolverines (a
species of marten) and by the most famous animals in
Finland, the moose. The reindeer, which were once free
to live mainly in Lapland, are domesticated. The
fish-rich northern rivers are home to salmon, trout and
carp species. The most common type of fish in the waters
of the Baltic Sea is herring, pike, char and perch, and
lobsters in summer.
According to COUNTRYAAH, 5.22 million people live in Finland. The country's
largest city is the capital Helsinki, located on the
Baltic Sea, with a population of 560,000. Other major
cities are Espoo (227,000 residents), Vantaa (185,500)
and Tampere (202,900) in southern Finland, Turku
(174,000), formerly the capital on the Gulf of Bothnia,
and Oulu (127,200) in northern Finland. 93% of the
population are Finnish, the largest minority are Swedish
citizens. Northern Finland has between 2,000 and 6,000
seeds, according to estimates.
The country's main religion is Christianity, to which
89% profess, of which the vast majority belong to the
Finnish Evangelical Lutheran Church. 10% are
non-denominational, 1% belong to other denominations.
The official language is Finnish, which belongs to the
group of Finno-Ugric languages. Finno-Ugric dialects are
also spoken in north-west Sweden, Siberia and Hungary.
The 26,500 residents of the Åland Islands have Swedish
as their official and school language.
The population grew by 0.4% and life expectancy
averaged 78.4 years.
Finland is a parliamentary republic according to the
2000 constitution. The state president (Sauli Niinistö,
since March 2012) is directly elected by the people
every six years. He appoints the State Council as
government, which is headed by a Prime Minister (Jyrki
Katainen, since June 2011). When forming a government,
he is bound by the vote of the group chairmen and
exercises his foreign policy competences in agreement
with the government. He is also commander in chief of
the armed forces. The new constitution has strengthened
the roles of parliament and defense minister.
The legislature lies with the Reichstag. It has 200
members who are elected for four years each. The most
important parties in Finland are the Center Party
(KESK), the National Collection Party (KOK), the Social
Democratic Party (SDP), the right-wing populist party
"The Finns" (PeruS), the Left Association (VAS), the
Green Party (VIHR) and the Swedish party People's Party
(SFP) and the Christian Democrats (KD).
The administration of Finland is divided into five
provinces and the autonomous province of Åland.
Finland is a highly industrialized country, largely
organized according to free market criteria. With the
accession to the EU in 1995, the country opened up new
The most important sector of the economy is the
service sector (68% of GDP) with 71% of the workforce.
Due to the climatic conditions, agriculture is
limited to the production of basic food. Only about 7.5%
of the country's area is primarily used for growing
potatoes, fodder beet, oats, wheat and barley. Forestry
in particular is an important source of extra income for
the rural population. Dairy farming is of paramount
importance; reindeer and fur farming is practiced in
Lapland. Agriculture only brings in 3.3% of gross
domestic product (GDP).
Industry contributes around a third of GDP. The
construction industry in particular has seen an upswing.
Other key industries are wood and metal processing,
mechanical engineering, telecommunications and
electronics. Rich deposits of iron, copper and nickel in
Lapland as well as zinc, titanium, lead, vanadium,
chromium and cobalt ores also in other regions of the
country are an important source of income. Pyrite,
selenium, asbestos and peat are also mined.
The most important imported goods are chemical
products, machines, vehicles, fuels and raw materials,
while the export goods are machines, paper and also raw
materials. The most important trading partners are the
EU and EFTA countries. But there are also closer trade
relationships with Russia and the USA.
The main seaports are Helsinki, Naantali, Hamina,
Kotka and Raume, the largest international airport is
The currency has been the euro since 2002 (= 100