Finland’s language and national identity have been influenced by both its Scandinavian and Russian neighbours. Once aligned with the USSR, Finland is now a member of the EU.
Geography: South and center are flat, with low hills and many lakes. Uplands and low mountains in the north. 60% of the land area is forested.
Climate: Long, harsh winters with frequent snowfalls. Short, warmer summers. Rainfall is low, and decreases northward.
People and Society: One in four of the population lives in the Greater Helsinki region. Swedish-speakers live mainly in the Åland Islands in the southwest. The Sámi (Lapps) lead a semi-nomadic existence inside the Arctic Circle. Women make up 48% of the labour force, continuing a long tradition of equality between the sexes. Families tend to be close-knit, though marriage is becoming less common.
The Economy: Strong engineering and electronics sectors: home of Nokia. Wood, pulp, and paper production.
Insight: Finland has Europe’s largest inland waterway system
Official Name: Republic of Finland
Date of Formation: 1917
Population: 5.33 million
Total Area: 130,127 sq. miles (337,030 sq. km)
Density: 45 people per sq. mile
Languages: Finnish*, Swedish*, Sámi
Religions: Evangelical Lutheran 89%, other 9%, Orthodox Christian 1%, Roman Catholic 1%
Ethnic Mix: Finnish 93%, other (including Sámi) 7%
Government: Parliamentary system
Currency: Euro = 100 cents