Population: 5,421,827 (est.)
Language(s): Finnish, Swedish
- The Euro (€) is the official currency of Finland.
- Approximately 4.2 million (or 77.2% at the end of 2011) adherents are members of the Evangelical Lutheran Church of Finland. The second largest group, accounting for 20.1% of the population, has no religious affiliation.
- It has also been ranked as one of the world’s countries with the highest quality of life
- Mobile company Nokia was founded in Finland.
- Finland is the only country in the world which broadcasts news in Latin.
- Finland is one of the world’s wealthiest nations.
- The amount you get fined for speeding on the roads in Finland depends on the amount you earn.
- There are no public payphones in Finland.
- Finland is the most sparsely populated country in the European Union, with only around 16 inhabitants per km².
- The Finns are the world’s biggest coffee drinkers, gulping down no less than 12 kg of the black substance annually, twice more than the Italians, three times more than the Americans, and four times more than the Brits.
- Finland was once part of Sweden from the 12th century to the 19th century.
- Finland is rated as having one of the best education systems in the world.
- As the home of the sauna, Finnish sauna culture is well established, there are built-in-saunas in almost every house in Finland.
- There are 1.8 million saunas in Finland.
- The largest sector of the economy is services at 65.7 percent, followed by manufacturing and refining at 31.4 percent. Primary production is 2.9 percent.
Finland, officially the Republic of Finland, is a Nordic country situated in the Fennoscandian region of Northern Europe. It is bordered by Sweden to the west, Norway to the north and Russia to the east, while Estonia lies to the south across the eponymous Gulf of Finland.
An estimated 5.4 million people live in Finland, with the majority concentrated in its southern regions. In terms of area, it is the eighth largest country in Europe and the most sparsely populated country in the European Union. Politically, it is a parliamentary republic with a central government based in the capital of Helsinki, local governments in 336 municipalities and an autonomous region, the Åland Islands. About one million residents live in the Greater Helsinki area (consisting of Helsinki, Espoo, Kauniainen and Vantaa) and a third of the country’s GDP is produced there. Other larger cities include Tampere, Turku, Oulu, Jyväskylä, Lahti and Kuopio.
From the 12th until the start of the 19th century, Finland was a part of Sweden. It then became an autonomous Grand Duchy within the Russian Empire until the Russian Revolution and Russia‘s withdrawal from World War I in 1917. This prompted the Finnish Declaration of Independence, which was followed by a civil war where the pro-Bolshevik “Reds” were defeated by the pro-conservative “Whites” with support from the German Empire. After a brief attempt to establish a monarchy in the country, Finland became the republic that it remains today.
Finland’s experience of World War II involved three separate conflicts: the Winter War (1939–1940) and Continuation War (1941–1944) against the Soviet Union; and the Lapland War (1944–1945) against Nazi Germany. Following the end of the war, Finland joined the United Nations in 1955, the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) in 1969, the European Union in 1995 and the eurozone at its inception in 1999. During this time, it built an extensive welfare state.
Finland was a relative latecomer to industrialisation, remaining a largely agrarian country until the 1950s. Thereafter, economic development was rapid, such that today, with a nominal per-capita income of over $49,000 (2011), Finland is one of the world’s wealthiest nations.
Finland presents both eastern and western European attitudes to global politics and economics. According to some measures, it has the best educational system in Europe and has recently been ranked as one of the world’s most peaceful and economically competitive countries. It has also been ranked as one of the world’s countries with the highest quality of life.