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About Finland

Total area:
  • 338,000 square kilometres, of which 10% is water and 69% forest;
  • 187,888 lakes, 5,100 rapids and 179,584 islands;
  • Europe's largest archipelago, including the semi-autonomous province of Åland
Distances:
1,160 km north to south, 540 km west to east
Finland's land border with Russia (1,269 km) is the eastern border of the European Union.
Climate:
The climate of Finland is marked by cold winters and fairly warm summers. In the far north of the country the sun does not set for about 73 days, producing the white nights of summer. In winter the sun remains below the horizon for 51 days in the far north.
In summer the temperature quite often rises to +20 Celsius or more and occasionally goes close to +30 in southern and eastern parts of the country. In winter, temperatures of -20 Celsius are not uncommon in many areas. Finnish Lapland invariably has the lowest winter temperatures. The mean temperature in Helsinki in July is +17 Celsius and in February -5.7 Celsius.

People


Population:
  • 5.3 million, 15.7 inhabitants per square kilometre
  • 71% live in towns or urban areas, 29% in rural areas
  • Principal cities: Helsinki (564,000), Espoo (235,000), Tampere (206,000), Vantaa (189,000), Turku (175,000) and Oulu (130,000)
  • About 1.25 million people live in the Helsinki metropolitan area
  • Finland has a Sami (Lapp) population of 8,700.
Languages:
Finland has two official languages: Finnish and Swedish.
Finnish, a Finno-Ugric language, is spoken by 91.5% and Swedish by 5.5% of the population. Sami (Lappish) is the mother tongue of about 1,700 people.
Religion: 82.4% Lutheran and about 1.1% Orthodox

History and governance


Some important events in the history of Finland:
1155 The first crusade to Finland by the Swedes. Finland becomes part of the Swedish realm.
1809 Finland is handed over to Russia by Sweden and becomes a autonomous Grand Duchy under the Russian emperor.
1917 Finland's declaration of independence on December 6.
1919 The present constitution is adopted and Finland becomes a republic.
1939-40 The Soviet Union attacks Finland, which leads to the winter war.
1941-44 Fighting between Finnish and Soviet Forces resumes in the Continuation War. Some territory is ceded to the Soviet Union but Fnland is never occupied and preserves its independence and sovereignty.
1955 Finland joins the United Nations
1995 Finland becomes a member of the European Union
The head of state is the President of the Republic. The President is elected for a six-year term by direct popular vote. The incumbent, President Mrs Tarja Halonen, was elected in 2000, and re-elected in 2006.
Parliament:
Parliament consists of one chamber with 200 members. The members are elected for a four-year term by direct popular vote under a system of proportional representation.
After the parliamentary elections on 18, March 2007, the seats were divided among eight parties as follows:
Party Seats % of votes
The Centre Party 51 23.1
The National Coalition Party 50 22.3
The Social Democratic Party 45 21.4
The Left Wing Alliance 17 8.8
The Green League 15 8.5
The Swedish People's Party 9 4.6
The Christian Democrats 7 4.9
The True Finns 5 4.1
Others (province of Åland representative) 1 2.3

The Government:
The President of the Republic, Tarja Halonen, appointed Finland’s 70th Cabinet on 19 April 2007. The coalition government headed by Prime Minister Matti Vanhanen, Centre Party, consists of 20 ministers. The Centre Party and the National Coalition Party have eight ministerial posts each. The Green League and the Swedish People's Party both have two ministers.

The Economy


In 2006, Finland's GNP per capita was around 31,700 euros.
Imports and exports in 2006 by region
Region exports
% share of total
imports
% share of total
EU-countries
Euro Zone
Rest of Europe
OECD
North America
Central and South America
Middle East
Rest of Asia
Africa
Oceania
57.0
29.3
16.4
68.0
7.4
2.6
4.6
9.2
2.3
0.8
55.6
31.5
19.0
67.7
4.3
2.8
0.2
16.0
0.6
1.3

Most important trade partners in 2006
Countries exports
% share of total
imports
% share of total
Germany
Sweden
Russia
USA
United Kingdom
Netherlands
France
China
Italy
Estonia
Norway
Spain
Belgium
Denmark
Japan
11.3
10.5
10.1
6.5
6.5
5.1
3.4
3.2
3.2
2.9
2.6
2.5
2.3
2.1
1.6
13.9
9.8
14.1
3.8
4.8
4.4
3.3
7.4
3.4
2.3
3.1
1.5
2.2
3.1
2.9

Exports:
There are three almost equally important exports sectors in the Finnish economy: electrotechnical industry products account for about 24.7% of exports; metal products, machinery and transport equipment account for about 33.7%; and wood and paper products account for about 20.2%. The fourth biggest export sector is the chemical industry. In 2006, the volume of exported goods grew by 17%. Trade with developing countries accounted for about 15.7% of total exports in 2006.

Imports:
Finnish industry is particularly dependent on imports of raw materials, machinery and components that it needs for manufacturing products for both domestic and export markets. In 2006, raw materials and investment goods accounted for 37.6% and 21.0% of imports respectively, while the share of energy of total imports was 15.5%. Consumer goods, including textiles, clothing and cars, made up just over 26% of total imports. In 2006, imports increased by 17%. Trade with developing countries accounted for 16.7% of imports in 2006.

Currency:
The Finnish currency unit is the euro. Finland was one of the 12 EU countries that started using euro cash in 2002.

Sources:
  • Statistics Finland
  • National Board of Customs
  • Population Register Center
  • State Provincial Office of Lapland
  • Localfinland.fi
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