Finland (Official Title: Republic of Finland) is a Nordic country located in northern Europe. It is home to 5,421,827 people and covers a total area of 338,424 km2 (130,596 sq mi). Norway shares borders with Sweden to the west, Norway to the north and Russia to the east. The Gulf of Finland separates it from Estonia to the south. The capital city of Finland is Helsinki which is located in the south of Finland along the Gulf of Finland. It is also the largest city in the country with a population of approximately 600,000.
Interesting Facts about Finland
- Finland is the 8th largest country in Europe in area, but is the most sparsely populated. Most of the population lives in the southern region of the country.
- Finland is a parliamentary republic with a national government and local governments in the many municipalities.
- The official languages of Finland are Finnish and Swedish. 90% of the population speaks Finnish and 5.4% of the population speak Swedish as their native language.
- The largest religious group in Finland is the Evangelical Lutheran Church of Finland with approximately 77% of the population declaring membership of the church.
- Finland was once part of Sweden from the 12th century to the 19th century.
- It was also part of the Russian Empire from 1809 to 1917, but declared Independence from Russia on the 6th December 1917.
- Finland joined the United Nation in 1955, the OECD in 1969, the European Union in 1995, and the eurozone in 1999.
- Finland is one of the wealthiest nations in the world with a per capita income of $49,349 and has recently been rated as one of the most peaceful, competitive and livable countries.
- Finland is rated as having one of the best education systems in the world.
- Finland has many lakes and islands. There are 187,888 lakes in the country. The largest of these lakes is Lake Saimaa which is 4,400 km2 (1,700 sq mi). This lake is also the fourth largest in Europe. There are 179,584 islands mostly located in the southwest Turku archipelago.
- The terrain of the country is mostly flat with few hills or mountains. The highest point in Finland is the Halti which is elevated to a height of 1,324 m (4,344 ft). It is located in the extreme north of Finland at the border between Finland and Norway. The highest peak that is solely in Finland is Ridnitsohkka which is 1,316 m (4,318 ft).
- Finland also has large eskers where glaciers have retreated. The biggest of these, the three Salpausselkä, are located in southern Finland.
- The area of Finland grows approximately 7 square kilometers (2.7 sq mi) per year due to post-glacial rebound.
- Finland has a large forested area with 86% of the land covered in forests. It is the largest forested area in Europe. Due to this, Finland is the largest producer of wood in Europe and one of the largest in the world.
- Finland’s great lake Saimaa is home to the Saimaa Ringed Seal, one of only three species of lake dwelling seals. The Saimaa Ringed Seal lives only in the Lake Saimaa system and only 300 remain.
- Finland climate is classed as semi-continental. The summers are warm and the winters are freezing. During the summer months in southern Finland the temperatures can reach as high as 35 °C (95 °F). The winter lasts around 4 months and snow covered the ground from mid December until early April. Temperatures on average are below 0 °C (32 °F) during the day. On the coldest days temperatures can drop as low as ?40 °C (?40 °F).
- Northern Finland has much longer and colder winters than the south. Winter weather typically lasts for 7 months with snow from October to early May.
- Northern Finland experiences the midnight sun during summer. In fact, the sun doesn’t set at all for 73 consecutive days during summer. Alternatively, the sun is not seen at all for 51 days during winter.
- Finland was the first country to give full suffrage (right to vote) to all adult citizens which included women in 1906.
- The national sport of Finland is Pesäpallo (a reminiscent of baseball). The most popular sports are ice hockey, athletics, cross-country skiing, ski jumping, formula one racing and football (soccer).