Information about Finland - a Country in Scandinavia -

Finland Facts

imgres

Population: 5,527,061 For more visit Worldmeters

Official Languages: Finnish and Swedish 

Area: 338,424 km²

Finland, officially the Republic of Finland, is a sovereign state in Europe. A peninsula with the Gulf of Finland to the south and the Gulf of Bothnia to the west, the country has land borders with Sweden to the northwest, Norway to the north, and Russia to the east. Estonia is south of the country across the Gulf of Finland. Finland is situated in the geographical region of Fennoscandia, which also includes Scandinavia. Finland’s population is 5.5 million (2014), staying roughly on the same level over the past two decades. The majority of the population is concentrated in the southern region. In terms of area, it is the eighth largest country in Europe and the most sparsely populated country in the European Union. Finland is a parliamentary republic with a central government based in the capital Helsinki, local governments in 317 municipalities, and an autonomous region, the Åland Islands. Over 1.4 million people live in the Greater Helsinki metropolitan area, which produces a third of the country’s GDP. From the late 12th century, Finland was an integral part of Sweden, a legacy reflected in the prevalence of the Swedish language and its official status. In the spirit of the notion of Adolf Ivar Arwidsson (1791–1858), “we are no-longer Swedes, we do not want to become Russians, let us therefore be Finns”, the Finnish national identity started to establish. Nevertheless, in 1809, Finland was incorporated into the Russian Empire as the autonomous Grand Duchy of Finland. In 1906, Finland became the second nation in the world to give the right to vote to all adult citizens and the first in the world to give all adult citizens the right to run for public office. Following the 1917 Russian Revolution, Finland declared itself independent. In 1918, the fledgling state was divided by civil war, with the Bolshevik-leaning “Reds” supported by the equally new Soviet Union, fighting the “Whites”, supported by the German Empire. After a brief attempt to establish a kingdom, the country became a republic. During World War II, the Soviet Union sought repeatedly to occupy Finland, with Finland losing parts of Karelia, Salla and Kuusamo, Petsamo and some islands, but retaining independence. Finland joined the United Nations in 1955 and established an official policy of neutrality. The Finno-Soviet Treaty of 1948 gave the Soviet Union some leverage in Finnish domestic politics during the Cold War era. Finland joined the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) in 1969, the NATO Partnership for Peaceon 1994, the European Union in 1995, the Euro-Atlantic Partnership Council in 1997, and finally the Eurozone at its inception, in 1999. Finland was a relative latecomer to industrialization, remaining a largely agrarian country until the 1950s. It rapidly developed an advanced economy while building an extensive Nordic-style welfare state, resulting in widespread prosperity and one of the highest per capital incomes in the world. However, since 2012 Finnish GDP growth has been negative, with a preceding nadir of −8% in 2009. Finland is a top performer in numerous metrics of national performance, including education, economic competitiveness, civil liberties, quality of life, and human development. In 2015, Finland was ranked first in the World Human Capital and the Press Freedom Index, and as the most stable country in the world in the Failed States Index, and second in the Global Gender Gap Report. A large majority of Finns are members of the Evangelical Lutheran Church, though freedom of religion is guaranteed under the Finnish Constitution.

Currency: Euro

Currency Converter

 

 

Cuisine

Swedish Finnish cuisine is notable for generally combining traditional country fare and haute cuisine with contemporary style cooking. Fish and meat play a prominent role in traditional Finnish dishes from the western part of the country, while the dishes from the eastern part have traditionally included various vegetables and mushrooms. Refugees from Karelia contributed to foods in eastern Finland.Finnish foods often use wholemeal products (rye, barley, oats) and berries (such as bilberries, lingonberries, cloudberries, and sea buckthorn). Milk and its derivatives like buttermilk are commonly used as food, drink, or in various recipes. Various turnips were common in traditional cooking, but were replaced with the potato after its introduction in the 18th century.According to the statistics, red meat consumption has risen, but still Finns eat less beef than many other nations, and more fish and poultry. This is mainly because of the high cost of meat in Finland.

Culture

Literature

Written Finnish could be said to have existed since Mikael Agricola translated the New Testament into Finnish during the Protestant Reformation, but few notable works of literature were written until the nineteenth century and the beginning of a Finnish national Romantic Movement. This prompted Elias Lönnrot to collect Finnish and Karelian folk poetry and arrange and publish them as the Kalevala, the Finnish national epic. The era saw a rise of poets and novelists who wrote in Finnish, notably Aleksis Kivi and Eino Leino. Many writers of the national awakening wrote in Swedish, such as the national poet Johan Ludvig Runeberg and Zachris Topelius. After Finland became independent, there was a rise of modernist writers, most famously the Finnish-speaking Mika Waltari and Swedish-speakingEdith Södergran. Frans Eemil Sillanpää was awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1939. The Second World War prompted a return to more national interests in comparison to a more international line of thought, characterized by Väinö Linna. Besides Kalevala and Waltari, the Swedish-speaking Tove Jansson is the most translated Finnish writer. Popular modern writers include Arto Paasilinna, Ilkka Remes, Kari Hotakainen, Sofi Oksanen, and Jari Tervo, while the best novel is annually awarded the prestigious Finlandia Prize.

Visual arts, design, and architecture

The visual arts in Finland started to form their individual characteristics in the 19th century, when Romantic nationalism was rising in autonomic Finland. The best known of Finnish painters, Akseli Gallen-Kallela, started painting in a naturalist style, but moved to national romanticism. Finland’s best-known sculptor of the twentieth century was Wäinö Aaltonen, remembered for his monumental busts and sculptures. Finns have made major contributions to handicrafts and industrial design: among the internationally renowned figures areTimo Sarpaneva, Tapio Wirkkala and Ilmari Tapiovaara. Finnish architecture is famous around the world, and has contributed significantly to several styles internationally, such as Jugendstil (or Art Nouveau), Nordic Classicism and Functionalism. Among the top twentieth-century Finnish architects to gain international recognition are Eliel Saarinen and his son Eero Saarinen. Architect Alvar Aalto is regarded as among the most important twentieth-century designers in the world; he helped bring functionalist architecture to Finland, but soon was a pioneer in its development towards an organic style. Aalto is also famous for his work in furniture, lamps, textiles and glassware, which were usually incorporated into his buildings.

Music
Classical

Much of the Finland’s classical music is influenced by traditional Karelian melodies and lyrics, as comprised in the Kalevala. Karelian culture is perceived as the purest expression of the Finnic myths and beliefs, less influenced by Germanic influence than the Nordic folk dance music that largely replaced the kalevaic tradition. Finnish folk music has undergone a roots revival in recent decades, and has become a part of popular music. The people of northern Finland, Sweden, and Norway, the Sami, are known primarily for highly spiritual songs called Joik. The same word sometimes refers to lavlu or vuelie songs, though this is technically incorrect. The first Finnish opera was written by the German-born composer Fredrik Pacius in 1852. Pacius also wrote the music to the poem Maamme/Vårt land (Our Country), Finland’s national anthem. In the 1890s Finnish nationalism based on the Kalevala spread, and Jean Sibelius became famous for his vocal symphony Kullervo. He soon received a grant to study runo singers in Karelia and continued his rise as the first prominent Finnish musician. In 1899 he composed Finlandia, which played its important role in Finland gaining independence. He remains one of Finland’s most popular national figures and is a symbol of the nation. Today, Finland has a very lively classical music scene and many of Finland’s important composers are still alive, such as Magnus Lindberg, Kaija Saariaho, Kalevi Aho, Aulis Sallinen, and Einojuhani Rautavaara. The composers are accompanied by a large number of great conductors such as Esa-Pekka Salonen, Osmo Vänskä, Jukka-Pekka Saraste, and Leif Segerstam. Some of the internationally acclaimed Finnish classical musicians are Karita Mattila, Soile Isokoski, Pekka Kuusisto, Olli Mustonen, and Linda Lampenius.

Modern

Iskelmä (coined directly from the German word Schlager, meaning “hit”) is a traditional Finnish word for a light popular song. Finnish popular music also includes various kinds of dance music; tango, a style of Argentine music, is also popular. The light music in Swedish-speaking areas has more influences from Sweden. Modern Finnish popular music includes a number of prominent rock bands, jazz musicians, hip hopperformers, dance music acts, etc.During the early 1960s, the first significant wave of Finnish rock groups emerged, playing instrumental rock inspired by groups such as The Shadows. Around 1964, Beatlemania arrived in Finland, resulting in further development of the local rock scene. During the late 1960s and 1970s, Finnish rock musicians increasingly wrote their own music instead of translating international hits into Finnish. During the decade, someprogressive rock groups such as Tasavallan Presidentti and Wigwam gained respect abroad but failed to make a commercial breakthrough outside Finland. This was also the fate of the rock and roll group Hurriganes. The Finnish punk scene produced some internationally acknowledged names including Terveet Kädet in the 1980s. Hanoi Rocks was a pioneering 1980s glam rock act that inspired the American hard rock group Guns N’ Roses, among others. Many Finnish metal bands have gained international recognition. HIM and Nightwish are some of Finland’s most internationally known bands. HIM’s 2005 album Dark Light went gold in the United States. Apocalyptica are an internationally famous Finnish group who are most renowned for mixing strings-led classical music with classic heavy metal. Other well-known metal bands are Amorphis, Children of Bodom, Impaled Nazarene,Korpiklaani, Sentenced, Sonata Arctica, Stratovarius, Turisas, Finntroll, Ensiferum, Insomnium, Moonsorrow, and Waltari. After Finnish hard rock/heavy metal band Lordi won the 2006 Eurovision Song Contest, Finland hosted the competition in 2007.

Cinema and television

In the film industry, notable directors include Aki Kaurismäki, Mauritz Stiller, Spede Pasanen, and Hollywood film director and producer Renny Harlin. Around twelve feature films are made each year. Finland’s most internationally successful TV shows are the backpacking travel documentary series Madventures and the reality TV show The Dudesons, about four childhood friends who perform stunts and play pranks on each other (in similar vein to the American TV show Jackass).

Media and communications

Linus Torvalds, the Finnishsoftware engineer best known for creating the popular open-source kernel Linux. Telecommunications in Finland and List of newspapers in Finland Thanks to its emphasis on transparency and equal rights, Finland’s press has been rated the freest in the world. Today, there are around 200 newspapers, 320 popular magazines, 2,100 professional magazines, 67 commercial radio stations, three digital radio channels and one nationwide and five national public service radio channels. Each year, around 12,000 book titles are published and 12 million records are sold. Sanoma publishes the newspaper Helsingin Sanomat (its circulation of 412,000 making it the largest), the tabloid Ilta-Sanomat, the commerce-oriented Taloussanomat and the television channel Nelonen. The other major publisher Alma Media publishes over thirty magazines, including the newspaper Aamulehti, tabloid Iltalehti and commerce-oriented Kauppalehti. Worldwide, Finns, along with other Nordic peoples and the Japanese, spend the most time reading newspapers. Yle, the Finnish Broadcasting Company, operates five television channels and thirteen radio channels in both national languages. Yle is funded through a mandatory television license and fees for private broadcasters. All TV channels are broadcast digitally, both terrestrially and on cable. The commercial television channel MTV3 and commercial radio channel Radio Nova are owned by Nordic Broadcasting (Bonnier and Proventus Industrier). In regards to telecommunication infrastructure, Finland is the highest ranked country in the World Economic Forum’s Network Readiness Index (NRI) – an indicator for determining the development level of a country’s information and communication technologies. Finland ranked 1st overall in the 2014 NRI ranking, unchanged from the year before. This is shown in its penetration throughout the country’s population. Around 79% of the population use the Internet. Finland had around 1.52 million broadband Internet connections by the end of June 2007 or around 287 per 1,000 inhabitants. All Finnish schools and public libraries have Internet connections and computers and most residents have a mobile phone. Value-added services are rare. In October 2009, Finland’s Ministry of Transport and Communications committed to ensuring that every person in Finland would be able to access the Internet at a minimum speed of one megabit-per-second beginning July 2010.

Economy

Finland has a highly industrialised, mixed economy with a per capita output equal to that of other western economies such as France, Germany, Sweden or the United Kingdom. The largest sector of the economy is services at 72.7 percent, followed by manufacturing and refining at 31.4 percent. Primary production is 2.9 percent. With respect to foreign trade, the key economic sector is manufacturing. The largest industries are electronics (21.6 percent), machinery, vehicles and other engineered metal products (21.1 percent), forest industry (13.1 percent), and chemicals (10.9 percent). Finland has timber and several mineral and freshwater resources. Forestry, paper factories, and the agricultural sector(on which taxpayers spend around 2 billion euro annually) are politically sensitive to rural residents. The Greater Helsinki area generates around a third of GDP.  In a 2004 OECD comparison, high-technology manufacturing in Finland ranked second largest after Ireland. Knowledge-intensive services have also ranked the smallest and slow-growth sectors – especially agriculture and low-technology manufacturing – second largest after Ireland. [clarification needed] Investment was below expected. Overall short-term outlook was good and GDP growth has been above many EU peers. Finland has the 4th largest knowledge economy in Europe, behind Sweden, Denmark and the UK. The economy of Finland tops the ranking of Global Information Technology 2014 report by the World Economic Forum for concerted output between business sector, scholarly production and the governmental assistance on Information and communications technology. Finland is highly integrated in the global economy, and international trade is a third of GDP. The European Union makes 60 percent of the total trade.  The largest trade flows are with Germany, Russia, Sweden, the United Kingdom, the United States,Netherlands and China. Trade policy is managed by the European Union, where Finland has traditionally been among the free trade supporters, except for agriculture. Finland is the only Nordic country to have joined the Eurozone; Denmark andSweden have retained their traditional currencies, whereas Iceland and Norway are not members of the EU at all.

Government

Finland is a republic with a representative democracy governed accordingly to the principles of parliamentarism. Legislative power is vested in the Parliament of Finland (Finnish: Eduskunta, Swedish: Riksdagen). Executive power is exercised by the Cabinet, officially termed Council of State (Finnish: Valtioneuvosto, Swedish: Statsrådet), which is led by the Prime Minister, the Head of Government. Some matters are decided by the President of Finland, the Head of State, in plenary meetings with the Council of State, echoing the constitutional history of a privy council. The President is otherwise not present in the Council, but decides on issues such as personal appointments and pardons on the advice of the relevant minister. In the ministries, matters of secondary importance are decided by individual ministers, advised by the minister’s State Secretary. The Prime Minister and the other ministers in the Council of State are responsible for their actions in office to the Parliament.

Health

Health care in Finland consists of a highly decentralized, three-level publicly funded healthcare system and a much smaller private sector. Although the Ministry of Social Affairs and Health has the highest decision-making authority, the municipalities (local governments) are responsible for providing healthcare to their residents. Finland offers its residents universal healthcare. Health promotion, including prevention of diseases has been the main focus of Finnish healthcare policies for decades. This has resulted in the eradication of certain communicable diseases and improvement in the health of population. The quality of service in Finnish healthcare is considered to be good; according to a survey published by the European Commission in 2000, Finland belongs to the top 5 of countries who are most satisfied with their healthcare. In average 88% of Finnish respondents were satisfied compared with the EU average of 41.3%.

Language

Finnish and Swedish are the official languages of Finland. Finnish predominates nationwide while Swedish is spoken in some coastal areas in the west and south and in the autonomous region of Åland. The Sami language is an official language in northern Lapland. Finnish Romani and Finnish Sign Language are also recognized in the constitution. The Nordic languages and Karelian are also specially treated in some contexts. The native language of 90% of the population is Finnish,[121] which is part of the Finnic subgroup of the Uralic languages. The language is one of only four official EU languagesnot of Indo-European origin. Finnish is closely related to Karelian and Estonian and more remotely to the Sami languages and Hungarian. Swedish is the native language of 5% of the population (Swedish-speaking Finns). To the north, in Lapland, are the Sami people, numbering around 7,000[122] and recognized as an indigenous people. About a quarter of them speak a Sami language as their mother tongue. The Sami languages that are spoken in Finland are Northern Sami, Inari Sami, and Skolt Sami.[note 1] Finnish Romani is spoken by some 5,000–6,000 people. There are two sign languages: Finnish Sign Language, spoken natively by 4,000–5,000 people,[124] and Finland-Swedish Sign Language, spoken natively by about 150 people. Tatar language is spoken by a Finnish Tatar minority of about 800 people who moved to Finland mainly during the Russian rule from the 1870s until the 1920s. The rights of minority groups (in particular Sami, Swedish speakers, and Romani people) are protected by the constitution. Immigrant languages include Russian (1.1%), Estonian (0.6%), Somali, English, and Arabic.[citation needed] The largest groups of population of foreign languages in 2012 were Russian, Estonian, and Somali. The best-known foreign languages are English (63%), German (18%), and French (3%).[citation needed] English is studied by most pupils as a compulsory subject from the third or fifth grade (at 9 or 11 years of age respectively) in the comprehensive school (in some schools other languages can be chosen instead). German, French, and Russian can be studied as second foreign languages from the eighth grade (at 14 years of age; some schools may offer other options). A third foreign language may be studied in upper secondary school or university (at 16 years of age or over). Norwegian and, to some extent, Danish are mutually intelligible with Swedish and are thus understood by a significant minority, although studied only slightly in school.

Sports

Sport is considered a national pastime in Finland and many Finns visit different sporting events regularly. Pesäpallo is the national sport of Finland, although the most popular forms of sport in terms of television viewers and media coverage are ice-hockey and Formula One. In spectator attendance, harness racing comes right after ice hockey in popularity. The most popular recreational sports and activities include floorball, nordic walking, running and skiing.

Transport

The extensive road system is utilized by most internal cargo and passenger traffic. The annual state operated road network expenditure of around 1 billion euro is paid with vehicle and fuel taxes which amount to around 1.5 billion euro and 1 billion euro. The main international passenger gateway is Helsinki Airport with about 16 million passengers in 2014. Oulu Airport is the second largest, whilst another 25 airports have scheduled passenger services. The Helsinki Airport-based Finnair, Blue1, and Nordic Regional Airlinessell air services both domestically and internationally. Helsinki has an optimal location for great circle (i.e. the shortest and most efficient) routes between Western Europe and the Far East. Despite low population density, the Government spends annually around 350 million euro in maintaining 5,865 kilometres (3,644 mi) of railway tracks. Rail transport is handled by state owned VR Group, which has 5% passenger market share (out of which 80% are urban trips in Greater Helsinki) and 25% cargo market share. Since 12 December 2010, Karelian Trains, a joint venture between Russian Railways and VR (Finnish Railways), has been running Alstom Pendolino operated high-speed services between Saint Petersburg’s Finlyandsky and Helsinki’s Central railway stations. These services are branded as “Allegro” trains. The journey from Helsinki to Saint Petersburg takes only three and a half hours. The majority of international cargo utilizes ports. Port logistics prices are low. Vuosaari Harbour in Helsinki is the largest container port after completion in 2008 and others include Kotka, Hamina, Hanko, Pori, Rauma, and Oulu. There is passenger traffic from Helsinki and Turku, which have ferry connections to Tallinn, Mariehamn, and Stockholm. The Helsinki-Tallinn route, one of the busiest passenger sea routes in the world, has also been served by a helicopter line.

Tourism

In 2005, Finnish tourism grossed over €6.7 billion with a 5% increase from the previous year. Much of the sudden growth can be attributed to the globalisation and modernisation of the country as well as a rise in positive publicity and awareness. There are many attractions in Finland which attracted over 8 million visitors in 2013. The Finnish landscape is covered with thick pine forests and rolling hills, and complemented with a labyrinth of lakes and inlets. Much of Finland is pristine and virgin as it contains 37 national parks from the Southern shores of the Gulf of Finland to the high fells of Lapland. Finland also has urbanized regions with many cultural events and activities. Commercial cruises between major coastal and port cities in the Baltic region, including Helsinki, Turku, Tallinn, Stockholm, and Travemünde, play a significant role in the local tourism industry. Finland is locally regarded as the home of Saint Nicholas or Santa Claus, living in the northern Lapland region. Above the Arctic Circle, in midwinter, there is a polar night, a period when the sun does not rise for days or weeks, or even months, and correspondingly, midnight sun in the summer, with no sunset even at midnight. Lapland is so far north that the Aurora Borealis, fluorescence in the high atmosphere due to solar wind, is seen regularly in the fall, winter, and spring. Outdoor activities range from Nordic skiing, golf, fishing, yachting, lake cruises, hiking, and kayaking, among many others. At Finland’s northernmost point, in the heart of summer, the Sun does not completely set for 73 consecutive days. Wildlife is abundant in Finland. Bird-watching is popular for those fond of avifauna, however hunting is also popular. Elk and hare are common game in Finland. Olavinlinna in Savonlinna hosts the annual Savonlinna Opera Festival.

Weather

The main factor influencing Finland’s climate is the country’s geographical position between the 60th and 70th northern parallels in the Eurasian continent’s coastal zone. In the Köppen climate classification, the whole of Finland lies in the boreal zone, characterized by warm summers and freezing winters. Within the country, the temperateness varies considerably between the southern coastal regions and the extreme north, showing characteristics of both a maritime and a continental climate. Finland is near enough to the Atlantic Ocean to be continuously warmed by the Gulf Stream. The Gulf Stream combines with the moderating effects of the Baltic Sea and numerous inland lakes to explain the unusually warm climate compared with other regions that share the same latitude, such as Alaska, Siberia, and southern Greenland. Winters in southern Finland (when mean daily temperature remains below 0 °C or 32 °F) are usually about 100 days long, and in the inland the snow typically covers the land from about late November to April, and on the coastal areas such as Helsinki, snow often covers the land from late December to late March. Even in the south, the harshest winter nights can see the temperatures fall to −30 °C (−22 °F) although on coastal areas like Helsinki, temperatures below −30 °C (−22 °F) are very rare. Climatic summers (when mean daily temperature remains above 10 °C or 50 °F) in southern Finland last from about late May to mid-September, and in the inland, the warmest days of July can reach over 35 °C (95 °F). Although most of Finland lies on the taiga belt, the southernmost coastal regions are sometimes classified as hemiboreal. In northern Finland, particularly in Lapland, the winters are long and cold, while the summers are relatively warm but short. The most severe winter days in Lapland can see the temperature fall down to −45 °C (−49 °F). The winter of the north lasts for about 200 days with permanent snow cover from about mid-October to early May. Summers in the north are quite short, only two to three months, but can still see maximum daily temperatures above 25 °C (77 °F) during heat waves. No part of Finland has Arctic tundra, but Alpine tundra can be found at the fells Lapland. The Finnish climate is suitable for cereal farming only in the southernmost regions, while the northern regions are suitable for animal husbandry. A quarter of Finland’s territory lies within the Arctic Circle and the midnight sun can be experienced for more days the farther north one travels. At Finland’s northernmost point, the sun does not set for 73 consecutive days during summer, and does not rise at all for 51 days during winter.

Comments are closed.