|Official Name||Suomen Tasavalta (Finnish), Republiken Finland (Swedish), (Republic of Finland)||Capital||Helsinki||Population||5.2 million (2001)||Area||338,000 sq km or 130,502 sq mi||Currency||Euro||Religion||Christianity||Literacy||100%||Languages||Finnish and Swedish||Major Cities||Tampere, Espoo||Climate||Warm summers and cold winters|
Physical Map of Finland
A third of Finland's total area lies within the Arctic Circle, a far higher proportion than its Scandinavian neighbors Sweden and Norway. Finland is a country of some 60,000 lakes.
Projecting southwest into the Baltic Sea is the Ahvenanmaa archipelago, which consists of some 6,500 islands. Among the principal rivers are the Tornio, Muonio, Kemijoki, and Oulu, of which only the Oulu is navigable by large vessels.
Finland is mostly a tableland that is generally level. Hilly areas are prominent in the north, and mountains are found in the extreme northwest. Haltiatunturi (1,328 m/4,357 ft) in the northwest near the Norwegian border is the highest point. The northernmost part of Finland, which lies above the Arctic Circle, is known as Saamiland
Location of Finland
Finland lies in northern Europe and is bounded by Norway in the north, by Russia in the east, by Russia and the Gulf of Finland in the south, by the
Climate of Finland
Despite sharing the same latitudinal location as Alaska, the North Atlantic Drift makes Finland far milder than its North American counterpart. Like many other European countries and much of the United States, Finland enjoys a change of seasons, characterized by short but warm summers and mystical snow covered winters. Finland's unique climate attracts many tourists each year.
Flag of Finland
The blue cross flag of Finland is popular in the Finnish language as the Siniristilippu or the Blue Cross Flag largely because of the obvious reason that the flag depicts a huge Nordic cross laid across a white background.
The flag is relatively new when compared with the flags of other European countries and this flag came into being only in the 20 th century more accurately so in 1917 when the Finnish kingdom gained independence.
72 percent of Finland is forested. The most prominent trees include pine, spruce, and the national tree: birch. Finland has nearly 1,200 species of plants and ferns and some 1,000 varieties of lichens. Wildlife includes bear, wolf, lynx, arctic fox and the Reindeer. Freshwater as well as Saltwater fish are found in abundance.
People of Finland
62% of Finland's population lives in urban areas. About 7000 BC, the ancestors of the Sami are said to have occupied Finland; other groups began to enter the area about 3,000 years later, pushing the Sami northward. Presently, Finland has two national languages, Finnish and Swedish. The Swedish-speaking population, found mainly in the coastal area in the south, southwest, and west and in the Aland Islands (where Swedish is the sole official language), is slowly declining and constitutes roughly 5 percent of the total. Nearly all of the remainder speaks Finnish; the language is an important nationalist feature, although it is spoken in strong regional dialects. The Sami-speaking minority in the extreme north numbers about 6,000.
Arts, Culture and Music of Finland
Finland has been on Europe's periphery, both physically and socially, for almost all its history. After the conquest of the Finnish tribes by Sweden, the indigenous culture acquired Swedish influences. Folk traditions like the swastika however continued in rural areas. Later, a national literature in the Finnish language emerged, and Finnish styles appeared increasingly in art and architecture. The sauna, a steam bath produced by pouring water over heated rocks, is a Finnish invention. Finland possesses a wealth of folk music and a large body of church music. During the Reformation, Gregorian chant and other existing vocal church music, previously composed to Latin texts, was adapted to the Finnish language. Finland has left its traditional poverty and backwardness behind and since World War II, has become one of the world's most advanced societies.
Economy of Finland
Finland has a highly industrialized, largely free-market economy. Its key economic sector is manufacturing - principally the wood, metals, engineering, telecommunications, and electronics industries. Trade is important, with exports equaling almost one-third of the GDP. Except for timber and several minerals, Finland depends on imports of raw materials, energy, and some components for manufactured goods.
Because of the climate, agricultural development is limited to maintaining self-sufficiency in basic products. Forestry, an important export earner, provides a secondary occupation for the rural population. Finland was one of the 11 countries that joined the European Economic and Monetary Union (EMU) on 1 January 1999.