FINLAND - BASIC FACTS

Finland, situated in North-Eastern Europe, is one of the three countries that share the Scandinavian Peninsula. Its longest border is the one with Russia, it further borders with Sweden, Norway and Estonia. This country is enclosed with sea (Baltic Sea, Gulf of Bothnia and Gulf of Finland). On the interface of the Gulf of Bothnia and Baltic Sea lie the Åland Islands, that are autonomous.

Total area

  • 338,145 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

Finland is the seventh largest country in Europe, one third of the country try lies beyond the Arctic Circle.

Finland is also known as the land of a thousand lakes – that’s where the name Suomi comes from. Forests cover two thirds of the country, mainly pine-trees, spruces and birches. Usual fauna are elks, brown bears and wolves. Lapland and Sami people keep large droves of reindeer for their meat. Finland is a real heaven for ornithologists. Finland can be rightly proud of in total 30 national parks.

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 recent years occasional heat waves have taken this above +30. 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.

Population

Out of the population (app. 5.3 million) 67% of the population lives in cities, 33% live in the countryside. 91,3% of the population are Finnish, out of which 5,4% have Swedish as first language, 0,5% have Russian and 0,03% form the Lapland minority (app. 6500 people).

  • Principal cities: Helsinki (568,000), Espoo (238,000), Tampere (207,000), Vantaa (192,000), Turku (175,000) and Oulu (131,000)
  • About 1.25 million people live in the Helsinki metropolitan area
  • Finland has a Sami (Lapp) population of 6,500.
  • The density of the population is 16/km2.
  • Currency: Euro (since 2002)
  • Time zone: GMT + 2:00