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Finland Country Information

Travel Advice with Country Information from the CIA.

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Finland Map

Introduction

Background

Finland was a province and then a grand duchy under Sweden from the 12th to the 19th centuries, and an autonomous grand duchy of Russia after 1809. It gained complete independence in 1917. During World War II, Finland successfully defended its independence through cooperation with Germany and resisted subsequent invasions by the Soviet Union - albeit with some loss of territory. In the subsequent half century, Finland transformed from a farm/forest economy to a diversified modern industrial economy; per capita income is among the highest in Western Europe. A member of the EU since 1995, Finland was the only Nordic state to join the euro single currency at its initiation in January 1999. In the 21st century, the key features of Finland's modern welfare state are high quality education, promotion of equality, and a national social welfare system - currently challenged by an aging population and the fluctuations of an export-driven economy.

Geography

Location

Northern Europe, bordering the Baltic Sea, Gulf of Bothnia, and Gulf of Finland, between Sweden and Russia

Geographic coordinates

64 00 N, 26 00 E

Map references

Europe

Area

total: 338,145 sq km

land:303,815 sq km

water:34,330 sq km

country comparison to the world: 66

Area - comparative

slightly more than two times the size of Georgia; slightly smaller than Montana

Land boundaries

total: 2,563 km

border countries (3):Norway 709 km, Sweden 545 km, Russia 1309 km

Coastline

1,250 km

Maritime claims

territorial sea: 12 nm (in the Gulf of Finland - 3 nm)

contiguous zone:24 nm

continental shelf:200 m depth or to the depth of exploitation

exclusive fishing zone:12 nm; extends to continental shelf boundary with Sweden, Estonia, and Russia

Climate

cold temperate; potentially subarctic but comparatively mild because of moderating influence of the North Atlantic Current, Baltic Sea, and more than 60,000 lakes

Terrain

mostly low, flat to rolling plains interspersed with lakes and low hills

Elevation

highest point: Halti (alternatively Haltia, Haltitunturi, Haltiatunturi) 1,328 m

lowest point:Baltic Sea 0 m

mean elevation:164 m

Natural resources

timber, iron ore, copper, lead, zinc, chromite, nickel, gold, silver, limestone

Land use

agricultural land: 7.5% (2018 est.)

arable land: 7.4% (2018 est.)

permanent crops: 0% (2018 est.)

permanent pasture: 0.1% (2018 est.)

forest:72.9% (2018 est.)

other:19.6% (2018 est.)

Irrigated land

690 sq km (2012)

Total renewable water resources

110 billion cubic meters (2017 est.)

Population distribution

the vast majority of people are found in the south; the northern interior areas remain sparsely poplulated

Natural hazards

severe winters in the north

Environment - international agreements

party to: Air Pollution, Air Pollution-Heavy Metals, Air Pollution-Multi-effect Protocol, Air Pollution-Nitrogen Oxides, Air Pollution-Persistent Organic Pollutants, Air Pollution-Sulphur 85, Air Pollution-Sulphur 94, Air Pollution-Volatile Organic Compounds, Antarctic-Environmental Protection, Antarctic-Marine Living Resources, Antarctic Treaty, Biodiversity, Climate Change, Climate Change-Kyoto Protocol, Climate Change-Paris Agreement, Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban, Desertification, Endangered Species, Environmental Modification, Hazardous Wastes, Law of the Sea, Marine Dumping-London Convention, Marine Dumping-London Protocol, Marine Life Conservation, Nuclear Test Ban, Ozone Layer Protection, Ship Pollution, Tropical Timber 2006, Wetlands, Whaling

signed, but not ratified:none of the selected agreements

Geography - note

long boundary with Russia; Helsinki is northernmost national capital on European continent; population concentrated on small southwestern coastal plain

People and Society

Population

5,587,442 (July 2021 est.)

country comparison to the world: 115

Nationality

noun: Finn(s)

adjective:Finnish

Ethnic groups

Finn, Swede, Russian, Estonian, Romani, Sami

Languages

Finnish (official) 86.9%, Swedish (official) 5.2%, Russian 1.5%, other 6.4% (2020 est.)

major-language sample(s):
World Factbook, korvaamaton perustietolähde. (Finnish)

The World Factbook, the indispensable source for basic information.

Finnish audio sample:

Religions

Lutheran 67.8%, Greek Orthodox 1.1%, other 1.7%, unspecified 29.4% (2020 est.)

Government

Country name

conventional long form: Republic of Finland

conventional short form:Finland

local long form:Suomen tasavalta/Republiken Finland

local short form:Suomi/Finland

etymology:name may derive from the ancient Fenni peoples who are first described as living in northeastern Europe in the first centuries A.D.

Government type

parliamentary republic

Capital

name: Helsinki

geographic coordinates:60 10 N, 24 56 E

time difference:UTC+2 (7 hours ahead of Washington, DC, during Standard Time)

daylight saving time:+1hr, begins last Sunday in March; ends last Sunday in October

etymology: the name may derive from the Swedish "helsing," an archaic name for "neck" ("hals"), and which may refer to a narrowing of the Vantaa River that flows into the Gulf of Finland at Helsinki; "fors" refers to "rapids," so "helsing fors" meaning becomes "the narrows' rapids"

Administrative divisions

19 regions (maakunnat, singular - maakunta (Finnish); landskapen, singular - landskapet (Swedish)); Aland (Swedish), Ahvenanmaa (Finnish); Etela-Karjala (Finnish), Sodra Karelen (Swedish) [South Karelia]; Etela-Pohjanmaa (Finnish), Sodra Osterbotten (Swedish) [South Ostrobothnia]; Etela-Savo (Finnish), Sodra Savolax (Swedish) [South Savo]; Kanta-Hame (Finnish), Egentliga Tavastland (Swedish); Kainuu (Finnish), Kajanaland (Swedish); Keski-Pohjanmaa (Finnish), Mellersta Osterbotten (Swedish) [Central Ostrobothnia]; Keski-Suomi (Finnish), Mellersta Finland (Swedish) [Central Finland]; Kymenlaakso (Finnish), Kymmenedalen (Swedish); Lappi (Finnish), Lappland (Swedish); Paijat-Hame (Finnish), Paijanne-Tavastland (Swedish); Pirkanmaa (Finnish), Birkaland (Swedish) [Tampere]; Pohjanmaa (Finnish), Osterbotten (Swedish) [Ostrobothnia]; Pohjois-Karjala (Finnish), Norra Karelen (Swedish) [North Karelia]; Pohjois-Pohjanmaa (Finnish), Norra Osterbotten (Swedish) [North Ostrobothnia]; Pohjois-Savo (Finnish), Norra Savolax (Swedish) [North Savo]; Satakunta (Finnish and Swedish); Uusimaa (Finnish), Nyland (Swedish) [Newland]; Varsinais-Suomi (Finnish), Egentliga Finland (Swedish) [Southwest Finland]

Independence

6 December 1917 (from Russia)

National holiday

Independence Day, 6 December (1917)

Constitution

history: previous 1906, 1919; latest drafted 17 June 1997, approved by Parliament 11 June 1999, entered into force 1 March 2000

amendments:proposed by Parliament; passage normally requires simple majority vote in two readings in the first parliamentary session and at least two-thirds majority vote in a single reading by the newly elected Parliament; proposals declared "urgent" by five-sixths of Parliament members can be passed by at least two-thirds majority vote in the first parliamentary session only; amended several times, last in 2018

Legal system

civil law system based on the Swedish model

International law organization participation

accepts compulsory ICJ jurisdiction with reservations; accepts ICCt jurisdiction

Citizenship

citizenship by birth: no

citizenship by descent only:at least one parent must be a citizen of Finland

dual citizenship recognized:yes

residency requirement for naturalization:6 years

Suffrage

18 years of age; universal

Executive branch

chief of state: President Sauli NIINISTO (since 1 March 2012)

head of government:Prime Minister Sanna MARIN (since 10 December 2019)

cabinet:Council of State or Valtioneuvosto appointed by the president, responsible to Parliament 

elections/appointments:president directly elected by absolute majority popular vote in 2 rounds if needed for a 6-year term (eligible for a second term); election last held on 28 January 2018 (next to be held in January 2024); prime minister appointed by Parliament

election results:Sauli NIINISTO reelected president; percent of vote Sauli NIINISTO (independent) 62.7%, Pekka HAAVISTO (Vihr) 12.4%, Laura HUHTASAARI (PS) 6.9%, Paavo VAYRYNEN (independent) 6.2%, Matti VANHANEN (Kesk) 4.1%, other 7.7%

Legislative branch

description: unicameral Parliament or Eduskunta (200 seats; 199 members directly elected in single- and multi-seat constituencies by proportional representation vote and 1 member in the province of Aland directly elected by simple majority vote; members serve 4-year terms) (e.g. 2019)

elections:last held on 14 April 2019 (next to be held on April 2023) (e.g. 2019)

election results:percent of vote by party/coalition - SDP 17.7%, Finn Party 17.5%, Kok 17.0%. Centre Party  13.8%, Green League 11.5%, Left Alliance 8.2%; seats by party/coalition -SDP 40, Finn Party 39, Kok 38, Centre Party 31, Green League 20, Left Alliance 16; composition men 107, women 93, percent of women 46.5% (e.g. 2019)

Judicial branch

highest courts: Supreme Court or Korkein Oikeus (consists of the court president and 18 judges); Supreme Administrative Court (consists of 21 judges, including the court president and organized into 3 chambers); note - Finland has a dual judicial system - courts with civil and criminal jurisdiction and administrative courts with jurisdiction for litigation between individuals and administrative organs of the state and communities

judge selection and term of office:Supreme Court and Supreme Administrative Court judges appointed by the president of the republic; judges serve until mandatory retirement at age 68

subordinate courts:6 Courts of Appeal; 8 regional administrative courts; 27 district courts; special courts for issues relating to markets, labor, insurance, impeachment, land, tenancy, and water rights

Political parties and leaders

Aland Coalition (a coalition of several political parties on the Aland Islands)
Center Party or Kesk [Annika SAARIKKO]
Christian Democrats or KD [Sari ESSAYAH]
Finns Party or PS [Jussi HALLA-AHO]
Green League or Vihr [Maria OHISALO]
Left Alliance or Vas [Li ANDERSSON]
National Coalition Party or Kok [Petteri ORPO]
Social Democratic Party or SDP [Sanna MARIN]
Swedish People's Party or SFP [Anna-Maja HENRIKSSON]

International organization participation

ADB (nonregional member), AfDB (nonregional member), Arctic Council, Australia Group, BIS, CBSS, CD, CE, CERN, EAPC, EBRD, ECB, EIB, EITI (implementing country), EMU, ESA, EU, FAO, FATF, G-9, IADB, IAEA, IBRD, ICAO, ICC (national committees), ICCt, ICRM, IDA, IEA, IFAD, IFC, IFRCS, IHO, ILO, IMF, IMO, IMSO, Interpol, IOC, IOM, IPU, ISO, ITSO, ITU, ITUC (NGOs), MIGA, MINUSMA, NC, NEA, NIB, NSG, OAS (observer), OECD, OPCW, OSCE, Pacific Alliance (observer), Paris Club, PCA, PFP, Schengen Convention, UN, UNCTAD, UNESCO, UNHCR, UNIDO, UNIFIL, UNMIL, UNMOGIP, UNRWA, UNTSO, UPU, WCO, WFTU (NGOs), WHO, WIPO, WMO, WTO, ZC

Diplomatic representation in the US

chief of mission: Ambassador Mikko Tapani HAUTALA (since 17 September 2020)

chancery:3301 Massachusetts Avenue NW, Washington, DC 20008

telephone:[1] (202) 298-5800

FAX:[1] (202) 298-6030

consulate(s) general:Los Angeles, New York

Diplomatic representation from the US

chief of mission: Ambassador (vacant); Charge d'Affaires Ian CAMPBELL (since 14 January 2021)

embassy:Itainen Puistotie 14 B, 00140 Helsinki

mailing address:5310 Helsinki Place, Washington DC  20521-5310

telephone:[358] (9) 616-250

FAX:[358] (9) 174-681

email address and website:
HelsinkiACS@state.gov

https://fi.usembassy.gov/

Flag description

white with a blue cross extending to the edges of the flag; the vertical part of the cross is shifted to the hoist side in the style of the Dannebrog (Danish flag); the blue represents the thousands of lakes scattered across the country, while the white is for the snow that covers the land in winter

National symbol(s)

lion; national colors: blue, white

National anthem

name: "Maamme" (Our Land)

lyrics/music:Johan Ludvig RUNEBERG/Fredrik PACIUS

note: in use since 1848; although never officially adopted by law, the anthem has been popular since it was first sung by a student group in 1848; Estonia's anthem uses the same melody as that of Finland

Economy

Economic overview

Finland has a highly industrialized, largely free-market economy with per capita GDP almost as high as that of Austria and the Netherlands and slightly above that of Germany and Belgium. Trade is important, with exports accounting for over one-third of GDP in recent years. The government is open to, and actively takes steps to attract, foreign direct investment.

Finland is historically competitive in manufacturing, particularly in the wood, metals, engineering, telecommunications, and electronics industries. Finland excels in export of technology as well as promotion of startups in the information and communications technology, gaming, cleantech, and biotechnology sectors. Except for timber and several minerals, Finland depends on imports of raw materials, energy, and some components for manufactured goods. Because of the cold climate, agricultural development is limited to maintaining self-sufficiency in basic products. Forestry, an important export industry, provides a secondary occupation for the rural population.

Finland had been one of the best performing economies within the EU before 2009 and its banks and financial markets avoided the worst of global financial crisis. However, the world slowdown hit exports and domestic demand hard in that year, causing Finland’s economy to contract from 2012 to 2014. The recession affected general government finances and the debt ratio. The economy returned to growth in 2016, posting a 1.9% GDP increase before growing an estimated 3.3% in 2017, supported by a strong increase in investment, private consumption, and net exports. Finnish economists expect GDP to grow a rate of 2-3% in the next few years.

Finland's main challenges will be reducing high labor costs and boosting demand for its exports. In June 2016, the government enacted a Competitiveness Pact aimed at reducing labor costs, increasing hours worked, and introducing more flexibility into the wage bargaining system. As a result, wage growth was nearly flat in 2017. The Government was also seeking to reform the health care system and social services. In the long term, Finland must address a rapidly aging population and decreasing productivity in traditional industries that threaten competitiveness, fiscal sustainability, and economic growth.

Communications

Telephones - fixed lines

total subscriptions: 269,000

subscriptions per 100 inhabitants:4.84 (2019 est.)

country comparison to the world: 114

Telephones - mobile cellular

total subscriptions: 7.15 million

subscriptions per 100 inhabitants:128.69 (2019 est.)

country comparison to the world: 106

Telecommunication systems

general assessment: 

Finland’s telecom market is among most progressive in Europe through favorable regulatory action and competitive technological innovation; orientation towards high technology, research, and development with high investment in information and communication sectors; large proportion of population on 5G and most on LTE; high broadband and mobile penetration; fixed-voice density falling; government provided universal 5Mb/s broadband (2021)

(2020)

domestic:fixed-line 5 per 100 subscription and 129 per 100 mobile-cellular (2019)

international:country code - 358; landing points for Botnia, BCS North-1 & 2, SFL, SFS-4, C-Lion1, Eastern Lights, Baltic Sea Submarine Cable, FEC, and EESF-2 & 3 submarine cables that provide links to many Finland points, Estonia, Sweden, Germany, and Russia; satellite earth stations - access to Intelsat transmission service via a Swedish satellite earth station, 1 Inmarsat (Atlantic and Indian Ocean regions); note - Finland shares the Inmarsat earth station with the other Nordic countries (Denmark, Iceland, Norway, and Sweden) (2019)

note: the COVID-19 pandemic continues to have a significant impact on production and supply chains globally; since 2020, some aspects of the telecom sector have experienced downturn, particularly in mobile device production; many network operators delayed upgrades to infrastructure; progress towards 5G implementation was postponed or slowed in some countries; consumer spending on telecom services and devices was affected by large-scale job losses and the consequent restriction on disposable incomes; the crucial nature of telecom services as a tool for work and school from home became evident, and received some support from governments

Broadcast media

a mix of 3 publicly operated TV stations and numerous privately owned TV stations; several free and special-interest pay-TV channels; cable and satellite multi-channel subscription services are available; all TV signals are broadcast digitally; Internet television, such as Netflix and others, is available; public broadcasting maintains a network of 13 national and 25 regional radio stations; a large number of private radio broadcasters and access to Internet radio

Internet country code

.fi



note - Aland Islands assigned .ax

Internet users

total: 4,922,163

percent of population:88.89% (July 2018 est.)

country comparison to the world: 84

Broadband - fixed subscriptions

total: 1.797 million

subscriptions per 100 inhabitants:32.34 (2019 est.)

country comparison to the world: 57

Transportation

National air transport system

number of registered air carriers: 3 (2020)

inventory of registered aircraft operated by air carriers:77

annual passenger traffic on registered air carriers:13,364,839 (2018)

annual freight traffic on registered air carriers:957.64 million mt-km (2018)

Civil aircraft registration country code prefix

OH

Airports

total: 148 (2013)

country comparison to the world: 37

Airports - with paved runways

total: 74 (2017)

over 3,047 m:3 (2017)

2,438 to 3,047 m:26 (2017)

1,524 to 2,437 m:10 (2017)

914 to 1,523 m:21 (2017)

under 914 m:14 (2017)

Airports - with unpaved runways

total: 74 (2013)

914 to 1,523 m:3 (2013)

under 914 m:71 (2013)

Pipelines

1288 km gas transmission pipes, 1976 km distribution pipes (2016)

Railways

total: 5,926 km (2016)

broad gauge:5,926 km 1.524-m gauge (3,270 km electrified) (2016)

country comparison to the world: 32

Roadways

total: 454,000 km (2012)

highways:78,000 km (50,000 paved, including 700 km of expressways; 28,000 unpaved) (2012)

private and forest roads:350,000 km (2012)

urban:26,000 km (2012)

country comparison to the world: 16

Waterways

8,000 km (includes Saimaa Canal system of 3,577 km; southern part leased from Russia; water transport used frequently in the summer and widely replaced with sledges on the ice in winter; there are 187,888 lakes in Finland that cover 31,500 km); Finland also maintains 8,200 km of coastal fairways (2013)

country comparison to the world: 17

Merchant marine

total: 274

by type:bulk carrier 9, container ship 1, general cargo 77, oil tanker 4, other 183 (2020)

country comparison to the world: 57

Ports and terminals

major seaport(s): Helsinki, Kotka, Naantali, Porvoo, Raahe, Rauma

Military and Security

Military and security forces

Finnish Defense Forces (FDF): Army (Maavoimat), Navy (Merivoimat), Air Force (Ilmavoimat); Ministry of the Interior: Border Guard (Rajavartiolaitos) (2021)

note: the Border Guard becomes part of the FDF in wartime

Military expenditures

2.2% of GDP (2021 est.)

1.4% of GDP (2020 est.)

1.5% of GDP (2019)

1.4% of GDP (2018)

1.4% of GDP (2017)

country comparison to the world: 50

Military and security service personnel strengths

information varies; approximately 23,000 total active duty personnel (16,000 Army; 4,000 Navy; 3,000 Air Force) (2020)

Military equipment inventories and acquisitions

the inventory of the Finnish Defense Forces consists of a wide mix of mostly modern Western and domestically-produced weapons systems, as well as a limited quantity of Soviet-era equipment; since 2010, the US and several European countries, including France and Italy, are the leading foreign suppliers of armaments to Finland; the Finnish defense industry produces a variety of military equipment, including wheeled armored vehicles and naval vessels (2020)

Military deployments

200 Lebanon (UNIFIL) (2021)

Military service age and obligation

at age 18, all Finnish men are obligated to serve 6-12 months of service within a branch of the military or the Border Guard, and women may volunteer for service; after completing their initial conscript obligation, individuals enter the reserves and remain eligible for mobilization until the age of 60 (2019)

Transnational Issues

Disputes - international

various groups in Finland advocate restoration of Karelia and other areas ceded to the former Soviet Union, but the Finnish Government asserts no territorial demands

Refugees and internally displaced persons

refugees (country of origin): 8,862 (Iraq) (2019)

stateless persons:3,428 (2020)

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