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Republic of Finland
  • —0.9% Other Christian
  • 30.6% No religion
  • 0.8% Others
  • Demonym(s)
    GovernmentUnitary parliamentary republic[4]
    • President
    Sauli Niinistö
    Sanna Marin
    Matti Vanhanen
    from Russia
    29 March 1809
    6 December 1917
    January – May 1918
    17 July 1919
    30 November 1939 – 13 March 1940
    25 June 1941 – 19 September 1944
    • Joined the EU
    1 January 1995
    • Total
    338,455 km2 (130,678 sq mi) (65th)
    • Water (%)
    9.71 (2015)[5]
    • 2022 estimate
    Neutral increase 5,553,000[6] (116th)
    • Density
    16.4/km2 (42.5/sq mi) (213th)
    GDP (PPP)2022 estimate
    • Total
    Increase$321.2 billion[7] (60th)
    • Per capita
    Increase$58,010[7] (21st)
    GDP (nominal)2022 estimate
    • Total
    Increase$267.61 billion[7] (46th)
    • Per capita
    Increase$53,745[7] (16th)
    Gini (2021)Positive decrease 25.7[8]
    HDI (2021)Increase 0.940[9]
    very high · 11th
    CurrencyEuro () (EUR)
    Time zoneUTC+2 (EET)
    • Summer (DST)
    UTC+3 (EEST)
    Driving sideright
    Calling code+358
    ISO 3166 codeFI
    Internet, .axa
    1. The .eu domain is also used, as it is shared with other European Union member states.

    Finland (

    boreal forest biome, with more than 180,000 recorded lakes.[12]

    Finland was first inhabited around 9000 BC after the Last Glacial Period.[13] The Stone Age introduced several different ceramic styles and cultures. The Bronze Age and Iron Age were characterized by extensive contacts with other cultures in Fennoscandia and the Baltic region.[14] From the late 13th century, Finland gradually became an integral part of Sweden as a consequence of the Northern Crusades. In 1809, as a result of the Finnish War, Finland became part of the Russian Empire as the autonomous Grand Duchy of Finland, during which Finnish art flourished and the idea of independence began to take hold. In 1906, Finland became the first European state to grant universal suffrage, and the first in the world to give all adult citizens the right to run for public office.[15][16] Nicholas II, the last Tsar of Russia, tried to russify Finland and terminate its political autonomy, but after the 1917 Russian Revolution, Finland declared independence from Russia. In 1918, the fledgling state was divided by the Finnish Civil War. During World War II, Finland fought the Soviet Union in the Winter War and the Continuation War, and Nazi Germany in the Lapland War. It subsequently lost parts of its territory, but maintained its independence.

    Finland largely remained an agrarian country until the 1950s. After World War II, it rapidly industrialized and developed an advanced economy, while building an extensive welfare state based on the Nordic model; the country soon enjoyed widespread prosperity and a high per capita income.[17] Finland joined the United Nations in 1955 and adopted an official policy of neutrality; it joined the OECD in 1969, the NATO Partnership for Peace in 1994,[18] the European Union in 1995, the Euro-Atlantic Partnership Council in 1997,[18] and the Eurozone at its inception in 1999. Finland is a top performer in numerous metrics of national performance, including education, economic competitiveness, civil liberties, quality of life and human development.[19][20][21][22] In 2015, Finland ranked first in the World Human Capital,[23] topped the Press Freedom Index, and was the most stable country in the world during 2011–2016, according to the Fragile States Index;[24] it is second in the Global Gender Gap Report,[25] and has ranked first in every annual World Happiness Report since 2018.[26][27][28]


    Finland on a medieval map, which is part of the Carta marina

    The earliest written appearance of the name Finland is thought to be on three runestones. Two of them have the inscription finlonti (U 582) and the third has the inscription finlandi (G 319) and dates back to the 13th century.[29]

    The name Suomi (

    Sami, the native people of Lapland) and Häme (a province in the inland) has been suggested.[30] [31] In addition to the close relatives of Finnish (the Finnic languages), this name is also used in the Baltic languages Latvian (soms, Somija) and Lithuanian (suomis, Suomija), although these are later borrowings. An alternative hypothesis suggests the Proto-Indo-European word *(dʰ)ǵʰm-on- 'human' (Latin homo), being borrowed into Uralic as *ćoma.[31]

    In the earliest historical sources, from the 12th and 13th centuries, the term Finland refers to the coastal region around Turku. This region later became known as Finland Proper in distinction from the country name Finland. Finland became a common name for the whole country in a centuries-long process that started when the Catholic Church established a missionary diocese in the province of Suomi possibly sometime in the 12th century.[32]

    The devastation of

    Finland during the Great Northern War (1714–1721) and during the Russo-Swedish War (1741–1743) caused Sweden to begin carrying out major efforts to defend its eastern half from Russia. These 18th-century experiences created a sense of a shared destiny that when put in conjunction with the unique Finnish language, led to the adoption of an expanded concept of Finland.[33]



    Stone Age bear head gavel found in Paltamo, Kainuu.[34][35]

    If the

    last glacial period. The artefacts the first settlers left behind present characteristics that are shared with those found in Estonia, Russia, and Norway.[37] The earliest people were hunter-gatherers, using stone tools.[38]

    The first pottery appeared in 5200  BC, when the Comb Ceramic culture was introduced.[39] The arrival of the Corded Ware culture in Southern coastal Finland between 3000 and 2500 BC may have coincided with the start of agriculture.[40] Even with the introduction of agriculture, hunting and fishing continued to be important parts of the subsistence economy.

    An ancient Finnish man's outfit according to the findings of the Tuukkala Cemetery in Mikkeli
    , interpretation of 1889. The cemetery dates from the late 13th century to the early 15th century.

    In the

    Volga region and from Southern Scandinavia.[43]

    In the Iron Age population grew especially in Häme and Savo regions. Finland proper was the most densely populated area. Cultural contacts with the Baltics and Scandinavia became more frequent. Commercial contacts in the Baltic Sea region grew and extended during the eighth and ninth centuries.

    Main exports from Finland were furs, slaves, castoreum, and falcons to European courts. Imports included silk and other fabrics, jewelry, Ulfberht swords, and, in lesser extent, glass. Production of iron started approximately in 500 BC.[44]

    At the end of the ninth century, indigenous artefact culture, especially weapons and women's jewelry, had more common local features than ever before. This has been interpreted to be expressing common Finnish identity which was born from an image of common origin.[45]

    An early form of

    Sami language
    have survived in Lapland, the northernmost province, but the Sami have been displaced or assimilated elsewhere.

    The 12th and 13th centuries were a violent time in the northern Baltic Sea. The

    Novgorod and with each other. Also, during the 12th and 13th centuries several crusades from the Catholic realms of the Baltic Sea area were made against the Finnish tribes. Danes waged at least three crusades to Finland, in 1187 or slightly earlier,[47] in 1191 and in 1202,[48] and Swedes, possibly the so-called second crusade to Finland, in 1249 against Tavastians and the third crusade to Finland in 1293 against the Karelians. The so-called first crusade to Finland, possibly in 1155, is most likely an unreal event. Also, it is possible that Germans made violent conversion of Finnish pagans in the 13th century.[49] According to a papal letter from 1241, the king of Norway was also fighting against "nearby pagans" at that time.[50]

    Swedish era

    The Swedish Empire following the Treaty of Roskilde of 1658.
    Dark green: Sweden proper, as represented in the Riksdag of the Estates. Other greens: Swedish dominions and possessions

    As a result of the crusades (mostly with the second crusade led by Birger Jarl) and the colonization of some Finnish coastal areas with Christian Swedish population during the Middle Ages,[51] including the old capital Turku, Finland gradually became part of the kingdom of Sweden and the sphere of influence of the Catholic Church. Due to the Swedish conquest, the Finnish upper class lost its position and lands to the new Swedish and German nobility and the Catholic Church.[52]

    Protestant Reformation, the Finns gradually converted to Lutheranism.[53]

    In the 16th century, a bishop and Lutheran Reformer

    Christina of Sweden at the proposal of Count Per Brahe in 1640.[56][57]

    The Finns reaped a reputation in the

    devastating plague a few years later

    In the 18th century, wars between Sweden and Russia twice led to the occupation of Finland by Russian forces, times known to the Finns as the

    Greater Wrath (1714–1721) and the Lesser Wrath (1742–1743).[61][60] It is estimated that almost an entire generation of young men was lost during the Great Wrath, due mainly to the destruction of homes and farms, and the burning of Helsinki.[62]

    Two Russo-Swedish wars in twenty-five years served as reminders to the Finnish people of the precarious position between Sweden and Russia.

    Gustav III's coup in 1772. Sprengtporten fell out with the king and resigned his commission in 1777. In the following decade he tried to secure Russian support for an autonomous Finland, and later became an adviser to Catherine II.[63] In the spirit of the notion of Adolf Ivar Arwidsson (1791–1858) – "we are not Swedes, we do not want to become Russians, let us, therefore, be Finns" – a Finnish national identity started to become established.[64] Notwithstanding the efforts of Finland's elite and nobility to break ties with Sweden, there was no genuine independence movement in Finland until the early 20th century.[63] The Swedish era ended in the Finnish War
    in 1809.

    Russian era

    Edvard Isto, The Attack, 1899. The Russian eagle is attacking the Finnish Maiden
    trying to rob her book of laws.

    On 29 March 1809, having been taken over by the armies of

    Hegel's idealism, and who pushed for the stabilization of the status of the Finnish language and its own currency, the Finnish markka, in the Grand Duchy of Finland.[65][66] Milestones included the publication of what would become Finland's national epic – the Kalevala
    – in 1835, and the Finnish language's achieving equal legal status with Swedish in 1892.

    The Finnish famine of 1866–1868 occurred after a promisingly warm midsummer and freezing temperatures in early September ravaged crops,[67] and it killed approximately 15% of the population, making it one of the worst famines in European history. The famine led the Russian Empire to ease financial regulations, and investment rose in the following decades. Economic and political development was rapid.[68] The gross domestic product (GDP) per capita was still half of that of the United States and a third of that of Britain.[68]

    From 1869 until 1917, the Russian Empire pursued a policy known as the "

    autonomy. For example, universal suffrage was, in practice, virtually meaningless, since the tsar did not have to approve any of the laws adopted by the Finnish parliament. The desire for independence gained ground, first among radical liberals[69] and socialists, driven in part by a declaration called the February Manifesto by the last tsar of the Russian Empire, Nicholas II, on 15 February 1899.[70]

    Civil war and early independence

    After the 1917 February Revolution, the position of Finland as part of the Russian Empire was questioned, mainly by Social Democrats. Since the head of state was the tsar of Russia, it was not clear who the chief executive of Finland was after the revolution. The Parliament, controlled by social democrats, passed the so-called Power Act to give the highest authority to the Parliament. This was rejected by the Russian Provisional Government which decided to dissolve the Parliament.[71]

    New elections were conducted, in which right-wing parties won with a slim majority. Some social democrats refused to accept the result and still claimed that the dissolution of the parliament (and thus the ensuing elections) were extralegal. The two nearly equally powerful political blocs, the right-wing parties, and the social-democratic party were highly antagonized.

    White Victory Parade at the end of the Finnish Civil War
    in Helsinki, 1918


    P. E. Svinhufvud, presented Declaration of Independence on 4 December 1917, which was officially approved two days later, on 6 December, by the Finnish Parliament. The Russian Soviet Federative Socialist Republic (RSFSR), led by Vladimir Lenin, recognized independence on 4 January 1918.[72]

    On 27 January 1918, the official opening shots of the civil war were fired in two simultaneous events: on the one hand, the government's beginning to disarm the Russian forces in Pohjanmaa, and on the other, a coup launched by the Social Democratic Party.[failed verification] The latter gained control of southern Finland and Helsinki, but the White government continued in exile from Vaasa.[73][74] This sparked the brief but bitter civil war. The Whites, who were supported by Imperial Germany, prevailed over the Reds,[75] which were guided by Kullervo Manner's desire to make the newly independent country a Finnish Socialist Workers' Republic (also known as "Red Finland") and part of the RSFSR.[76] After the war, tens of thousands of Reds and suspected sympathizers were interned in camps, where thousands were executed or died from malnutrition and disease. Deep social and political enmity was sown between the Reds and Whites and would last until the Winter War and even beyond.[77][78] The civil war and the 1918–1920 activist expeditions called "Kinship Wars" into Soviet Russia strained Eastern relations. At that time, the idea of a Greater Finland also emerged for the first time.[79][80]


    liberal nationalist with a legal background, Ståhlberg anchored the state in liberal democracy, supported the rule of law, and embarked on internal reforms.[81] Finland was also one of the first European countries to strongly aim for equality for women, with Miina Sillanpää serving in Väinö Tanner's cabinet as the first female minister in Finnish history in 1926–1927.[82] The Finnish–Russian border was defined in 1920 by the Treaty of Tartu, largely following the historic border but granting Pechenga (Finnish: Petsamo) and its Barents Sea harbour to Finland.[61] Finnish democracy did not experience any Soviet coup attempts and likewise survived the anti-communist Lapua Movement

    In 1917, the population was three million. Credit-based land reform was enacted after the civil war, increasing the proportion of the capital-owning population.[68] About 70% of workers were occupied in agriculture and 10% in industry.[83] The largest export markets were the United Kingdom and Germany.

    World War II and after

    World War II in Finland

    The Soviet Union launched the Winter War on 30 November 1939 in an effort to annex Finland.[84] The Finnish Democratic Republic was established by Joseph Stalin at the beginning of the war to govern Finland after Soviet conquest.[85] The Red Army was defeated in numerous battles, notably at the Battle of Suomussalmi. After two months of negligible progress on the battlefield, as well as severe losses of men and materiel, the Soviets put an end to the Finnish Democratic Republic in late January 1940 and recognized the legal Finnish government as the legitimate government of Finland.[86] Soviet forces began to make progress in February and reached Vyborg in March. The fighting came to an end on 13 March 1940 with the signing of the Moscow Peace Treaty. Finland had successfully defended its independence, but ceded 9% of its territory to the Soviet Union.

    land lease was returned to Finland in 1956.

    Hostilities resumed in June 1941 with the Continuation War, when Finland aligned with Germany following the latter's invasion of the Soviet Union; the primary aim was to recapture the territory lost to the Soviets scarcely one year before. For 872 days, the German army, aided indirectly by Finnish forces, besieged Leningrad, the USSR's second-largest city.[87] Finnish forces occupied East Karelia from 1941 to 1944. Finnish resistance to the Vyborg–Petrozavodsk offensive in the summer of 1944 led to a standstill, and the two sides reached an armistice. This was followed by the Lapland War of 1944–1945, when Finland fought retreating German forces in northern Finland. Famous war heroes of the aforementioned wars include Simo Häyhä,[88][89] Aarne Juutilainen,[90] and Lauri Törni.[91]

    The treaties signed with the Soviet Union in 1947 and 1948 included Finnish obligations, restraints, and reparations, as well as further Finnish territorial concessions in addition to those in the Moscow Peace Treaty. As a result of the two wars, Finland ceded

    Finnish Karelia and Salla; this amounted to 12% of Finland's land area, 20% of its industrial capacity, its second-largest city, Vyborg (Viipuri), and the ice-free port of Liinakhamari (Liinahamari). Almost the whole Finnish population, some 400,000 people, fled these areas. The former Finnish territory now constitutes part of Russia's Republic of Karelia, Leningrad Oblast, and Murmansk Oblast. Finland lost 97,000 soldiers and was forced to pay war reparations
    of $300 million ($5.5 billion in 2020); nevertheless, it avoided occupation by Soviet forces and managed to retain its independence.

    Finland rejected

    agrarian economy to an industrialized one. Valmet (originally a shipyard, then several metal workshops) was founded to create materials for war reparations. After the reparations had been paid off, Finland continued to trade with the Soviet Union in the framework of bilateral trade

    In 1950, 46% of Finnish workers worked in agriculture and a third lived in urban areas.[93] The new jobs in manufacturing, services, and trade quickly attracted people to the towns. The average number of births per woman declined from a baby boom peak of 3.5 in 1947 to 1.5 in 1973.[93] When baby boomers entered the workforce, the economy did not generate jobs quickly enough, and hundreds of thousands emigrated to the more industrialized Sweden, with emigration peaking in 1969 and 1970.[93] The 1952 Summer Olympics brought international visitors. Finland took part in trade liberalization in the World Bank, the International Monetary Fund, and the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade.

    Officially claiming to be neutral, Finland lay in the grey zone between the Western countries and the Soviet bloc during the Cold War. The military YYA Treaty (Finno-Soviet Pact of Friendship, Cooperation and Mutual Assistance) gave the Soviet Union some leverage in Finnish domestic politics. This was extensively exploited by president Urho Kekkonen against his opponents. He maintained an effective monopoly on Soviet relations from 1956 on, which was crucial for his continued popularity. In politics, there was a tendency to avoid any policies and statements that could be interpreted as anti-Soviet. This phenomenon was given the name "Finlandization" by the West German press.[94]

    Finland maintained a market economy. Various industries benefited from trade privileges with the Soviets. Economic growth was rapid in the postwar era, and by 1975 Finland's GDP per capita was the 15th-highest in the world. In the 1970s and 1980s, Finland built one of the most extensive welfare states in the world. Finland negotiated with the European Economic Community (EEC, a predecessor of the European Union) a treaty that mostly abolished customs duties towards the EEC starting from 1977, although Finland did not fully join. In 1981, President Urho Kekkonen's failing health forced him to retire after holding office for 25 years.

    Finland reacted cautiously to the collapse of the Soviet Union but swiftly began increasing integration with the West. On 21 September 1990, Finland unilaterally declared the

    Paris Peace Treaty obsolete, following the German reunification decision nine days earlier.[95]

    Miscalculated macroeconomic decisions,

    Helsinki Stock Exchange

    21st century

    The Finnish population elected Tarja Halonen in the 2000 Presidential election, making her the first female President of Finland.[97] She held office throughout the decade. The country also received its first ever female Prime minister Anneli Jäätteenmäki in 2003, although she had to resign after only ten weeks holding the position due to the Iraq leak.[98][99] Financial crises also paralyzed Finland's exports in 2008, resulting in weaker economic growth throughout the decade.[100][101] Sauli Niinistö has subsequently been elected the President of Finland since 2012.[102]


    application for membership.[110]


    Lying approximately between latitudes 60° and 70° N, and longitudes 20° and 32° E, Finland is one of the world's northernmost countries. Of world capitals, only Reykjavík lies more to the north than Helsinki. The distance from the southernmost point – Hanko in Uusimaa – to the northernmost – Nuorgam in Lapland – is 1,160 kilometres (720 mi).

    Finland has about 168,000 lakes (of area larger than 500 m2 or 0.12 acres) and 179,000 islands.[111] Its largest lake, Saimaa, is the fourth largest in Europe. The Finnish Lakeland is the area with the most lakes in the country; many of the major cities in the area, most notably Tampere, Jyväskylä and Kuopio, are located near the large lakes. The greatest concentration of islands is found in the southwest, in the Archipelago Sea between continental Finland and the main island of Åland.

    Much of the geography of Finland is a result of the Ice Age. The glaciers were thicker and lasted longer in Fennoscandia compared with the rest of Europe. Their eroding effects have left the Finnish landscape mostly flat with few hills and fewer mountains. Its highest point, the Halti at 1,324 metres (4,344 ft), is found in the extreme north of Lapland at the border between Finland and Norway. The highest mountain whose peak is entirely in Finland is Ridnitšohkka at 1,316 m (4,318 ft), directly adjacent to Halti.

    There are some 187,888 lakes in Finland larger than 500 square metres and 75,818 islands of over 0,5 km2 area, leading to the denomination "the land of a thousand lakes".[12] Picture of Lake Pielinen in North Karelia

    The retreating glaciers have left the land with morainic deposits in formations of eskers. These are ridges of stratified gravel and sand, running northwest to southeast, where the ancient edge of the glacier once lay. Among the biggest of these are the three Salpausselkä ridges that run across southern Finland.

    Having been compressed under the enormous weight of the glaciers, terrain in Finland is rising due to the post-glacial rebound. The effect is strongest around the Gulf of Bothnia, where land steadily rises about 1 cm (0.4 in) a year. As a result, the old sea bottom turns little by little into dry land: the surface area of the country is expanding by about 7 square kilometres (2.7 sq mi) annually.[112] Relatively speaking, Finland is rising from the sea.[113]

    The landscape is covered mostly by coniferous taiga forests and fens, with little cultivated land. Of the total area, 10% is lakes, rivers, and ponds, and 78% is forest. The forest consists of pine, spruce, birch, and other species.[114] Finland is the largest producer of wood in Europe and among the largest in the world. The most common type of rock is granite. It is a ubiquitous part of the scenery, visible wherever there is no soil cover. Moraine or till is the most common type of soil, covered by a thin layer of humus of biological origin. Podzol profile development is seen in most forest soils except where drainage is poor. Gleysols and peat bogs occupy poorly drained areas.


    Scandinavian Montane Birch forest and grasslands.[115] Taiga covers most of Finland from northern regions of southern provinces to the north of Lapland. On the southwestern coast, south of the Helsinki-Rauma line, forests are characterized by mixed forests, that are more typical in the Baltic region. In the extreme north of Finland, near the tree line and Arctic Ocean, Montane Birch forests are common. Finland had a 2018 Forest Landscape Integrity Index mean score of 5.08/10, ranking it 109th globally out of 172 countries.[116]

    The brown bear (Ursus arctos) is Finland's national animal. It is also the largest carnivore
    in Finland.

    Similarly, Finland has a diverse and extensive range of fauna. There are at least sixty native mammalian species, 248 breeding bird species, over 70 fish species, and 11 reptile and frog species present today, many migrating from neighbouring countries thousands of years ago. Large and widely recognized wildlife mammals found in Finland are the

    beetles such as the Onciderini also being common. The most common breeding birds are the willow warbler, common chaffinch, and redwing.[121] Of some seventy species of freshwater fish, the northern pike, perch, and others are plentiful. Atlantic salmon remains the favourite of fly rod

    The endangered Saimaa ringed seal (Pusa hispida saimensis), one of only three lake seal species in the world, exists only in the Saimaa lake system of southeastern Finland, down to only 390 seals today.[122] Ever since the species was protected in 1955,[123] it has become the emblem of the Finnish Association for Nature Conservation.[124] The Saimaa ringed seal lives nowadays mainly in two Finnish national parks, Kolovesi and Linnansaari,[125] but strays have been seen in a much larger area, including near Savonlinna's town centre.

    A third of Finland's land area originally consisted of moorland, about half of this area has been drained for cultivation over the past centuries.[126]


    The main factor influencing Finland's climate is the country's geographical position between the 60th and 70th northern parallels in 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.[127]

    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.[128] 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 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).[127] Although most of Finland lies on the taiga belt, the southernmost coastal regions are sometimes classified as hemiboreal.[129]

    In northern Finland, particularly in Lapland, the winters are long and cold, while the summers are relatively warm but short. On the most severe winter days in Lapland can see the temperature fall 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.

    Arctic tundra, but Alpine tundra can be found at the fells Lapland.[129]

    The Finnish climate is suitable for cereal farming only in the southernmost regions, while the northern regions are suitable for animal husbandry.[130]

    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.[127]


    Finland consists of 19 regions, called maakunta in Finnish and landskap in Swedish. The counties are governed by regional councils which serve as forums of cooperation for the municipalities of a county. The main tasks of the counties are regional planning and development of enterprise and education. In addition, the public health services are usually organized based on counties. Currently, the only county where a popular election is held for the council is Kainuu. Other regional councils are elected by municipal councils, each municipality sending representatives in proportion to its population.

    In addition to inter-municipal cooperation, which is the responsibility of regional councils, each county has a state Employment and Economic Development Centre which is responsible for the local administration of labour, agriculture, fisheries, forestry, and entrepreneurial affairs. The Finnish Defence Forces regional offices are responsible for the regional defence preparations and the administration of conscription within the county.

    Counties represent dialectal, cultural, and economic variations better than the former provinces, which were purely administrative divisions of the central government. Historically, counties are divisions of historical provinces of Finland, areas that represent dialects and culture more accurately.


    Regional State Administrative Agencies were created by the state of Finland in 2010, each of them responsible for one of the counties called alue in Finnish and region in Swedish; in addition, Åland was designated a seventh county. These take over some of the tasks of the earlier Provinces of Finland (lääni/län), which were abolished.[131]

    Regional map English Name[132] Finnish name Swedish name Capital Regional state administrative agency
    Lappi Lappland Rovaniemi
    North Ostrobothnia Pohjois-Pohjanmaa Norra Österbotten Oulu
    Northern Finland
    Kainuu Kainuu Kajanaland Kajaani Northern Finland
    North Karelia Pohjois-Karjala Norra Karelen Joensuu
    Eastern Finland
    North Savo Pohjois-Savo Norra Savolax Kuopio Eastern Finland
    South Savo Etelä-Savo Södra Savolax Mikkeli Eastern Finland
    South Ostrobothnia Etelä-Pohjanmaa Södra Österbotten Seinäjoki
    Western and Central Finland
    Central Ostrobothnia Keski-Pohjanmaa Mellersta Österbotten Kokkola Western and Central Finland
    Ostrobothnia Pohjanmaa Österbotten Vaasa Western and Central Finland
    Pirkanmaa Pirkanmaa Birkaland Tampere Western and Central Finland
    Central Finland Keski-Suomi Mellersta Finland Jyväskylä Western and Central Finland
    Satakunta Satakunta Pori South-Western Finland
    Southwest Finland Varsinais-Suomi Egentliga Finland Turku South-Western Finland
    South Karelia Etelä-Karjala Södra Karelen Lappeenranta
    Southern Finland
    Päijät-Häme Päijät-Häme Päijänne-Tavastland Lahti Southern Finland
    Kanta-Häme Kanta-Häme Egentliga Tavastland Hämeenlinna Southern Finland
    Uusimaa Nyland Helsinki Southern Finland
    Kymenlaakso Kymenlaakso Kymmenedalen Kotka and Kouvola Southern Finland
    Åland[133] Ahvenanmaa Åland Mariehamn Åland

    The county of Eastern Uusimaa (Itä-Uusimaa) was consolidated with Uusimaa on 1 January 2011.[134]

    Administrative divisions

    The fundamental administrative divisions of the country are the municipalities, which may also call themselves towns or cities. They account for half of the public spending. Spending is financed by municipal income tax, state subsidies, and other revenue. As of 2021, there are 309 municipalities,[135] and most have fewer than 6,000 residents.

    In addition to municipalities, two intermediate levels are defined. Municipalities co-operate in seventy

    Sami native region
    in Lapland for issues on language and culture.

    In the following chart, the number of inhabitants includes those living in the entire municipality (kunta/kommun), not just in the built-up area. The land area is given in km2, and the density in inhabitants per km2 (land area). The figures are as of 31 December 2021. The capital region – comprising Helsinki, Vantaa, Espoo and Kauniainen – forms a continuous conurbation of over 1.1 million people. However, common administration is limited to voluntary cooperation of all municipalities, e.g. in Helsinki Metropolitan Area Council.

    City Population[136] Land area[137] Density Regional map Population density map
    658,864 213.75 3,082.4
    (thick borders) of Finland (2021)
    297,354 312.26 952.26
    244,315 525.03 465.34
    239,216 238.37 1,003.55
    209,648 1,410.17 148.67
    195,301 245.67 794.97
    144,477 1,170.99 123.38
    121,557 1,597.39 76.1
    120,093 459.47 261.37
    83,491 834.06 100.1
    80,483 2,558.24 31.46
    77,266 2,381.76 32.44
    72,646 1,433.36 50.68
    67,994 1,785.76 38.08
    67,631 188.81 358.2

    Government and politics

    Finland is a member of:
      the Eurozone     the European Union



    European Union elections



    reserve powers, including the authority to veto legislation, to grant pardons, and to appoint several public officials, such as Finnish ambassadors and heads of diplomatic missions, the Director-General of Kela, the Chancellor of Justice, the Prosecutor General, and the Governor and Board of the Bank of Finland, among others. The President is also required by the Constitution to dismiss individual ministers or the entire Government upon a parliamentary vote of no confidence. In summary, the President serves as a guardian of Finnish democracy and sovereignty at home and abroad.[138]

    The President is directly elected via runoff voting for a maximum of two consecutive 6-year terms. The current president is Sauli Niinistö; he took office on 1 March 2012. Former presidents were K. J. Ståhlberg (1919–1925), L. K. Relander (1925–1931), P. E. Svinhufvud (1931–1937), Kyösti Kallio (1937–1940), Risto Ryti (1940–1944), C. G. E. Mannerheim (1944–1946), J. K. Paasikivi (1946–1956), Urho Kekkonen (1956–1982), Mauno Koivisto (1982–1994), Martti Ahtisaari (1994–2000), and Tarja Halonen (2000–2012). Niinistö's election as a member of the National Coalition Party marks the first time since 1946 that a Finnish President is not a member of either the Social Democratic Party or the Centre Party.


    The Session Hall of the Parliament of Finland

    The 200-member unicameral Parliament of Finland (Finnish: Eduskunta, Swedish: Riksdag) exercises supreme legislative authority in the country. It may alter the constitution and ordinary laws, dismiss the cabinet, and override presidential vetoes. Its acts are not subject to judicial review; the constitutionality of new laws is assessed by the parliament's constitutional law committee. The parliament is elected for a term of four years using the proportional D'Hondt method within several multi-seat constituencies through the most open list multi-member districts. Various parliament committees listen to experts and prepare legislation.

    Since universal suffrage was introduced in 1906, the parliament has been dominated by the Centre Party (former Agrarian Union), the National Coalition Party, and the Social Democrats. These parties have enjoyed approximately equal support, and their combined vote has totalled about 65–80% of all votes. For a few decades after 1944, the Communists were a strong fourth party. The relative strengths of the parties have commonly varied only slightly from one election to another. However, there have been some long-term trends, such as the rise and fall of the Communists during the Cold War; the steady decline into insignificance of the Liberals and their predecessors from 1906 to 1980; and the rise of the Green League since 1983.


    government of Finland. It took office on 10 December 2019.[139][140] The cabinet consists of a coalition formed by the Social Democratic Party, the Centre Party, the Green League, the Left Alliance, and the Swedish People's Party.[141]


    After parliamentary elections, the parties negotiate among themselves on forming a new cabinet (the Finnish Government), which then has to be approved by a simple majority vote in the parliament. The cabinet can be dismissed by a parliamentary vote of no confidence, although this rarely happens (the last time in 1957), as the parties represented in the cabinet usually make up a majority in the parliament.[142][circular reference]

    The cabinet exercises most executive powers and originates most of the bills that the parliament then debates and votes on. It is headed by the Prime Minister of Finland, and consists of him or her, other ministers, and the Chancellor of Justice. The current prime minister is Sanna Marin (Social Democratic Party). Each minister heads his or her ministry, or, in some cases, has responsibility for a subset of a ministry's policy. After the prime minister, the most powerful minister is often the minister of finance.

    As no one party ever dominates the parliament, Finnish cabinets are multi-party coalitions. As a rule, the post of prime minister goes to the leader of the biggest party and that of the minister of finance to the leader of the second biggest.


    The Court House of the Supreme Court

    The judicial system of Finland is a civil law system divided between courts with regular civil and criminal jurisdiction and administrative courts with jurisdiction over litigation between individuals and the public administration. Finnish law is codified and based on Swedish law and in a wider sense, civil law or Roman law. The court system for civil and criminal jurisdiction consists of local courts, regional appellate courts, and the Supreme Court. The administrative branch of justice consists of administrative courts and the Supreme Administrative Court. In addition to the regular courts, there are a few special courts in certain branches of administration. There is also a High Court of Impeachment for criminal charges against certain high-ranking officeholders.

    Around 92% of residents have confidence in Finland's security institutions.

    speeding. Finland has a very low number of corruption charges; Transparency International
    ranks Finland as one of the least corrupt countries in Europe.

    Foreign relations

    According to the 2012 constitution, the president (currently Sauli Niinistö) leads foreign policy in cooperation with the government, except that the president has no role in EU affairs.[145]

    In 2008, president Martti Ahtisaari was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize.[146] Finland was considered a cooperative model state, and Finland did not oppose proposals for a common EU defence policy.[147] This was reversed in the 2000s, when Tarja Halonen and Erkki Tuomioja made Finland's official policy to resist other EU members' plans for common defence.[147]


    The Finnish Defence Forces consist of a cadre of professional soldiers (mainly officers and technical personnel), currently serving conscripts, and a large reserve. The standard readiness strength is 34,700 people in uniform, of which 25% are professional soldiers. A universal male conscription is in place, under which all male Finnish nationals above 18 years of age serve for 6 to 12 months of armed service or 12 months of civilian (non-armed) service. Voluntary post-conscription overseas peacekeeping service is popular, and troops serve around the world in UN, NATO, and EU missions. Approximately 500 women choose voluntary military service every year.

    homeland defence willingness, Finland is one of Europe's militarily strongest countries.[151]

    Finnish defence expenditure per capita is one of the highest in the European Union.[152] The Finnish military doctrine is based on the concept of total defence. The term total means that all sectors of the government and economy are involved in the defence planning. The armed forces are under the command of the Chief of Defence (currently General Jarmo Lindberg), who is directly subordinate to the president in matters related to military command. The branches of the military are the army, the navy, and the air force. The border guard is under the Ministry of the Interior but can be incorporated into the Defence Forces when required for defence readiness.

    Even while Finland hasn't joined the

    North Atlantic Treaty Organization, the country has joined the NATO Response Force, the EU Battlegroup,[153] the NATO Partnership for Peace and in 2014 signed a NATO memorandum of understanding,[154][155] thus forming a practical coalition.[18] In 2015, the Finland-NATO ties were strengthened with a host nation support agreement allowing assistance from NATO troops in emergency situations.[156] Finland has been an active participant in the Afghanistan and Kosovo wars.[157][158]

    Social security

    Finland has one of the world's most extensive welfare systems, one that guarantees decent living conditions for all residents: Finns, and non-citizens. Since the 1980s social security has been cut back, but still the system is one of the most comprehensive in the world. Created almost entirely during the first three decades after World War II, the social security system was an outgrowth of the traditional Nordic belief that the state was not inherently hostile to the well-being of its citizens but could intervene benevolently on their behalf. According to some social historians, the basis of this belief was a relatively benign history that had allowed the gradual emergence of free and independent farmers in the Nordic countries and had curtailed the dominance of the nobility and the subsequent formation of a powerful right-wing. Finland's history has been harsher than the histories of the other Nordic countries, but not harsh enough to bar the country from following its path of social development.[159]

    Human rights

    People gathering at the Senate Square, Helsinki, right before the 2011 Helsinki Pride parade

    § 6 in two sentences of the

    Finnish Constitution states: "No one shall be placed in a different position on situation of sex, age, origin, language, religion, belief, opinion, state of health, disability or any other personal reason without an acceptable reason."[160]

    Finland has been ranked above average among the world's countries in

    press freedom,[162] and human development.[163] Amnesty International has expressed concern regarding some issues in Finland, such as the imprisonment of conscientious objectors, and societal discrimination against Romani people and members of other ethnic and linguistic minorities.[164][165]


    As of 2022, the GDP per capita of Finland is the sixteenth-highest in the world.

    In addition to the fact that Finland is one of the richest countries in the world, it is known for its well-developed welfare system, such as free education, and advanced health care system.

    The largest sector of the economy is the

    service sector at 66% of GDP, followed by manufacturing and refining at 31%. Primary production represents 2.9%.[166] With respect to foreign trade, the key economic sector is manufacturing. The largest industries in 2007[167] were electronics (22%); machinery, vehicles, and other engineered metal products (21.1%); forest industry (13%); and chemicals (11%). The gross domestic product peaked in 2008. As of 2015, the country's economy is at the 2006 level.[168][169] Finland is ranked as the 9th most innovative country in the Global Innovation Index in 2022.[170]

    Finland has significant timber, mineral (iron, chromium, copper, nickel, and gold), and freshwater resources. Forestry, paper factories, and the agricultural sector are important for rural residents. The Greater Helsinki area generates around one-third of Finland's GDP. Private services are the largest employer in Finland.

    Finland's climate and soils make growing crops a particular challenge. The country lies between the latitudes 60°N and 70°N, and it has severe winters and relatively short growing seasons that are sometimes interrupted by frost. However, because the Gulf Stream and the North Atlantic Drift Current moderate the climate, Finland contains half of the world's arable land north of 60° north latitude. Annual precipitation is usually sufficient, but it occurs almost exclusively during the winter months, making summer droughts a constant threat. In response to the climate, farmers have relied on quick-ripening and frost-resistant varieties of crops, and they have cultivated south-facing slopes as well as richer bottomlands to ensure production even in years with summer frosts. Most farmland was originally either forest or swamp, and the soil has usually required treatment with lime and years of cultivation to neutralize the excess acid and to improve fertility. Irrigation has generally not been necessary, but drainage systems are often needed to remove excess water. Finland's agriculture has been efficient and productive—at least when compared with farming in other European countries.[159]

    Forests play a key role in the country's economy, making it one of the world's leading wood producers and providing raw materials at competitive prices for the crucial wood processing industries. As in agriculture, the government has long played a leading role in forestry, regulating tree cutting, sponsoring technical improvements, and establishing long-term plans to ensure that the country's forests continue to supply the wood-processing industries.[159]

    As of 2008, average purchasing power-adjusted income levels are similar to those of Italy, Sweden, Germany, and France.

    UPM-Kymmene, YIT, Metso, and Nordea.[174] The unemployment rate was 6.8% in 2022.[175]

    As of 2006[update], 2.4 million households reside in Finland. The average size is 2.1 persons; 40% of households consist of a single person, 32% two persons and 28% three or more persons. Residential buildings total 1.2 million, and the average residential space is 38 square metres (410 sq ft) per person. The average residential property without land costs €1,187 per sq metre and residential land €8.60 per sq metre. 74% of households had a car. There are 2.5 million cars and 0.4 million other vehicles.[176]

    The average total household consumption was €20,000, out of which housing consisted of about €5,500, transport about €3,000, food and beverages (excluding alcoholic beverages) at around €2,500, and recreation and culture at around €2,000.[177] In 2017, Finland's GDP reached €224  billion.[178]

    Finland has the highest concentration of cooperatives relative to its population.[179] The largest retailer, which is also the largest private employer, S-Group, and the largest bank, OP-Group, in the country are both cooperatives.


    The two existing units of the Olkiluoto Nuclear Power Plant. On the far left is a visualization of a third unit, which, when completed, will become Finland's fifth commercial nuclear reactor.[180]

    The free and largely privately owned financial and physical

    EU-15 (equal to France).[181]

    In 2006, the energy market was around 90 terawatt hours and the peak demand around 15

    gigawatts in winter. This means that the energy consumption per capita is around 7.2 tons of oil equivalent per year. Industry and construction consumed 51% of total consumption, a relatively high figure reflecting Finland's industries.[182][183] Finland's hydrocarbon resources are limited to peat and wood. About 10–15% of the electricity is produced by hydropower,[184] which is low compared with more mountainous Sweden or Norway. In 2008, renewable energy (mainly hydropower and various forms of wood energy) was high at 31% compared with the EU average of 10.3% in final energy consumption.[185] Finland is a member of the International Energy Agency and, as such, maintains a strategic petroleum reserve in the case of emergencies. As of February 2022, Finland's reserves held 200 days worth of net oil imports.[186]

    Supply of electricity in Finland[187]

    Finland has four privately owned nuclear reactors producing 18% of the country's energy

    MWe and a focal point of Europe's nuclear industry – has faced many delays and is currently scheduled to be operational by June 2022, over 12 years after the original planned opening.[189]
    A varying amount (5–17%) of electricity has been imported from Russia (at around 3-gigawatt power line capacity), Sweden and Norway.

    The Onkalo spent nuclear fuel repository is currently under construction at the Olkiluoto Nuclear Power Plant in the municipality of Eurajoki, on the west coast of Finland, by the company Posiva.[190] The start of commercial operations for the completed reactor in Finland can lead to an increase of up to 20 TWh in EU nuclear power generation in 2022.[191]


    operates a railway network serving all major cities in Finland.

    Finland's road system is utilized by most internal cargo and passenger traffic. The annual state operated road network expenditure of around €1  billion is paid for with vehicle and fuel taxes which amount to around €1.5  billion and €1  billion, respectively. Among the

    Lahti Highway (E75), and the ring roads (Ring I and Ring III) of the Helsinki metropolitan area and the Tampere Ring Road of the Tampere urban area.[192]

    The main international passenger gateway is Helsinki Airport, which handled about 21 million passengers in 2019 (5 million in 2020 due to COVID-19 pandemic). Oulu Airport is the second largest with 1 million passengers in 2019 (300,000 in 2020), whilst another 25 airports have scheduled passenger services.[193] The Helsinki Airport-based Finnair, Blue1, and Nordic Regional Airlines, Norwegian Air Shuttle sell 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.

    The Government annually spends around €350  million to maintain the 5,865-kilometre-long (3,644 mi) network of railway tracks. Rail transport is handled by the state-owned VR Group, which has a 5% passenger market share (out of which 80% are from urban trips in Greater Helsinki) and 25% cargo market share.[194] Finland's first railway was opened between Helsinki and Hämeenlinna in 1862,[195][196] and today it forms part of the Finnish Main Line, which is more than 800 kilometers long. Helsinki opened the world's northernmost metro system in 1982.

    The majority of international cargo shipments are handled at ports. Vuosaari Harbour in Helsinki is the largest container port in Finland; others include Kotka, Hamina, Hanko, Pori, Rauma, and Oulu. There is passenger traffic from Helsinki and Turku, which have ferry connections to Tallinn, Mariehamn, Stockholm and Travemünde. The Helsinki-Tallinn route is one of the busiest passenger sea routes in the world.[197]


    The Oasis of the Seas was built at the Perno shipyard in Turku

    Finland rapidly industrialized after World War II, achieving GDP per capita levels comparable to that of Japan or the UK at the beginning of the 1970s. Initially, most of the economic development was based on two broad groups of export-led industries, the "metal industry" (metalliteollisuus) and "forest industry" (metsäteollisuus). The "metal industry" includes shipbuilding, metalworking, the automotive industry, engineered products such as motors and electronics, and production of metals and alloys including steel, copper and chromium. Many of the world's biggest cruise ships, including MS Freedom of the Seas and the Oasis of the Seas have been built in Finnish shipyards.[198] [199] The "forest industry" includes forestry, timber, pulp and paper, and is often considered a logical development based on Finland's extensive forest resources, as 73% of the area is covered by forest. In the pulp and paper industry, many major companies are based in Finland; Ahlstrom-Munksjö, Metsä Board, and UPM are all Finnish forest-based companies with revenues exceeding €1 billion. However, in recent decades, the Finnish economy has diversified, with companies expanding into fields such as electronics (Nokia), metrology (Vaisala), petroleum (Neste), and video games (Rovio Entertainment), and is no longer dominated by the two sectors of metal and forest industry. Likewise, the structure has changed, with the service sector growing, with manufacturing declining in importance; agriculture remains a minor part. Despite this, production for export is still more prominent than in Western Europe, thus making Finland possibly more vulnerable to global economic trends.

    In 2017, the Finnish economy was estimated to consist of approximately 2.7% agriculture, 28.2% manufacturing, and 69.1% services.[200] In 2019, the per-capita income of Finland was estimated to be $48,869. In 2020, Finland was ranked 20th on the ease of doing business index, among 190 jurisdictions.

    Public policy

    Finnish politicians have often emulated the Nordic model.[201] Nordics have been free-trading and relatively welcoming to skilled migrants for over a century, though in Finland immigration is relatively new. The level of protection in commodity trade has been low, except for agricultural products.[201]

    Finland has top levels of economic freedom in many areas.[clarification needed] Finland is ranked 16th in the 2008 global Index of Economic Freedom and ninth in Europe.[202] While the manufacturing sector is thriving, the OECD points out that the service sector would benefit substantially from policy improvements.[203]

    The 2007

    competitive.[204] The World Economic Forum 2008 index ranked Finland the sixth most competitive.[205]
    In both indicators, Finland's performance was next to Germany, and significantly higher than most European countries. In the Business competitiveness index 2007–2008 Finland ranked third in the world.

    Economists attribute much growth to reforms in the product markets. According to the OECD, only four

    EU-15 countries have less regulated product markets (UK, Ireland, Denmark and Sweden) and only one has less regulated financial markets (Denmark). Nordic countries were pioneers in liberalizing energy, postal, and other markets in Europe.[201] The legal system is clear and business bureaucracy less than most countries.[202] Property rights are well protected and contractual agreements are strictly honoured.[202] Finland is rated the least corrupt country in the world in the Corruption Perceptions Index[206] and 13th in the Ease of doing business index. This indicates exceptional ease in cross-border trading (5th), contract enforcement (7th), business closure (5th), tax payment (83rd), and low worker hardship (127th).[207]

    In Finland,

    AKAVA, mostly for university-educated professionals: 80%).[201]


    Medieval old town in Porvoo is one of the most popular tourist destinations in summers for those who are fascinated by the old look.[208][209][210]