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Country Profiles: Finland

A brief summary on Finland.

Official name: Republic of Finland

Official language: Finnish and Swedish

Land area: 130,559 sq mi/338,145 sq km

Population:  5,323,000

Dominant religion:  Christianity

Capital: Helsinki

Current leader: Prime Minister Mari Kiviniemi


Finland is a large country in northeastern Europe. It is bordered by Norway to the north, Russia to the east, the Gulf of Finland to the south and Sweden and the Gulf of Bothnia to the west. Most of northern Finland lies within the Arctic Circle and is marked by continuous daylight in the early summer and continuous darkness during part of winter. Even in the south during a small portion of the summer, the sun doesn’t completely set.

 Finland consistently tops the list as the world’s least-corrupt country and its citizens enjoy arguably the world’s highest standards of living.

 Most of the population lives in the southern part of the country. Finns comprise more than 90 percent of the population. Most of the rest are Swedish and Russians. Finns are often mistakenly grouped with the people of Denmark, Norway and Sweden as Scandinavians but Finns are not Scandinavians although its culture is very similar to that of Scandinavians.

 Finland frequently exchanged hands between Sweden and Russia throughout its history. At the end of World War I it won independence from Russia. Finland tried to remain neutral during World War II but found itself fighting the Soviet Union alongside of Germany after fighting an earlier war with the Soviets and being forced to give up territory. At the end of the war it signed a separate peace treaty with the Soviet Union, escaping the terrible fate of becoming a communist Soviet satellite like the Eastern European countries that had been allied with Germany.

 Although it did not suffer physical damage anywhere close to scale of other countries the war still put a humongous strain on its economy that took some time to fully heal.

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