Finnish Studies at SSEES |
Finnish Language | Finland in brief
Finland (surface area 338 000 sq. km) is the seventh largest country
in Europe and is situated in northern Europe between the 60th and
70th parallels of latitude. A quarter of its total area lies north
of the Arctic Circle. Finland's neighbouring countries are Sweden,
Norway, and Russia, which have land borders with Finland, and
Estonia across the Gulf of Finland. Forest covers about 75 per cent
of Finland, while bodies of water - mainly lakes - cover almost 10
per cent. Finland is the most heavily forested country in Europe,
with 23 million hectares under forest cover. There are approximately
190,000 lakes and about 180,000 islands. Europe's largest
archipelago, which includes the self-governing province of the Åland
Islands, lies off the south-west coast.
population of 5.2 million is very homogeneous, with the foreign and
ethnic communities accounting for two per cent of the population.
The biggest groups of immigrants are from Russia, Estonia and
Sweden. Among them are a considerable number of people of Finnish
Finland's road to
industrialisation started in the 19th century with the harnessing of
forest resources. Forests are still Finland's primary raw material
resource, although the engineering and high technology industries,
spearheaded by the Nokia corporation, have long been the leading
branches of manufacturing. The industrial structure of Finnish exports
has changed dramatically over the past few decades. The wood and paper
industry accounted for well over half of exports less than thirty years
ago. Now the paper industry is only one of three major export sectors,
the other two being electronics and metal and engineering. The
electronics industry's remarkable growth in the 1990s was based
primarily on mobile phones and other telecommunication equipment. As
regards the country's general prosperity, the net wealth of Finnish
households is average for EU member states. It has been a member of the
European Union since 1995.
Finland has an
interesting history which has shaped its national identity. Some
important dates in Finnish history: 1155 - the first crusade to Finland
by the Swedes (Finland becomes part of the Swedish realm); 1809 -
Finland is handed over to Russia by Sweden and becomes an autonomus
Grand Duchy within the Russian Empire; 1917 - declaration of
independence; 1955 - joins the United Nations; 1995 - accedes to the EU.
Eminent figures in
Finnish culture include: Alvar Aalto, Akseli Gallen-Kallela, Albert
Edelfelt, Tove Jansson, Aki Kaurismäki, Elias Lönnrot, Karita Mattila,
Armi Ratia, Johan Ludvig Runeberg, Kaija Saariaho, Eero Saarinen,
Esa-Pekka Salonen, Jean Sibelius Frans Emil Sillanpää, Ville Valo, Osmo
Vänskä, Mika Waltari and Santa Claus.
In summary, Finland
and the Finnish people offer an appealing combination of innovative
high-technology and a modern way of life, together with care for nature
and the environment and traditional values.
This page last modified
Thursday 16 December 2010.