Finland Facts

This page is designed to give you a quick snapshot of some key facts and stats about Finland. The majority of this information was researched through the Embassy of Finland and related websites.

Finns enjoy a climate of cold winters and warm summers. The mean annual temperature in Helsinki is +5.3 degrees Celsius (41.5 Fahrenheit). Winter temps often dip as low as -20 C (-4 F), while summer highs will sometimes approach +30 C (86 F).

Interesting facts: in the far north section of Finland, the sun does not set for 73 days in summer (white nights) and does not rise for 51 days (polar nights) during winter.

Finland is a member of the European Union (EU). The currency is the Euro, which replaced the Finnish markka in 2002.

Finland has an Advanced Industrial economy. A full 2/3 of the nation’s economic output comes from the service sector. 50% of Finland’s exports are in metal/engineering/electronics, while another 31% are related to the forest industry (paper, timber, furniture).

As of March 2013, Finland’s unemployment rate stands at 9.0%.

Some of the best-known companies in Finland include Nokia (mobile phone maker), Stora Enso (the largest paper manufacturer in the world), Neste Oil, UPM-Kymmene (the third largest paper manufacturer), Aker Finnyards (builder of the world’s largest cruise ships), Rovio Mobile (video game developer of Angry Birds) and Finnair (airline).

All Finns are required to get their basic education between the ages of 7 to 16. They may then choose to further their education at an upper secondary (3 year term) or vocational (2-5 year terms) school.

Finland is situated in northern Europe between latitude parallels 60 and 70. Her neighbors include Norway (N), Estonia (S, across the Gulf of Finland), Russia (E) and Sweden (W).

Much of the country is comprised of a gentle plateau of worn bedrock and boreal forests. This scenic mixture of wooded hills and waters is a common beauty shared throughout Finland.

Did you know that?:

  • 75% of Finland is covered by forests
  • 10% of Finland is under water
  • There are nearly 188,000 lakes in Finland
  • 25% of Finland is north of the Arctic Circle

Finland operates as a republic and has been independent since 1917. The country has a President (Sauli Niinistö, elected in 2012), but the real governing power comes from the 200-member parliament known as the Eduskunta. The majority of seats are held by the National Coalition, Social Democratic, True Finns and Centre parties.

Here are some important dates in Finnish history:

  • 1155
    The first missionaries arrive in Finland from Sweden. Finland becomes part of the Swedish realm.

  • 1809
    Sweden surrenders Finland to Russia. The Czar declares Finland a semi-autonomous Grand Duchy with himself as constitutional monarch represented by a governor general.

  • 1917
    Finland declares independence from Russia on December 6. The new state is first recognized by the Soviet Union, France, Germany and Sweden.

  • 1919
    The present constitution is adopted and Finland becomes a republic with a president as head of state.

  • 1939-40
    The Soviet Union attacks Finland and the Winter War is fought.

  • 1941-44
    Fighting between Finnish and Russian forces resumes in the campaign known as the Continuation War. A massive offensive by Soviet forces in the summer of 1944 forces the Finns to sue for peace. Some territory was ceded to the Soviet Union, but Finland was never occupied and preserved its independence and sovereignty.

  • 1955
    Finland joins the United Nations.

  • 1995
    Finland becomes a member of the European Union.

The official languages of Finland are Finnish and Swedish. Please visit our Books & Videos page to learn more about the Finnish language.

Finland has one of the highest literacy rates in the world (close to 100%) and her people like to read. There are over 200 newspapers that publish at least once a week and they have a combined circulation of 3.6 million.

The largest newspaper is the Helsingin Sanomat, which boasts an average daily circulation of over 338,000. HS switched from broadsheet to tabloid format in January 2013.

The electronic media is growing in Finland. There are now approximately 13 free broadcast television stations, 4 of which are operated by the publicly funded YLE (Finnish Broadcasting Company). There are numerous additional channels available via cable and satellite subscription.

YLE also operates several radio stations, including 13 nationwide channels and 25 regional channels. There are another 60 or so privately-owned radio stations throughout Finland.

Finland’s estimated population is 5,421,827. 63% of the country’s residents live in urban areas, while 37% reside in rural areas.

Helsinki is the capital and Finland’s largest city (605,523). Other major cities include Espoo (257,461), Tampere (217,767), Vantaa (205,653), Oulu (191,237) and Turku (180,546).

The majority of Finns (76%) belong to the Evangelical Lutheran Church. 1% are considered Finnish Orthodox, while 2% follow other religions. 21% have no religious affiliation.

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