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Member States of the EU
Year of EU entry: 1995
Political system: Republic
Capital city: Helsinki
Total area: 338 000 km²
Population: 5.3 million
Listen to the official EU languages:
Finland, is a
situated in the
Finland is bordered
by Sweden on the
west, Norway on
the north and
Russia on the east,
while Estonia lies to
its south across the
Gulf of Finland. The
capital city is
Politics and Government
The Constitution of Finland defines the
political system. Finland is a representative
democracy with a semi-presidential
parliamentary system. Aside from state-level
politics, residents use their vote in municipal
elections and in the European Union
According to the Constitution, the President
of Finland is the head of state and
responsible for foreign policy (which
excludes affairs related to the European
Union) in cooperation with the cabinet.
Other powers include Commander-in-Chief,
decree, and appointive powers. Direct vote is
used to elect the president for a term of six
years and maximum two consecutive terms.
The current president is Tarja Halonen (SDP).
The 200-member unicameral Parliament of
Finland exercises the supreme legislative
authority in Finland. The parliament may
alter laws and the constitution, bring about
the resignation of the Council of State, and
override presidential vetoes. Its acts are not
subject to judicial review. Various parliament
committees listen to experts and prepare
Proportional vote in multi-seat
constituencies is used to elect the
parliament for a term of four years. The
Speaker of Parliament is currently Sauli
Niinistö (National Coalition Party). The
cabinet (the Finnish Council of State)
exercises most executive powers. It is
headed by the Prime Minister of Finland and
includes other ministers and the Chancellor
of Justice. Parliament majority decides its
composition, and a vote of no confidence
can be used to modify it. The current prime
minister is Matti Vanhanen (Centre Party).
Economy and Resources
Finland has a highly industrialized freemarket economy with a per capita output
equal to that of other western economies
such as France, Germany, Belgium or the UK.
The largest sector of the economy is services
at 65.7%, followed by manufacturing and
refining at 31.4%. Primary production is
2.9%. With respect to foreign trade, the key
economic sector is manufacturing. The
largest industries are electronics (21.6%),
machinery, vehicles and other engineered
metal products (21.1%), forest industry
(13.1%), and chemicals (10.9%).
Finland has timber and several mineral and
freshwater resources. Forestry paper
factories, and the agricultural sector (on
which taxpayers spend around 3 billion
euros annually) are politically sensitive to
The Greater Helsinki area generates around
a third of GDP. In a 2004 OECD comparison,
high-technology manufacturing in Finland
ranked second largest after Ireland.
Knowledge-intensive services have also
ranked the smallest and slow-growth sectors
– especially agriculture and low-technology
manufacturing – second largest after Ireland.
Overall short-term outlook was good, and
GDP growth has been above many EU peers.
Inflation has been low, averaging 1.8%
between 2004 and 2006.
Finland is highly integrated in the global
economy, and international trade is a third
of GDP. The European Union makes 60% of
the total trade. The largest trade flows are
with Germany, Russia, Sweden, United
Kingdom, United States, Netherlands and
China. Trade policy is managed by the
European Union, where Finland has
traditionally been among the free trade
supporters, except for agriculture. Finland is
the only Nordic country to have joined the
In 2005, Finnish tourism grossed over €6.7
billion with a five percent increase from the
previous year. Much of the sudden growth
can be attributed to the globalisation and
modernisation of the country as well as a
rise in positive publicity and awareness.
There are many attractions in Finland which
attracted over 4 million visitors in 2005. The
Finnish landscape is covered with thick pine
forests, rolling hills and complemented with
a labyrinth of lakes and inlets.
Much of Finland is pristine and virgin as it
contains 35 national parks from the
Southern shores of the Gulf of Finland to the
high fells of Lapland. It is also an urbanised
region with many cultural events and
activities. Commercial cruises between
major coastal and port cities in the Baltic
region, including Helsinki, Turku, Tallinn,
Stockholm and Travemünde , play a
significant role in the local tourism industry.
Finland is regarded as the home of Saint
Nicholas or Santa Claus, living in the
northern Lapland region. Above the Arctic
Circle, there is a polar night, a period when
the sun doesn't rise for days or weeks, or
even months. Lapland, the extreme north of
Finland, is so far north that the Aurora
Borealis, atmospheric fluorescence, is seen
regularly in winter. Outdoor activities range
from Nordic skiing, golf, fishing, yachting,
lake cruises, hiking, kayaking among many
At Finland's northernmost point, in the heart
of summer, the Sun does not completely set
for 73 consecutive days. Wildlife is abundant
in Finland. Bird-watching is popular for those
fond of flying fauna, however hunting is also
popular. Elk, reindeer and hare are all
common game in Finland. Olavinlinna in
Savonlinna hosts the annual Savonlinna
The musician Jean
Traditional Finnish cuisine is a
combination of European,
Fennoscandian and Western Russian
elements; table manners are
European. The food is generally
simple, fresh and healthy. Fish, meat,
berries and ground vegetables are
typical ingredients; spices, which
were not available in the past, have
not become common.
In years past, Finnish food often
varied from region to region, most
notably between the west and east.
In coastal and lakeside villages, fish
was a main feature of cooking,
whereas in the eastern and also
northern regions, vegetables and
reindeer were more common.
The prototypical breakfast is oatmeal
or other continental-style foods such
as bread. Lunch is usually a full warm
meal, served by a canteen at
workplaces. Dinner is eaten at
around 16.00 to 18.00 at home.
Modern Finnish cuisine combines
country fare and haute cuisine with
contemporary continental cooking
style. Today, spices are a prominent
ingredient in many modern Finnish
recipes, having been adopted from
the east and west in recent decades.
• This sweet honey-based
alcoholic beverage is an
inseparable part of many local
celebrations, deriving from the
ancient times of the Vikings.
Its sweetness is balanced by a
distinctive sour aftertaste of
the lemon rind. It also contains
various herbs and spices such
as cloves, cinnamon, nutmeg
and sometimes fruit, for
example strawberry or
blackcurrant. In the winter it is
usually drunk hot together
with typical Scandinavian
• In the winter, one of the
most often served drinks in
Scandinavia is Glögg;
usually in big steaming
mugs. This delicious hot
drink originating from small
Icelandic villages, is
nowadays drunk across the
• Glögg is basically wine
mixed with juice and some
spices pieces of fruit added.
Not only is it a traditional
Christmas Eve beverage,
but it also plays an
important role in the Nordic
culture as a whole.
Finland has a long history of beer
dating back to the Middle Ages. The
first brewery in Finland and Nordic
countries was Sinebrychoff, founded
in 1819. "Suomalaisen oluen päivä",
or the Finnish Beer Day is celebrated
on the 13th of October to
commemorate the founding of Oy
Sinebrychoff Ab and the birth of
Finnish beer. The largest Finnish
brewers are Kulta,Olvi and
Most of the beers brewed in
Finland are pale lagers. Finland's
standing is 9th in per capita
consumption of beer.
Punctuality is very important to the Finns.
Never be late for meetings, as this is
considered very impolite in Finland. Be on
Do not raise your voice when you talk to
Finns, especially not in public! Speaking in a
loud voice is considered rude, as Finns
themselves are quiet.
Remember to look Finns in the eye. Looking
down or to the side is a sign of dishonesty in
If you want to visit a Finnish friend, always
let them know in advance. Privacy is very
important to the Finns.
When you visit a Finnish home, always take
off your shoes or bring a pair of shoes you
can wear indoors with you.
Always remember to say ‘Thank you’ after a
meal if you have been invited for a dinner.
It is usual for all Finns to pay for their own
meal in a restaurant. You can still politely
suggest that you would be happy to pay for
your companion’s meal.
Finnish people drink coffee all the time and
everywhere, for instance meetings always
begin with a cup of coffee.
Do not be surprised if no one comes to sit
next to you on the bus. Remember privacy!
Dishonesty is the worst sin of all to the Finns.
Going to a sauna in Finland, even without
clothes, has nothing to do with sex – a sauna
is a sacred place for the Finns.
Remember to respect the nature. Nature is
very close to a Finn’s heart.
Finnish society is very organised. Also,
remember to queue!
Silence at night is required in tower blocks
normally after 10pm. The communal
hallways usually have information on the
times of silence. Do not disturb!
• The most common religion in Finland
• Most young people in Finland do not
practice their religion regularly.
• However, for the Finns Christmas is
very important. It is celebrated with
the family for many days.
More Important Festivals
Christmas is probably the most
important holiday season in
Finland, but it is a quiet festivity.
People like to spend time with
their families, with good food in
good company. The Christmas
holiday is celebrated over three
days. The big day is Christmas Eve
(December 24), when Finns eat
Christmas dinner, Santa Claus
pays a visit, and people open
their presents. Christmas Day is a
time of peace and quiet with the
family, and people visit friends
and neighbors on Boxing Day.
Easter in Finland is a peaceful religious
holiday celebrated among family and
friends. This is the main religious holiday of
the year at Orthodox cathedrals.
This is also the time of year when people
are eagerly awaiting the first signs of
spring. Depending on whether the holiday
is in March or April, the first crocuses may
already be blooming. People try to help
the spring along. They grow grass in dishes
on the windowsill. On Palm Sunday,
children go from door to door reciting a
rhyme wishing health during the coming
year. They give decorated willow sticks in
exchange for candy.
There are a few traditional Easter foods.
People decorate Easter eggs, of course.
And you might be offered a traditional dish
in the form of malt porridge, or ‘mämmi',
served with cream and sugar. It's not the
world's prettiest dish, but many people try
it once and like it forever.
It's called Midsummer, but it's really
the beginning of summer. Last week
there was freezing rain in Lapland;
next week everyone will be on
holiday. Midsummer is when families
go the summer cottage to spend a
month by the lake or the sea. They
celebrate Juhannus - or St. John's Day
- with a bonfire on the shore.
People place two young birch trees
on either side of the front door to
welcome visitors. They heat up the
sauna and make a sauna whisk out of
birch twigs. And they hoist the flag at
6 pm on Midsummer Eve and fly it all
night until 9 pm the following
And when a young woman picks
seven different kinds of wildflowers
and puts them under her pillow on
Midsummer Eve, she will dream
about her future husband.
The Most Typical
This way of easing was born in Finland and
it(he,she) forms a part of the tradition of
the country. Nowadays it is calculated that
it(he,she) is concerning(around) 1,6 millions
of saunas in Finland. The majority of the
hotels include in the price of the rooms
baths of sauna and use of the swimming
pool. The saunas can be " to the former
usage " close to the water or in more
modern facilities. The beginning(principle)
continues being the same: to wash and to
relax in a humid quarter(room) with
temperatures that go from 80 to 100 °C. To
sweat and to sweat and, later, after a
complete perspiration, a good cold shower
or a bath in the lake or the swimming pool
in order that the pores of the skin(leather)
The Finnish Christmas holidays last slightly
more than a couple(equal) than days. They
begin in October decorating the streets and
realizing holidays(parties) in houses, places
of works, etc. These bank holidays are the
Pikkujoulu (small Christmas).
On eve of Christmas, the Finns ignite
candles(sails) and put them on the tombs of
his(her,your) relatives. The cemeteries
covered with snow and illuminated by the
candles(sails) offer a magic spectacle. In
Lapland, near Rovaniemi, there can visit the
Dad's house Noel (and to amuse
itself(himself,herself) in the fairground
Santapark), as well as that of Mom Noel,
placed to the east of Ukko Kekkonen's park.
The races of
• They are celebrated
between January and
March. In the farms of
ranching, placed in the
northern part, it is
possible to learn to take
a bobsled, as well as
know more thoroughly
how the animals grow
The aurora boreal:
The Finns call Aurora by the name
"foxfire", based on an old folklore (one of
many) of a fox striking fire or spraying up
snow with it's tail causing the Northern
Aurora is a visual phenomena resulting
from solar wind particles colliding with
Earth's atmosphere. The light comes from
the emissions of atmospheric atoms and
molecules excited by collisions of solar
particles at heights ranging from 70 to
1000 km. The solar particles are being
captured by Earth's magnetic field,
accelerated to high energy levels before
hitting molecules and atoms of upper
atmosphere, forming large Auroral ovals
around both magnetic poles.
The Most Important Places
6.- Aland Island
• Is the capital of the province
• Rovaniemi is a dynamic and
growing city, with a diverse,
strong business structure. The
city has a highly-educated
work force willing to commit
themselves on offer, with
high-quality services and
expertise. In proportion to the
rest of the population (60,
000), the number of creative
professionals in Rovaniemi is
the third highest in Finland.
Santa Claus Village
Wild Life Park
The Town Hall
The City of Oulu is the capital of
northern Finland. The Oulu
Region has over 200,000
inhabitants and it is the fastest
growing region in Finland.
The City of Oulu itself has over
There are good opportunities for
studying, working and research
and development, especially in
the hi-tech sector.
The Oulu Region also has a lively
The Square Market
The River Oulu
Helsinki is not only the capital of Finland,
but it is also the country’s largest city.
Situated on Finland’s southern coast, it is
almost entirely surrounded by water and
offers easy access to some of the islands
in the Finnish archipelago.
Helsinki Finland is a very prosperous city
with a high standard of living, and it is
noted for having the world’s highest
Those who travel to Helsinki will likely
notice how proud Helsinkians are of their
city, and it’s not hard to understand why.
There’s plenty to see and do in Helsinki
Finland, and after exploring the city and
its sights by day, visitors can interest
themselves in some vibrant Helsinki
nightlife, which is livelier than ever.
Turku is officially the oldest city in
Finland, and it is smaller only
than Helsinki and Tampere.
Situated on Finland’s southwest
coast, Turku is very much linked
to the water, and further inland,
the surrounding area offers up
some more picturesque
lanscapes that will soothe your
soul. Setting aside some time
during your Finland vacation to
travel to Turku is always a good
idea, and since it’s just 100 miles
west of Helsinki, getting here is
Turku in winter
Formerly an industrial town, the
thriving city of Tampere is now one of
Finland’s most technologicallyprogressive urban spreads.
With some 210,000 citizens, Tampere
is large by Finnish standards, but
much like the capital city of Helsinki,
it’s central core is compact enough to
tour by foot. Another thing that
Tampere Finland has in common with
Helsinki is the fact that it is mostly
surrounded by water.
The city rests on an isthmus that
divides two large lakes. These lakes,
which are called Nasijarvi and
Pyhajarvi, are just 2 of the 200 lakes
that are technically located within
Tampere’s city limits, so for those who
like cities on the water, this one sure
fits the bill.
Cathedral of Tampere
The Aland Islands form an archipelago in
the Baltic Sea. It is situated at the
entrance to the Gulf of Bothnia and
forms an autonomous, demilitarized,
monolingually Swedish-speaking region
and historical province of Finland.
It is the smallest region of Finland.
The islands consist of the main island
Fasta Aland where 90% of the
population resides,and an archipelago to
the east that consists of over 6,500
skerries and islands. Fasta Aland is
separated from the coast of Sweden by
40 kilometres of open water to the
In the east, the Aland archipelago is
virtually contiguous with the Finnish
Archipelago Sea. Aland's only land
border is located on the uninhabited
skerry of Märket, which it shares with
Skerries which are part of the
The National Parks
• There are 35 national
parks in Finland. They are
all managed by the
• The national parks cover
a total area of
8,150 square kilometres
(3,147 sq mi) – 2.5 % of
Finland's total land area.
• A total of 1.7 million
people visited the parks
Lake Pielinen in Koli National Park
Syöte National Park
Valkmusa National Park