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Population - Local time - Languages - Religion - Political context - Climate - Tourism - Food


Total population (millions): 5.2
Source : World Bank - World Development Indicators

Urban population: 61%
Source : World Bank - World Development Indicators

Average annual population growth: 0.1%
Source : World Bank - World Development Indicators

Surface area (km²) : 338,150

Population origin

Origin of the population% Of the population
Finn 93.7 %
Swede 6.1 %
Lappons 0.1 %
Other 0.1 %

Main Cities Population
Helsinki 1 027 305
Tampere 270 753
Turku 239 018
Oulu 157 605
Lahti 110 160
Jyväskylä 98 510

Local time

It is  %T:%M %A  in Helsinki (GMT+2 in winter, GMT+3 in summer).
Summer time from March to October

Official language: Finnish
Finnish and Swedish are commonly spoken, English is the business language. Swedish is spoken more particularly in the West of Finland by a community which represents more or less 5% of the total population of the country.

Free translation tools

The European Union Dictionary (12 languages avalaible)

Free English-Finnish-English translator of texts and web pages
Free English-Finnish-English Dictionary

Religious practises : Lutherans protestants 88.9%
Atheists 8.9%
Orthodox 1.1%
Others 1.1%.

Political context

Finland (official name: Republic of Finland) is a Republic state based on parliamentary democracy.
The chief of the state is the President who is elected by popular vote for a six-year term. President appoints the Prime minister (who is the head of the government) from the majority party or the majority coalition after parliamentary elections for a four-year term, subject to approval by parliament. President also appoints the Council of State (cabinet) which is directly responsible to the parliament. Finland has a mixed presidential/parliamentary system with executive powers divided between the President who has primary responsibility for national security and foreign affairs and the Prime Minister who has primary responsibility for all other areas.
The legislature in Finland is unicameral. It consists of the Parliament having 200 members which are elected by popular vote on a proportional basis to serve four-year terms. Parliament is the supreme legislative authority in the country. Parliament may alter the Constitution of Finland, bring about the resignation of the Council of State and override presidential vetoes. Its acts are not subject to judicial review. The citizens of Finland enjoy considerable political parties.
Judiciary is independent in Finland. The main source of the law is the constitution of March 2000. The legal system is based on civil law system which originates from the Swedish law. The country accepts compulsory ICJ jurisdiction, but with reservations. Finland is a member of the European Union and thus the national law in the country needs to comply with the conditions of the Community legislation. There are two judicial languages in Finland - Finnish and Swedish.
Finland is ruled by law. Foreign nationals can expect a fair trial from country’s judicial system. Finland is one of the least corrupt nations in the world.

Major political parties

Finland has a multi-party system where a single party does not have chance to gain power alone; so parties work with each other to form coalition governments. The main political parties in the country are:
- SDP (Social Democratic Party) – most influential party in Finland, follows social-democratic ideology, draws its major support from country's working class and small farmers;
- National Coalition Party – though basically a rightist party but now advocates social reformism, draws its major support from business community and urban professionals;
- Center Party – a centrist political party, having strong political influence in small municipalities, advocates decentralisation;
- SFP (Swedish People's Party) – a liberal party of Swedish speaking minority;
- VAS (Left Alliance) – advocates social justice and environmental values.

Major political leaders

President: Tarja HALONEN (since March 2000, re-elected in January 2006) –SDP
Prime Minister: Matti VANHANEN (since June 2003) – Center Party, heading a coalition with SDP and SFP

Next political election dates

Presidential: January 2012
Parliamentary: March 2007






Number of visitors in Finland 2004 2005 2006 World rank
Number of visitors (1000) 2,840 3,140 ..
Source : World Tourisme Organization, data available in November 2005


Tourist sites
The city of Viipuri: before the war, Viipuri was the most international city of Finland and, by its number of inhabitants (74,403 in 1939), the second city of Finland. Besides the Finns, there were dynamic Russian, German, Swedish and Jewish communities. Economically and culturally, Viipuri was also an Occidental open door to Saint-Petersburg. Viipuri's castle, built in 1293, still dominates the city.
Suomenlinna: to go to Suomenlinna, a fort island which is just in front of Helsinki, there is, usually, a ferry departing from the marketplace shore (Kauppatori). Leaving behind crowd and gulls screams, the ferry takes you in fifteen minutes to this peaceful island. Suomenlinna was registered on the world patrimony list of Unesco in 1991.
Helsinki: From an architectural point of view Helsinki is a young city. There is nothing left of his first centuries of existence. The only witnesses of the architecture of the city of traders and fortifications of the end of XVIIIth century are the Sederholm's house (1757) in border of the place of the Senate and the Suomenlinna fort island. If the great fire of 1808 destroyed the city, it simultaneously created the necessary conditions for the large-scale works of a city which was promoted to the rank of capital in 1812. The Johan Albrekt Ehrenström's town planning established then structures that are still noticeable in the centre of Helsinki. On this plan the architect Carl Ludvig Engel created the monumental centre of neo-classic style called Empire.
Mikkeli's region and surrounding municipalities are to offer sensations able to satisfy the most different tastes. Therefore, near Helsinki, it is still possible to wander in an old manor house and sample some game. People looking for quietness can stay in a hut at the edge of a lake where the only present noises will be the rustle of the wind and the lapping of waves, without giving up the comfort of the urban life. Saimaa, the biggest lake of Finland with pure waters and uncountable islands, attracts the amateurs of physical efforts to either row or fish. It is also worth admiring the rupestral paintings of the stony age and the cultural places of the iron age.
The zone of vestiges of Sammallahti's bronze age in the West of Finland has been listed in the world Patrimony of Unesco. It is the first archeological site that was chosen in Finland. Thirty three tumuli of the bronze age (-1500 - 500) were found there. The deaths were buried under stony heap that could reach important dimensions. Few objects can be found there but they can be full of different structures such as stone circles and sarcophaguses made of stony paving stones.

For more information about tourism in Finland , check out the following web site(s) :
Finnish Tourism Board


Traditional dishes
In Finland, the big traditional holiday is Easter that gathers all the flavours of the country. The table of Easter is set with eggs, hen and mutton-based dishes, following the example of certain orthodox traditional dishes. The Pascal Lamb is impossible to avoid. Pasha is an Easter traditional dessert that was introduced at the same time as the orthodox religion in Finland. It is the culinary tradition of ancient Karelia, between the White Sea and the bay of Finland, which belonged to Russia. Soft and delicious, it is served with white bread (nisu) in certain regions. But the most typical dessert is the mämmi, which recipe comes from the Middle -age and which was made, at that time, in a container made of bark. It is a sort of brown hulled grain, rye flour and malt based. Nowadays, the mixture is slow heated in a cardboard container which imitates the bark of birch and is served with cream and sugar. In ancient times, the mämmi used to be taken as Lent provisions to be spread on a slice of bread.

Last modified on December 2006

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