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Introduction: Finland, basic facts (the s.c.nordic FAQ)
nordic flags
The home pages for the Usenet newsgroup soc.culture.nordic
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Introduction: Finland, basic facts


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Finnish view
Lakes and birches are common in Finland
 


Subject: 4.1 

Fact Sheet

Name: Suomen Tasavalta / Republiken Finland [ Fi / Sw ]
Telephone country code: 358
Area: 338,127 km² / 130,125 sq mi
Terrain: mostly low, flat to rolling plains interspersed with lakes and
low hills; fjells and some mountains in the extreme northwest
Highest mountain: Haltiatunturi (1,328 m).
Natural resources: timber, copper, zinc, iron ore, silver
Land boundaries: Russia, Sweden, Norway
Population: 5,147,000 [year-end 1997]
Population density: 15.1 persons per km²
Distribution: 65% in urban, 35% in rural municipalities. [1996]
Life expectancy: women 80, men 72. [1992]
Infant mortality: 6 per 1,000 live births. [1992]
Capital: Helsinki/Helsingfors (pop. 532,053), metropolitan area ca 1 mill.
Other major towns: Tampere/Tammerfors (186,026),
Turku/Åbo (166,929)
Espoo/Esbo (196,260)[a suburb to Helsinki]
Vantaa/Vanda (168,778) [a suburb to Helsinki]
Oulu/Uleåborg (111,556) [year-end, 1996]
(note: many places in Finland have
two names, Finnish and Swedish)
Flag: a blue Nordic cross on white background.
Type: Republic
Head of state: President Tarja Halonen
Languages: Finnish (92.7 %),
Swedish (5.7 %) (both official),
small Sámi and Romani minorities.
Currency: markka (Finnish mark, FIM).
for the current exchange rate,
see the URL <http://www.dna.lth.se/cgi-bin/kurt/rates>
Climate: cold temperate. Gulf stream warms up parts of the country,
Lapland is sub-arctic. Average temp. in Helsinki:
-9°C - -4°C in Feb., 12°C - 22°C in July.
Religion: Evangelic-Lutheran (84%),
Greek Orthodox (1%) (both churches are official state-churches)
Exports: paper, metal, machinery, ships, timber, textiles, chemicals, electronics, furniture

 



Subject: 4.2 

General information

 

4.2.1 Geography, climate, vegetation

Finland (Finnish: Suomi) is the fifth largest country in Europe, excluding the Russian federation. Roughly 1/3 of the country lies north of the Arctic Circle. Finland shares a common border in the north with Norway, in the east a long border (1,269 km) with Russia, on the south it is bordered by the Gulf of Finland, and on the west by the Gulf of Bothnia and Sweden. Most of Finland is lowland, but in the far northwest (the "arm" of Finland) some mountains rise to over 1000m. Most of Finland is made of ancient granite bedrock, which has been shaped and fractured by numerous ice ages, the marks of which can be seen e.g in the complex lake system, the equally complex archipelagos and the huge boulders scattered all over the country.

Finland has three main physical regions: the coastal lowlands, the inland lake system, and the northern uplands. The coastal lowlands extend along coasts of the Gulfs of Finland and Bothnia, off which lie thousands of rocky islands; the principal archipelagos are the Åland (in Finnish: Ahvenanmaa) Islands and the archipelago of Turku. The lake district is an interior plateau of southern central, heavily forested and studded with lakes, swamps and bogs. The northern upland, much of which lies north of the Arctic Circle, has rather poor soils and is the most sparsely populated region of Finland. In the far north, arctic forests and swamps eventually change to tundra.

Finland's climate shows both maritime and continental influences. Surrounding seas cool the climate on the coast in spring but on the other hand warm it up in the autumn.The climate becomes more continental, i.e more extreme, the further east and north one goes. The furtherst north, however, has a rather marine climate because of the influence of the Arctic Ocean. The summer lasts two to four months, the growing season four to six.

The tourist cliche of Finland as "the country of thousands of lakes" has some basis; in one count, a number of 187,880 islands was reached (but it all depends on what counts as a lake). They are often connected by rivers and canals to form large lake-systems. Finland's largest lake, Saimaa, is in fact a system of more than a hundred interconnected smaller lakes. Finland's rivers are short and shallow, the longest being located in the north. Finland has about 30,000 coastal islands, of which the especially the southwestern archipelago is known for its beauty.

The country is situated entirely within the northern zone of coniferous forests. Forests cover about 65% of the total area (45% pines, 37% spruces, 15%). Oaks, lindens, elms, and ashes appear mostly in the southwest corner. Among the large wild animals are e.g ear, elk, deer, lynx, wolverine and wolf.

 


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Finland - >>


4.2.2 Economy

Forests are Finland's most important natural resource, and paper, timber, etc. are a major source of national income. The granite bedrock contains a diversity of minor mineral deposits, including copper, nickel, iron, zinc, chromium, lead, and iron pyrites. In recent years, diamonds have been found in eastern Finland, but they aren't mined yet. In addition, limestone, granite and sand are quarried for building materials.

Wood processing has traditionally been the most important economy. The metal and engineering industries have developed rapidly and today are the largest source of industrial employment. Since the 1950s large-scale swamp drainage, fertilizing, and reforestation have improved woord production. The state owns 20% of the forests; the rest are privately controlled. The chemical, graphics, and food industries are also significant to the economy, followed by textile and electrochemical enterprises. Mining activity has decreased in importance, although Finland still produces one-half of the copper and nickel needed for the domestic market. In 1960, 30% of Finland's work force was engaged in farming; by 1990 the figure was less than 10%, and only 7% of the total land area was cultivated. Nevertheless, the agricultural sector produces a surplus of dairy products, meat, and eggs. Wheat and rye are the most important bread grains; other major crops include hay, potatoes, oats, and barley. Finland's climate and small farms favor dairy and livestock production, which account for most of the farm income. The problems created by overproduction have led to soil banking (a policy of purposely leaving farmland uncultivated) and reforestation.



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© Copyright 1994-2001 by Antti Lahelma and Johan Olofsson.
You are free to quote this page as long as you mention the URL.
The line of flags is modified after a picture at det Åländska skoldatanätet.
This page was last updated March the 29th in the year of 2001.

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