Finland country profile27 August 2006
by eub2 -- last modified 06 June 2012
Finland became an independent state following the Russian revolution in 1917. Finland is one of the Member States of the European Union, having joined in 1995.
Suomen Tasavalta (Finnish) / Republik Finland (Swedish)
Finland, a country of forests and lakes, is perhaps best known for its unspoilt natural beauty. In the far north, the White Nights, during which the sun does not set, last for around 10 weeks of the summer. In winter the same area goes through nearly eight weeks when the sun never rises above the horizon.
As a result of the fact that Finland was a part of Sweden for seven centuries, (from the 12th century until 1809) some 6% of the population is Swedish-speaking. Finland became an independent state following the Russian revolution in 1917. Since this date Finland has been a republic. It has a one-chamber parliament whose 200 members are elected every four years.
The country has developed a modern, competitive economy, and is a world leader in telecommunications equipment. Main exports include telecoms equipment and engineering products, paper, pulp and lumber, glassware, stainless steel and ceramics.Its remote northern beauty has inspired many artists, including the composer Jean Sibelius and the designer Alvar Aalto.
Finnish food has been influenced by continental, Russian and Swedish cuisines. Traditional specialities include fish (especially salmon and turbot roe), as well as reindeer meat. Specific dishes to look for include karjalanpiirakka (rice or potato pastry) and kalakukko (fish and pork fat baked inside a loaf).
Official name: Republic of Finland
Area (km2): 338 000
Population: 5.26 million (July 2012 est.)
National holiday: 06 December
Date of joining: 01 January 1995
Head of state: Sauli Ninisto (since 1 March 2012)
Head of government: Prime Minister Jyrki Katainen (since 22 June 2011)
GDP (millions €): 184 728 (2008); 179 184.8 (forecast for 2009)
GDP per capita in PPS: € 28 900 (2008)
Real growth rate of GDP: 2.7% (2011 est.); 3.7% (2010 est.)
Unemployment rate: 7.8% (2011 est.); 8.4% (2010)
National debt as % of GDP: 49% (2011 est.)
Inflation: 2.4% (2011 est.)
Public deficit/surplus as % of GDP: -1.7% (2011 est.)
Head of State:
Map of Finland
Source: European Commission, Spanish EU Presidency