sq km (130,559 sq miles).
of Finland: 5,206,295 (official estimate 2002)
of Helsinki: Population: 559,716 (official estimate 2002).
Population Density: 15.4 per sq km.
Finland is located in the far north of Europe. Bordered to the west
by Sweden and the Gulf of Bothnia,
to the north by Norway, to the east by the Russian
Federation and to the south by the Gulf of Finland,
it is the fifth-biggest country in Europe.
There are more than 30,000 islands off the Finnish coast, mainly
in the south and southwest, and inland lakes containing a further
98,000 islands. The Saimaa lake area is the largest
inland water system located in Europe. Of the total land area, 10
per cent is under water, and 65 per cent is forest, the country
is situated almost entirely in the northern coniferous zone. In
the south and southwest, the forest is mainly pine, birch and fir.
In Lapland, in the far north, trees become more
sparse and are mainly dwarf birch and only 8 per cent of the land
Head of State: President Tarja Halonen
Head of Government: Prime Minister Matti
Vanhanen since 2003.
: There are 2 official languages: Finnish,
spoken by 93.6 per cent of the population, and Swedish,
spoken by 6 per cent of the population. About 1700 people speak
Same (Lapp) and English is taught
as the first foreign language in schools.
: 85 per cent Evangelical Lutheran, 10 per cent others including
Finnish Orthodox, Free Church, Baptists, Methodists, Roman Catholic,
Jews and Muslims.
: GMT + 2 (GMT + 3 from last Saturday in March to Saturday before
the last Sunday in October).
: 230 volts AC, 50Hz. Continental two-pin plugs are standard.