HELSINKI -- CAPITAL
Finland is called by the inhabitants Suomi and it means Finland in Finnish language. The country, because of it’s geographically position, had been invaded by Sweden, Germany and Russia. It finally became independent. Nowadays, it is one of the most prosperous countries in the world.
The Republic of Finland lies in the north-eastern Europe and borders on Norway, Sweden and Russia. It has only a population of 5.1 million and the capital is Helsinki.
The many rivers and lakes are having a good fish stock of trout, salmon, pike and perch. On the coast are crayfish being caught which is known as a traditional delicacy.
The network of rivers and lakes are also used for transporting timber.
Finland has a hard climate because being so far north. One-third of the country is north of the Arctic Circle. The Finland’s countryside is mainly covered with birch, spruce and pine forests. This encourages a great wildlife. It has 300 species of birds, wolves, foxes, lemmings, squirrels, beavers and elk.
Finland also has many islands and the main country has thousands inlets and bays. There are also thousands of lakes.
Finland has long, hard winters. The Sun does not rise for 51 days. In the summer the Sun does not set for three months. This has also an effect on the wildlife. The huge variety of birds is mainly migratory birds.
However, there are no mountains
LANGUAGES AND POPULATION
Because of its history, Finland has two official languages. One is Finnish and the other is Swedish. The majority speak Finnish. Finns who speak Swedish are living mainly on the Aland Islands and also in the south and west of the country. However, the names of most towns are in the Finnish and Swedish language.
The Finnish language is completely different and has hardly any connection or resemblance to the Western European languages. The language is known as Finno-Ugric. It comes slightly close to the Hungarian and Estonian language. It also has no connection to the Swedish and Norwegian language.
75% of the population live in towns and 20% of it all in Helsinki, the capital, or the surrounding area. The people of Finland have a very high living standard. The disabled, unemployed, elderly and children are cared for by the welfare system. Medical care is very cheap but also free for some.
Finland has a compulsory school-system from age of seven to 16. After that they can go to higher education. The students spent mostly seven years at university.
Many Finnish homes have a sauna. In a pine panelled room, heated up to 90oC they hit themselves with birch twigs. After that they take a cold shower or even plunge into the icy waters. It is believed that this cleanses the body and makes them stronger.
The farmers own over 65% of Finland's forests and remaining 35% is controlled by the government. Forestry is Finland's major industry. Timber, paper and pulp products of which 40% is exported. The rivers are used as transport. Timber was once used mainly for fuel but with hydroelectric and nuclear power plants it is no longer necessary. In spite of all, Finland has still to import 70% of its power.
The food production of grain for bread, milk and meat Finland is self sufficient. The increasingly electronics and chemical industries mean that fewer people have to work in the timber industry. The tourist industry is being built up more and more and is becoming an important part of Finland's economy. Free accommodation is available for everyone in many forest areas.
The Lapp (Sami) people in the north herd reindeer. They still smoke fish in the traditional way. It is then kept for the winter.
ASTUVANSALMI ROCK PAINTING AT SAIMAA -- THE OLDEST -- DATING FROM 3000 - 2500 BCE
SUDMENLINNA AN INHABITED FORTESS BUILT ON SIX ISLANDS AND NEAR HELSINKI -- UNESCO WORLD HERITAGE SITE -- FINLAND'S MOST POPULAR TOURIST ATTRACTION
HISTORY AND POLITICS
According to archaeological find settlers had been there from the late 8500 BCE. During the Stone Age period. It appears that the artefacts found are similar to the once found in Estonia, Russia and Norway. The people were hunter/gatherers with stone axe and tools.
From 5200 BCE the first pottery was made when the Comb Ceramic Culture started. It is believed the Corded Ware Culture in southern coastal Finland 3000 - 2500 BCE may have started agriculture.
About 2000 years ago Finland was invaded by people from the Ural Mountains region of central Asia. While the Lapps (Sami) came through a more northerly route and settled in the northern regions.
Sweden invaded Finland in the 12th century and converted the people to Christianity. In the 16th century Finland became a Duchy of Sweden. Wars broke out between Sweden and Russia and it was fought over Finland till 1809. Russia invaded Finland and made it a Grand Duchy of Russia. During this time the Finns were free under Russian rules. They even had theirs own currency. When the Russian revolution started in 1917 Finland took this chance of a moment and made sure they became independent. Even Finland had its civil war but the country became a republic in 1919.
The conflict between the Soviet Union and Germany became somewhat complicated for Finland in 1939. Finland allowed German troops on its territory. This provided safety towards an invasion from Russia. However, the Fins did not enter the Second World War. After that Finland was made to sign a damaging peace treaty with the Soviet Union. They had to pay reparations until 1952. After this Finland stayed neutral in international affairs. A great number of peace conferences have taken place in Helsinki
A VILLAGE WITH THEIR BOATS
FINLAND'S TRAFFIC JAM -- WILD ANIMALS -- MOOSE AND REINDEER -- CAUSES THOUSANDS OF ACCIDENTS A YEAR
Holidays gives you a choice from the barren Arctic landscape to thousands of tiny islands, huge unspoilt forests and many crystal clear lakes.
Summer, when the Sun never sets, gives you an endless opportunity of hiking through huge forests, canoeing on beautiful lakes or golfing plus the familiar Finnish sauna. Trips to watch bears are an unforgettable experience. Watching the great variety of birds or go fishing. A fisherman's finds a paradise with fishing in rivers, lakes or on the coast.
Winter with plenty of beautiful snow gives a choice of Husky sledding, Snowmobile, skiing downhill or cross country, watching Northern lights or visit Father Christmas in Lapland.
A SAMI AND HIS REINDEER