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Background: Ruled by Sweden from the 12th to the 19th centuries and by Russia from 1809, Finland finally won its independence in 1917. During World War II, it was able to successfully defend its freedom and fend off invasions by the Soviet Union and Germany. In the subsequent half century, the Finns have made a remarkable transformation from a farm/forest economy to a diversified modern industrial economy; per capita income is now on par with Western Europe. As a member of the European Union, Finland was the only Nordic state to join the euro system at its initiation in January 1999.
Geography Finland
Location: Northern Europe, bordering the Baltic Sea, Gulf of Bothnia, and Gulf of Finland, between Sweden and Russia
Geographic coordinates: 64 00 N, 26 00 E
Map references: Europe
Area: total: 337,030 sq km
water: 31,560 sq km
land: 305,470 sq km
Area - comparative: slightly smaller than Montana
Land boundaries: total: 2,628 km
border countries: Norway 729 km, Sweden 586 km, Russia 1,313 km
Coastline: 1,126 km (excludes islands and coastal indentations)
Maritime claims: continental shelf: 200-m depth or to the depth of exploitation
exclusive fishing zone: 12 NM; extends to continental shelf boundary with Sweden
territorial sea: 12 NM (in the Gulf of Finland - 3 NM)
Climate: cold temperate; potentially subarctic, but comparatively mild because of moderating influence of the North Atlantic Current, Baltic Sea, and more than 60,000 lakes
Terrain: mostly low, flat to rolling plains interspersed with lakes and low hills
Elevation extremes: lowest point: Baltic Sea 0 m
highest point: Halti 1,328 m
Natural resources: timber, copper, zinc, iron ore, silver
Land use: arable land: 7%
permanent crops: 0%
other: 93% (1998 est.)
Irrigated land: 640 sq km (1998 est.)
Natural hazards: NA
Environment - current issues: air pollution from manufacturing and power plants contributing to acid rain; water pollution from industrial wastes, agricultural chemicals; habitat loss threatens wildlife populations
Environment - international agreements: party to: Air Pollution, Air Pollution-Nitrogen Oxides, Air Pollution-Sulphur 85, Air Pollution-Sulphur 94, Air Pollution-Volatile Organic Compounds, Antarctic-Environmental Protocol, Antarctic-Marine Living Resources, Antarctic Treaty, Biodiversity, Climate Change, Desertification, Endangered Species, Environmental Modification, Hazardous Wastes, Law of the Sea, Marine Dumping, Marine Life Conservation, Nuclear Test Ban, Ozone Layer Protection, Ship Pollution, Tropical Timber 83, Tropical Timber 94, Wetlands, Whaling
signed, but not ratified: Air Pollution-Persistent Organic Pollutants, Climate Change-Kyoto Protocol
Geography - note: long boundary with Russia; Helsinki is northernmost national capital on European continent; population concentrated on small southwestern coastal plain
People Finland
Population: 5,183,545 (July 2002 est.)
Age structure: 0-14 years: 17.9% (male 471,920; female 454,082)
15-64 years: 66.9% (male 1,752,493; female 1,717,544)
65 years and over: 15.2% (male 306,216; female 481,290) (2002 est.)
Population growth rate: 0.14% (2002 est.)
Birth rate: 10.6 births/1,000 population (2002 est.)
Death rate: 9.78 deaths/1,000 population (2002 est.)
Net migration rate: 0.62 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2002 est.)
Sex ratio: at birth: 1.03 male(s)/female
under 15 years: 1.04 male(s)/female
15-64 years: 1.02 male(s)/female
65 years and over: 0.64 male(s)/female
total population: 0.95 male(s)/female (2002 est.)
Infant mortality rate: 3.76 deaths/1,000 live births (2002 est.)
Life expectancy at birth: total population: 77.75 years
female: 81.52 years (2002 est.)
male: 74.1 years
Total fertility rate: 1.7 children born/woman (2002 est.)
HIV/AIDS - adult prevalence rate: 0.05% (1999 est.)
HIV/AIDS - people living with HIV/AIDS: 1,100 (1999 est.)
HIV/AIDS - deaths: less than 100 (1999 est.)
Nationality: noun: Finn(s)
adjective: Finnish
Ethnic groups: Finn 93%, Swede 6%, Sami 0.11%, Roma 0.12%, Tatar 0.02%
Religions: Evangelical Lutheran 89%, Russian Orthodox 1%, none 9%, other 1%
Languages: Finnish 93.4% (official), Swedish 5.9% (official), small Lapp- and Russian-speaking minorities
Literacy: definition: age 15 and over can read and write
total population: 100% (1980 est.)
male: NA%
female: NA%
Government Finland
Country name: conventional long form: Republic of Finland
conventional short form: Finland
local short form: Suomi
local long form: Suomen Tasavalta
Government type: republic
Capital: Helsinki
Administrative divisions: 6 provinces (laanit, singular - laani); Aland, Etela-Suomen Laani, Ita-Suomen Laani, Lansi-Suomen Laani, Lappi, Oulun Laani
Independence: 6 December 1917 (from Russia)
National holiday: Independence Day, 6 December (1917)
Constitution: 17 July 1919
Legal system: civil law system based on Swedish law; Supreme Court may request legislation interpreting or modifying laws; accepts compulsory ICJ jurisdiction, with reservations
Suffrage: 18 years of age; universal
Executive branch: chief of state: President Tarja HALONEN (since 1 March 2000)
head of government: Prime Minister Paavo LIPPONEN (since 13 April 1995) and Deputy Prime Minister Ville ITALA (since 31 August 2001)
cabinet: Council of State or Valtioneuvosto appointed by the president, responsible to Parliament
elections: president elected by popular vote for a six-year term; election last held 6 February 2000 (next to be held NA February 2006); prime minister and deputy prime minister appointed from the majority party by the president after parliamentary elections
note: government coalition - SDP, Kok, Leftist Alliance (People's Democratic Union and Democratic Alternative), SFP, and Green League
election results: Tarja HALONEN elected president; percent of vote - Tarja HALONEN (SDP) 51.6%, Esko AHO (Kesk) 48.4%
Legislative branch: unicameral Parliament or Eduskunta (200 seats; members are elected by popular vote on a proportional basis to serve four-year terms)
election results: percent of vote by party - SDP 22.9%, Kesk 22.5%, Kok 21.0%, Leftist Alliance (Communist) 10.9%, SFP 5.1%, Green League 7.2%, SKL 4.2%; seats by party - SDP 51, Kesk 48, Kok 46, Leftist Alliance (Communist) 20, SFP 11, Green League 11, SKL 10, other 3
elections: last held 21 March 1999 (next to be held NA March 2003)
Judicial branch: Supreme Court or Korkein Oikeus (judges appointed by the president)
Political parties and leaders: Center Party or Kesk [Esko AHO]; Finnish Christian Democratic Party or SKL [C. P. Bjarne KALLIS]; Green League [Osmo SOININVAARA]; Leftist Alliance (Communist) composed of People's Democratic League and Democratic Alternative [Suvi-Anne SIIMES]; National Coalition (conservative) Party or Kok [Ville ITALA]; Social Democratic Party or SDP [Paavo LIPPONEN]; Swedish People's Party or SFP [Jan-Erik ENESTAM]; True Finns [Timo SOINI]
Diplomatic representation in the US: chief of mission: Ambassador Jukka Robert VALTASAARI
consulate(s) general: Los Angeles and New York
FAX: [1] (202) 298-6030
telephone: [1] (202) 298-5800
chancery: 3301 Massachusetts Avenue NW, Washington, DC 20008
Diplomatic representation from the US: chief of mission: Ambassador Bonnie McELVEEN-HUNTER
embassy: Itainen Puistotie 14B, FIN-00140, Helsinki
mailing address: APO AE 09723
telephone: [358] (9) 171931
FAX: [358] (9) 174681
Flag description: white with a blue cross extending to the edges of the flag; the vertical part of the cross is shifted to the hoist side in the style of the Dannebrog (Danish flag)
Economy Finland
Economy - overview: Finland has a highly industrialized, largely free-market economy, with per capita output roughly that of the UK, France, Germany, and Italy. Its key economic sector is manufacturing - principally the wood, metals, engineering, telecommunications, and electronics industries. Trade is important, with exports equaling almost one-third of GDP. Except for timber and several minerals, Finland depends on imports of raw materials, energy, and some components for manufactured goods. Because of the climate, agricultural development is limited to maintaining self-sufficiency in basic products. Forestry, an important export earner, provides a secondary occupation for the rural population. Rapidly increasing integration with Western Europe - Finland was one of the 11 countries joining the euro monetary system (EMU) on 1 January 1999 - will dominate the economic picture over the next several years. Growth in 2001 was held back by the global slowdown and will likely be anemic again in 2002.
GDP: purchasing power parity - $133.5 billion (2001 est.)
GDP - real growth rate: 0.6% (2001 est.)
GDP - per capita: purchasing power parity - $25,800 (2001 est.)
GDP - composition by sector: agriculture: 3%
industry: 28%
services: 69% (2000)
Population below poverty line: NA%
Household income or consumption by percentage share: lowest 10%: 4.2%
highest 10%: 21.6% (1991)
Distribution of family income - Gini index: 25.6 (1991)
Inflation rate (consumer prices): 2.6% (2001 est.)
Labor force: 2.6 million (2000 est.)
Labor force - by occupation: public services 32%, industry 22%, commerce 14%, finance, insurance, and business services 10%, agriculture and forestry 8%, transport and communications 8%, construction 6%
Unemployment rate: 9.4% (2001 est.)
Budget: revenues: $36.1 billion
expenditures: $31 billion, including capital expenditures of $NA (2000 est.)
Industries: metal products, electronics, shipbuilding, pulp and paper, copper refining, foodstuffs, chemicals, textiles, clothing
Industrial production growth rate: 5.1% (2001)
Electricity - production: 75.356 billion kWh (2000)
Electricity - production by source: fossil fuel: 40.86%
hydro: 19.22%
other: 11.6% (2000)
nuclear: 28.32%
Electricity - consumption: 81.961 billion kWh (2000)
Electricity - exports: 326 million kWh (2000)
Electricity - imports: 12.206 billion kWh (2000)
Agriculture - products: barley, wheat, sugar beets, potatoes; dairy cattle; fish
Exports: $40.1 billion (f.o.b., 2001)
Exports - commodities: machinery and equipment, chemicals, metals; timber, paper, pulp
Exports - partners: Germany 12.5%, Sweden 9.3%, UK 9.1%, US 7.4%, France 5.2%, Italy 4.4% (2000)
Imports: $31.2 billion (f.o.b., 2001)
Imports - commodities: foodstuffs, petroleum and petroleum products, chemicals, transport equipment, iron and steel, machinery, textile yarn and fabrics, grains
Imports - partners: Germany 14.2%, Sweden 10.3%, Russia 9.4%, US 7.1%, UK 6.4%, Japan 5.3% (2000)
Debt - external: $30 billion (December 1993)
Economic aid - donor: ODA, $379 million (1997)
Currency: markka (FIM); euro (EUR)
note: on 1 January 1999, the European Monetary Union introduced the euro as a common currency to be used by financial institutions of member countries; on 1 January 2002, the euro became the sole currency for everyday transactions within the member countries
Currency code: FIM; EUR
Exchange rates: euros per US dollar - 1.1324 (January 2002), 1.1175 (2001), 1.0854 (2000), 0.9386 (1999); markkaa per US dollar - 5.3441 (1998), 5.1914 (1997)
Fiscal year: calendar year
Communications Finland
Telephones - main lines in use: 2.861 million (1997)
Telephones - mobile cellular: 2,162,574 (1997)
Telephone system: general assessment: modern system with excellent service
domestic: cable, microwave radio relay, and an extensive cellular net provide domestic needs
international: 1 submarine cable; satellite earth stations - access to Intelsat transmission service via a Swedish satellite earth station, 1 Inmarsat (Atlantic and Indian Ocean regions); note - Finland shares the Inmarsat earth station with the other Nordic countries (Denmark, Iceland, Norway, and Sweden)
Radio broadcast stations: AM 2, FM 186, shortwave 1 (1998)
Radios: 7.7 million (1997)
Television broadcast stations: 130 (plus 385 repeaters) (1995)
Televisions: 3.2 million (1997)
Internet country code: .fi
Internet Service Providers (ISPs): 23 (2000)
Internet users: 2.27 million (2000)
Transportation Finland
Railways: total: 5,865 km
broad gauge: 5,865 km 1.524-m gauge (2,234 km electrified; 480 km double- or multiple-track) (2000 est.)
Highways: total: 77,831 km
paved: 49,789 km (including 444 km of expressways)
unpaved: 28,042 km (1999)
Waterways: 6,675 km
note: includes Saimaa Canal; 3,700 km suitable for large ships
Pipelines: natural gas 580 km
Ports and harbors: Hamina, Helsinki, Kokkola, Kotka, Loviisa, Oulu, Pori, Rauma, Turku, Uusikaupunki, Varkaus
Merchant marine: total: 98 ships (1,000 GRT or over) totaling 1,172,404 GRT/1,144,139 DWT
ships by type: bulk 9, cargo 26, chemical tanker 5, passenger 1, petroleum tanker 11, roll on/roll off 36, short-sea passenger 10
note: includes some foreign-owned ships registered here as a flag of convenience: Germany 1, Sweden 1 (2002 est.)
Airports: 160 (2001)
Airports - with paved runways: total: 73
over 3,047 m: 3
2,438 to 3,047 m: 26
1,524 to 2,437 m: 10
914 to 1,523 m: 22
under 914 m: 12 (2001)
Airports - with unpaved runways: total: 87
914 to 1,523 m: 5
under 914 m: 82 (2001)
Military Finland
Military branches: Army, Navy, Air Force, Frontier Guard (including Sea Guard)
Military manpower - military age: 17 years of age (2002 est.)
Military manpower - availability: males age 15-49: 1,240,762 (2002 est.)
Military manpower - fit for military service: males age 15-49: 1,024,379 (2002 est.)
Military manpower - reaching military age annually: males: 33,883 (2002 est.)
Military expenditures - dollar figure: $1.8 billion (FY98/99)
Military expenditures - percent of GDP: 2% (FY98/99)
Transnational Issues Finland
Disputes - international: none

This page was last updated on 1 January 2002


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