Finland was a province and then a grand duchy under Sweden from the 12th to the 19th centuries, and an autonomous grand duchy of Russia after 1809. It won its complete independence in 1917. During World War II, it was able to successfully defend its freedom and resist invasions by the Soviet Union – albeit with some loss of territory. In the subsequent half century, the Finns made a remarkable transformation from a farm/forest economy to a diversified modern industrial economy; per capita income is now among the highest in Western Europe. A member of the European Union since 1995, Finland was the only Nordic state to join the euro system at its initiation in January 1999.


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
Population: 5,262,930 (July 2012 est.)
Age structure: 0-14 years: 16% (male 429,450/female 414,570)

15-64 years: 66.1% (male 1,759,059/female 1,719,173)

65 years and over:  17.8% (male 385,671/female 551,327) (2011 est.)

Median age: Total: 42.7 years

male: 41 years

female: 44.5 years (2012 est.)

Country name: conventional long form: Republic of Finland

conventional short form: Finland

local long form: Suomentasavalta/Republiken Finland

local short form: Suomi/Finland

Government type: republic
Capital: name: Helsinki

geographic coordinates: 60 10 N, 24 56 E

time difference: UTC+2 (7 hours ahead of Washington, DC during Standard Time)

daylight saving time: +1hr, begins last Sunday in March; ends last Sunday in October

Telephones – main lines in use: 1.25 million (2009)
Telephones – mobile cellular: 8.39 million (2009)
Airports: 148 (2012)
Airports – with paved runways: total: 75

over 3,047 m: 3

2,438 to 3,047 m: 26

1,524 to 2,437 m: 10

914 to 1,523 m: 21

under 914 m: 15 (2012)

Military branches: Finnish Defence Forces (FDF): Army, Navy (includes Coastal Defence Forces), Air Force (SuomenIlmavoimat) (2007)
Military service age and obligation: 18 years of age for male voluntary and compulsory – and female voluntary – national military and nonmilitary service; service obligation 6-12 months; military obligation to age 60 (2012)


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; exports equal nearly two-fifths of GDP.


Finland excels in high-tech exports, e.g., mobile phones. 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. High unemployment remains a persistent problem. In 2007 Russia announced plans to impose high tariffs on raw timber exported to Finland. The Finnish pulp and paper industry will be threatened if these duties are put into place in 2008 and 2009, and the matter is now being handled by the European Union.

Transnational Issues:

Various groups in Finland advocate restoration of Karelia and other areas ceded to the Soviet Union, but the Finnish Government asserts no territorial demands