OFFICIAL NAME: Republic of Finland
SYSTEM OF GOVERNMENT: Multiparty Republic
AREA: 338,142 Sq Km (130,557 Sq Mi)
ESTIMATED 2000 POPULATION 5,156,000
LOCATION & GEOGRAPHY: Finland is located in North Europe.
It is bound by Russia to the east, the Gulf of Finland to
the south, the Gulf of Bothnia and Sweden to the west and
Norway to the north. Finland is a low lying plateau formed
by glaciers, which have scoured the land leaving deposits
of gravel, sand and clay. Most of the mountains have rounded
ridge tops and more than 50% of eastern Finland is hilly.
There are over 55,000 lakes, which are dominated by long
sinuous esker ridges such as the Punkaharju, Pyynikki and
Pulkkila. Forests cover 65% of the land area with pine,
spruce and birch trees in the northern coniferous zone while
the southwest coast and the archipelago are in the continental
European oak zone and Lapland is in the Arctic-Alpine zone.
Off the southwest coast lies Saaristomeri which is the country's
largest archipelago with over 17,000 islands and skerries.
The principal rivers are the Tornionjoki and Kemi which
flow south to the Gulf of Bothnia as well as the Oulu River
which also flows to the Gulf of Bothnia through the center
of the country. Major Cities (pop. est.); Helsinki 515,800,
Espoo 186,500, Tampere 179,300, Vantaa 164,400, Turku 162,400
(1994). Land Use; forested 76%, pastures 0.5%, agricultural-cultivated
8%, other 15.5% (1993).
CLIMATE: Finland has a temperate climate with continental winds
bringing cold spells in winter and heat waves in summer. However, the westerly
winds in summer also bring warm air currents from the Atlantic Ocean. Rainfall
occurs all year round and the average annual precipitation in the north
varies from 500 mm (20 inches) to 600 mm (24 inches) where most of it falls
as snow, while in the south it varies from 600 mm (24 inches) to 700 mm
(28 inches). Average temperature ranges in Helsinki are from -9 to -4 degrees
Celsius (16 to 25 degrees Fahrenheit) in February to 12 to 23 degrees Celsius
(54 to 72 degrees Fahrenheit) in July.
PEOPLE: The principal ethnic majority are the Finnish who are
of Scandinavian-Baltic origins. The Finnish account for 94% of the population
and other ethnic minorities include Swedish Finns, who account for 6% of
the population, followed by the Lapps while scattered groups of Russians,
Germans and Gypsies are also found.
DEMOGRAPHIC/VITAL STATISTICS: Density; 16 persons per sq km (43
persons per sq mi) (1991). Urban-Rural; 61.6% urban, 38.4% rural (1991).
Sex Distribution; 48.6% male, 51.4% female (1992). Life Expectancy at Birth;
70.8 years male, 78.9 years female (1989). Age Breakdown; 19% under 15,
21% 15 to 29, 25% 30 to 44, 17% 45 to 59, 13% 60 to 74, 5% 75 and over
(1990). Birth Rate; 13.2 per 1,000 (1990). Death Rate; 10.1 per 1,000 (1990).
Increase Rate; 3.1 per 1,000 (1990). Infant Mortality Rate; 5.8 per 1,000
live births (1989).
RELIGIONS: Mostly Christians with around 88% of the population
Lutheran while 1% are Orthodox.
LANGUAGES: The official languages are Finnish and Swedish with
94% of the population speaking Finnish and 6% Swedish. Other languages
spoken by minorities include Russian and Lappish.
EDUCATION: Aged 25 or over and having attained: incomplete upper
secondary 51.8%, upper secondary or vocational 37.6%, higher 10.2% (1989).
Literacy; literate population aged 15 or over virtually 100% (1989).
MODERN HISTORY - WWII TO 1993: In 1948 Finland signed a Friendship
Treaty with the Soviet Union (USSR) which was subsequently renewed in 1955,
1970 and 1983. In 1950 Pres. Juho Paasikivi set a policy of Finnish neutrality
in international politics. Under Paasikivi, Finland also developed close
economic and cultural ties with the USSR and other Scandinavian countries
including Denmark, Norway and Sweden. In 1955 the USSR returned Porkkala
Naval Base to Finland and in the same year Finland joined both the UN and
the Nordic Council. In 1956 Urho Kekkonen was elected President and he
continued to emphasize neutrality in international affairs. In late 1973
Finland and the other members of European Free Trade Association (EFTA)
entered into industrial free trade agreement with the European Union (EU).
During the late 1970's to early 1980's Finland completed the construction
of four nuclear power plants which supplies more than a third of the nations
energy needs. In 1982 Mauno Kiovisto was elected President and reelected
in 1988. In 1990 US Pres. George Bush and the former USSR Pres. Mikhail
Gorbachev met in Helsinki to finalize the consensus to reverse Iraq's invasion
of Kuwait. In Mar. 1991 a record 17 parties contested the parliamentary
elections and the agrarian-based Center Party emerged as the largest parliamentary
party replacing the Social Democrats who had held that position for 25
years. The newly formed coalition led by the Center Party replaced the
former Social Democrat's "Red and Blue" coalition. On Aug. 29,
1991 Finland became the last Nordic country to recognize the independence
and reestablish diplomatic relations with the ex-Soviet Baltic states.
In Oct. 1991 Finland and other EFTA member countries agreed to form a European
Economic Area (EEA) with the EU from 1993, although the European Court
of Justice put the agreement on hold in Dec. 1991 claiming that the establishment
of the EEA contravened EU law. In Nov. 1991 after talks with the Russian
Republic representatives in Helsinki, Finland agreed to a new pact of friendship
and mutual cooperation. In 1992 Finland ratified the EEA treaty with the
EU and announced it would be seeking accession to the EU by 1995, although
the Union announced that Finland would have to adjust their heavy agricultural
subsidies in line with the union and that they would have to adopt the
EU's envisaged defense system. In response the Finnish government insisted
they would maintain their non-aligned and independent defense policy. Also
during 1992 major banks required support from the government while in Sept.
1992 it was forced to float the Markka which lost around 12% against other
currencies. Accusations were also leveled against a former Finnish president,
Urho Kekkonen, who died in 1986 that he received campaign financing and
political support from Moscow to secure his presidency from 1956 to 1981.
In Mar. 1993 Pres. Koivisto announced his planned retirement in Mar. 1994.
In Sept. 1993 Finland was quick to announce its support for Russian President
Boris Yeltsin during his leadership struggle. In 1993 the economy continued
to be in recession, although the Marrka had stabilized by late 1993 from
its float in Sept. 1992. The government also continued to reduce public
services to offset the rising unemployment and lend financial support to
recession hit banks. Also during 1993 Finland announced it would accept
the terms of the Maastricht Treaty on European Union, although its admission
would also depend on special provisions for its subsidized agriculture.
CURRENCY: The official currency is the Euro divided into 100
ECONOMY: Gross National Product; USD $96,220,000,000 (1993).
National Debt; Fmk 171,920,000,000 (1992). Imports; Fmk 120,200,000,000
(1994). Exports; Fmk 153,859,000,000 (1994). Tourism Receipts; USD $1,239,000,000
(1993). Balance of Trade; Fmk 33,659,000,000 (1994). Economically Active
Population; 2,508,000 or 49.5% of total population (1993). Unemployed;
MAIN TRADING PARTNERS: Its main trading partners are the former
USSR, Sweden, Germany, the UK and the USA.
MAIN PRIMARY PRODUCTS: Cereals, Chromium, Copper, Dairy Products,
Fish, Iron Ore, Lead, Livestock, Potatoes, Timber, Zinc.
MAJOR INDUSTRIES: Chemicals, Clothing, Fertilizers, Foodstuffs,
Forestry, Iron and Steel, Machinery, Ship Building, Textiles, Timber Products
including Wood Pulp and Paper.
MAIN EXPORTS: Chemicals, Clothing, Machinery, Paper, Petroleum Products,
Ships, Timber, Wood Pulp.
TRANSPORT: Railroads; route length 5,884 km (3,656 mi) (1990),
passenger-km 3,331,000,000 (2,070,000,000 passenger-mi) (1990), cargo ton-km
8,357,000,000 (5,724,000,000 short ton-mi) (1990). Roads; length 76,717
km (47,670 mi) (1989). Vehicles; cars 1,896,895 (1989), trucks and buses
250,913 (1989). Merchant Marine; vessels 269 (1990), deadweight tonnage
983,928 (1990). Air Transport; passenger-km 4,859,000,000 (3,019,000,000
passenger-mi) (1990), cargo ton-km 143,237,000 (98,103,000 short ton-mi)
COMMUNICATIONS: Daily Newspapers; total of 60 with a total circulation
of 2,640,381 (1992). Radio; receivers 4,950,000 (1993). Television; receivers
1,900,000 (1993). Telephones; units 2,760,700 (1993).
MILITARY: 31,200 (1994) total active duty personnel with 82.4%
army, 8.0% navy and 9.6% air force while military expenditure accounts
for 2.2% (1993) of the Gross National Product (GNP).
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