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Finland, officially the Republic of Finland, is a Nordic country situated in theFennoscandian region of Northern Europe. It is bordered by Sweden in the west, Norway in the north and Russia in the east, while Estonia lies to its south across the Gulf of Finland. HP 448007-001 battery

Around 5.4 million people reside in Finland, with the majority concentrated in the southern region. It is the eighth largest country in Europe in terms of area and the most sparsely populated country in the European Union. Finland is a parliamentary republic with a central government based in Helsinki and local governments in 336 municipalities.HP Pavilion DV7 battery

A total of about one million residents live in the Greater Helsinki area (which includes Helsinki, Espoo,Kauniainen and Vantaa), and a third of the country's GDP is produced there. Other larger cities include Tampere, Turku, Oulu, Jyväskylä, Lahti andKuopio.HP DV6-1120SA battery

Finland was historically a part of Sweden and from 1809 on, an autonomous Grand Duchy within the Russian Empire. Finnish Declaration of Independence from Russia in 1917 was followed by a civil war, wars against the Soviet Union and Nazi Germany, and a period of official neutrality during the Cold War. HP DV6-1210SA battery

Finland joined the United Nations in 1955, the OECD in 1969, the European Union in 1995, and the eurozone since its inception.

Finland was a relative latecomer to industrialisation, remaining a largely agrarian country until the 1950s. Thereafter, economic development was rapid, Finland built an extensive welfare state and balanced between the East and the West in global economics and politics. Compaq CQ50 battery

The country tops continuously theinternational comparisons of national performance. Finland ranks the best country in the world in the Newsweek survey based on health, economic dynamism, education, political environment and quality of life. Finland has also been ranked the second most stable country in the world and the first in the 2009 Legatum Prosperity rating.HP Pavilion DV8 battery

In 2010, the World Economic Forum deemed Finland the 7th most competitive country in the world.[12]Finland is currently ranked as having the 3rd highest graduation rate, percentage of graduates to the population at the typical age of graduation, in theOECD Factbook 2010. Sony VGP-BPS13 battery

Etymology

The name Suomi (Finnish for "Finland") has uncertain origins, but a candidate for a cognate is the Proto-Baltic word *zeme, meaning "land". In addition to the close relatives of Finnish (the Finnic languages), this name is also used in the Baltic languages Latvian and Lithuanian. HP Pavilion TX1000 battery

Alternatively, the Indo-European word *g?m-on "man" (cf. Gothic guma, Latin homo) has been suggested, being borrowed as *?oma. The word originally referred only to the province of Finland Proper, and later to the northern coast of Gulf of Finland, with northern lands Ostrobothnia still being excluded as late as the 18th century. HP Pavilion DV3500  battery

Earlier theories suggested derivation from suomaa (fen land) or suoniemi (fen cape), and parallels between saame (Sami, a non-Finnish people in Finland) and Häme (a Finnish people and a province) were drawn, but these theories are now considered outdated.

Among the first documents to mention "a land of the Finns" are two rune-stones. HP HDX X18-1005EA battery

There is one in Söderby, Sweden, with the inscription finlont (U 582) and one in Gotland, a Swedish island in the Baltic Sea, with the inscription finlandi (G 319), dating from the 11th century.

Prehistory

According to archaeological evidence, the area now comprising Finland was settled at the latest around 8500 BCE during the Stone Age as the ice sheet of the last ice age receded. Compaq PF723A battery

The artifacts the first settlers left behind present characteristics that are shared with those found in Estonia, Russia and Norway.[16]The earliest people werehunter-gatherers, using stone tools. The first pottery appeared in 5200 BCE when the Comb Ceramic culture was introduced.HP G6000 battery

The arrival of the Corded Ware culturein southern coastal Finland between 3000–2500 BCE may have coincided with the start of agriculture. Even with the introduction of agriculture, hunting and fishing continued to be important parts of the subsistence economy.HP Compaq Business Notebook NW9440 battery

The Bronze Age (1500–500 BCE) and Iron Age (500 BCE–1200 CE) were characterised by extensive contacts with other cultures in the Fennoscandian and Baltic regions. There is no consensus on when Uralic languages and Indo-European languages were first spoken in the area of contemporary Finland. Compaq Evo N800W battery

During the 1st millennium AD early Finnish was spoken at least in agricultural settlements of Southern Finland, whereas Sámi-speaking populations occupied most parts of the country.

Swedish era

Swedish kings established their rule in the Northern Crusades from the 12th century until 1249.Compaq Evo N620C battery

The area of present-day Finland became a fully consolidated part of the Swedish kingdom. Swedish-speaking settlers arrived in some coastal regions during the medieval time. Swedish became the dominant language of the nobility, administration and education; Finnish was chiefly a language for the peasantry, clergy and local courts in predominantly Finnish-speaking areas.HP Pavilion DV7 battery

During the Protestant Reformation, the Finns gradually converted to Lutheranism. In the 16th century, Mikael Agricola published the first written works in Finnish. The first university in Finland, The Royal Academy of Turku, was established in 1640. Finland suffered a severe famine in 1696–1697, during which about one-third of the Finnish population died.HP Pavilion DV2745SE battery

In the 18th century, wars between Sweden and Russia led to the occupation of Finland twice by Russian forces, wars known to the Finns as the Greater Wrath (1714–1721) and the Lesser Wrath (1742–1743). By this time Finland was the predominant term for the whole area from the Gulf of Bothnia to the Russian border.HP Pavilion DV5-1211EM battery

Russian Empire era

On March 29, 1809, having been taken over by the armies of Alexander I of Russia in the Finnish War, Finland became an autonomous Grand Duchy in theRussian Empire until the end of 1917. In 1811 Alexander I incorporated Russian Vyborg province into Grand Duchy of Finland. HP Compaq 490306-001 battery

During the Russian era, the Finnish language began to gain recognition. From the 1860s onwards, a strong Finnish nationalist movement known as the Fennoman movement grew. Milestones included the publication of what would become Finland's national epic – the Kalevala – in 1835, and the Finnish language's achieving equal legal status with Swedish in 1892.HP 520 battery

The Finnish famine of 1866–1868 killed 15% of the population, making it one of the worst famines in European history. The famine led the Russian Empire to ease financial regulations, and investment rose in following decades. Economic and political development was rapid.[23] The GDP per capita was still half of that of the United States and a third of that of Britain.HP TouchSmart TX2-1150EG battery

In 1906, universal suffrage was adopted in the Grand Duchy of Finland. However, the relationship between the Grand Duchy and the Russian Empire soured when the Russian government made moves to restrict Finnish autonomy. For example, the universal suffrage was, in practice, virtually meaningless, since the tsar did not have to approve any of the laws adopted by the Finnish parliament.HP Compaq 491278-001 battery

Desire for independence gained ground, first among radical liberals and socialists.

Civil war and early independence

After the 1917 February Revolution the position of Finland as part of the Russian Empire was questioned, mainly by Social Democrats.Compaq Presario CQ70 battery

Since the head of state was the Czar of Russia, it was not clear who the chief executive of Finland was after the revolution. The parliament, controlled by social democrats, passed the so-calledPower Law, which would give the highest authority to the parliament. This was rejected by the Russian Provisional Government and by the right wing parties in Finland.HP Pavilion DV6000 battery

The Provisional Government dissolved the parliament by force, which the social democrats considered illegal, since the right to do so was stripped from the Russians by the Power Law.

New elections were conducted, in which right wing parties won a slim majority. Compaq Presario CQ71 battery

Some social democrats refused to accept the result and still claimed that the dissolution of the parliament (and thus the ensuing elections) were extralegal. The two nearly equally powerful political blocs, the right wing parties and the social democratic party, were highly antagonized. HP Pavilion DV7-1290EO battery

The October Revolution in Russia changed the game anew. Suddenly, the right-wing parties in Finland started to reconsider their decision to block the transfer of highest executive power from the Russian government to Finland, as radical communists took power in Russia.Compaq Presario CQ50-105EL battery

Rather than acknowledge the authority of the Power Law of a few months earlier, the right-wing government declared independence on December 6, 1917.

On January 27, 1918, the official starting shots to the war were fired in two simultaneous events. The government started to disarm the Russian forces in Pohjanmaa, and the Social Democratic Party staged a coup.HP Compaq 572190-001 battery

The latter succeeded in controlling southern Finland and Helsinki, but the white government continued in exile from Vaasa. This sparked the brief but bitter civil war. The Whites, who were supported by Imperial Germany, prevailed over the Reds.After the war tens of thousands of Reds and suspected sympathizers were interned in camps, where thousands died by execution or from malnutrition and disease.HP Pavilion DV6373EA battery

Deep social and political enmity was sown between the Reds and Whites and would last until the Winter War and beyond. The civil war and activist expeditions to the Soviet Union strained Eastern relations.

After a brief flirtation with monarchy, Finland became a presidential republic, with Kaarlo Juho Ståhlberg elected as its first president in 1919. HP Pavilion DV2820EA battery

The Finnish–Russian border was determined by the Treaty of Tartu in 1920, largely following the historic border but granting Pechenga (Finnish: Petsamo) and its Barents Sea harbour to Finland. Finnish democracy did not see any more Soviet coup attempts and survived the anti-Communist Lapua Movement. The relationship between Finland and the Soviet Union was tense.HP Compaq Business Notebook 6735S battery

Germany's relations with Finland were also not good. Military was trained in France instead, and relations to Western Europe and Sweden were strengthened.

In 1917 the population was 3 million. Credit-based land reform was enacted after the civil war, increasing the proportion of capital-owning population. Compaq Presario 300 battery

About 70% of workers were occupied in agriculture and 10% in industry. The largest export markets were the United Kingdom and Germany.

World War II

During World War II, Finland fought the Soviet Union twice: in the Winter War of 1939–40 after the Soviet Union had attacked Finland; HP Pavilion DV7-2085EL battery

and in the Continuation War of 1941–44, following Operation Barbarossa, in which Germany invaded the Soviet Union. For 872 days, German and Finnish armies besieged Leningrad, the Soviet Union's second largest city. The siege of Leningrad resulted in the deaths of some one million of the city's inhabitants.HP Compaq Business Notebook TC4400 battery

After fighting a major Soviet offensive in June/July 1944 to a standstill, Finland reached an armistice with the Soviet Union. This was followed by the Lapland War of 1944–45, when Finland forced the Germans out of northern Finland.

The treaties signed in 1947 and 1948 with the Soviet Union included Finnish obligations, restraints and reparations – as well as further Finnish territorial concessions begun in the Moscow Peace Treaty of 1940. HP Pavilion ZD8227 battery

As a result of the two wars, Finland was forced to cede most of Finnish Karelia, Salla andPetsamo, which amounted to ten percent of its land area and twenty percent of its industrial capacity, including the ports of Vyborg (Viipuri) and ice-freeLiinakhamari (Liinahamari).HP Compaq HSTNN-LB51 battery

Almost the whole population, some 400,000 persons, fled these areas. Finland was never occupied by Soviet forces and retained its independence, however at a loss of about 93 000 soldiers killed, by proportion the third-highest loss rate in World War II.

Finland had to reject Marshall aid. HP Compaq 491278-001 battery

However, the United States provided secret development aid and helped the still non-communist Social Democratic Party in hopes of preserving Finland's independence.Establishing trade with the Western powers, such as the United Kingdom, and the reparations to the Soviet Union caused Finland to transform itself from a primarily agrarian economy to an industrialised one.HP DV9700 battery

For example, the Valmet corporation was founded to create materials for war reparations. Even after the reparations had been paid off, Finland – poor in certain resources necessary for an industrialized nation (such as iron and oil) – continued to trade with the Soviet Union in the framework of bilateral trade. Compaq CQ35-100 battery

Cold War

In 1950 half of the Finnish workers were occupied in agriculture and a third lived in urban areas. The new jobs in manufacturing, services and trade quickly attracted people to the towns. The average number of births per woman declined from a baby boom peak of 3.5 in 1947 to 1.5 in 1973.Sony VGP-BPS11 battery

When baby-boomers entered the workforce, the economy did not generate jobs fast enough, and hundreds of thousands emigrated to the more industrialized Sweden, with emigration peaking in 1969 and 1970. The 1952 Summer Olympics brought international visitors. HP Pavilion DV6-1223EO Battery

Finland took part in trade liberalization in the World Bank, the International Monetary Fund and the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade.

Officially claiming to be neutral, Finland lay in the grey zone between the Western countries and the Soviet Union. Sony Vaio VGN-CR190E/L Battery

The YYA Treaty (Finno-Soviet Pact of Friendship, Cooperation and Mutual Assistance) gave the Soviet Union some leverage in Finnish domestic politics. This was extensively exploited by President Urho Kekkonen against his opponents. He maintained an effective monopoly on Soviet relations from 1956 on, which was crucial for his continued popularity. Sony VGN-CR11M Battery

In politics, there was a tendency of avoiding any policies and statements that could be interpreted as anti-Soviet. This phenomenon was given the name "Finlandization" by the German press.

Despite close relations with the Soviet Union, Finland remained a Western European market economy. Sony VGN-NR11Z Battery

Various industries benefited from trade privileges with the Soviets, which explains the widespread support that pro-Soviet policies enjoyed among business interests in Finland. Economic growth was rapid in the postwar era, and by 1975 Finland's GDP per capita was the 15th highest in the world.Sony VGN-NR11S Battery

In the 1970s and 1980s, Finland built one of the most extensive welfare states in the world. Finland also negotiated with the EEC (a predecessor of the European Union) a treaty that mostly abolished customs duties towards the EEC starting from 1977, although Finland did not fully join. In 1981, President Urho Kekkonen's failing health forced him to retire after holding office for 25 years. Sony VGN-NR110E Battery

Miscalculated macroeconomic decisions, a banking crisis, the collapse of its primary trading partner (the Soviet Union) and a global economic downturn caused a deep recession in Finland in the early 1990s. The depression bottomed out in 1993, and Finland saw steady economic growth for more than ten years.Sony VGN-NR110E/T Battery

Recent history

Like other Nordic countries, Finland has liberalized its economy since the late 1980s. Financial and product market regulation was loosened. Some state enterprises have been privatized and there have been some modest tax cuts. Finland joined the European Union in 1995, and the Eurozone in 1999.Sony VGN-NR110E/S Battery

The population is aging with the birth rate at 10.42 births per 1,000 population, or a fertility rate of 1.8. With a median age of 41.6 years, Finland is one of the oldest countries; half of voters are estimated to be over 50 years old. Like most European countries, without further reforms or much higher immigration, Finland is expected to struggle with demographics, even though macroeconomic projections are healthier than in most other developed countries.Sony VGN-NR110E/W Battery

The Finnish markka was replaced by the euro in 2002. As a preparation for this date, the minting of the new euro coins started as early as 1999; this is why the first euro coins from Finland have the year 1999 on them, instead of 2002 like some of the other countries of the Eurozone. Sony VGN-CR11SR Battery

Three different designs (one for €2 coin, one for €1 coin and one for the other six coins) were selected for the Finnish coins. In 2007, in order to adopt the new common map like the rest of the Eurozone countries, Finland changed the common side of their coins.

Geography

Finland is a country of thousands of lakes and islands – 187,888 lakes (larger than 500 m2/0.12 acre) and 179,584 islands.Sony VGN-CR11Z Battery

Its largest lake, Saimaa, is the fourth largest in Europe. The Finnish landscape is mostly flat with few hills and fewer mountains. Its highest point, the Halti at 1,324 metres (4,344 ft), is found in the extreme north of Lapland at the border between Finland and Norway. Sony VGN-CR11S Battery

The highest mountain, its peak being in Finland, is Ridnitsohkka at 1,316 m (4,318 ft), directly adjacent to Halti.

Finland lies between latitudes 59° and 71° N, and longitudes 20° and 32° E.

Forest covers 86% of the country's area, the largest forested area in Europe. The forest consists of pine, spruce, birch, larch and other species. Finland is the largest producer of wood in Europe and among the largest in the world.Sony VGN-CR11M Battery

The landscape is covered mostly (seventy-five percent of land area) by coniferous taiga forests and fens, with little arable land. The most common type of rock is granite. It is a ubiquitous part of the scenery, visible wherever there is no soil cover. Moraine or till is the most common type of soil, covered by a thin layer of humus of biological origin.Sony VGN-CR11E Battery

Podzol profile development is seen in most forest soils except where drainage is poor. Gleysols and peat bogs occupy poorly drained areas. The greater part of the islands are found in the southwest in the Archipelago Sea, part of the archipelago of the Åland Islands, and along the southern coast in the Gulf of Finland.Sony VGN-CR21E Battery

Finland is one of the few countries in the world whose surface area is still expanding. Owing to the post-glacial rebound that has been taking place since the last ice age, the surface area of the country is expanding by about 7 square kilometres (2.70 sq mi) annually.

The distance from the southernmost – Hanko – to the northernmost point in the country – Nuorgam – is 1,160 kilometres (721 miles).Sony VGN-CR21S Battery

Biodiversity

Phytogeographically, Finland is shared between the Arctic, central European and northern European provinces of the Circumboreal Region within the Boreal Kingdom. According to the WWF, the territory of Finland can be subdivided into three ecoregions: the Scandinavian and Russian taiga, Sarmatic mixed forests and Scandinavian Montane Birch forest and grasslands.Sony VGN-CR21Z Battery

Similarly, Finland has a diverse and extensive range of fauna. There are at least sixty native mammalian species, 248 breeding bird species, over seventy fish species and eleven reptile and frog species present today, many migrating from neighboring countries thousands of years ago.Sony VGN-CR21SR Battery

Large and widely recognized wildlife mammals found in Finland are the brown bear (the national animal), gray wolf, wolverine, elk (moose) and reindeer. Three of the more striking birds are the Whooper Swan, a large European swan and the national bird of Finland, the Capercaillie, a large, black-plumaged member of the grousefamily and the European Eagle-owl. Sony VGN-CR31SR Battery

The latter is considered an indicator of old-growth forest connectivity, and has been declining because of landscape fragmentation.The most common breeding birds are the willow warbler, chaffinch and redwing. Of some seventy species of freshwater fish, the northern pike, perch and others are plentiful. Sony VGN-CR31S Battery

Atlantic salmon remains the favorite of fly rod enthusiasts.

The endangered Saimaa Ringed Seal, one of only three lake seal species in the world, exists only in the Saimaa lake system of southeastern Finland, down to only 300 seals today. It has become the emblem of the Finnish Association for Nature Conservation.Sony VGN-CR31E Battery

Climate

The Finnish climate is suitable for grain farming in the southernmost regions but not further north.

Finland has a humid and cool semi continental climate, characterized by warm summers and freezing winters. The climate type in southern Finland is northtemperate climate. Sony VGN-CR31Z Battery

Winters of southern Finland (average day time temperature is below 0 °C/32 °F) are usually 4 months long, and the snow typically covers the land from middle of December to early April. In the southern coast, it can melt many times during early winter, and then come again. Sony VGN-CR41Z Battery

The coldest winter days of southern Finland are usually under ?20 °C (?4 °F), and the warmest days of July and early August can be as high as 30 °C (86 °F), although this is relatively rare.

Summers in the southern Finland last 4 months (from the mid of May to mid of September). Sony VGN-CR41S Battery

In northern Finland, particularly in Lapland, a subarctic climatedominates, characterized by cold – occasionally severe – winters and relatively warm, short summers. Winters in north Finland are nearly 7 months long, and snow covers the lands almost 6 months, from October to early May. Summers in the north are quite short, only 2–3 months. Sony VGN-CR41E Battery

The main factor influencing Finland's climate is the country's geographical position between the 60th and 70th northern parallels in the Eurasian continent's coastal zone, which shows characteristics of both a maritime and a continental climate, depending on the direction of air flow. Sony VGN-CR41SR Battery

Finland is near enough to theAtlantic Ocean to be continuously warmed by the Gulf Stream, which explains the unusually warm climate considering the absolute latitude.

A quarter of Finland's territory lies within the Arctic Circle and the midnight sun can be experienced – for more days, the farther north one travels.Sony VGN-CR42ZR Battery

At Finland's northernmost point, the sun does not set for 73 consecutive days during summer, and does not rise at all for 51 days during winter.

Administrative divisions

The fundamental administrative divisions of the country are the municipalities, which may also call themselves towns or cities.Sony VGN-CR42Z Battery

They account for half of public spending. Spending is financed by municipal income tax, state subsidies, and other revenue. There are 336 municipalities, and most have fewer than 6,000 residents. People often identify with their municipality.

In addition to municipalities, two intermediate levels are defined. Sony VGN-CR42S Battery

Municipalities co-operate in seventy-four sub-regions and twenty regions. These are governed by the member municipalities and have only limited powers. The Åland region has a permanent democratically elected regional council as a part of the autonomy. In the Kainuu region, there is a pilot project underway with regional elections.Sony VGN-CR42E Battery

Sami people have a semi-autonomous Sami Domicile Area in Lapland for issues on language and culture.

In the following chart, the number of inhabitants includes those living in the entire municipality (kunta/kommun), not just in the built-up area. The land area is given in km², and the density in inhabitants per km² (land area).Sony Vaio VGN-CR11S/L Battery

The figures are as of 31 January 2011. The capital region – comprising Helsinki, Vantaa, Espoo and Kauniainen – forms a continuous conurbation of one million people. However, common administration is limited to voluntary cooperation of all municipalities, e.g. in Helsinki Metropolitan Area Council.Sony Vaio VGN-CR190E/P Battery

Politics

The Constitution of Finland defines the political system. Finland is a representative democracy that was formerly a semi-presidential parliamentary system, but now is a largely ceremonial non-executive Presidency. Aside from state-level politics, residents use their vote in municipal elections and in the European Union elections.Sony Vaio VGN-CR190E/R Battery

According to the Constitution, the President of Finland is the head of state and responsible for foreign policy (which excludes affairs related to the European Union) in cooperation with the cabinet. Other powers include Commander-in-Chief, decree, and appointive powers. Direct vote is used to elect the president for a term of six years and maximum two consecutive terms.Sony Vaio VGN-CR190E/W Battery

The current president is Tarja Halonen (SDP).

The 200-member unicameral Parliament of Finland exercises the supreme legislative authority in Finland. The parliament may alter laws and the constitution, bring about the resignation of the Council of State, and override presidential vetoes.Sony Vaio VGN-CR21/B Battery

Its acts are not subject to judicial review. Various parliament committees listen to experts and prepare legislation. Proportional vote in multi-seat constituencies is used to elect the parliament for a term of four years. The Speaker of the Parliament of Finland is currently (after the 2011 elections) Ben Zyskowicz (National Coalition Party).Sony Vaio VGN-CR21E/L Battery

The cabinet (the Finnish Council of State) exercises most executive powers. It is headed by thePrime Minister of Finland and includes other ministers and the Chancellor of Justice. Parliament majority decides its composition[clarification needed], and a vote of no confidence can be used to modify it. Sony Vaio VGN-CR21E/P Battery

The current prime minister is Mari Kiviniemi (Centre Party), Jyrki Katainen (National Coalition Party) is trying to form the new cabinet.

Since equal and common suffrage was introduced in 1906, the parliament has been dominated by the Centre Party (former Agrarian Union), National Coalition Party and Social Democrats, which have approximately equal support and represent 65–80% of voters.Sony Vaio VGN-CR21S/L Battery

After 1944 Communists were a factor to consider for a few decades. The relative strengths of the parties vary only slightly in the elections because of the proportional election from multi-member districts,[clarification needed] but there are some visible long-term trends. In the elections 2011 the True Finns had an exceptional success, rising its representation from 5 to 39 seats and thus surpassing the Centre party. Sony Vaio VGN-CR21S/P Battery

The autonomous Åland islands has separate elections, where Liberals for Åland was the largest party in 2007 elections.

Law

The judicial system of Finland is a civil law system divided between courts with regular civil and criminal jurisdiction and administrative courts with jurisdiction over litigation between individuals and the public administration. Sony Vaio VGN-CR21S/W Battery

Finnish law is codified and based on Swedish law and in a wider sense, civil law or Roman law. The court system for civil and criminal jurisdiction consists of local courts (käräjäoikeus, tingsrätt), regional appellate courts (hovioikeus, hovrätt), and the Supreme Court (korkein oikeus, högsta domstolen). Sony Vaio VGN-CR21Z/N Battery

The administrative branch of justice consists of administrative courts (hallinto-oikeus, förvaltningsdomstol) and the Supreme Administrative Court (korkein hallinto-oikeus, högsta förvaltningsdomstolen). In addition to the regular courts, there are a few special courts in certain branches of administration. Sony Vaio VGN-CR21Z/R Battery

There is also a High Court of Impeachment for criminal charges against certain high-ranking officeholders.

Around 92% of residents are confident in Finland's security institutions. The overall crime rate of Finland is not high in the EU context. Some crime types are above average, notably the highesthomicide rate in Western Europe.Sony Vaio VGN-CR220E/R Battery

Crime is prevalent among lower educational groups and is often committed by intoxicated persons. A day fine system is in effect and also applied to offenses such as speeding.

Finland has successfully fought against the corruption which was larger in the 1970s and 1980s.Sony Vaio VGN-CR23/B Battery

For instance, economic reforms and EU membership introduced stricter requirements for open bidding and many public monopolies were abolished. Today Finland has a very low number of corruption charges; Transparency International ranks Finland as one of the least corrupt countries. Also, Finland's public records are among the world's most transparent.Sony Vaio VGN-CR23/P Battery

Foreign relations

According to the latest constitution of 2000, the president (currently Tarja Halonen) leads foreign policy in cooperation with the government (currently Prime Minister Mari Kiviniemi and Foreign Minister Alexander Stubb), except that the government leads EU affairs.Sony Vaio VGN-CR23/R Battery

In 2008, President Martti Ahtisaari was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize. Finland was considered a cooperative model state, and Finland did not oppose proposals for a common EU defence policy.This was reversed in the 2000s, when Tarja Halonen and Erkki Tuomioja made Finland's official policy to resist other EU members' plans for common defense.HP Pavilion DM3 battery

Social security

In the late 1980s, Finland had one of the world's most extensive welfare systems, one that guaranteed decent living conditions for all Finns. Since then social security has been cut back, but still the system is one of the most comprehensive in the world. HP Pavilion DM4 battery

Created almost entirely during the first three decades after World War II, the social security system was an outgrowth of the traditional Nordic belief that the state was not inherently hostile to the well-being of its citizens, but could intervene benevolently on their behalf. HP Pavilion DV6-1210SA battery

According to some social historians, the basis of this belief was a relatively benign history that had allowed the gradual emergence of a free and independent peasantry in the Nordic countries and had curtailed the dominance of the nobility and the subsequent formation of a powerful right wing. Dell N3010 battery

Finland's history has been harsher than the histories of the other Nordic countries, but not harsh enough to bar the country from following their path of social development.

Military

The Finnish Defence Forces consists of a cadre of professional soldiers (mainly officers and technical personnel), currently serving conscripts and a large reserve.Dell Inspiron N4010 battery

The standard readiness strength is 34,700 people in uniform, of which 25% are professional soldiers. A universal male conscription is in place, under which all male Finnish nationals above 18 years of age serve for 6 to 12 months of armed service or 12 months of civilian (non-armed) service.Dell INSPIRON 9100 battery

Alternative non-military service and volunteer service by women (chosen by around 500 annually) are possible. Finland is the only non-NATO EU country bordering Russia. Finland's official policy states that the 350,000 reservists, armed mostly with ground weaponry are a sufficient deterrent.Dell XPS 1340 battery

The Finnish Defense Forces favor partnerships with Western institutions such as NATO, WEU and the EU, but are careful to avoid politics. Finland's defence budget equals about €2 billion or about 1.4–1.6% of the GDP. Finnish defense expenditure is around the sixth highest in the EU.Dell Inspiron 1464 battery

Voluntary overseas service is popular, and troops serve around the world in UN, NATO and EU peace-keeping missions. Residents claim around 80% homeland defense willingness, one of the highest rates in Europe.

The Finnish Defence Forces are under the command of the Chief of Defence (currently General Ari Puheloinen), who is directly subordinate to the President of the Republic in matters related to military command. Dell Inspiron 1564 battery

The branches of the military are the Finnish Army, Finnish Navy and Finnish Air Force. The Border Guard is under the Ministry of the Interior but can be incorporated into the Defence Forces when required for defence readiness.

Economy

Finland has a highly industrialized mixed economy with a per capita output equal to that of other European economies such as France, Germany, Belgium or the UK.Dell Inspiron 1720 battery

The largest sector of the economy is services at 66%, followed by manufacturing and refining at 31%. Primary production is 2.9%.With respect to foreign trade, the key economic sector is manufacturing. The largest industries are electronics(22%), machinery, vehicles and other engineered metal products (21.1%), forest industry (13%) and chemicals (11%).Dell Inspiron Mini 12 battery

Finland has timber and several mineral and freshwater resources. Forestry, paper factories, and the agricultural sector (on which taxpayers spend around 3 billion euros annually) are politically sensitive to rural residents. The Greater Helsinki area generates around a third of GDP. Dell LATITUDE D800 battery

In a 2004 OECD comparison, high-technology manufacturing in Finland ranked second largest after Ireland. Knowledge-intensive services have also ranked the smallest and slow-growth sectors – especially agriculture and low-technology manufacturing – second largest after Ireland. Overall short-term outlook was good, and GDP growth has been above many EU peers.Dell Inspiron 6400 AC Adapter

Finland is highly integrated in the global economy, and international trade is a third of GDP. The European Union makes 60% of the total trade. The largest trade flows are with Germany, Russia, Sweden, United Kingdom, United States, Netherlands and China. Trade policy is managed by the European Union, where Finland has traditionally been among the free trade supporters, except for agriculture. SONY VAIO VGN-FW31Z Battery

Finland is the only Nordic country to have joined the Eurozone.

Finland's climate and soils make growing crops a particular challenge. The country lies between 60° and 70° north latitude, and has severe winters and relatively short growing seasons that are sometimes interrupted by frosts. SONY VAIO VGN-FW31M Battery

However, because the Gulf Stream and the North Atlantic Drift Current moderate the climate, Finland contains half of the world's arable land north of 60° north latitude. Annual precipitation is usually sufficient, but it occurs almost exclusively during the winter months, making summer droughts a constant threat. SONY VAIO VGN-FW31B Battery

In response to the climate, farmers have relied on quick-ripening and frost-resistant varieties of crops, and they have cultivated south-facing slopes as well as richer bottomlands to ensure production even in years with summer frosts. Most farmland had originally been either forest or swamp, and the soil had usually required treatment with lime and years of cultivation to neutralize excess acid and to develop fertility. SONY VAIO VGN-FW31E Battery

Irrigation was generally not necessary, but drainage systems were often needed to remove excess water. Finland's agriculture was efficient and productive – at least when compared with farming in other European countries.

Forests play a key role in the country's economy, making it one of the world's leading wood producers and providing raw materials at competitive prices for the crucial wood-processing industries.SONY VAIO VGN-FW31J Battery

As in agriculture, the government has long played a leading role in forestry, regulating tree cutting, sponsoring technical improvements, and establishing long-term plans to ensure that the country's forests continue to supply the wood-processing industries.Sony VGP-BPS21 Battery

To maintain the country's comparative advantage in forest products, Finnish authorities moved to raise lumber output toward the country's ecological limits. In 1984 the government published the Forest 2000 plan, drawn up by the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry. The plan aimed at increasing forest harvests by about 3 percent per year, while conserving forestland for recreation and other uses.Sony VGP-BPS21A Battery

Private sector employees amount to 1.8 million, out of which around a third with tertiary education. The average cost of a private sector employee per hour was 25.1 euros in 2004. As of 2008 average purchasing power-adjusted income levels are similar to those of Italy, Sweden, Germany and France.Sony VGP-BPS21/S Battery

In 2006, 62% of the workforce worked for enterprises with less than 250 employees and they accounted for 49% of total business turnover and had the strongest rate of growth. The female employment rate is high. Gender segregation between male-dominated professions and female-dominated professions is higher than in the US.Sony VGP-BPS21A/B Battery

The proportion of part-time workers was one of the lowest in OECD in 1999.

Employment rate 68% and unemployment rate was 6.8% in early 2008. 18% of residents are outside job market at the age of 50 and less than a third working at the age of 61. SONY VGP-BPS21 Battery

Unfunded pensions and other promises such as health insurances are a dominant future liability, though Finland is much better prepared than countries such as France or Germany.Directly held public debt has been reduced to around 32% of GDP in 2007.In 2007, the average household savings rate was -3.8 and household debt 101% of annual disposable income, a typical level in Europe.Home ownership rate is 60%.SONY VGP-BPS21A Battery

As of 2006, 2.4 million households reside in Finland. The average size is 2.1 persons; 40% of households consist of a single person, 32% two persons and 28% three or more persons. Residential buildings total 1.2 million and the average residential space is 38 m2per person. SONY VGP-BPS21B Battery

The average residential property without land costs 1,187 euro per sq metre and residential land 8.6 euro per sq metre. 74% of households had a car. There are 2.5 million cars and 0.4 million other vehicles.

Around 92% have a mobile phone and 83.5% (2009) Internet connection at home. SONY VGP-BPS21/S Battery

The average total household consumption was 20,000 euro, out of which housing consisted of about 5500 euro, transport about 3000 euro, food and beverages excluding alcoholic at around 2500 euro, recreation and culture at around 2000 euro. Purchasing power-adjusted average household consumption is about the same level as it is in Germany, Sweden and Italy.SONY VGP-BPS21A/B Battery

According to Invest in Finland, private consumption grew by 3% in 2006 and consumer trends included durables, high quality products, and spending on well-being.

Education and science

Most pre-tertiary education is arranged at municipal level.SONY VGP-BPS13/Q Battery

Even though many or most schools were started as private schools, today only around 3% students are enrolled in private schools (mostly Helsinki-based schools such as SYK), many times less than in Sweden and most other developed countries.[69] Pre-school education is rare compared to other EU countries. SONY VGP-BPS13/Q Battery

Formal education is usually started at the age of 7. The primary school takes normally 6 years, the lower secondary school 3 years, and most schools are managed by municipal officials.

The flexible curriculum is set by the Ministry of Education and the Education Board. SONY VGP-BPS1

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Education is compulsory between the ages of 7 and 16. After lower secondary school, graduates may either enter the workforce directly, or apply to trade schools or gymnasiums (upper secondary schools). Trade schools prepare for professions. Academically oriented gymnasiums have higher entrance requirements and specifically prepare for Abitur and tertiary education. SONY VGP-BPS13A/Q Battery

Graduation from either formally qualifies for tertiary education.

In tertiary education, two mostly separate and non-interoperating sectors are found: the profession-oriented polytechnics and the research-orienteduniversities. Education is free and living expenses are to a large extent financed by the government through student benefits. Toshiba Satellite 1200 Battery

There are 20 universities and 30 polytechnics in the country. Helsinki University is ranked 108 in the Top University Ranking of 2009. The World Economic Forum ranks Finland's tertiary education #2 in the world. Around 33% of residents have a tertiary degree, similar to Nordics and more than in most other OECD countries except Canada (44%), United States (38%) and Japan(37%).Toshiba Satellite M300 Battery

The proportion of foreign students is 3% of all tertiary enrolments, one of the lowest in OECD, while in advanced programs it is 7.3%, still below OECD average 16.5%.

More than 30% of tertiary graduates are in science-related fields.Toshiba Satellite A200 Battery

Finnish researchers are leading contributors to such fields as forest improvement, new materials, the environment, neural networks, low-temperature physics, brain research, biotechnology, genetic technology and communications.

Finland had a long tradition of adult education, and by the 1980s nearly one million Finns were receiving some kind of instruction each year. Sony VGP-BPS21 battery

Forty percent of them did so for professional reasons. Adult education appeared in a number of forms, such as secondary evening schools, civic and workers' institutes, study centers, vocational course centers, and folk high schools. Study centers allowed groups to follow study plans of their own making, with educational and financial assistance provided by the state.Sony VGP-BPS14 battery

Folk high schools are a distinctly Nordic institution. Originating in Denmark in the nineteenth century, folk high schools became common throughout the region. Adults of all ages could stay at them for several weeks and take courses in subjects that ranged from handicrafts to economics. Sony VGP-BPL8 battery

Finland is highly productive in scientific research. In 2005, Finland had the fourth most scientific publications per capita of the OECD countries. In 2007, 1801 patents were filed in Finland. Sony VGP-BPS22 battery

Energy

Anyone can enter the free and largely privately owned financial and physical Nordic energy markets traded in NASDAQ OMX Commodities Europe andNord Pool Spot exchanges, which have provided competitive prices compared to other EU countries. As of 2007, Finland has roughly the lowest industrial electricity prices in the EU-15 (equal to France).Sony VGP-BPS11 battery

In 2006, the energy market was around 90 terawatt hours and the peak demand around 15 gigawatts in winter. This means that the energy consumption per capita is around 7.2 tons of oil equivalent per year. Industry and construction consumed 51% of total consumption, a relatively high figure reflecting Finland's industries.Sony VGP-BPS9 battery

Finland's hydrocarbon resources are limited to peat and wood. About 10–15 % of the electricity is produced byhydropower, which is little compared to more mountainous Sweden or Norway. In 2008, renewable energy forms (mainly hydropower and various forms of wood energy) made high 30.5% compared to the EU average 10.3% in final energy consumption. Sony VGP-BPS10 battery

Finland has four privately owned nuclear reactors producing 18% of the country's energy, one research reactor in Otaniemi campus, and the fifthAREVA-Siemens-built reactor – the world's largest at 1600 MWe and a focal point of Europe's nuclear industry – is scheduled to be operational by 2013.Toshiba PA3399U-2BRS battery

A varying amount (5–17%) of electricity has been imported from Russia (at around 3 gigawatt power line capacity), Sweden and Norway.

Finland negotiated itself expensive Kyoto and EU emission terms. They might be causing an increase in energy prices, amplified by the aging and soon decommissioned production capacity.Toshiba Satellite T4900 Battery

Energy companies are about to increase nuclear power production, as in July 2010 the Finnish parliament granted permits for additional two new reactors.

Transport

The extensive road system is utilized by most internal cargo and passenger traffic. Toshiba Satellite L305 Battery

The annual road network expenditure of around 1 billion euro is paid with vehicle and fuel taxes which amount to around 1.5 billion euro and 1 billion euro.

The main international passenger gateway is Helsinki-Vantaa Airport with over 13 million passengers in 2008.SONY VGN -FZ210CE Battery

Oulu Airport is the second largest and around 25 airports have scheduled passenger services. The Helsinki-Vantaa based Finnair, Blue1 and Finncomm Airlines sell air services both domestically and internationally. Helsinki has an optimal location for great circle routes between Western Europe and the Far East.Dell Precision M70 Battery

Despite low population density, the Government spends annually around 350 million euro[citation needed] in maintaining 5,865 kilometres (3,644 mi) railway tracks. Rail transport is handled by state owned VR Group, which has 5% passenger market share (out of which 80% are urban trips in Greater Helsinki) and 25% cargo market share.Acer Aspire One battery 10400mAh

Since 12 December 2010 Karelian Trains, a joint venture between Russian Railways and VR (Finnish Railways), has been running Alstom Pendolino operated high-speed services between Saint Petersburg's Finlyandsky and Helsinki's Central railway stations.Dell RM791 battery

These services are branded as"Allegro" trains. Journey from Helsinki to Saint Petersburg takes only three and a half hour

The majority of international cargo utilizes ports. Port logistics prices are low. Vuosaari Harbour in Helsinki is the largest container port after completion in 2008 and others include Kotka, Hamina, Hanko, Pori, Rauma, Oulu. Dell Inspiron E1505 battery

There is passenger traffic from Helsinki and Turku, which have ferry connections toTallinn, Mariehamn and Stockholm. The Helsinki–Tallinn route, one of the busiest passenger sea routes in the world , has also been served by a helicopter line.Dell Studio 1737 battery

Industry

Finland has developed greatly since 1945, when it was a primarily agricultural nation, and created major firms in telecommunications like Nokia, electronics, X-Ray Machines like Planmeca and Instrumentarium, metalworking, forestry, metrology and climate measurement systems like Vaisala, and construction likePöyry.Dell Inspiron 300M Battery

Ahlstrom is a global leader in the manufacturing of specialty papers and nonwoven materials. Shipbuilding industry is important for the Finnish economy, and the world's biggest cruise ships are built in Finnish shipyards.

Public policy

Finnish politicians have often emulated other Nordics and the Nordic model.Dell Latitude E4200 Battery

Nordics have been free-trading and relatively welcoming to skilled migrants for over a century, though in Finland immigration is relatively new. The level of protection in commodity trade has been low, except for agricultural products.

Finland has top levels of economic freedom in many areas, although there is a heavy tax burden and inflexible job market.Dell Latitude E5400 Battery

Finland is ranked 16th (ninth in Europe) in the 2008 Index of Economic Freedom. While the manufacturing sector is thriving, OECD points out that the service sector would benefit substantially from policy improvements.

IMD World Competitiveness Yearbook 2007 ranked Finland 17th most competitive.Sony VGN-FW139E/H battery

The World Economic Forum 2008 index ranked Finland the 6th most competitive.[91] In both indicators, Finland's performance was next to Germany, and significantly higher than most European countries. In the Business competitiveness index 2007-08 Finland ranked third in the world.Sony VGN-FW11M Battery

Economists attribute much growth to reforms in the product markets. According to OECD, only four EU-15 countries have less regulated product markets (UK, Ireland, Denmark and Sweden) and only one has less regulated financial markets (Denmark). Nordic countries were pioneers in liberalizing energy, postal, and other markets in Europe.Sony VGN-FW11S Battery

The legal system is clear and business bureaucracy less than most countries. Property rights are well protected and contractual agreements are strictly honored. Finland is rated the 6th least corrupted countries in Corruption perception index. Finland is rated 13th in the Ease of Doing Business Index. Dell Inspiron Mini 10 Battery

It indicates exceptional ease to trade across borders (5th), enforce contracts (7th), and close a business (5th), and exceptional hardship to employ workers (127th) and pay taxes (83rd).

Finnish law forces all workers to obey the national contracts that are drafted every few years for each profession and seniority level.Dell Latitude D620 Battery

The agreement becomes universally enforceable provided that more than 50% of the employees support it, in practice by being a member of a relevant trade union. The unionization rate is high (70%), especially in the middle class (AKAVA – 80%). A lack of a national agreement in an industry is considered an exception. Dell Latitude D830 Battery

Tourism

In 2005, Finnish tourism grossed over €6.7 billion with a five percent increase from the previous year. Much of the sudden growth can be attributed to theglobalisation and modernisation of the country as well as a rise in positive publicity and awareness. There are many attractions in Finland which attracted over 4 million visitors in 2005. Toshiba Satellite M60 battery

The Finnish landscape is covered with thick pine forests, rolling hills and complemented with a labyrinth of lakes andinlets. Much of Finland is pristine and virgin as it contains 35 national parks from the Southern shores of the Gulf of Finland to the high fells of Lapland. It is also an urbanised region with many cultural events and activities. Dell Studio 1457 Battery

Commercial cruises between major coastal and port cities in the Baltic region, including Helsinki, Turku, Tallinn, Stockholm and Travemünde, play a significant role in the local tourism industry. Finland is regarded as the home of Saint Nicholas orSanta Claus, living in the northern Lapland region.Dell Latitude D610 Battery

Above the Arctic Circle, there is a polar night, a period when the sun does not rise for days or weeks, or even months. Lapland is so far north that the Aurora Borealis, atmospheric fluorescence, is seen regularly in winter.

Outdoor activities range from Nordic skiing, golf, fishing, yachting, lake cruises, hiking, kayaking among many others. Dell Studio 1457 Battery

At Finland's northernmost point, in the heart of summer, the Sun does not completely set for 73 consecutive days. Wildlife is abundant in Finland. Bird-watching is popular for those fond of flying fauna, however hunting is also popular. Elk, reindeer and hare are all common game in Finland. Olavinlinna in Savonlinna hosts the annual Savonlinna Opera Festival.Dell Studio 1450 Battery

Demographics

Finland currently numbers 5,350,156 inhabitants. It has an average population density of 17 inhabitants per square kilometre. This makes it, after Norway andIceland, the third most sparsely populated country in Europe. Finland's population has always been concentrated in the southern parts of the country, a phenomenon even more pronounced after 20th century urbanisation.Dell Inspiron 1320n Battery

The largest and most important cities in Finland are the cities of the Greater Helsinkimetropolitan area – Helsinki, Espoo and Vantaa. Other large cities include Tampere, Turku and Oulu.

The share of foreign citizens in Finland is 2.5%, among the lowest in the European Union.SONY VGP-BPS13AS Battery

Most of them are from Russia, Estonia and Sweden. The children of foreigners are not automatically given Finnish citizenship. If they are born in Finland and cannot get citizenship of any other country, they become citizens.

Languages

Finnish and Swedish are the ”national” languages of Finland, with mostly equal status in the jurisdiction, although Finnish dominates in most parts of the country.SONY VGP-BPS13A/S Battery

The ”other domestic language” is studied in the compulsory education and bilinguality is quite common in the bilingual parts of the country. The Sami language is an official language in northern Lapland. Also Finnish Romani and Finnish Sign Language are recognized in the constitution. The Nordic languages and Karelian are also specially treated in some contexts.SONY VGP-BPS13B/B Battery

The native language of 92 % of the population is Finnish,which is part of the Finnic subgroup of the Uralic languages. The language is one of only four officialEU languages not of Indo-European origin. Finnish is most closely related to Estonian and more remotely to the Sami languages and Hungarian.SONY VGP-BPS13A/B Battery

Swedish is the native language of 6% of the population (Swedish-speaking Finns).[99] Swedish is the only official language in the autonomous Åland. The Finnish history and Nordic cooperation gives the language a role very different from other minority languages.SONY VGP-BPS13/S Battery

To the north, in Lapland, are the Sami people, numbering around 7,000 and recognized as an indigenous people. About a quarter of them speak a Sami language as their mother language. There are three Sami languages that are spoken in Finland: Northern Sami, Inari Sami and Skolt Sami.SONY VGP-BPS8 Battery

Finnish Romani is spoken by some 5,000–6,000 people, who usually also speak Finnish. The Finnish Sign Language is used as a first language by 4,000–5,000 people. The right of minority groups (in particular Sami, Swedish-speaking Finnsand Romani people) to cherish their culture and language is protected by the constitution. SONY VAIO VGN-FZ38M Battery

Immigrant languages include Russian (0.8%), Estonian (0.3%), English, Somali, Arabic, Kurdish, Albanian and Chinese.

The best known foreign languages are English (63 %), German (18 %) and French (3 %). SONY VAIO VGN-FZ31Z Battery

English is studied by most pupils as a compulsory subject from the third or fifth grade in the comprehensive school (in some schools other languages can be chosen instead). German, French and Russian can be studied as second foreign languages from the eight grade (some schools may offer other options). SONY VAIO VGN-FZ31M Battery

A third foreign language may be studied in upper secondary school or university.

Religion

Approximately 4.2 million (or 78.2% at the end of 2010) adherents are members of the Evangelical Lutheran Church of Finland.SONY VAIO VGN-FZ31J Battery

The Evangelical Lutheran Church of Finland is one of the largest Lutheran churches in the world, although its membership has been on the decline especially during the last two decades and even more since 2006 after which membership dropped by nearly one percent annually, refer table to the right.SONY VAIO VGN-FZ31B Battery

Lately in 2010, the number of church members leaving the Lutheran church of Finland has been increasing rapidly with an estimated number of between 70,000–80,000 or close to 2% for the total year of 2010; the forecast is based on the number of resignations of 56,000 in the first 10 months of 2010.SONY VAIO VGN-FZ31E Battery

The large number and new record is caused partly by some Christians' controversial view that homosexuality is a sin [109][110] The second largest group – and a rather quickly growing one – of 19.2% of the population has no religious affiliation. A small minority belong to the Finnish Orthodox Church (1.1%). SONY VAIO VGN-FZ480E Battery

Other Protestant denominations and the Roman Catholic Church in Finland are significantly smaller, as are the Muslim, Jewish and other non-Christian communities (totaling 1.3%).

The main Lutheran and Orthodox churches are national churches of Finland with special roles such as in state ceremonies and schools. SONY VAIO VGN-FZ460E Battery

Year 2010 79.3% of Finnish children were baptized and 83.6% were confirmed in 2009 at the age of 15, and nearly all funerals are Christian. However, the majority of Lutherans attend church only for special occasions like Christmas ceremonies, weddings and funerals. SONY VAIO VGN-FZ340E Battery

The Lutheran Church estimates that approximately 2 percent of its members attend church services weekly. The average number of church visits per year by church members is approximately two. According to a 2005 Eurobarometer poll, 41% of Finnish citizens responded that "they believe there is a God"; 41% answered that "they believe there is some sort of spirit or life force";SONY VAIO VGN-FZ220E Battery

and 16% that "they do not believe there is any sort of spirit, God, or life force".

Health

Life expectancy is 82 years for women and 75 years for men. SONY VAIO VGN-FZ180E Battery

A recent study by The Lancet medical journal found that Finland has the lowest stillbirth rate out of 193 countries, including UK, France and New Zealand. UK was 32 spots behind in the shared 33rd position with Belarus and Estonia. Nigeria and Pakistan had the highest stillbirth rates., Sony VAIO VGN-NR11Z/T Battery

Society

Finnish family life is centered on the nuclear family. Relations with the extended family are often rather distant, and Finnish people do not form politically significant clans, tribes or similar structures. According to UNICEF, Finland ranks fourth in the world in child well-being.Sony VAIO VGN-NR11M/S Battery

After examining the position of women around the world, the Washington-based Population Crisis Committee reported in 1988 that Finland, slightly behind top-ranked Sweden and just ahead of the United States, was one of the best places in which a woman could live.Sony VAIO VGN-NR11Z/S Battery

The group reached this conclusion after examining the health, educational, economic, and legal conditions that affect women's lives. Finnish women were the first in Europe to gain the franchise, and by the 1980s they routinely constituted about one-third of the membership of the Eduskunta (parliament) and held several ministerial posts. Sony VAIO VGN-NR11S/S Battery

In the 1980s, about 75 percent of adult women worked outside the home; they made up about 48 percent of the work force. Finnish women were as well educated as their male counterparts, and, in some cases, the number of women studying at the university level, for example, were slightly ahead of the number of men. Sony VAIO VGN-FW21E Battery

In addition to an expanding welfare system, which since World War II had come to provide them with substantial assistance in the area of childbearing and child-rearing, women had made notable legislative gains that brought them closer to full equality with men.

In a number of areas, however, the country's small feminist movement maintained that the circumstances in which Finnish women lived needed to be improved. SONY VAIO VGN-NR11Z/S Battery

Most striking was the disparity in wages. Although women made up just under half the work force and had a tradition of working outside the home, they earned only about two-thirds of the wages paid to men.

The Equality Law that went into effect in 1987 committed the country to achieving full equality for women.SONY VAIO VGN-NR11M/S Battery

In the late 1980s, there was a timetable listing specific goals to be achieved during the remainder of the twentieth century. The emphasis was to be equality for everyone, rather than protection for women. Efforts were undertaken not only to place women in occupations dominated by males, but also to bring males into fields traditionally believed to belong to the women's sphere, such as child care and elementary school teaching. SONY VAIO VGN-NR11S/S Battery

Another aim was for women to occupy a more equal share of decision-making positions.

In 1906, Finland was the first nation in the world to give full suffrage (the right to vote and to run for office) to all citizens, including women.SONY VAIO VGN-FW21E Battery

Literature

Though Finnish written language could be said to exist since Mikael Agricola translated the New Testament into Finnish in the sixteenth century as a result of theProtestant Reformation, few notable works of literature were written until the nineteenth century, which saw the beginning of a Finnish national Romantic Movement. SONY VAIO VGN-FW31J Battery

This prompted Elias Lönnrot to collect Finnish and Karelian folk poetry and arrange and publish them as Kalevala, the Finnish national epic. The era saw a rise of poets and novelists who wrote in Finnish, notably Aleksis Kivi and Eino Leino. Many writers of the national awakening wrote in Swedish, such as the national poetJohan Ludvig Runeberg and Zachris Topelius.SONY VAIO VGN-FW31J Battery

After Finland became independent there was a rise of modernist writers, most famously Finnish speaking Mika Waltari and Swedish speaking Edith Södergran. Frans Eemil Sillanpää was awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1939. The second World War prompted a return to more national interests in comparison to a more international line of thought, characterized by Väinö Linna. SONY VAIO VGN-FZ21E Battery

Besides Kalevala and Waltari Swedish speaking Tove Jansson is the most translated Finnish writer. Literature in modern Finland is in a healthy state. Popular modern writers include Arto Paasilinna, Ilkka Remes, Kari Hotakainen, Sofi Oksanen and Jari Tervo, while the best novel is annually awarded the prestigious Finlandia Prize.SONY VAIO VGN-FZ18 Battery

Visual arts

Finns have made major contributions to handicrafts and industrial design. Finland's best-known sculptor of the twentieth century was Wäinö Aaltonen, remembered for his monumental busts and sculptures. Finnish architecture is famous around the world.HP Pavilion DV8000 battery

Among the top of the twentieth century Finnish architects to win international recognition are Eliel Saarinen (designer of the widely recognised Helsinki Central railway station and many other public works) and his son Eero Saarinen. Alvar Aalto, who helped bring functionalist architecture to Finland, is also famous for his work in furniture, textiles and glassware.HP Pavilion DV6000 battery

Television

Finland's most internationally successful TV show is the The Dudesons, a reality TV show about four childhood friends who perform stunts and play pranks on each other ? similar to the American TV show Jackass.HP Pavilion DV8000 battery

Music

Much of the music of Finland is influenced by traditional Karelian melodies and lyrics, as comprised in the Kalevala. Karelian culture is perceived as the purest expression of the Finnic myths and beliefs, less influenced by Germanic influence than the Nordic folk dance music that largely replaced the kalevaic tradition.HP Pavilion DV6000 battery

Finnish folk music has undergone a roots revival in recent decades, and has become a part of popular music.

The people of northern Finland, Sweden and Norway, the Sami, are known primarily for highly spiritual songs called Joik. The same word sometimes refers to lavlu orvuelie songs, though this is technically incorrect.SONY VAIO VGN-FZ Battery

The first Finnish opera was written by the German born composer Fredrik Pacius in 1852. Pacius also wrote the music to the poem Maamme/Vårt land (Our Country), Finland's national anthem. In the 1890s Finnish nationalism based on the Kalevala spread, and Jean Sibelius became famous for his vocal symphony Kullervo. HP PAVILION DV8000 Battery

He soon received a grant to study runo singers in Karelia and continued his rise as the first prominent Finnish musician. In 1899 he composed Finlandia, which played its important role in Finland gaining independence. He remains one of Finland's most popular national figures and is a symbol of the nation.HP PAVILION DV6000 Battery

Today, Finland has a very lively classical music scene. Finnish classical music has only existed for about a hundred years, and many of the important composers are still alive, such as Magnus Lindberg, Kaija Saariaho, Aulis Sallinen and Einojuhani Rautavaara.HP Pavilion dv8000 battery

The composers are accompanied with a large number of great conductors such as Esa-Pekka Salonen, Osmo Vänskä, Jukka-Pekka Saraste and Leif Segerstam. Some of the internationally acclaimed Finnish classical musicians are Karita Mattila, Soile Isokoski and Pekka Kuusisto.HP Pavilion dv6000 Battery

Iskelmä (coined directly from the German word Schlager, meaning hit) is a traditional Finnish word for a light popular song. Finnish popular music also includes various kinds of dance music; tango, a style of Argentine music, is also popular. The light music in Swedish speaking areas has more influences from Sweden.Sony VGP-BPL15 battery

Modern Finnish popular music includes a number of prominent rock bands, jazz musicians, hip hop performers, and dance music acts.

During the early 1960s, first significant wave of Finnish rock groups emerged, playing instrumental rock inspired by groups such as The Shadows. Sony VGP-BPS13B/B battery

Around 1964,Beatlemania arrived in Finland, resulting into further development of the local rock scene. During the late 1960s and 1970s Finnish rock musicians increasingly wrote their own music instead of translating international hits into Finnish. During the decade some progressive rock groups, such as Tasavallan Presidentti and Wigwam, gained respect abroad but failed to make a commercial breakthrough outside Finland. Sony VGP-BPL9 battery

This was also the fate of the rock and roll group Hurriganes. The Finnish punk scene produced some internationally acknowledged names including Terveet Kädet in 1980s. Hanoi Rocks was a pioneering 1980s glam rock act that left perhaps a deeper mark in the history of popular music than any other Finnish group, giving inspiration for Guns N' Roses.Sony VGP-BPS13B/B battery

Many Finnish metal bands have gained international recognition. HIM and Nightwish are some of Finland's most internationally known bands. HIM's 2005 "Dark Light" album went gold in the United States. Apocalyptica are an internationally famous Finnish group who are most renowned for mixing strings led classical music with classic heavy metal. Sony VGP-BPS13A/B battery

Other well known metal bands are Ensiferum, Kalmah, The Rasmus, Children of Bodom, Sonata Arctica and Stratovarius. Finland hosted theEurovision Song Contest in 2007, after hard rock/heavy metal band Lordi won the competition in 2006.

Due to Finland is the one of world's wealthies countries and its emphasis on transparancy and equal right, so Finland's press is the most free in the world.Sony VGP-BPS13/S battery

Today there are 200 newspapers, 320 popular magazines, 2,100 professional magazines, and 67 commercial radio stations, with one nationwide, five national public service radio channels, and three digital radio channels. Each year around twelve feature films are made, 12,000 book titles published and 12 million records sold.Sony VGP-BPS13 battery

Sanoma publishes the newspaper Helsingin Sanomat (the circulation of 412,000 making it the largest newspaper), the tabloid Ilta-Sanomat, the commerce-oriented Taloussanomat, and the television channel Nelonen. The other major publisher Alma Media publishes over thirty magazines, including newspaper Aamulehti,tabloid Iltalehti and commerce-oriented Kauppalehti. Dell Studio 1555 battery

Finns, along with other Nordic people and the Japanese, spend the most time in the world reading newspapers.

The National Broadcasting Company YLE has five television channels and 13 radio channels in two national languages. YLE is funded through a mandatory license for television owners and fees for private broadcasters.Dell KM958 battery

All TV channels are broadcast digitally, both terrestrially and on cable. The most popular television channel MTV3and the most popular radio channel Radio Nova are owned by Nordic Broadcasting (Bonnier and Proventus Industrier).

Around 79 percent of the population use the Internet.Dell XPS M1210 Battery

Finland had around 1.52 million broadband Internet connections by the end of June 2007 or around 287 per 1,000 inhabitants. All Finnish schools and public libraries have Internet connections and computers. Most residents have a mobile phone. It's used mostly for contact and value-added services are rare.SONY VAIO VGN-FW33GW Battery

In October 2009, Finland's Ministry of Transport and Communications committed to ensuring that every person in Finland will be able to access the internet at a minimum speed of one megabit-per-second beginning July 2010.

Public holidays

All official holidays in Finland are established by acts of Parliament.SONY VAIO VGN-FW21Z Battery

The official holidays can be divided into Christian and secular holidays. The main Christian holidays are Christmas, Epiphany, Easter, Ascension Day, Pentecost and All Saints Day. The secular holidays are New Year's Day, May Day,Midsummer Day and the Independence Day. Christmas is the most extensively celebrated holiday: usually at least December 23 to 26 are holidays. SONY VAIO VGN-FW21M Battery

Also, in the region of Bothnia (perhaps most notably in the city of Kokkola), there is a celebration called Venetsialaiset, the celebration of water and fire.

Sports

Various sporting events are popular in Finland. Pesäpallo (reminiscent of baseball) is the national sport of Finland, although the most popular sports in Finland in terms of media coverage are Formula One, rallying, ice hockey and football.SONY VAIO VGN-FW21L Battery

Finland won the ice-hockey world championship once in 1995. Jari Kurri andTeemu Selänne are the two Finnish-born ice hockey players to have scored 600 goals in their NHL careers.

The Finland national football team has never qualified for a finals tournament of the World Cup or the European Championships.Dell Latitude E6400 ATG Battery

Jari Litmanen, Sami Hyypiä,Antti Niemi, Jussi Jääskeläinen and Mikael Forssell are the most internationally renowned of the Finnish football players. Snowboarding is also very popular in Finland, and there are many Finnish professional snowboarders such as Antti Autti, Heikki Sorsa, Jussi Oksanen, Eero Ettala, Peetu Piiroinen and Joni Malmi.Asus M52N Battery

Relative to its population, Finland has been a top country in the world in automobile racing, measured by international success. Finland has produced threeFormula One World Champions – Keke Rosberg (Williams, 1982), Mika Häkkinen (McLaren, 1998 and 1999) and Kimi Räikkönen (Ferrari, 2007).SONY VAIO VGN-FW21E Battery

Following Räikkönen's departure from the sport, the only Finnish Formula One driver currently active is Heikki Kovalainen (Lotus). Rosberg's son, Nico Rosberg(Mercedes GP), is also currently driving, but under his mother's German nationality.

Other notable Finnish Grand Prix drivers include Leo Kinnunen, Le Mans 24 Hours -winner JJ Lehto and Mika Salo. Ibm THINKPAD X200 Battery

Finland has also produced most of the world's best rally drivers, including the ex-WRC World Champion drivers Marcus Grönholm, Juha Kankkunen, Hannu Mikkola, Tommi Mäkinen, Timo Salonenand Ari Vatanen. The only Finn to have won a road racing World Championship, Jarno Saarinen, was killed in 1973 while racing.Ibm THINKPAD X200 Battery

Among winter sports, Finland has been the most successful country in ski jumping, with former ski jumper Matti Nykänen being arguably the best ever in that sport. Most notably, he won five Olympic medals (four gold) and nine World Championships medals (five gold).Ibm THINKPAD X200 Battery

Among currently active Finnish ski jumpers,Janne Ahonen has been the most successful. Kalle Palander is a well-known alpine skiing winner, who won the World Championship and Crystal Ball (twice, inKitzbühel). Tanja Poutiainen has won an Olympic silver medal for alpine skiing, as well as multiple FIS World Cup races.HP Pavilion DV7 battery

Some of the most outstanding athletes from the past include Hannes Kolehmainen (1890–1966), Paavo Nurmi (1897–1973) and Ville Ritola (1896–1982) who won eighteen gold and seven silver Olympic medals in the 1910s and 1920s.Compaq CQ50 battery

They are also considered to be the first of a generation of great Finnish middle and long-distance runners (and subsequently, other great Finnish sportsmen) often named the "Flying Finns". Another long-distance runner, Lasse Virén (born 1949), won a total of four gold medals during the 1972 and 1976 Summer Olympics.HP Pavilion DV8 battery

Riku Kiri, Jouko Ahola and Janne Virtanen have been the greatest strength athletes in the country, participating in the World's Strongest Man competition between 1993 and 2000.

The 1952 Summer Olympics, officially known as the Games of the XV Olympiad, were held in Helsinki, Finland. Sony VGP-BPS13 battery

Other notable sporting events held in Finland include the 1983 and 2005 World Championships in Athletics, among others.HP DV9700 battery

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