Population: approx. 5,5 million with a population density of only 16,3 people per km2
Government: Unitary Parliamentary Republic
Head of State: President Sauli Niinistö
Official Languages: Finnish, Swedish
Currency: Euro (€)
Other major cities: Espoo, Tampere, Vantaa
Neighboring countries: Sweden, Norway, Russia
Time Zone: Eastern European Time (GMT+2)
Area: 338 424 km²
Forest areas: 263 000km² (approx. 78% of the total area of Finland)
The amount of lakes in Finland: 187 888, the largest of which is called Saimaa (also the 4th largest lake in Europe)
The area of lakes in Finland: 32 600 km² (approx. 10% of the total area of Finland)
Finnish education consists of four stages:
- early childhood education and care
- basic education (ages 7-16)
- upper secondary education
- higher education
The only mandatory education of the aforementioned is basic education, but more than 40% of basic education graduates continue straight to upper secondary education. For both basic and upper secondary education there is a national curriculum, which ensures equal quality of education for all citizens. Also the fact, that most education is publicly funded and there are no tuition fees at any level of education, ensures equal opportunities for receiving education.
For more information on Finnish education visit: https://www.oph.fi/english/education_system
Finland is often called the land of a thousand lakes, although in reality we have hundreds of thousands of lakes. For the most part, the lakes have formed after the ice age eroded the land. If you look at a map of the lakes in Finland, you can see that they tend to have formed as lines on the route the glaciers took during the ice age, from the north-west to the south-east. Finland has no tall mountains, only several fells and large forested hills. There are some even in North Karelia, the most well-known one being Koli. A very very long time ago, Koli too was a mountain, but the ice sheets eroded all the top layers and what is left is the hardest quartz core of the fell. Koli is also one of the national landscapes of Finland. In total, we have 27 of these landscapes and they include places like seaside Helsinki, Old Porvoo, Pallastunturi fells, and Punkaharju.
In addition to the lakes and fells, Finland also has a lot of forests. Due to the northern location of Finland, temperate broad-leaf forests are very rare. Mixed forests can be found, although most forests are comprised of spruce and pine trees. In the northernmost parts of Finland, one can encounter the treeline, which means that after a point far enough in the north, no more trees grow in the regions. The treeline has actually moved further north during the years, and especially spruces can be found growing further north than before.
You can see the formation of the lakes (north-west to south-east) in the map above
Climate and weather
Finland is located in the northern hemisphere and is one of the most northernmost countries. Of the world’s capitals, only Reykjavik is located more to the north than Helsinki. Due to Finland’s location near the middle latitudes, one can experience all four seasons in Finland: a temperate spring, a bright summer, a colorful autumn and a snowy, cold, dark winter. Finland has more of a continental climate than other Nordic countries, because of the proximity of the Asian continent. However, the adjacency of the Gulf Stream provides a counterforce to the continent's effects on climate. Thus, Finland has characteristics of both a maritime and a continental climate and can be said to be located almost completely in the boreal zone.
The average temperature around the year is 6,5 degrees Celsius. There is, however, a high variation between the extreme temperatures. Typical of a boreal zone area, it is very warm in the summer and freezing in the winter. It is fairly common for summer temperatures to reach +30°C and for the winter temperatures to go as low as -30°C or even below. The proximity of cities to the sea also has a great effect on their average temperatures, the amount of snow etc. The most rainy season is at the end of summer, from July to August.
During the WSSC event summer is just starting, but that does not necessarily mean the weather will be warm. During late May and early June, the temperatures can be anything from +5°C to +20 °C, so warm clothes will be necessary. Layered clothing is a good choice due to the changing temperatures. Rain is also possible.
Summer nights are not dark, and the further north one goes, the longer the day is. In the most northern parts of Finland, the sun does not set at all in the summer.