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Country information - Finland
Country name - conventional long form : Republic of Finland
Country name - conventional short form : Finland
Country name - local long form : Suomen tasavalta/Republiken Finland
Country name - local short form : Suomi/Finland
Government type : republic
Capital - name : Helsinki
Capital - time difference : UTC+2 (7 hours ahead of Washington, DC during Standard Time)
National holiday : Independence Day, 6 December (1917)
Population : 5,244,749 (July 2008 est.)
Nationality - noun : Finn(s)
Nationality - adjective : Finnish
Languages : Finnish 91.5% (official), Swedish 5.5% (official), other 3% (small Sami- and Russian-speaking minorities) (2006)
Currency (code) : euro (EUR)
Currency code : EUR

Finland is located Northern Europe, bordering the Baltic Sea, Gulf of Bothnia, and Gulf of Finland, between Sweden and Russia. The climate is cold temperate; potentially subarctic but comparatively mild because of moderating influence of the North Atlantic Current, Baltic Sea, and more than 60,000 lakes. The terrain is mostly low, flat to rolling plains interspersed with lakes and low hills.


This entry usually highlights major historic events and current issues and may include a statement about one or two key future trends.
Background : 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.

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