Travel to Finland
Population: 5.4 million
Capital: Helsinki (1.25 million)
Time zone: Winter GMT +2 Summer GMT +3
Languages: Official languages are Finnish (spoken by 91%) and Swedish (5.4%). Sámi is the mother tongue of about 1,700 people, members of the indigenous Sámi people of northern Lapland.
Ethnic composition: Finns 93%; Swedes 6%; Lapps 0.11%; Roma (Gypsy) for 0.12%; Tatars 0.02%. Several societies have been established to foster the preservation of the Lappish language and culture.
Religion: 79.9 % Lutheran and about 1.1% Orthodox. In practice society is fairly secularized.
Form of government: Republic, parliamentary democracy
Parliament: 200 members in one chamber, elected every 4 years in a direct vote (next elections April 17, 2011)
Cabinet: Multiparty coalition cabinet. The Cabinet is run by Prime Minister
Head of State: President of the Republic, elected every 6 years, two-term maximum.
Member of: European Union, United Nations
Main exports: Electrotechnical goods, metal products, machinery, transport equipment, wood and paper products, chemicals
Main imports: Raw materials, investment goods, energy, consumer goods (for example cars and textiles)
Climate: Great contrasts – cold winters and fairly warm summers (2010 extremes: coldest day in Kuhmo -41.3 C, warmest day in Joensuu 37.2 C)
Flag: The Finnish flag with "the blue of our lakes and the white snow of our winters", as a poet described these symbolic colours in 1870, was made official in a law enacted on May 29, 1918, less than six months after Finland had achieved independence.
National anthem: The Finnish national anthem, with words by Johan Ludvig Runeberg and music by Fredrik Pacius, was first performed in 1848 by students celebrating Flora Day (May 13) in a meadow belonging to Kumtähti Manor in Helsinki. J.L. Runeberg, headmaster of Borgå Lyceum in Porvoo, had written the original text in Swedish, called "Vårt land" (Our Land), two years earlier.
Coat of arms: The national coat of arms displays a crowned lion standing on a red field. The lion holds a raised sword in its right gauntleted fore leg and is trampling a curved sabre. The lion, the crown and the sword and sabre handles are gold, as are the gauntlet joints. The blades and the gauntlet are silver. The field is adorned by nine silver roses.
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