Around the World from A to Z: Finland

With flat or gently rolling plains and hills, a cold, almost subarctic climate, and a population of merely 5 million people, Finland is an interesting country, known for several attractions like the underground church  and historical ports, as well as being a very well-off country, economically.

Finland is located to the north of Europe, with a capital city of Helsinki. It borders the Baltic Sea, the Gulf of Bothnia, and the Gulf of Finland. The country itself is between Sweden and Russia. In size, it is slightly smaller than Montana. It is the fifth largest country in Europe.

Photo credit: Debarshi Ray

Photo credit: Debarshi Ray

Finland also has over 188,000 lakes and 98,000 islands. However, there are many environmental problems in the country. Air pollution from factories and power plants create acid rain. Also, the wildlife populations in the country are in danger from agrarian chemicals, industrial wastes, and habitat loss.

The full name of Finland is the Republic of Finland. The government is a parliamentary republic, with the currency being the euro and the nationality being Finn. The official languages of the country are Finnish and Swedish. Finland is, in fact, the most sparsely populated country in the European Union. However, it also has one of the best-performing economies within the EU. It has a literacy rate of an astounding 100% and a sanitation rate of 100%. A stunning 66% of the people go to college-the highest rate in Europe.

The first people to inhabit Finland were the Sami (Lapp) people. Hundreds of years later, in 1809, Alexander I of Russia set Finland up as a grand duchy. On November 30th 1939, the USSR attacked Finland, who refused to meet the Soviet’s territorial demands. Finland celebrates gaining independence on Independence Day, on December 6th.

There are many attractions in Finland. One is Old Rauma, one of the oldest ports in Finland. It consists of about 600 buildings, all of which are very well preserved. The typical house there is called a “kirsti”, a small building decorated as a classic fisherman house.

Another attraction in Finland is Seurasaari Island, just a few kilometers away from Helsinki . A museum on the island embodies the traditional Finnish way of life, showing typical estates and mansions from the last four centuries. Whole buildings were moved from other places to the island!

A third, very popular attraction is the Temppeliaukio Church. This intriguing structure is actually built entirely underground. A small, 12-foot dome peeks out at street level. It was completed in 1969 by the Suomalainen.

There are many funny, interesting facts about Finland as well. For example, Donald Duck cartoons were banned in Finland once because Donald Duck doesn’t wear pants! Finland also holds the world record for the greatest amount of lakes in the country.

Though Finland’s population is small and the climate is not very inviting, the attractions in the country are absolutely stunning and the economy is flourishing, with extremely high literacy rates as well. All the wonderful attractions in the country together make Finland a captivating country and a great place to visit during warmer weather.

Next in series: ‘Around the World from A to Z: Greece’ by emmakitkat

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One thought on “Around the World from A to Z: Finland

  1. This is an awesome column you guys are doing! I thought this post was very interesting. I can’t believe Finland has 188,000 lakes! Good job. 🙂

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