Finland (Finnish [ˈsuɔmi], Swedish Finland [ˈfɪnland]), officially the Republic of Finland (Finnish Suomen tasavalta, Swedish Republiken Finland) is a parliamentary republic in Northern Europe and has been a member of the European Union since 1995. Finland borders Sweden, Norway, Russia and the Baltic Sea.
With around 5.5 million inhabitants in an area almost the size of Germany, Finland is one of the most sparsely populated countries in Europe. The majority of the population lives in the south of the country with the capital Helsinki and the major cities of Espoo, Tampere, Vantaa and Turku. The two official languages are Finnish and Swedish, with 88.7% of the population speaking Finnish and 5.3% speaking Swedish (see below). The monolingual Swedish archipelago of Åland has far-reaching autonomy status.
Finland has been inhabited by humans since the end of the last glacial period. From the Migration Period, Finland came into closer contact with the rest of Europe through the expanding Baltic Sea trade; in the High Middle Ages it was Christianized. Finland was part of Sweden for centuries. In the 18th century it came increasingly under the influence of the expanding Russian Empire and was incorporated into it in 1809 as the Grand Duchy of Finland. With the introduction of women's suffrage in 1906, Finland was the first country in Europe to introduce active women's suffrage at the national level, and it was the third country worldwide after New Zealand and Australia. When it comes to passive suffrage, Finland's leading position is even clearer: For the first time in the world, women were elected to a parliament.
The fall of the Russian Tsar (Nicholas II abdicated in mid-March 1917) and the October Revolution of 1917 enabled Finland to break away from Russia. On December 6, 1917, the Finnish Parliament passed the Finnish Declaration of Independence.
With an area of 338,455 km², of which 303,921 km² is land and 34,534 km² is inland water, Finland is slightly smaller than Germany (357,578 km²). In addition, there are 52,454 km² of sea surface. Lying at a latitude of between 60° and 70°, it is one of the northernmost countries on earth. A third of Finland lies north of the Arctic Circle. The north-south extension of the Finnish mainland is 1157 km from Nuorgam to Hanko, the longest east-west distance from Ilomantsi to Närpes is 542 km. When dividing the country's territory, northern Finland is spoken of from about the height of Oulujärvi (German also known as Oulusee, northwest of the city of Kajaani). So Oulu, right in the middle of the country, can be described as a northern Finnish city; the landscape around Jyväskylä is called Central Finland despite its southern location.
The longest state border is the 1340 km long border between Finland and Russia. In the north, Finland borders Norway for 736 km. The 614 km long border with Sweden in the northwest is formed by the rivers Könkämäeno, Muonionjoki and Tornionjoki. A further 1250 km are maritime borders. In the west and south Finland borders on the Baltic Sea, in the west on the Gulf of Bothnia and in the south on the Gulf of Finland. Almost all Finnish rivers and lakes belong to the catchment area of the Baltic Sea, only the extreme north-east of the country beyond the Maanselkä drains into the Arctic Ocean. Due to the low level of evaporation and the constant inflow of freshwater, Finland's marine waters are significantly less salty than the world's oceans: with a salinity of less than 0.3%, the Bothnian Bay, the northern part of the Gulf of Bothnia, is so brackish that freshwater fish can also be found in it Find.
The most striking feature of Finland's landscape is its wealth of lakes, which has also earned the country the nickname of the land of a thousand lakes. According to official census, an inland body of water with an area of at least 5 ares is considered a lake, so the Finnish