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A map of FinlandA map of Finland In the far northeast of Europe lies Finland, a land of forests, peat bogs, islands and thousands of lakes. Much of the country is covered by vast swathes of pine, spruce and birch forest; few people live and work in these remote reaches, which are blanketed by snow for more than half the year. The far north of the country lies within the Arctic Circle and is known as Lapland. Most of the country’s people live in towns and cities—including the capital, Helsinki—in the milder southwest, particularly near the coast. Finland was one of the first countries in the world to make voting available to both women and men, and has been named one of the world’s most equal societies. Its successful education system is often held up as an example to the rest of the world.

A map of FinlandA map of Finland
Aleksanterinkatu, HelsinkiAleksanterinkatu, Helsinki


Most people are ethnic Finns. Their ancestors have lived in Finland for thousands of years. There are also a small number of Swedish-speaking Finns and around 7000 Sami people, who live in Lapland, to the north. Over the last century, Finland’s people have gradually moved from farms in the countryside to the cities. Today, around three-quarters of the population lives in towns and cities, mainly in high-rise apartment blocks and complexes.

Finns call their country Suomi.

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