|Suomen tasavalta ( Finnish )
Republics Finland ( Swedish )
|Republic of Finland|
|Official language||Finnish 1 and Swedish|
|Form of government||Parliamentary republic|
|Government system||parliamentary democracy|
|Head of state||President Sauli Niinistö|
|Head of government||Prime Minister Sanna Marin|
|population||5,517,919 (December 31, 2018)|
|Population density||16 inhabitants per km²|
|Population development||+ 0.36% (2017, estimated) per year|
gross domestic product
|Human Development Index||0.920 ( 15th ) (2017)|
|independence||December 6, 1917 (by Russia)|
Maamme - Vårt land
|National holiday||December 6th (Independence Day)|
UTC + 2 EET
UTC + 3 EESZ (March to October)
|ISO 3166||FI , FIN, 246|
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. Most of the population lives in the south of the country with the capital Helsinki and the large cities Espoo , Tampere , Vantaa and Turku . The two official languages are Finnish and Swedish, with 88.7% of the population being Finnish and 5.3% Swedish-speaking. The Swedish-speaking archipelago of Åland has a far-reaching autonomous status.
There has been evidence of colonization in Finland since the end of the last glacial period. From the time of the Great Migration, Finland came into closer contact with the rest of Europe through the expanding Baltic Sea trade ; it was Christianized in the High Middle Ages . For centuries Finland was an integral part of Sweden before it came increasingly under the influence of the expanding Russian Empire in the 18th century and was incorporated into it as the Grand Duchy of Finland in 1809 . With the introduction of women's suffrage in 1906, Finland became the first country in Europe to introduce active women's suffrage at the national level, and it was the third country in the world after New Zealand and Australia . Finland's leading position is even clearer when it comes to the right to vote: for the first time in the world, women were elected to parliament.
Only the overthrow of the Russian emperor and the subsequent October Revolution in 1917 made it possible for Finland to break away from Russia. On December 6, 1917, the Finnish parliament declared independence .
With an area of 338,455 km², of which 303,921 km² is land and 34,534 km² inland water, Finland is somewhat smaller than Germany (357,578 km²). Added to this are 52,454 km² of sea surface. Lying at a geographical latitude between 60 ° and 70 °, it is one of the northernmost countries on earth. A third of Finland is 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 542 km. In the structure of the country area, from about the height of the Oulujärvi (German also Oulusee, northwest of the city of Kajaani ) is spoken of northern Finland. Thus, Oulu , located right in the middle of the country, are called northern Finnish city, the landscape around Jyväskylä is despite their southern location Central Finland .
The longest state border is, according to official data, 1340 km with Russia in the east. In the north Finland borders with Norway for 736 km, the 614 km long border with Sweden in the northwest is formed by the rivers Könkämäeno , Muonionjoki and Tornionjoki . Another 1250 km are sea borders.
In the west and south Finland borders on tributaries of the Baltic Sea, in the west on the Gulf of Bothnia , 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 northeast of the country, beyond the Maanselkä , drains to the Arctic Ocean. Due to the low level of evaporation and the constant inflow of freshwater, the waters of Finland are much less salty than the world's oceans: With a salinity of less than 0.3%, the Bottenwiek , the northern part of the Gulf of Bothnia, is so brackish that there are also freshwater fish in it Find.
The most striking feature of Finland's landscape is its abundance of lakes , which has earned the country the nickname 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 that the Finnish Ministry of the Environment puts the number of Finnish lakes at 187,888; around 56,000 lakes are at least one hectare in size. The total length of the shores of the Finnish lakes is at least 186,700 km, the number of inland islands is 98,050.
The rock shelf of Finland consists mainly of the Precambrian rocks of the Baltic Shield ( gneiss , granite and slate ). Mountain formation in Finland dates back around a billion years, so that the relief is now quite flat. Only a few particularly hard quartzites were able to withstand the erosion to such an extent that they stand out as mountains from their surroundings.
Today's landscape was decisively shaped by the glaciers in the Ice Age . Up until around 10,000 years ago, glaciers covered all of today's Finland, removing rocks and creating extensive moraine landscapes on their retreat , which in turn were reshaped by meltwater. Typical glacial landscape forms are round humps as a form of removal, drumlins and oser as embankment forms. In moraine ridges such as the Suomenselkä in the west and the Salpausselkä in the south, the glacial sediments reach a thickness of sometimes over 100 meters. At the end of the Ice Age, the meltwater formed the Ancylussee , the forerunner of today's Baltic Sea, and covered large parts of the country. This body of water broke through to the North Sea 7,000 years ago . Due to the fall in the water level and the simultaneous isostatic land elevation , more and more land masses rose from the floods in the following millennia. Inland, meltwater collected in glacier hollows and older faults , creating the Finnish lakes. The ongoing land uplift is still a landscape-forming process today. The seashore of Ostrobothnia protrudes from the Baltic Sea by up to 8 millimeters per year. For this reason, there is flooding there almost every spring, because the rivers hardly have any gradient towards the coast and meltwater accumulates inland. In the course of the past centuries, cities like Pori and Vaasa had to be relocated several kilometers to the west, sometimes several times, because their ports silted up.
The most widespread sediment on the surface is the till , also a legacy of the Ice Age. Since there is only a few limestone or marble in Finland , the glacial deposits are often free of lime. The resulting soils therefore tend to acidify. In the lower-lying regions, which were under water in the Ancylusseephase and the later Baltic Sea precursors, the glacial sediments were often covered by lake deposits. In contrast, these are mostly carbonate-containing. Thanks to this fertile clay soil, but also because of the comparatively mild climate, grain cultivation is concentrated in the coastal regions of western and southern Finland. Inland, the soils are not very suitable for arable farming due to soil acidification and peat formation and require the increased use of fertilizer lime, which is extracted in several limestone quarries such as Pargas , Lohja and Lappeenranta .
While the Finnish iron ore deposits are almost exhausted, there are still significant deposits of copper, nickel, zinc and chromium. In the 1860s, the discovery of gold in the sand of the Kemijoki was followed by a real gold rush in Lapland. Gold is still washed on the rivers of Lapland partly by hand washing, partly by industrial means, a large underground mine is located in Pahtavaara near Sodankylä . Further, largely still undeveloped gold deposits are distributed over the entire country, the last time a deposit was discovered near Kittilä in 1996, estimated to contain 50 tons of gold. Finland is also the largest European exporter of talc . This mineral, which is mainly required in the paper industry, is currently being mined on a large scale in Sotkamo and Polvijärvi . Other industrial minerals extracted in Finland are wollastonite , dolomite , apatite , quartz and feldspar .
The Finnish climate is temperate . Finland lies on the border between the maritime and continental climates. The low pressure areas of the west wind zone can bring about damp and changing weather conditions. On the other hand, the Scandinavian Mountains shield Finland from the Atlantic, so that stable continental high pressure zones ensure cold winters and comparatively hot summers. The Baltic Sea, the inland lakes and especially the Gulf Stream make the climate in Finland much milder than in other places at the same latitude due to their moderate influence. Kuopio is about the same latitude as the Siberian Yakutsk , but has an average annual temperature of almost 13 ° C.
The total amount of precipitation in southern Finland is 600–700 mm. In the north it is significantly lower, which is compensated for by the low evaporation due to the cool temperatures. The least precipitation falls in the entire country in March, most in July or August.
The country's climate becomes significantly colder due to the north-south expansion of over 1000 kilometers to the north. While the average annual temperature in the south is 5 ° C, it is only −2 ° C in the north of Finnish Lapland. The duration of the thermal seasons also depends heavily on the location: if winter in the archipelago in southwestern Finland lasts only 100 days, it prevails in Lapland for up to 200 days. In the coldest month, January or February, the average temperature is between −4 and −14 ° C. The coldest temperature ever recorded in Finland was −51.5 ° C in Pokka near Kittilä on January 28, 1999. A permanent snow cover usually falls between the end of October and the beginning of January. It develops a thickness of 20–30 cm in the south and 60–90 cm in the east and north and melts between late March and late May. The lakes freeze over between November and December and often only thaw again between May and June. In cold winters, the Gulf of Bothnia and the Gulf of Finland can almost completely freeze over and must be kept clear with icebreakers.
Summer in southern Finland lasts from the end of May to mid-September, in Lapland it starts a month later and ends a month earlier. The temperature differences between northern and southern Finland are less pronounced in summer with average temperatures between 12 and 17 ° C in July. In southern and central Finland there are between 10 and 15 summer days when the temperature rises above 25 ° C, in the north and on the coasts there are 5–10. The highest temperature ever recorded in Finland was 37.2 ° C on July 28, 2010 in Liperi .
In the areas north of the Arctic Circle , the midnight sun shines in summer and the polar night (kaamos) prevails in winter . At the time of the summer solstice , it does not get completely dark even in the south of the country (so-called white nights ), in Utsjoki on the northern tip of Finland the sun does not set for 73 days. Accordingly, the sun does not rise above the horizon once for 51 days in winter; even in southern Finland it only opens for six hours on the shortest day. Northern lights appear especially in the north in winter .
Finland can be divided into five scenic areas: the coastal plains of southern Finland, the coastal plains of Ostrobothnia , the Finnish lake district in the interior, the Finnish hill country in the east and Lapland in the north.
The southern Finnish coastal plain stretches from Satakunta via Uusimaa to the Russian border. It is comparatively poor in lakes and characterized by agriculture. The greater Österbotten area joins the west coast. The flat area is cut by numerous rivers and is also used intensively for agriculture. The coast of Finland is a richly indented archipelago with a total length of almost 40,000 km and over 73,000 islands with a size of at least 500 m². In terms of their number, the islands of the archipelago off Turku represent the largest archipelago in the world. The islands of the autonomous Åland archipelago are between 15 and 100 km from the Finnish mainland.
The moraine ridges Salpausselkä in the south and Suomenselkä in the west are the two main watersheds of the country and separate the coastal areas from the Finnish Lake District (Järvi-Suomi) inland. The moor and wooded area with its approx. 42,200 lakes is the largest lake district in Europe. Inland waters cover around 18% of the total area. The most important rivers of the southern half of the country, the Kokemäenjoki , the Kymijoki and the Vuoksi , also have their origin here. The largest lake in the country , with an area of around 4400 km², is the heavily indented Saimaa Lake in the southeast.
The Finnish hill country (Vaara-Suomi) extends in the east of the country from North Karelia via Kainuu to the southern parts of Lapland . The numerous hills are characteristic, of which only a few, such as the Koli (347 m) in North Karelia, stand out as mountains from their surroundings. In the north, the hill country merges into the greater Lapland area .
Extensive forest and moor landscapes dominate in Lapland, from which treeless fells (tunturi) such as the Pallastunturi (807 m), the Yllästunturi (718 m) or the Pyhätunturi (540 m) rise. The area around Inarijärvi in northeastern Lapland has a high density of lakes. The longest river in Finland is the Kemijoki at around 560 km , which drains a large part of Finnish Lapland. Its source rivers originate like those of the other large rivers in northern Finland ( Tornionjoki , Iijoki and Oulujoki ) at the high altitudes on the Finnish northern and eastern borders. In northern Lapland the terrain rises towards the Scandinavian mountains . However, Finland only has a share of its main ridge in the extreme northwest in the municipality of Enontekiö . This is also where all the thousand-meter peaks in the country are located; the highest point in Finland is the Haltitunturi at 1324 m, right on the border with Norway.
There are around 42,000 species of animals, plants and fungi in Finland, including 65 species of mammals. All in all, the biodiversity is lower than in more southern areas, but the wilderness of Finland offers a habitat for numerous animals that are rarely found in the rest of Europe.
The right of everyone in Finland allows everyone to move freely in nature under certain restrictions. Picking berries and mushrooms and fishing are also permitted. Hunting and fishing are common occupations in Finland. Six percent of the Finnish population have a hunting license.
Finland is the most forested country in Europe: 86% of the land area is forested. There are three vegetation zones from north to south . Most of Finland belongs to the boreal coniferous forest zone (taiga). It is characterized by the short vegetation period , nutrient-poor soils on which the trees grow only slowly, the predominance of coniferous plants and a small number of tree species. Dominate pine (50%) and spruce (30%), the most common deciduous tree is the birch (16.5%). The ground is covered with blueberry bushes and mosses , and to the north with lichens .
Mixed forests predominate only on the southwest coast and on the offshore archipelago . There are also tree species that do not grow in Finland, such as oak . The extreme north of Lapland is largely treeless, in low elevations only squat birch trees grow, in higher elevations there is tundra-like vegetation.
A third of the land area of Finland originally consisted of moorland , around half of this area was drained for cultivated land in the past centuries . In the south peat-rich raised bogs dominate , north of it aapamoore. Most of the moorland is covered with swamp forests.
Despite intensive hunting, moose are very numerous throughout Finland. Although over a third of the moose are shot every year, the population remains stable at over 100,000 after the end of the hunting season. The large elk population poses a danger to road traffic because serious accidents with the animals occur again and again. Reindeer can be found everywhere in the north of the country . The approximately 200,000 reindeer are semi-domesticated and roam free throughout the year, in late autumn their owners round up the animals and look for the animals for slaughter. The wild reindeer is much rarer . Once widespread in large parts of Finland, it was eradicated at the end of the 19th century, before a small population returned to Kainuu and North Karelia from Russia in the 1950s . Large numbers of white-tailed deer brought in from America have become native to southern and western Finland .
The predator populations have been growing for years due to the success of protective measures; The number of Finnish brown bears and lynxes is now more than 1000 individuals each, and that of wolves around 200. In the meantime, they can again be hunted to a limited extent. A remaining population of around 150 wolverines lives in the Finnish part of Lapland . The arctic fox was once quite common across the country, but was almost wiped out by fur hunters in the early 20th century. The red fox , on the other hand, is still very common today, as has the raccoon dog for several decades , which has spread from Russia.
The Saimaa ringed seal occurs worldwide only in the Saimaa lake area. This rare freshwater subspecies of the ringed seal could be saved from extinction through targeted protective measures and is therefore also the symbol of nature conservation in Finland. The flying squirrel , which is only found in Finland and Estonia in the European Union , also enjoys special protection .
Finland's bird life includes over 430 species, including golden eagles and white-tailed eagles , as well as chicken birds such as capercaillie , black grouse , hazel grouse and red grouse , as well as numerous water bird species. The whooper swan is considered the Finnish national bird because of its role in Finnish mythology . This species, too, could be saved through a strict hunting ban: if only 15 breeding pairs were counted in the 1950s, today there are again around 1,500.
Due to the numerous bodies of water, especially the Finnish Lake District , Finland has a remarkable 67 species of fish fauna. For sport fishermen are especially pike (Finnish, hauki '), perch and pike , which in many inland waters and the salt-poor coastal region of the Baltic Sea abwachsen in large quantities and weights, popular. Because of their large population, predatory fish do not enjoy a closed season in Finland, so that they can also be captured in winter when ice fishing . Also play salmonids such as trout , Arctic grayling , salmon , lake trout , lake trout , sea trout and rainbow trout a major role in fishing, tourism and commercial fishing. Coarse fish such as carp , which are only found in a few bodies of water in the south of the country due to their high heat requirement, are of minor importance, as are bream , roach , rudd , alandes and tench . Whitefish and whitefish can be found in the open water of the great lakes . Other types of fish are eel burbot , smelt , arbor , hazel , whitefish , bream , chub and crucian carp .
The earliest known settlements in what is now Finland comes from the time after the end of the last ice age around 8500 BC. The origin and language of Finland's earliest inhabitants are unclear. New cultures were introduced through immigration in the following millennia, and no later than 5000 BC. The people of Finland spoke mainly early Finno-Ugric languages . Around 3200 BC Immigrants from the Baltic area infiltrated into the area and spoke an early Indo-European language , gradually mixed with the indigenous population and adopted their language. The linguistic influence of the immigrants was partly responsible for the development of the difference between the primitive Finnish language in the coastal area and the Sami language in the interior.
The roots of the Finnish-speaking population have been the subject of repeated controversy and to this day cannot be said to have been clarified. Traditionally, the area east of the Urals or the area of the Volga loop is considered to be the original home of the Finns. In recent research, the prevailing view is that the ancestors of the Finns immigrated thousands of years ago in several waves from different directions, introduced a hunting and agriculture culture and displaced the hunting and gathering seeds northwards or merged with them.
Finland's Stone Age population consisted of hunters and gatherers . The Suomusjärvi culture prevailed in the south-west , which existed between approx. 5000 and 4200 BC. Was replaced by the culture of comb and dimple ceramics. From approx. 3200 BC. Extensions of the ceramic cord culture are assumed in the southwestern coastal areas, which began around 2300 BC. In the Kiukainen rock burial culture.
With the Bronze Age around 1700 BC Began, starting from the coastal regions, agriculture and animal husbandry. From 100 BC Trade with Central Europe increased. During the period of the Great Migration , the Finnish coastal regions came to prosperity through trade in the Baltic Sea , which increased further in the time of the Vikings from the 8th century. Around the turn of the millennium, relations between eastern Finland and Novgorod intensified through trade with the east . With the trade connections, the people of Finland came into contact with the Christian faith, in the west with the Roman Catholic, in the east with the Orthodox.
Finland as part of Sweden
The connection of western Finland to Sweden was a gradual process. The strengthened powers Sweden and Novgorod entered into competition for political, economic and religious reasons for the area inhabited by the Finns. Both states undertook several more or less military crusades into the region from the 12th century . The border between the two powers and thus the eastern border of Finland was first established in the Treaty of Nöteborg in 1323 .
The activity of the church, the settlement movements of Swedish immigrants as well as the imperial legislation and administration contributed to the fact that the new areas as Österland became one of the four permanent parts of Sweden. From 1362 Österland had the right to participate in the Swedish election. The Christianization of Finland was formally completed with the founding of the Turku Cathedral Chapter in 1276, but the old mythology was able to hold its own alongside Christianity for centuries.
During the Middle Ages one was in Finland feudal society European style, a city nature and a Catholic Church organization. From the end of the 14th to its disintegration in the early 16th century, Finland was part of the Kalmar Union as part of Sweden . During the reign of Gustav I. Wasa from 1523 to 1560, Sweden developed into a strong central state , which formed the basis for the empire's position as a great power in the 17th century. Also under Gustav Wasa, Catholicism was replaced by the Evangelical Lutheran creed in the course of the Reformation .
During the great power period, Sweden succeeded in expanding its territory around the Baltic Sea in wars with Denmark , Poland and Russia . Finland, which was spared acts of war during this time, was more closely integrated into the imperial administration. Under the leadership of Governor General Per Brahe the Younger , several new cities were founded, the academy and a court in Turku were established, and a postal system was set up.
During the 18th century, Sweden's position of power waned, especially in the Great Northern War (1700–1721) when Finland was occupied by Russia (1714–1721). After the conclusion of the Peace of Nystad , the occupation of Finland ended, but also the great power of Sweden. In another Russian-Swedish war, the so-called War of Hats (1741–1743), Finland was reoccupied, and in the peace that followed, Russia's western border was pushed as far as the Kymijoki River .
Finland as a Grand Duchy in the Russian Empire
In the course of the Fourth Coalition War , Russia under Tsar Alexander I allied itself with France against Great Britain and Sweden, allied with it. In 1808 Russia attacked Sweden and thus began the Finnish War , as a result of which Sweden had to cede large areas to Russia in the Treaty of Fredrikshamn in 1809. In addition to what was then what is now the southern half of Finland, the Åland Islands as well as parts of Lapland and Västerbotten belonged to these areas . From these and the areas conquered in 1721 and 1743 the Grand Duchy of Finland was formed, which was part of the Russian Empire but enjoyed extensive political autonomy. In particular, the traditional Swedish laws were upheld, as was the prevailing constitution to a large extent. Finland also stuck to the Gregorian calendar , which was introduced in Sweden in 1753. Helsinki was declared the capital in 1812 (until then Turku).
The first half of the 19th century was marked by a certain political rigidity. After the state parliament of Porvoo in 1809, with which the Russian Grand Duchy of Finland was constituted, the state parliament was no longer convened by the tsars as a state representative body until 1863; politics concentrated on administration while the legal situation remained unchanged. During this time, however, a Finnish national consciousness awoke and numerous efforts were made to strengthen the Finnish identity without initially being directed against the tsarist rule.
Finnish politics began to move in the second half of the century, particularly as a result of the greater freedom of movement under Tsar Alexander II. The removal of traditional economic restrictions stimulated the economy. From the 1860s on, industrialization got going, driven primarily by the timber industry and the sawmills that were founded in large numbers . The legislative activity required as a result was made possible by the regular convening of the Reichstag from 1863 onwards.
From the end of the 19th century, the strengthened Finnish national consciousness was countered by Russian efforts to centralize the empire and Russify the areas belonging to it. The so-called February manifesto of Tsar Nicholas II from 1899 noticeably restricted Finland's autonomous rights. This resulted in a tough political conflict, culminating in the assassination of Governor General Nikolai Bobrikov in 1904 and, in connection with the Russian Revolution in 1905 , a widespread general strike in autumn 1905. As a result of the general strike, Nikolaus promised the restoration of autonomy and the creation of a non-class representative body.
In 1905, Tsar Nicholas II commissioned the Finnish Senate to draft a new law that would provide universal suffrage for men. Because of the protests in the streets and the attitude of the Social Democrats, the committee also included women's suffrage in its draft law. On July 20, 1906, Nicholas II ratified the law. This made Finland the first country in Europe to introduce active women's suffrage at the national level, and the third country in the world after New Zealand and Australia . Finland's leading position is even clearer when it comes to the right to vote: for the first time in the world, women were elected to parliament. All Finns over the age of 24 had the same right to vote in the newly created parliament in 1907. However, the political and social tensions that emerged during the general strike could not be resolved. Russification efforts resumed in 1909. With the outbreak of World War I , in which Finnish soldiers, with the exception of a few volunteers, did not take part, political life initially came to a standstill.
Independence and wars
After the February Revolution in Russia and the deposition of the Tsar and the resulting personal union, the desire for independence grew ever greater. When, after the October Revolution, the new Russian government granted the peoples of Russia the right to secession, the Finnish parliament declared Finland's independence on December 6, 1917 . This was from Soviet Russia on December 18th jul. / December 31, 1917 greg. and then recognized by numerous other countries. The process of detachment from Russia was accompanied by severe internal conflicts that culminated on January 27, 1918 in an attempted socialist coup. In a three-month civil war , the bourgeois “ whites ” ultimately got the upper hand.
In 1919 Finland adopted a republican constitution . A peace and border treaty was signed with Soviet Russia in 1920 , on the basis of which the borders of Finland coincided with the former Grand Duchy, but Finland was also granted the Petsamo area with its ice-free access to the North Sea . In relation to Sweden, a dispute arose over the strategically important Åland Islands. A decision by the League of Nations finally awarded the islands to Finland in 1921, with the proviso that they were given extensive autonomy .
The German-Soviet non-aggression pact , signed in 1939, assigned Finland to the Soviet sphere of interest. The attack by the Soviet Union on Finland on November 30, 1939 marked the beginning of the Winter War . Despite numerous successful defensive battles, the defense was on the brink of collapse when the war was ended on March 13, 1940 by the Moscow Peace Treaty. Finland had to cede large parts of Karelia , including Vyborg, which was then the second largest city in the country, and other areas to the Soviet Union.
When Germany attacked the Soviet Union on June 22, 1941 , in breach of the non-aggression pact , Finland entered into a war in cooperation with Germany, which in Finland is referred to as the Continuation War . The Finnish army not only recaptured the lost territories, but also penetrated deeply into the Soviet Union's eastern Karelia. With the successes, the goal of bringing together the closely related ethnic groups, regarded by many Finns as national comrades, in a greater Finland seemed achievable . In 1944, however, after the successes of the Red Army , Finland had to withdraw from the occupied territories and was again faced with the threat of Soviet occupation. On September 19, 1944, it concluded the separate peace in Moscow with the Soviet Union , which ended the Continuation War. The territorial losses of the Winter War were confirmed, and the Petsamo area had to be ceded.
The separate peace obliged Finland to drive the German troops out of the country, and so the Finnish-German Lapland War followed, in the course of which the retreating German troops completely destroyed large parts of Lapland . The war ended on April 27, 1945 with the withdrawal of the last German soldiers from Kilpisjärvi . The state of war with the Allies was finally ended by the Paris Peace Treaty of 1947.
post war period
In the post-war period and especially during the Cold War , Finland occupied a special position in the area of tension between the blocs. The country had retained its independence and market economy during the war, but the Soviet Union retained great influence on Finnish politics. Finland pursued a strict policy of neutrality on the one hand, and a policy of reconciliation with the Soviet Union on the other, particularly promoted by President Juho Kusti Paasikivi . In 1948 a friendship and cooperation agreement was concluded with the Soviet Union, which remained in force through multiple extensions until the end of the Soviet Union. Conflicts with its eastern neighbor were avoided through intensive, often unofficial contacts between Finnish politics and Moscow. This policy, which on various occasions gave the impression of hasty obedience , was given the disparaging predicate of Finlandization mainly by West German politicians .
The formative politician in post-war Finland was Urho Kekkonen , President of the Republic of Finland from 1956 to 1982 . He used the extensive constitutional powers of the president at the time for an autocratic style of leadership and viewed maintaining relations with the Soviet Union largely as his private affair. In 1973 he had his term of office extended by a parliamentary exception law, although there would have been little doubt about his re-election in the regular elections. Overall, Kekkonen's term of office is therefore certified as having a democratic deficit. The president could be sure of the support of the majority of voters throughout the entire period. One of his most important successes was the CSCE conference held in Helsinki in 1975 , which, in addition to its effects on the process of understanding in Europe, also strengthened Finland's position as a neutral state.
The collapse of the Soviet Union plunged Finland, whose economy was largely based on trade with the East, into a severe economic crisis in the early 1990s. At the same time, however, the country was given greater foreign policy leeway. In 1992 Finland started negotiations to join the European Community , which in 1995 resulted in full membership of what is now the European Union. In 2002, the euro replaced the Finnish mark as the national currency.
Due to increasing globalization , the Finnish economy became more and more dependent on the world market in the course of the 2000s. As a result, the global economic crisis hit Finland particularly hard in 2007. In 2009 the gross domestic product fell by 8.3%. Despite a recovery in the following years, GDP in 2016, adjusted for inflation, was still below that of 2008.
Finland has a population of around 5.5 million people and is sparsely populated with a population density of around 16.3 people per square kilometer. The population is very unevenly distributed. While the northern province of Lapland with 1.8 inhabitants per square kilometer is almost deserted, around 40% of the population is concentrated in the province of southern Finland with 62.6 inhabitants per square kilometer. Around 1.638 million people live in the Uusimaa region around Helsinki alone . Further metropolitan areas are the cities of Tampere , Turku and Oulu with their catchment areas.
The population development is still characterized by a persistent, but not evenly high, rural exodus, especially young people move to the cities for training and work, which means that the rural communities, especially in eastern and central Finland, are suffering from population decline and aging. For example, while in 2005 around 36% of the country's population was under 30 years of age, it was only 28% in Suomussalmi in eastern Finland . Life expectancy in the period from 2010 to 2015 was 80.7 years (men 77.6 years, women: 83.4 years).
Overall, the population structure shows a tendency towards aging. Although the birthrate is mathematically 1.74 children per woman above the European average, it is not enough to compensate for the aging of the particularly high-birth cohorts from 1946 to 1949. Nevertheless, the population trend shows an upward trend. It is expected that the population increase, especially due to the influx of foreigners, will continue until at least 2060 and the number of inhabitants will then be approximately six million.
At around 4%, the proportion of foreigners is low compared to the neighboring countries Norway and Sweden, but has multiplied since the end of the Cold War. The reason for this low number is, on the one hand, the still very restrictive immigration policy of the Finnish state; on the other hand, Finland was economically weak at the time of great labor migration in the first decades of the post-war period, especially compared to Sweden, and itself was more of a country of emigration as a destination for immigration. After 1945 over half a million Finns emigrated, mostly to Sweden. This development peaked around 1970 when Sweden was booming, the post-war baby boom cohorts in Finland pushed onto the labor market and around 40,000 Finns relocated to Sweden every year. As a result, the flow of emigrants has decreased significantly. Today around 10,000 to 15,000 people leave the country every year, a loss that is more than offset by the immigration of almost 20,000 people.
Languages and indigenous peoples
Finland is officially bilingual. Nationwide, 88.7% of the population state Finnish and 5.3% Swedish as their mother tongue. The Swedish-speaking population is mainly concentrated in the coastal regions in the south and in Österbotten as well as in the Åland province . The Finland Swedish differs mainly in pronunciation and vocabulary of the spoken in Sweden Reich Swedish .
The language policy of Finland was determined since the 19th century by some fierce arguments about the relationship between the Finnish and Swedish language. Today, both languages are officially recognized by the Finnish constitution. Each municipality is either Finnish-speaking, Swedish-speaking, or bilingual. A municipality is considered to be bilingual if the linguistic minority has at least eight percent of the population or is represented by at least 3,000 inhabitants. According to the current classification , valid until 2022, 16 of the 317 municipalities in Finland are purely Swedish-speaking (all in the province of Åland) and 33 are bilingual, 15 of which are mostly Swedish-speaking and 18 are mostly Finnish-speaking. The other municipalities are exclusively Finnish-speaking. Another special feature of Finnish language policy is that Finland is the only country in the European Union to have the right to use sign language anchored in its constitution.
The Sami who settle in the northern regions of Lapland enjoy special protection as an ethnic minority . The three languages spoken in Finland Sami languages are North Sami , Inari Sami and Skoltsamisch . Today they are spoken by around 1750 Finnish Sami as their mother tongue and have an official status in the municipalities of Enontekiö , Inari and Utsjoki as well as in the northern part of the municipality of Sodankylä . Around 4,000 of the 7,000 Finns classified as ethnic Sami by the Sami administration live in these communities. To monitor the position of the Sami languages and to achieve linguistic and cultural self-government, the Sámediggi, a separate parliamentary representation of the Sami in Finland, was established in 1996 .
A small group of around 10,000 Roma (2008) has been living in Finland for around 500 years. Their clothing differs significantly from the Finnish majority society and from other European Roma. Roma women are subject to the community's command to wear a certain costume. The Roma used to be disparagingly referred to by parts of the Finnish population as mustalaiset ("the blacks"). Today their language, Romani , has a status as an official minority language. In addition, about 800 Tatars live in the country today , whose ancestors came to Finland between 1870 and 1920. Due to immigration from abroad, numerous other ethnic groups are now represented in Finland, but without having a special status. The Russians in Finland make up the largest linguistic minority in the country with almost 49,000 speakers . They also include numerous Finnish immigrants from Karelia and Ingermanland , who have had the right to “return” to Finland since the 1990s.
Religious freedom has been guaranteed in the Finnish constitution since 1923. The Evangelical Lutheran Church and the Orthodox Church are enshrined in law as people's churches and enjoy special privileges. Its members pay a church tax of 1 to 2.25% of their income, and the people's churches also receive state grants for social and charitable purposes and maintenance work. Although Finnish society is largely secularized, around 75% of the population are denominational (as of the end of 2015).
Church of Finland
Church of Finland
The majority of Finns (around 73% of the total population) belong to the Evangelical Lutheran Church of Finland . The number has been declining for years, as has the number of worshipers. Only 2% of church members attend a church weekly, around 10% once a month. Most believers only attend services on major holidays such as Christmas and Easter, or on family occasions such as baptisms, weddings, and funerals. Nevertheless, the church enjoys a high reputation among the population and represents an important social network, especially in rural areas. In some rural areas, revival movements dominate the life of the community. Laestadianism is widespread in northern Finland , with a total of around 120,000 followers in Finland. Pietist groups are particularly well represented in parts of Savo and Ostrobothnia .
The Orthodox Church of Finland , which has been autonomous since 1923 , has around 60,000 people in 24 parishes, i.e. around 1.1% of the population. Orthodox Christianity spread from Novgorod , especially to Karelia , since the Middle Ages . During the Russian rule, with the influx of Russian officials and military, Orthodox communities were formed in the major cities of the country, whose descendants, the "old Russians", now number around 3,000. When Finland had to cede large parts of Karelia to the Soviet Union after the defeat in World War II, tens of thousands of Orthodox from Karelia were also resettled and scattered all over Finland. Since 1990 the number of Orthodox Christians has increased significantly due to the immigration of "new Russians" from the successor states of the Soviet Union.
The various Pentecostal churches , to which at least 50,000 people belonged in 2010, do not belong to the Protestant national church . There are also 19,000 Jehovah's Witnesses and over 3,200 Mormons in Finland . The Catholic Church in Finland has around 10,000 followers, mostly foreigners or immigrants, mostly from Poland. The Catholic diocese of Helsinki has existed since 1955 and covers all of Finland.
There are two Jewish communities in Finland with a total of around 1,500 members, 1,200 of which live in Helsinki and 200 in Turku. The approximately 800 Finland Tatars are of Muslim faith. Since 1990, the number of Muslims living in Finland has multiplied by accepting thousands of Somali refugees, but also by immigration from the Middle East and Southeastern Europe. A total of around 20,000 Muslims lived in Finland in 1999, but according to Statistics Finland , the Islamic communities only had around 8,200 members in 2010.
In Finland there is compulsory schooling for all seven to sixteen year olds. Most children start the nine-year elementary school (peruskoulu) at the age of seven . After this compulsory basic training, schooling can either be continued at a vocational school or in a grammar school (lukio) . The duration of the gymnasium training is not specified, but rather depends on the student's personal academic performance, similar to university studies. The majority of pupils pass the Abitur after a total of twelve school years. Both this and the completion of the vocational school basically qualify the student for a university education, however, at universities, entrance examinations with sometimes strong selection are common. The primary schools and high schools as well as some of the vocational schools are administered by the municipalities.
In the PISA studies , the students in Finland caused a sensation with their placement in the top group. The attempts to explain the good performance of the Finnish school system include state educational initiatives such as the so-called LUMA program, which has existed since 1996, to promote science and mathematics teaching. Reference is also made to the uniform school education for all pupils regardless of their socio-economic background and the resulting better performance of the weaker pupils. The Finnish all-day school , which is often discussed, does not usually exist. Only about a quarter of Finnish students take part in afternoon school activities. The municipalities are not obliged to set up all-day schools, nor are the pupils obliged to participate in the afternoon program.
The official bilingualism of Finland is also reflected in the school system. All municipalities in which both Finnish and Swedish-speaking residents live are legally obliged to offer separate schooling for both language groups. One of the peculiarities of foreign language education at school and one of the hotly debated topics is the obligation of all students to learn the other national language. The public debate about this obligation, which has flared up again and again, is led in particular by representatives of the Finnish-speaking majority under the catchphrase “compulsory Swedish ” (pakkoruotsi) .
The universities are structured as in Germany in universities and colleges . While the former conduct academic teaching and research, the latter focus on job-related training. The universities of applied sciences are managed by the municipalities or private foundations , while the 15 universities in the state enjoy extensive self-government. Teaching and research at universities are mainly financed by public funds. The language of instruction at Finnish universities is usually Finnish, but study opportunities are also offered for the Swedish-speaking minority. Some universities, above all the Åbo Akademi , are purely Swedish-speaking. In the recent past, teaching content in other languages, especially English, has increasingly been introduced.
School education is free of charge . University education is also free of charge for citizens of the EU , the European Economic Area and Switzerland. Citizens of third countries without a permanent residence permit in an EU country may have to pay fees for a Bachelor's or Master's degree started after 2017. The amount depends on the university and subject. It moves in the range of approx. € 12,000 annually. To finance their studies, students receive state study grants, housing benefits and state-guaranteed and low-interest student loans. In an international comparison, a good 40% of the respective age groups obtain a university degree in Finland. The duration of studies up to the achievement of the higher university degree is on average 5.1 effective years of study. The overall duration of the course is, however, increased by the widespread employment among students.
Finland has been a parliamentary-democratic republic since 1919 . The basis is today's Finnish constitution of June 11, 1999, which came into force on March 1, 2000. The new constitution meant a significant shift in power from the previously dominant state president to parliament and government ( semi-presidential system of government ). In the 2019 Democracy Index, Finland ranks 5th out of 167 countries, making the country a “complete democracy”.
The legislative body is the parliament (finn. Eduskunta , swed. Riksdagen ), a unicameral parliament with 200 members who are elected for four years according to proportional representation. Every Finnish citizen aged 18 and over is entitled to vote. Each voter has a vote that he gives to a particular candidate, so that the voters not only have an influence on the balance of power of the parties, but also on the order of the candidates on the party lists.
The country's government , the Council of State (valtioneuvosto) , has been directly responsible to parliament since the constitutional reform. The Prime Minister is elected directly by Parliament, the other members are appointed by the President on the proposal of the Prime Minister. Traditionally, large coalitions are formed in Finland beyond what is necessary to create an absolute majority. The State Council is currently formed under Prime Minister Sanna Marin by a coalition of SDP , KESK , VIHR , VAS and RKP .
The 1999 constitutional reform restricted the powers of the President of the Republic in favor of parliament and government. The president, who was directly elected for six years, now heads foreign policy in cooperation with the government. He is the commander in chief of the armed forces and can appoint high officials and judges. Sauli Niinistö has been Finnish President since 2012 .
After the parliamentary elections on April 14, 2019 , the balance of power in the Finnish parliament is as follows:
|Political party||Seats||Total profit / loss||Votes
|National rally party||38||+1||17.0|
|Swedish People's Party||9||± 0||4.5|
|Christian Democrats||5||± 0||3.9|
|* Including Åland representative.|
The national gathering party (Kansallinen Kokoomus) has its main focus in contrast to the center party in the metropolitan areas. The party founded by monarchists in 1918 stands today for an emphasis on civil liberties and a liberal economic policy. While the party did not play a central role in the post-war period, it has been involved in all governments since 1987 with a four-year break.
The second large bourgeois group is the Center Party (Suomen Keskusta) . It was founded in 1906 under the name Landbund (Maalaisliitto) to represent the interests of independent farmers who think republican. The party was renamed in 1965, but to this day the main focus of its support is on the rural population outside the cities. The Center Party was the defining party in Finland in the post-war period, particularly through long-time President Urho Kekkonen .
The Social Democratic Party of Finland (Suomen Sosialidemokraattinen Puolue) was founded as the Workers' Party of Finland in 1899 and adopted a Marxist party platform in 1903 . The events of the civil war in 1918 led the communists to split off from the party, which subsequently sought to work as a democratic force with the political center. After the wars, the Social Democrats appointed numerous prime ministers, most recently Paavo Lipponen from 1995 to 2003.
The smaller parties are led by the Left Alliance (Vasemmistoliitto) , which emerged in 1990 from a merger of various left-wing or communist groups. The Green Bund, which was founded in 1988 and, like the other European green parties, emerged from the environmental movement , is just as strong as the Left Alliance . Both parties were represented in Paavo Lipponen's rainbow coalition from 1995 to 2003. Other parties currently represented in parliament are the Christian Democrats (Suomen Kristillisdemokraatit) , a small party with an emphatic religious orientation, and the right-wing populist True Finns (Perussuomalaiset) .
The Swedish People's Party (Svenska folkpartiet) occupies a special position as it represents the interests of the Swedish-speaking minority in Finland. Since 1930 the party, which today enjoys the support of around four percent of the electorate, has been involved in all governing coalitions with a few brief exceptions. The autonomous province of Åland has its own party landscape and elects a member of parliament who, regardless of party affiliation, joins the parliamentary group of the Swedish People's Party known as the Swedish parliamentary group .
In order to register a new political party, they must bring statements of support from 5,000 voters. If a group has not won seats in two consecutive parliamentary elections, it will be deleted from the party register and must re-register if it wishes to run again.
The next parliamentary election will normally take place in 2023 if no early elections are necessary.
The local self-government is in Finland in the 310 municipalities (kunta) exercised. While the municipalities in the more densely populated areas of Finland are comparable in size to Central European municipalities, the municipalities, especially in the northern half of the country, usually have a considerable geographical expansion. The smallest municipality, Kauniainen , has an area of only 6 km², the largest municipality, Inari , is larger than the German state of Thuringia with over 17,000 km² .
The decision-making power in the municipality is exercised by a municipality council (valtuusto) elected directly every four years . This elects the municipal government (kunnanhallitus) as the administrative body . Either a full-time municipal director (kunnanjohtaja) or an honorary mayor (pormestari) chairs the municipal government . Whether a municipality is called a city is legally and organizationally irrelevant. Any municipality which, in its own opinion, has an urban structure may use the name.
The municipalities of Finland are united in a total of 70 administrative communities ( seutukunta ) in which the respective municipal administrations work together to varying degrees for the purpose of economic development and the provision of public services.
General state regional administration is carried out by six regional administrative authorities (aluehallintovirasto) . In addition to general executive tasks, their tasks include above all administrative supervision. There are 15 commercial, traffic and environmental centers for more specific tasks of the specialist administration. The traditional division of Finland into provinces (lääni) was abandoned at the beginning of 2010. In Åland there is a different administrative structure and all regional tasks are combined in a single state authority.
The regional division of Finland into 19 landscapes ( maakunta ) dates back to Swedish times . In contrast to today's administrative regions, these have a traditional regional identity. As administrative units, the landscapes have no independent significance. The municipalities of a landscape each cooperate in a landscape association (maakuntaliitto) . An exception to this is Åland, where the elected landscape council exercises self-government of the archipelago. An experiment in Kainuu to allow the council to vote directly ran from 2005 to 2012 and has now ended. In this form, in contrast to the provinces, the landscape belonged to the district of local self-government.
The state budget included expenditures in 2016 of the equivalent of 132.7 billion US dollars , which were income equivalent to 127.6 billion US dollar against. This results in a budget deficit of 2.9% of GDP .
In 2006, the share of government expenditure (as a percentage of GDP) was as follows:
Finland has seen itself as a distinct welfare state since the post-war period . Unemployed people receive support in the form of daily allowances that are not dependent on previous income. The old-age pension for working people is regulated as compulsory public insurance. Employers are obliged to pay two thirds of the insurance premiums. Anyone who is not entitled to a work pension receives a so-called national pension in old age or in the event of occupational disability. In 2007, this amounts to 524.85 euros per month for a single resident of Helsinki.
The Finnish health care system is also based on basic state security. Medical care is financed from taxpayers' money and organized by the state. For this purpose, the municipalities maintain health centers in which doctors from all disciplines work. As a rule, every citizen must visit the health center responsible for his place of residence; There is no free choice of doctor within the framework of public care. The limited resources sometimes lead to waiting lists of months for non-vital operations. In addition to this public system, there are now numerous private doctor stations and hospitals, of which public health insurance only replaces a fraction of the considerably higher costs.
Employers also have some responsibility for health care. As part of the statutory health care at work, the employer must finance preventive medical checkups; A more extensive provision of employees is tax-privileged. Sociopolitical objectives also play a role in the workplace in other areas. The Finnish idea of flat hierarchies and the distribution of responsibility is expressed in the obligation of employers to negotiate in advance all measures affecting jobs and working conditions with the employees concerned. Plans to promote equality between men and women must also be drawn up in companies.
Gender equality is also promoted in Finland through extensive family policies. All parents-to-be receive a maternity package that includes baby equipment for the first year of life. For the first six months after the birth of a child, one or both parents can take turns taking unpaid parental leave and receive financial support from health insurance during this time. After that, all children have the right to a place in a municipal day-care center or to financial support for care at home until they start school. The results of this policy can be seen in the employment rate of women. In 2005 this was 66.5% of women of working age compared to 57.5% in the EU average.
In 2006, there were 28,236 marriages and 13,255 divorces in Finland. At the time of their first marriage, Finnish women are on average 29.7 and men 32.1 years old. The legal status of same-sex couples was gradually brought into line with that of heterosexual partnerships. Since 2002, they have been able to enter into a registered partnership , which has essentially the same legal effects as marriage. In 2006, 84 male and 107 female pairs were registered. Since March 1st 2017 it is possible for homosexual couples to enter into marriage. Same-sex couples have since had the option of adoption and can have a single family name.
Alcohol policy is one of the ongoing socio-political issues in Finland. In 2005, alcohol was the leading cause of death among Finns of working age. The sale of alcoholic beverages is subject to numerous legal restrictions in Finland. Drinks with an alcohol content of more than 4.7% may only be sold in the state monopoly stores of the Alko chain. Alcohol taxes are high compared to other European countries. They were most recently under pressure to decrease because of the removal of import restrictions within the EU, but another increase is planned.
In terms of crime statistics, Finland is one of the safest countries in Europe. There are around 7,700 police officers. The Finnish police are organized on three levels. In addition to the Police Department in the Ministry of the Interior, there is the Helsinki Police Department and the Provincial Police Commands. The lowest level is the local police in the administrative districts. There are 280 police stations across the country, plus over 50 stations mixed with other authorities. The autonomous Åland Islands have an independent police organization.
About a tenth of the land area of Finland is under nature protection of various degrees. In the north of the country, where the population density is low and a large part of the country is state-owned, the proportion is much higher. Since June 2017 there are 40 national parks with a total area of 9,892 km² (2.7% of the total area of Finland), including the Lemmenjoki and Urho-Kekkonen National Parks in Lapland , each of which is over 2500 square kilometers in size. The Finnish Ministry of the Environment is responsible for protecting the environment. Its main goals are the preservation of biodiversity , the protection of the landscape, the sustainable use of natural resources, but also the recreational use of the natural areas.
The country's per capita greenhouse gas emissions are among the highest in the world at just under 16 tonnes of CO 2 equivalent. Between 1990 and 2004, greenhouse gas emissions increased by 14.5% from 71.1 to 81.4 million tonnes of CO 2 equivalent. In the Kyoto Protocol , Finland undertook not to let its greenhouse gas emissions increase in the period 2008–12 compared to 1990 levels.
Foreign and Defense Policy
Finnish security and defense policy is strongly influenced by the experience of the Second World War. In the collective memory, the view is deeply rooted that allies cannot be relied on and that national defense should be ensured on its own in the event of war. Finland's defense policy is aimed at a “total defense” (kokonaismaanpuolustus) of the country's state sovereignty, territorial integrity and democratic constitution.
During the Cold War, Finland tried to maintain good relations with the Soviet Union while at the same time keeping its powerful neighbors and former opponents of the war at a distance. In 1948 the two states concluded a treaty on friendship, cooperation and mutual assistance , but Finland repeatedly postponed the summit meetings it contained. The effort to maintain neutrality in the course of the advancing bloc formation determined Finnish foreign policy from the 1950s onwards and is called the Paasikivi-Kekkonen line after the presidents of that time. Although Finland was severely restricted in its ability to act in foreign policy due to the constant consideration of Moscow's interests, it was able to maintain the state's military capability.
Even after the collapse of the Soviet Union and the end of the Cold War, Finland adhered to the freedom of alliances, but the doctrine of strict neutrality has given way to an active Western policy. Finland has been cooperating with NATO since 1994 within the framework of the Partnership for Peace and since 1997 as a member of the Euro-Atlantic Partnership Council . Finnish soldiers are currently deployed for the NATO-led security forces in Kosovo ( KFOR ) and Afghanistan ( ISAF ). When it joined the European Union in 1995 and committed to a common security and defense policy , the country did not join an actual military alliance, but nevertheless put its security policy and thus its armed forces at the service of supranational interests. On January 1, 2006, Finnish soldiers took part in an EU task force for the first time and were available for missions in accordance with the Petersberg tasks .
The possibility of joining NATO has been one of the most controversial issues among the Finnish public. Former President Tarja Halonen saw no need for action on this issue; a majority of Finns opposed NATO membership. Opponents of membership relied primarily on the tried and tested neutrality policy and preferred cooperation within the EU, while proponents emphasized Finland's defense interests, particularly with regard to unstable Russia. The discussion intensified after the Russian invasion of Georgia in 2008 . After Russian President Putin overturned the European peace order in 2014, all parties no longer wanted to rule out membership in 2015.
In 2006 the budget of the Finnish Armed Forces accounted for around 5.7% of the total budget and in absolute terms was 2.274 billion euros. The share of military expenditure in the gross national product is 1.6%, which is well below the pan-European average. General conscription applies in Finland . Military service lasts between 6 and 12 months, depending on the level of training. Although it is possible to refuse military service and to perform a civil thirteen-month alternative service, more than 80% of a birth cohort do military service. Only Jehovah's Witnesses and the residents of the autonomous and demilitarized province of Åland are expressly excluded from military service . Since 1995 women have been able to do voluntary military service.
The Finnish armed forces have a strength of 35,000 men in peacetime, including 26,000 in the army, 5,000 in the navy and 4,000 in the air force. Up to 35,000 Finns are called up for reserve exercises each year. In the event of war, up to 520,000 men can be put under arms in a short time, and the Finnish Border Guard with a war strength of 30,000 men can be subordinated to the Army Command.
Law and justice
The Finnish legal system is historically strongly influenced by the law of Sweden, which remained in force when Finland was separated from the union with Sweden in 1809. Until recently, legislation was characterized by a high degree of continuity. Since Finland joined the European Union in 1995, Union law has required numerous innovations and reforms in Finnish legislation.
There is no separate constitutional court in Finland . The legality of the administrative activity is checked by the regular courts. However, the constitutionality of the laws passed by parliament is beyond judicial control. Parliament exercises self-control over the constitutionality of its legislation through a constitutional committee (perustuslakivaliokunta) .
The common courts are in Finland
- the Supreme Court (finn. korkein oikeus , swedish Högsta domstolen )
- 5 appeal courts (hovioikeus, hovrätt )
- 20 local courts (käräjäoikeus, tingsrätt ) .
As administrative courts decide
- the Supreme Administrative Court (korkein hallinto-oikeus, Högsta förvaltningsdomstolen)
- 6 regional administrative courts (alueellinen hallinto-oikeus, regional förvaltningsdomstol) and the administrative court of the Åland Islands (Ahvenanmaan hallintotuomioistuin, Ålands förvaltningsdomstol) .
Special or specialized courts are
- the market court (markkinaoikeus, marknadsdomstolen)
- the labor court (työtuomioistuin, arbetsdomstolen)
- the insurance court (vakuutusoikeus, försäkringsdomstolen)
- the state court (valtakunnanoikeus, riksrätten) .
Finland is now one of the wealthy countries within the European Union. In 2014, the purchasing power index for Finland reached 110 compared to the Union average of 100 (EU-28). The Finnish trade balance shows a slight surplus. In 2006 the export amounted to 61.40 billion euros with an import of 55.89 billion euros. The most important trading partners are Germany with a trade share of 14.9% and 13.1% (import / export), Sweden with 11.2 / 10.7% and Russia with 11.2 / 5.7%.
In the Global Competitiveness Index , which measures a country's competitiveness, Finland ranks 10th out of 137 countries (as of 2017-18). In 2017, Finland ranks 24th out of 180 countries in the Economic Freedom Index .
Until well into the 20th century, Finland was one of the poorest countries in Europe. Even though industrial companies, above all paper mills, cotton mills and ironworks, sprang up in the first half of the 19th century, the life of most Finns was dominated by agriculture until after the Second World War. It was only after the war that industrialization was driven forward, not least to cope with the extensive reparation demands of the Soviet Union. Within twenty years a diversified economy with an efficient electrical industry, petrochemicals and machine and vehicle construction developed. Shipbuilding became another important area.
The strong economic growth of the post-war period, which was also linked to lively trade with the East, was suddenly interrupted after the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991. In the severe economic crisis that followed, the gross national product fell by 13% and the unemployment rate rose from 3.4 in 1990 to 18.4% in 1994. The crisis brought about a radical restructuring of the Finnish economy. Numerous state-owned companies were privatized to stabilize the national budget. At the same time, the state invested heavily in higher education in the high technology sector . So the microelectronics industry, with Nokia at the top, became the driving force behind the economic upturn.
Accession to the European Community in 1995 also contributed to economic stabilization. The realignment of the economic structure resulted in a halving of the unemployment rate to 9.2% by 2001. As a result, unemployment continued to fall, dropping to a low of 6.4% in 2008 and then hovering around 8%. The unemployment rate was 7.6% in June 2018, which is slightly above the EU average. In 2017, youth unemployment was 19.9%. Finland has been part of the euro area since 1999 . Until 2001 it had its own currency, Finnmark , and since 2002 it has issued its own euro coins .
In 1990 Finland's electricity consumption was 62.3 TWh, in 2016 it was 82.2 TWh. Electricity generation in 2016 was made up as follows: 26.2% nuclear energy, 22.3% imports, 18.4% hydropower, 12% wood, 7.7% coal, 4.3% natural gas, 3.6% wind and 3 , 2% peat. The remainder is covered by oil and mixed burning of fossil and renewable fuels. Of this, 47.1% was consumed by industry and construction, 28.3% by agriculture and private households and 21.4% by the service and public sectors .
Finland has two nuclear power plants in Olkiluoto and Loviisa , each with two reactor blocks, and another reactor is under construction. Two new nuclear power plants have been in the planning stage since March 2007. The approval for this was given by the Finnish Parliament in July 2010. These plans were adhered to after the Fukushima nuclear disaster in March 2011, which led countries such as Germany and Switzerland to withdraw from nuclear energy. Low and medium level radioactive waste has been disposed of in the Olkiluoto repository since 1992 and also in the Loviisa repository since 1998 . A repository for high-level radioactive waste is also due to go into operation in Olkiluoto in 2018. Thus Finland takes a leading role, as between the onset of the fuel assemblies in the reactor and its endlagerungsfähigen state goes about half a century (about 4 years in the reactor, 5 years in the cooling pond and 40 years of dry storage ). Since most of the world's power reactors were built in the 1970s, final disposal cannot take place until the 2020s at the earliest.
Some software companies and well-known personalities from this same branch have a connection to Finland. The inventors of Linux and SSH are Finns. There is also a widespread software framework called Qt from Finland.
The Finnish forests are the country's most important raw material . Accordingly, the wood and paper industry has been the defining branch of industry in the country until recently. Finland was the world's largest exporter of tar as early as the 17th century, and sawmills were the first industrial companies in many places in the 19th century. In the 1970s, the wood and paper industry still accounted for over half of Finnish exports. Today it still represents around 12% of Finland's industrial production and processes a total of over 75 million cubic meters of raw wood annually. Around a third of the raw wood is mechanically processed into sawn timber and chipboard, two thirds chemically into pulp. The Stora Enso , UPM-Kymmene and Metsä Board groups have invested heavily abroad in recent years and are among the world market leaders in the paper industry.
In recent years, however, the importance of the paper industry has been overtaken by the metal and especially the electronics industry. Both now account for around 20% of production, the electronics industry more than quadrupled its production from 1995 to 2006. The lion's share of the industry is made up of the telecommunications group Nokia and its suppliers. In the metal industry, supplier products for the forest industry make up a good 20% of production. Well-known exporters in the industry include Fiskars , one of the oldest metalworking companies in Finland, the elevator manufacturer Kone and the vehicle manufacturers Valmet and Sisu Auto .
Agriculture and Forestry
The agriculture continues to play a significant role in the Finnish economy and society. Around 300,000 people are employed in agriculture and its subsequent industries. The climatic conditions are unfavorable for arable farming: the short vegetation period, irregular rainfall and acidic peat soils represent obstacles to intensive land use. Only 2.2 million hectares, i.e. barely 6.5% of the land area, are used for agriculture. Grain cultivation (barley, oats, wheat) and pig fattening dominate in the coastal regions of southern and western Finland. In central and eastern Finland the focus is on cattle farming; Dairy products make up a good 40% of total agricultural production. In the reindeer herding area, which includes Lapland as well as parts of Northern Ostrobothnia and Kainuu , there are around 5500 reindeer breeders who own over 200,000 animals. Unlike in Sweden and Norway, reindeer herding is not a privilege of the Sami minority, but is also practiced by members of the majority population.
The country's accession to the EU was a momentous turning point, particularly for Finnish agriculture. If the Finnish agricultural market was previously well sealed off by a protectionist tariff policy, producer prices fell suddenly by more than a third after 1995. However, since the common agricultural policy of the European Union provides for the preservation of agriculture in all regions and the compensation of structural and natural disadvantages, Finnish farmers now benefit to a considerable extent from EU subsidies. Under these circumstances, land concentration has increased in recent years: While the number of farms fell from almost 80,000 in 2000 to 69,071 in 2006, the average size of the farm area rose from 28 to 33 hectares.
From the forestry as a supplier to the woodworking industry a significant part of the population benefits as employees, as well as forest owners: Around 58% of Finnish forests are owned by private individuals, every fifth Finnish family owns forest land. Over 100,000 logging contracts are concluded between private individuals and the forest industry every year. Around 60 million cubic meters of wood are felled annually in Finnish forests. According to calculations by the Finnish Ministry of Agriculture, the annual offspring significantly exceeds this amount. The deforestation in northern Finnish primeval forests has nevertheless become the subject of violent and sometimes even militant criticism by various nature conservation organizations in recent years.
Tourism has gained in importance in Finland especially since the 1990s. In 2013 the tourist accommodation in Finland recorded 20.2 million overnight stays. Of these, 14.4 million overnight stays were spent by domestic tourists and just under 5.9 million by foreign guests. Around a quarter of the overnight stays were in the Uusimaa region with the Helsinki region, where Finnish city tourism is concentrated.
The poorly populated province of Lapland had a good 2.4 million overnight stays. For the structurally weak region, tourism represents an important economic perspective today. Most of the guests come in the winter months and visit one of the 13 winter sports centers such as Ruka , Levi or Ylläs .
In the other rural areas, on the other hand, tourism is concentrated in the summer and peaks in July when guests from home and abroad spend their vacation in a summer house ( mökki ) by one of Finland's thousands of lakes.
Around a quarter of the guests visit Finland from abroad. The largest group in 2013 was made up of guests from Russia with just under 1.62 million overnight stays. They are followed by tourists from Sweden, Germany and Great Britain.
|Change in% yoy||4.1||5.2||0.7||−8.3||3.0||2.6||−1.4||−0.8||−0.6||0.1||2.7||3.1||1.6||1.0|
|absolute (in billion euros)||per inhabitant (in thousands of euros)|
|GDP in billions of euros||209.6||216.1||223.8||GDP per inhabitant (in € thousand)||38.2||39.2||40.6|
|in billion euros and its change compared to the previous year in percent|
|Billion euros||% yoy||Billion euros||% yoy||Billion euros||% year-on-year|
|Export (in percent) to||Import (in percent) of|
|People's Republic of China||5.2||Denmark||3.8|
|United Kingdom||4.8||People's Republic of China||3.5|
|other countries||46.2||other countries||36.0|
Infrastructure and traffic
In relation to the country's low population density, the Finnish road network is well developed. The country road network covers a total of 78,189 km, of which only 65% are paved. The road administration (tiehallinto) subordinate to the Ministry of Transport and Communication is responsible for their maintenance . In addition, there are around 26,000 kilometers of municipal roads and around 350,000 kilometers of private and utility roads. The state roads (valtatie) and main roads (kantatie) , which connect the cities of the country with one another, account for a total of 13,264 km. The larger part of the road network is made up of the smaller regional roads (seututie) and connecting roads (yhdystie) , but only about a third of the traffic takes place on them. 700 km of the road network have been developed like a motorway . There are continuous highways from Helsinki to Turku , Tampere and Lahti , the two gaps in the route to the Russian border at Vaalimaa are in the planning stage . Of the 14,000 bridges on the Finnish country roads, the one on the island of Replot is the longest at 1045 m. In the archipelago off the coast of Finland, the road administration maintains 41 free ferry routes with lengths between 169 m and 9.5 km. In winter, official ice roads are set up across the frozen lakes.
The speed limit is 80 km / h outside urban areas, 100 km / h on motorways and 120 km / h on motorways. Even during the day you have to drive with low beam. In winter, winter tires are mandatory , tires with spikes are allowed and are mostly used.
Almost every place can be reached by bus. Bus companies operating in Finland include Connex, Länsilinjat, Paunu, Pohjolan Liikenne and Savonlinja. The overland lines are operated by various bus companies working together in the Matkahuolto network under the Expressbus brand.
The Finnish railway network is rather wide-meshed, with a total length of 5944 kilometers of operating rail. The first railway line was opened between Helsinki and Hämeenlinna in 1862 . The further expansion of the network took place for the most part during the time of Russian rule, so that the Finnish rail network has the Russian broad gauge (1520 mm). The state operating company was split into two parts in 1995; The VR Group is now responsible for passenger and freight traffic for network maintenance and operation of the railway stations, the Department of Transportation (Liikennevirasto) . Freight traffic was opened for competition in 2007, and the same is planned for passenger traffic. Proxion Train intends to start operations in 2013 as VR-Yhtymä's first private competitor .
With the exception of the few main traffic axes, most of the routes are only single-track, and only a little over half of the entire network is electrified. The largest cities are served by the high-speed train S220 (Pendolino) with speeds of up to 220 km / h . Night trains and road trains connect the major metropolitan areas of the south with the northern regions of the country. International passenger connections are only available to Russia, there is also a freight route between Tornio and Haparanda in Sweden. The line from Helsinki to St. Petersburg has been expanded into a high-speed line by a joint venture between the Finnish and Russian state railways. As the first stage, the 74 km long high-speed line between Kerava and Lahti went into operation in September 2006 .
Coastal shipping is of great importance, and for trade with Russia also inland shipping via the Saimaa Canal . The largest lakes are connected by partly natural and partly artificially created waterways, so that inland shipping can also reach places far inland. The largest seaport is Helsinki , followed by Turku , Kotka , Hanko , Naantali , Rauma and Porvoo . The main port of the Finnish fishing fleet is Kaskinen . The merchant fleet has 92 ships with more than 1,000 gross tons. Since the coastal waters freeze over in winter, a large number of icebreakers keep the port entrances free.
Ferries are used between Finland, Sweden, Russia, Estonia and Germany for passenger and freight transport. Lines of the major ferry companies Eckeröline , Finnlines , Viking Line , Tallink and Silja Line connect the west Finnish coast with Swedish ports. Travel to Stockholm on the so-called Swedish Ships (ruotsinlaiva) , which have restaurants, nightclubs and tax-free shops on board, has long been popular. After the collapse of the Soviet Union, the Estonian capital Tallinn has also become attractive for day-trippers from Helsinki because of its picturesque old town and the low prices. On this route within the metropolitan region called Talsinki , the travel time has been reduced to just under two hours thanks to the use of motor catamarans .
|Passenger volume at the
most frequented airports (2016)
Inland air traffic plays a major role due to the expansion of the country. A dense domestic flight network serves the larger towns, but also remote corners of Lapland. Of the more than 150 airports and airfields in Finland , 22 are currently regularly served by scheduled airlines.
By far the most frequented aviation hub for international and domestic air traffic is Helsinki-Vantaa Airport . Almost all scheduled airports and air traffic control are maintained by the state operating company Finavia, which is subordinate to the Ministry of Transport . The national Finnish airline ( flag carrier ) is Finnair , founded in 1923 ; around 55% of it is state-owned. Other airlines are Nordic Regional Airlines (formerly Flybe Nordic) and from 2012 to 2014 the regional airline Air100 ; Air Åland and Turku Air operate air traffic to Mariehamn Airport in Åland .
Finnish culture has absorbed influences from both western Europe and Russia since prehistoric times. Sweden, to which Finland had belonged for centuries, and Germany, with which there had always been lively trade relations, were influential. In Eastern Finland and Karelia, which were repeatedly wholly or partly under Russian rule, the Orthodox culture also had an impact. After the world wars, international western popular culture also found its way into Finland. Even if the urbanization of Finland is far advanced today, the traditional importance of rural life and closeness to nature, as well as old traditions such as the everyday use of the sauna, continue to play an important role in the cultural self-image of the Finns.
The Finnish cuisine has historically originated in a rural and rather poor society and therefore presents itself as a simple folk cuisine. The cuisine of Western Finland has many influences from the Swedish , while the Eastern Finnish cuisine is more Russian . In addition, the regional kitchens traditionally differ in that in the west cooked dishes predominate, while the east prefers baked dishes. The distinction between western and eastern Finnish cuisine no longer plays a major role today, as many regional specialties such as Karelian pierogi (karjalanpiirakka) have become known throughout the country. In any case, eating habits in Finland have largely become internationalized, so that the importance of traditional dishes has declined. These include, for example, the bread cheese ( leipäjuusto ) or the East Finnish kalakukko (fish baked in bread). On festive days there are certain traditional dishes , such as the notorious mämmi (a kind of malt pudding) for Easter or various casseroles (laatikko) for Christmas. As in Sweden, it is customary to eat pea soup and then pancakes on Thursdays .
The nature of Finland provides numerous fresh ingredients such as mushrooms and berries. In addition to blueberries and lingonberries , the rare cloudberry is considered a delicacy. In addition to beef and pork, game is often also used, especially in rural areas. B. Eaten elk meat. Bear meat is an extremely rare delicacy . In northern Finland in particular, reindeer meat is often served, usually in the form of sliced reindeer (poronkäristys) . Finland's numerous inland and coastal waters provide large quantities of fish such as herring , salmon and whitefish . Crayfish are also popular, albeit rare and expensive nowadays, and their consumption is celebrated in July and August during the crayfish season. Vegetables are traditionally rarely eaten; in the past, the turnip was the main source of vitamins . Spices were largely unknown in traditional cuisine, but much salt was used. Typical side dishes are potatoes and the typical dark rye bread .
Customs and Holidays
|Public holidays in Finland|
|January 1st||New Year|
|6th January||Epiphany (loppiainen)|
|1st of May||May Day ( vappu )|
|Sat between 20./26. June||Midsummer festival (juhannus)|
|1st Saturday in November||All Saints Day|
|6th of December||Independence day|
|24th of December||Christmas eve|
Finland's national holiday is December 6th, the date of the declaration of independence in 1917. Independence Day is associated with rituals of a patriotic nature, such as visiting war graves. In the evening there is a festive reception in the Presidential Palace, to which dignitaries and celebrities of all kinds are invited. The President's reception is followed with great interest, and his television broadcast regularly achieves the highest ratings of the year.
The Christmas is the most important festival of the year in Finland and starts on December 24 at 12 noon with the proclamation of Christmas peace in Turku , a centuries-old, now televised ceremony. Christmas is traditionally spent with the family. When dusk falls, family graves are visited, followed by the “Christmas sauna” and a feast that includes certain traditional dishes such as ham and various casseroles. In the evening, Santa Claus, who, according to Finnish folk belief, lives on Mount Korvatunturi in Lapland , will give the presents . The first day of Christmas is spent more leisurely; visits can be made on December 26th, St. Stephen's Day . The Christmas season ends on January 6th (loppiainen) .
The Easter festival is celebrated with customs such as painting Easter eggs similar to those in other European countries. At Easter, children dress up as witches and, with willow branches in hand, collect sweets going from door to door. In this still very young tradition, elements of an orthodox Palm Sunday ritual from eastern Finland known as virpominen are combined with the Finnish-Swedish tradition of Easter witches. The traditional Finnish Easter dish is mämmi , a porridge made from rye malt.
The May 1 is considered in Finland vappu celebrated. It is not only Labor Day, but also, and most importantly, Student Day. Everyone who has ever graduated from high school wears their white student hat at vappu . Traditionally, every year at 6 p.m. on the eve of May Day, students put a student hat on the Havis Amanda statue in central Helsinki. Vappu is an exuberant festival: people celebrate, usually with a lot of alcohol, in the streets, picnics and concerts take place in the parks.
The Midsummer Festival is celebrated on Saturday between June 20 and 26, when it hardly gets dark or not at all in Finland . Although juhannus , the Finnish name of the midsummer festival, points to John the Baptist , the rites of the celebration are largely of pagan origin. Midsummer fires (juhannuskokko) are lit the evening before and the houses are decorated with birch branches. The midsummer tradition of the Swedish-speaking regions differs from that of the Finnish-speaking regions, where a midsummer tree is set up (similar to the maypole in Central Europe). Many Finns go to the country over the midsummer weekend and spend the festival there in a holiday home ( mökki ). Not least because of excessive alcohol consumption, there are regular deaths from drowning and other accidents: at least 19 people were killed during the midsummer weekend of 2012. Midsummer Friday is not a public holiday, but many companies give their employees time off and stores close at noon.
Regardless of the public holidays, certain days of remembrance are known as flag days, when the Finnish flag is hoisted on most houses in the country. These include, for example, the “Day of Finnish Culture” on February 28th, the publication date of the Finnish national epic Kalevala , the day of the death of the reformer Mikael Agricola on April 9th, the day of the death of the reformer Mikael Agricola on April 9th, the day of Finnish nationality on the birthday of Johan Vilhelm Snellman on May 12th, but also Swedish Day on November 6th, the anniversary of the death of the Swedish King Gustav II Adolf .
The oldest preserved structures in Finland are medieval stone churches and castles. The oldest castle in Finland is Turku Castle, which dates back to the late 13th century . The 73 preserved medieval stone churches from the 13th to 16th centuries are almost without exception built of field stone , mostly rather small, towerless and decorated with simple brick ornamentation at best. Only the Turku Cathedral reaches the proportions of central European cathedrals. Residential and functional buildings have always been mostly made of wood, often in block construction . Larger wooden house quarters can still be found in the old towns of Rauma , Porvoo and Naantali . In the 17th and 18th centuries there was also a transition to wood construction in church construction. As a typical example of this architectural tradition , the Old Church of Petäjävesi (1765) was added to the UNESCO World Heritage List .
After Finland came under Russian rule, the capital of the newly created Grand Duchy of Finland was moved to Helsinki in 1812 . The previously insignificant city was developed under the aegis of the German architect Carl Ludwig Engel into a representative capital in the style of classicism . The ensemble around the Senate Square with the cathedral is particularly noteworthy. Classicist buildings were also built in other cities in the country.
In the meantime, neo-Gothic and neo-Renaissance styles appeared in Finnish architecture towards the end of the 19th century . The national romanticism of the time around the turn of the century , which was influenced by Art Nouveau , gained more lasting importance . Examples of national romantic architecture in Finland are the residential buildings in the Helsinki districts of Katajanokka and Eira or the Helsinki Central Station (1919) designed by Eliel Saarinen . As a counter-direction to Art Nouveau, so-called Nordic Classicism is characteristic of architecture after Finnish independence was achieved. Numerous neo-classical buildings were built in the 1920s, and this style epoch ended in 1931 with the monumental parliament building in Helsinki. In the 1930s, sober functionalism prevailed, of which Alvar Aalto is the best-known representative .
In the second half of the 20th century, many cities in Finland suffered the loss of formative historical buildings. This phenomenon is known today as Turun tauti ( Eng . Turku epidemic), as Turku was the first city to be significantly affected by it.
- Information society
Finland is one of the most advanced information societies in the world. In the Press Freedom Index 2019, a ranking of the worldwide situation of press freedom compiled by the non-governmental organization Reporters Without Borders , the country ranks second. In the Digital Opportunity Index of the International Telecommunication Union and the ICT Diffusion Index of the United Nations, the two most important indices for the progress of information and communication technologies, Finland ranks eleventh worldwide. In 2016, 92.5% of the population used the internet.
In broadcasting, the public service Yleisradio ( Yle for short ) continues to dominate the market. Yleisradio, founded in 1926, is 99.9% owned by the Finnish state and subordinate to the Ministry of Transport and Information. The two television programs Yle TV1 and Yle TV2 , the education channel Yle Teema and the Swedish-language full program Yle Fem as well as four radio programs are broadcast nationwide, and Yle also operates dozens of local radio stations. The broadcasting operations of Yle are financed from a fund, which is fed exclusively from the general broadcasting fees and income from licenses for the broadcasting operations of private providers; the program is therefore ad-free. With the introduction of regular television broadcasts by the Yle in 1957, Finland's first advertising-financed private broadcaster was launched, from which today's MTV3 developed, and since 1997 there has been another nationally receivable private broadcaster with Nelonen . The first licenses for private radio stations were only issued in the 1980s. Since September 1, 2007, all television channels in Finland have been broadcast exclusively digitally.
- Book market
The 103 publishers organized in the Society of Finnish Publishers (Suomen kustannusyhdistys) in 2013 published around 10,000 new publications in the same year. The industry’s net turnover was EUR 253.6 million, 2.3 percent lower than in the previous year.
- Newspaper market
In the print sector in particular, the deregulation of the market in recent years has resulted in a strong media concentration; the two media groups Sanoma and Alma Media occupy a dominant position. The 53 daily newspapers and 153 other newspapers have a total circulation of 3.3 million copies, making Finland the highest total circulation per capita in the EU. The newspaper with the highest circulation by far and also the most influential is the Helsingin Sanomat , followed by the national tabloids Ilta-Sanomat and Iltalehti . The distribution of the other newspaper titles is regionally limited. The mouthpiece of the Swedish-speaking population is Hufvudstadsbladet , published in Helsinki .
The Finnish National Library has a total of 5,836 publishers; but about a third of sales and a good half of book production come from the ten largest among them (especially Sanoma , Bonnier , Otava ). In the 827 libraries, Finns borrow an average of 13 books per year (in Germany: three books per user and year).
Even in pre-Christian times, the Finns had a rich orally transmitted folk poetry, which was mainly based on motifs from Pagan Finnish mythology . Literary production only began with Christianization in the 13th century, but remained very sparse until the Reformation and was limited to Latin sacred texts. The first texts in Finnish were written after the Reformation in the 16th century, when Lutheran teaching began to proclaim the word of God in the language of the people. The reformer Mikael Agricola laid the foundation for a written Finnish language with his main work, the translation of the New Testament in 1548. In the following centuries there were only isolated literary activities of a mainly religious character; there was no question of literary culture.
In the early 19th century Romanticism gained a foothold in Finland under the influence of the teachings of the influential humanist Henrik Gabriel Porthan in the form of the so-called Turku Romanticism . Its most outstanding representative was the poet Frans Michael Franzén , who wrote in Swedish . After Finland came under Russian rule in 1809, a Finnish national consciousness began to develop , to whose development the writer Johan Ludvig Runeberg - also in Swedish - contributed significantly. Runeberg's main work was the verse epic Ensign Stahl (1848/1860), from which the Finnish national anthem is taken, among other things .
Johan Vilhelm Snellman , the most important Finnish thinker of the time, highlighted the role of the Finnish language in the development of a Finnish nation, and under his influence it was seen as an essential task of Finnish-language literature to help build a national identity. At the same time, the Romantic era aroused an interest in Finnish folk poetry. Elias Lönnrot recorded orally transmitted songs on several trips to East Karelia and on this basis created the Finnish national epic Kalevala (first version 1835, second version 1849) and its lyrical sister work Kanteletar (1840). The Kalevala gave the Finnish identity an enormous boost, as it was seen as an expression of an independent cultural heritage and still shapes Finnish culture today.
Aleksis Kivi is considered to be the founder of modern Finnish literature . He created the Finnish novel with The Seven Brothers (1871), and he also wrote the first dramas in Finnish. With Kivi, Finnish literature began to orientate itself towards pan-European currents. The most important representatives of socially critical realism were Minna Canth , Juhani Aho and Arvid Järnefelt . The previously underdeveloped Finnish literature now reached a level that could well keep up with that of the Scandinavian neighboring countries.
The most important writer of the interwar period was Frans Eemil Sillanpää . In the 1930s he and Silja the maid also received international attention and in 1939 was the first and so far only Finnish writer to receive the Nobel Prize for literature . Hella Wuolijoki was a leader among the playwrights of the interwar period . Bertolt Brecht used one of her pieces as a model for Mr. Puntila and his servant Matti (1940). After the end of the war, Väinö Linna knew with his novel Crosses in Karelia (1954) how to satisfy the prevailing need in Finnish society to deal with the lost war. In a similar way, his second major work, Here under the Polar Star (1959–1962), deals with the Finnish Civil War. This trilogy of novels is the best-selling Finnish book. The most widely read Finnish writer abroad is Mika Waltari . His best-known work, the historical novel Sinuhe the Egyptians (1945), was translated into numerous languages and filmed in Hollywood in 1954 . To similar international notoriety that reached Mumin -Kinderbücher the Finland-Swedish author Tove Jansson .
Finnish folk music comes from two sources. The older ones represent the ways, often referred to as Kalevala music , in which Finnish folk poetry has been recited and passed down orally from generation to generation. These songs, called runes ( runo in Finnish ), were mostly sung in simple pentatonic melodies, either by a soloist or alternately , accompanied by the kantele , the Finnish national instrument . The second line of tradition is minstrel music (pelimanni) , which spread from Central and Eastern Europe to Finland in the 17th century. In contrast to the runes, the musician's songs are tonal and in the usual European stanzas and rhymes. With the establishment of a summer festival in Kaustinen in 1968, the renaissance of Finnish folk music, which continues to this day, began . In the 1990s, folk bands like Värttinä managed to reach an international audience through world music . In this context, with artists like Nils-Aslak Valkeapää the guttural Joik the seed of a wider public become known -Gesang.
Fredrik Pacius , originally from Hamburg, is considered the father of classical music in Finland, and from 1834 he taught the idiom of German Romanticism to Finland through his teaching in Helsinki. In 1848 Pacius composed today's Finnish national anthem Maamme to a text by Johan Ludvig Runeberg . The early work of Jean Sibelius (1865–1957) was also decisively influenced by German Romanticism and borrowings from Finnish folk music, but he became one of the most internationally acclaimed Finnish composers, especially with his later orchestral works pointing towards the modern age and his violin concerto . With its national romantic pathos, his music is to a large extent identity-creating for the Finns and Sibelius is a kind of over-figure for the younger Finnish composers, with or against whom they define their own work.
More recently, following the revival of the Savonlinna Opera Festival in 1967, the operas by Kalevi Aho , Aulis Sallinen and Einojuhani Rautavaara have received international attention, among the opera singers the bassists Kim Borg , Martti Talvela and Matti Salminen . Young classics are trained at the renowned Sibelius Academy , the only music academy in the country. From the academy's forge of conductors, grandees such as Leif Segerstam , Esa-Pekka Salonen and Jukka-Pekka Saraste emerged. With more than 30 symphony orchestras, Finland has an exceptionally high orchestra density.
The internationally largely unknown Finnish hit has enjoyed some popularity since the beginning of the 20th century. While the compositions in the past were still partly inspired by high artistic standards, such as the songs by Georg Malmstén and the couplets by Reino Helismaa and Tapio Rautavaara , today's Finnish hit with its stars like Katri Helena can mostly be described as shallow entertainment music. The Finnish tango is a specialty, which had its wedding in the 1940s and 1950s with the success of the " Tango King" Olavi Virta . In particular, Unto Mononens composition Satumaa (Wonderland) is the epitome of Finnish melancholy. Schlager, Tango and Humppa are traditionally played for couples dancing in the numerous dance pavilions, mostly located outside the cities on the lake shore.
Metal is extremely popular in Finland. For example, a metal band like Children of Bodom can top the music charts with some regularity. Finnish bands have long since achieved great popularity and exerted influence in numerous sub-genres of metal, such as Children of Bodom in melodic death metal , Stratovarius and Sonata Arctica in power metal , Finntroll and Korpiklaani in folk metal or Nightwish in symphonic metal . Finnish rock and metal bands such as HIM , The Rasmus , Negative , Lovex , Sunrise Avenue and Nightwish have also celebrated international chart successes since the early 2000s . After Finland had regularly occupied the lower ranks in the country's highly regarded Eurovision Song Contest since its first participation in 1961 , the hard rock band Lordi achieved their first Finnish victory in this competition in 2006. The Leningrad Cowboys , who became famous for their interpretations of well-known pop and rock songs, are also internationally successful .
An independent Finnish art developed after modest beginnings in the sacred art of the Middle Ages, of which wall paintings in the churches of that time testify, only in the 19th century. In the beginning, 19th century Finnish artists such as Robert Wilhelm Ekman , the brothers Magnus , Wilhelm and Ferdinand von Wright , Werner Holmberg and Fanny Churberg were under German influence. With the works of Carl Eneas Sjöstrand and Walter Runeberg , Finnish sculpture also began to develop .
The period between 1880 and 1910 is considered the “golden age” of Finnish art. The artists of this era such as the painters Albert Edelfelt , Akseli Gallen-Kallela , Eero Järnefelt , Pekka Halonen and Helene Schjerfbeck or the sculptor Ville Vallgren now drew their influences from Paris and became known outside the country for the first time. The developing Finnish national consciousness and the Russification efforts of the Russian Tsar at that time led to a turn to Finnish national issues. The national romantic enthusiasm for the Kalevala and its place of origin Karelia manifested itself in a current known as Karelianism . Akseli Gallen-Kallela's works on the Finnish national epic in particular shape the visual image of the Kalevala to this day . While Gallen-Kallela's early work can still be attributed to realism , he later turned to symbolism , which was also represented by Magnus Enckell and Hugo Simberg .
In the 20th century, the various styles of modernism were predominant in Finnish art. After Wäinö Aaltonen had developed into Finland's leading sculptor with his monumental sculptures in the 1920s and 1930s, the conventional style of abstract sculptures such as Eila Hiltunen's Sibelius Monument was supplanted in the 1960s . At the same time, painting experienced a radical upheaval with the arrival of informal art .
Finnish design enjoys a good international reputation thanks to Alvar Aalto's functionalist designs from the 1930s and the successes of designers such as Tapio Wirkkala , Timo Sarpaneva and Kaj Franck in the 1950s. Well-known Finnish designer brands are the ceramic manufacturer Arabia , the glass factory Iittala , the furniture company Artek and the textile manufacturer Marimekko .
The most important art collection in the country is the Finnish National Gallery . It goes back to the collections of the Finnish Art Association , founded in 1846 , and is formed by four museums in the capital Helsinki: The Ateneum , the Kiasma Museum for Contemporary Art, the Sinebrychoff Art Museum and the Central Archives of Fine Arts .
An average of a dozen films are produced annually in Finland. Their share of the audience averages 14%. Due to the small market with a population of 5 million, almost all domestic productions are dependent on state film funding. These are granted by the Finnish Film Foundation (Suomen Elokuvasäätiö), which is subordinate to the Ministry of Education . The foundation is largely financed by state sports betting and slot machine revenues and distributes funds of around 13 million euros a year primarily for the production, but also for the distribution of Finnish films abroad.
The first film shot in Finland was a short documentary about a Karelian wedding from 1904, the first feature film followed in 1907. The most influential director and producer of the silent film era is Erkki Karu (1887–1935), whose work, like most films of the time, is one represents a nationally minded line. Finnish film experienced its heyday between the introduction of talkies in the 1930s and the beginning of the triumphal march of television in the 1950s. At that time, every Finnish film was seen by an average of 400,000 viewers, i.e. over a tenth of the population. In response to the falling audience figures, the Film Foundation was established in the late 1950s.
In the early 1980s, a new generation of filmmakers came to the fore, the best-known representatives of which are the brothers Aki and Mika Kaurismäki . Aki Kaurismäki in particular has advanced to become a cult director internationally. His film Leningrad Cowboys Go America (1989) is one of the internationally most acclaimed films from Finnish production, The Man Without a Past (2002) won the Grand Jury Prize in Cannes and was nominated for the Oscar for best foreign language film . Internationally awarded Finnish actors are Matti Pellonpää (1951–1995) and Kati Outinen , both of whom are constant cast in Kaurismäki's films. In the early 1990s, Renny Harlin , a Finnish director, was able to assert himself in Hollywood for the first time .
The most successful film in Finland at all was the adaptation of the Väinö Linna novel Tuntematon sotilas (“The Unknown Soldier”, English title: Crosses in Karelia ) by Edvin Laine from 1955 with a total of 2.8 million viewers. The most watched film of the 21st century is Aleksi Mäkeläs Pahat pojat from 2002 with 614,628 viewers.
A national film prize is awarded in Finland every year : since 1944, the best Finnish cinema productions and filmmakers have been awarded the Jussi Prize of the Finnish Film Academy (Filmiaura) . There are also two internationally known film festivals. Since 1970 is Tampere , the Tampere Film Festival , one of the international film producers association FIAPF accredited short film festival , organized. The Midnight Sun Film Festival is one of the more exotic film festivals, as it takes place in Sodankylä , almost 100 kilometers north of the Arctic Circle. It was launched in 1986 by the Kaurismäki brothers as a kind of counter-event to glamorous film festivals such as those in Cannes.
Finland is considered a very sport-loving country, both in terms of popular sport and spectator interest. Around 1.1 million Finns (over a fifth of the population) are members of sports clubs. Popular sporting events regularly reach an audience of up to 1.4 million on Finnish television.
Success in sporting competitions is an important part of their national identity for the Finns. Successful athletes are seen as national heroes. Finnish track and field athletes were particularly successful in the 1920s. At the Olympic Games in Paris in 1924 , Finland even took second place in the medal table. Paavo Nurmi , the “flying Finn”, is one of the most successful athletes in Olympic history with nine gold medals. He is said to have "run Finland on the world map". Javelin throwers such as the 2007 world champion Tero Pitkämäki are particularly successful to this day . The sporting rivalry with neighboring Sweden, which is reflected in the importance of the annual Finnish-Swedish international competition, has always been particularly pronounced .
The Finnish Workers' Sports Federation was close to the trade union movement and did not start in civil competitions. It is thanks to Erik von Frenckell that after the Second World War the two associations formed a starting community for the national team, so that the 1952 Summer Olympics in Helsinki became a milestone in the history of sport in Finland, as national unity could now also be demonstrated in sport . Helsinki was originally supposed to host the 1940 Games, but they had to be canceled because of the Second World War. This international event was an opportunity for the small country that was just recovering from the aftermath of the war to present itself to the world. The sport is often seen as the embodiment of the so-called Finnish national virtue sisu (for example: perseverance, perseverance). A popular example is the four-time Olympic champion Lasse Virén , who won the gold medal over 10,000 meters at the 1972 Olympic Games in Munich despite a fall with a world record time. The shock was correspondingly great after the doping scandal at the Nordic World Ski Championships in Lahti in 2001 , when it turned out that the Finnish cross-country skiers had systematically doped.
In addition to athletics, winter sports in particular have a long tradition. In cross-country skiing Finland was among others Veikko Hakulinen , Eero Mäntyranta , Marja-Liisa Kirvesniemi and Mika Myllylä make Olympic and world champion again. In recent years, ski jumpers like Janne Ahonen and Matti Hautamäki have been able to build on the successes of Matti Nykänen and Toni Nieminen . In biathlon , Kaisa Mäkäräinen was the first Finn to win the 2010/11 World Cup and a gold medal at World Championships (2011).
The most popular team sport is ice hockey . Players like Teemu Selänne , Saku Koivu and Jere Lehtinen were stars in the NHL , today (2020) players like Sebastian Aho , Patrik Laine and Tuukka Rask are among the Finnish NHL stars. The Finnish Liiga (until 2013 SM-liiga ) is one of the top European leagues. The greatest successes of the Finnish national ice hockey team were the world championship victories in 1995 , 2011 and 2019 . The Finnish national sport is the largely unknown pesäpallo (Finnish baseball), which is clearly behind ice hockey in the interests of the audience. Football has no particular tradition in Finland. The Finnish national football team has never qualified for a world or European championship. However, some Finnish footballers such as Jari Litmanen , Sami Hyypiä and Mikael Forssell play or have played successfully abroad and have thus increased the popularity of the sport in Finland. Successful is the national women involved in the 2005 European Championships surprisingly reached the semifinals. Other popular team sports are floorball , called salibandy in Finland , where the Finnish national team is among the best in the world for both men and women, and basketball , where the Finnish men's national team was last in ascending shape and qualified for the World Cup for the first time in 2014 . Lauri Markkanen was the first Finn to establish himself in the NBA , other well-known Finnish basketball players are Hanno Möttölä , Petteri Koponen , Kimmo Muurinen and Carl Lindbom .
Motorsport is very popular in Finland . Formula 1 races regularly achieve high ratings thanks to world champions Kimi Räikkönen or previously Mika Häkkinen and Keke Rosberg . Rally is considered a Finnish domain, the country has so far produced almost half of all world rally champions . The Finnish speedway and long- course pilot Joonas Kylmäkorpi won the long-course world championship for the fourth time in a row in 2013 . Jarmo Hirvasoja won the Ice Speedway World Championship for Finland .
- Olli Alho (Ed.): Culture Lexicon Finland . Finnish Literary Society, Helsinki 1998, ISBN 951-717-032-5 .
- Ingrid Bohn: Finland - From the beginning to the present . Friedrich Pustet, Regensburg 2005, ISBN 3-7917-1910-6 .
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