Shine with facts about Finland

Your friends cannot fail to be impressed with all the facts you’ll know about Finnish geography, history, people and economy.

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You won’t be ready for a PhD on Finland, but this page will give you enough info to impress at least your pals.


  • Population: 5.5 million, 18.2 inhabitants per km² ( 46.6 per square mile)
  • Life expectancy: Men 79 years, women 84 years
  • Languages: Official languages are Finnish (spoken by 87.3%) and Swedish (5.2%). Sámi is the mother tongue of about 2,000 people, members of the indigenous Sámi people of northern Lapland
  • Religion: Christianity; 68.7 % Lutheran and about 1.1% Orthodox. In practice society is fairly secularised.

State & Government

  • Independence: Declared on December 6, 1917. Previously a grand duchy in the Russian empire for 108 years, and a part of Sweden for 600 years before that.
  • Form of government: Republic, parliamentary democracy
  • Parliament: 200 members in one chamber, elected every 4 years in a direct vote (next elections in 2023)
  • Cabinet: Multiparty coalition cabinet. The current Cabinet is run by Prime Minister Sanna Marin.
  • Head of State: President of the Republic, elected every 6 years, two-term maximum. Currently Mr Sauli Niinistö, elected in 2012 and re-elected in 2018.
  • International cooperation: Member of United Nations since 1955 and European Union since 1995.

Society & Economy

  • Key features: High standard of education, social security and healthcare, all financed by the state
  • GDP per capita: 43,485 euros (2019)
  • Main exports: Electrotechnical goods, metal products, machinery, transport equipment, wood and paper products, chemicals
  • Main imports: Raw materials, investment goods, energy, consumer goods (for example cars and textiles)
  • Currency unit: Euro

Geography & Climate

  • Area: 338,440 km² (131,991 square miles), the fifth-largest country in Western Europe
  • Greatest length from north to south: 1,157 km (717 miles)
  • Greatest width from east to west: 542 km (336 miles)
  • Capital: Helsinki (1.5 million inhabitants in metropolitan area)
  • Climate: Great contrasts – cold winters and fairly warm summers (2019 extremes: coldest day in Utsjoki -39.1 C/-38.4 F, warmest day in Porvoo 33.7 C/92,7 F)

Sources: Statistics Finland, National Board of Customs, Population Register Center, State Provincial Office of Lapland,

Updated April 2020