Republic of Finland is a Nordic country in Northern Europe bordered by Sweden to the west, Norway to the north and Russia to the east; Estonia lies to the south across the Gulf of Finland. Finland is part of the collective geographical group of nations Fennoscandia.
Lying approximately between latitudes 60° and 70° N, and longitudes 20° and 32° E, Finland is one of the world’s northernmost countries.
Finnish and Swedish are the official languages of Finland.
Finland is the only Nordic country to have joined the Eurozone.
In 2013, Finland’s population was around 5.5 million, with the majority living in its southern regions. In terms of area, it is the eighth largest country in Europe and the most sparsely populated country in the European Union. Finland is a parliamentaryrepublic with a central government based in the capital Helsinki, local governments in 317 municipalities and an autonomous region, the Åland Islands. Over 1.4 million people live in the Greater Helsinki metropolitan area, which produces a third of the country’s GDP.
Finland joined the United Nations in 1955 and established an official policy of neutrality. It joined the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) in 1969, the European Union in 1995, and the Eurozone at its inception in 1999.
Finland has a highly industrialized mixed economy with a per capita output equal to that of other European economies such as France, Germany, Belgium or the UK. The largest sector of the economy is services at 66%, followed by manufacturing and refining at 31%. Primary production is 2.9%. With respect to foreign trade, the key economic sector is manufacturing. The largest industries are electronics (22%), machinery, vehicles and other engineered metal products (21.1%), forest industry (13.1%) and chemicals (11%).
Finland has timber and several mineral and freshwater resources. Forestry, paper factories, and the agricultural sector (on which taxpayers spend around 2 billion euro annually) are politically sensitive to rural residents. The Greater Helsinki area generates around a third of GDP.
Thanks to its emphasis on transparency and equal rights, Finland’s press has been rated the freest in the world.