Finland is in Northern Europe and has borders with Russia to the east, Norway to the north, and Sweden to the west.
Helsinki became the capital in 1812 (replacing Turku in the south-west). The official national languages were – and still are - Finnish and Swedish. Amid the turmoil of the Russian Revolution, Finland declared its independence in 1917, establishing its present constitution and status as a republic in 1919.
A third of Helsinki is covered in green areas. Along with a score of sports grounds, they offer great possibilities for outdoor activities and relaxation, such as Central Park and a number of forests just outside the city centre.
A small country holds a quite big amount of variety. In Finland all the four seasons have their own personality in different parts of the country, especially in Lapland where summer lasts less than 2,5 months.
Finland has it all – snowy winters, pleasantly warm summers and colourful spring and autumn. Lapland is the most snow guaranteed place in the Europe. Not only the climate but also Finns are considered to be cool – a bit quiet and reserved. But they are actually warm, friendly, hospitable and especially honest people.
The unique culture and nature inspire Finns to compose music, create design and make technical innovations like no other.
A 19th century opera in a medieval castle in the middle of a lake. A hot sauna followed by a quick run off the dock into the water. Jazz music that takes over an entire town for a few weeks. A male choir that doesn't sing, it shouts. Heavy metal played with cellos and Euro-pop in monster costumes. Uspenski Cathedral in Helsinki and Pielpajärvi Wilderness Church in Lapland.
Aside from ice hockey, Formula drivers and mobile phones, Finland is perhaps best known for itse lakes, forests and archipelago. There are hundreds of thousands of islands and lakes, and the dream of every Finn is to have a little cottage on one of them, a place where he can take his shoes off, go fishing and heat up the sauna.
Finland's unspoilt forests and thousands of islands and lakes offer plenty of opportunities for visitors to enjoy beautiful natural surroundings.
The national parks include many unique natural sights, such as rapids, rift valleys and eskers. Localities with outstanding picturesque scenery or panoramic views have also been selected for preservation. In yet other places the aim has been to preserve landscapes affected by human habitation and bygone ways of life.