/fin"leuhnd/, n.
1. Finnish, Suomi. a republic in N Europe: formerly a province of the Russian Empire. 5,109,148; 130,119 sq. mi. (337,010 sq. km). Cap.: Helsinki.
2. Gulf of, an arm of the Baltic, S of Finland.

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Introduction Finland
Background: Ruled by Sweden from the 12th to the 19th centuries and by Russia from 1809, Finland finally won its independence in 1917. During World War II, it was able to successfully defend its freedom and fend off invasions by the Soviet Union and Germany. In the subsequent half century, the Finns have made a remarkable transformation from a farm/forest economy to a diversified modern industrial economy; per capita income is now on par with Western Europe. As a member of the European Union, Finland was the only Nordic state to join the euro system at its initiation in January 1999. Geography Finland -
Location: Northern Europe, bordering the Baltic Sea, Gulf of Bothnia, and Gulf of Finland, between Sweden and Russia
Geographic coordinates: 64 00 N, 26 00 E
Map references: Europe
Area: total: 337,030 sq km water: 31,560 sq km land: 305,470 sq km
Area - comparative: slightly smaller than Montana
Land boundaries: total: 2,628 km border countries: Norway 729 km, Sweden 586 km, Russia 1,313 km
Coastline: 1,126 km (excludes islands and coastal indentations)
Maritime claims: continental shelf: 200-m depth or to the depth of exploitation exclusive fishing zone: 12 NM; extends to continental shelf boundary with Sweden territorial sea: 12 NM (in the Gulf of Finland - 3 NM)
Climate: cold temperate; potentially subarctic, but comparatively mild because of moderating influence of the North Atlantic Current, Baltic Sea, and more than 60,000 lakes
Terrain: mostly low, flat to rolling plains interspersed with lakes and low hills
Elevation extremes: lowest point: Baltic Sea 0 m highest point: Halti 1,328 m
Natural resources: timber, copper, zinc, iron ore, silver
Land use: arable land: 6.98% permanent crops: 0.01% other: 93.01% (1998 est.)
Irrigated land: 640 sq km (1998 est.)
Natural hazards: NA Environment - current issues: air pollution from manufacturing and power plants contributing to acid rain; water pollution from industrial wastes, agricultural chemicals; habitat loss threatens wildlife populations Environment - international party to: Air Pollution, Air
agreements: Pollution-Nitrogen Oxides, Air Pollution-Sulphur 85, Air Pollution- Sulphur 94, Air Pollution-Volatile Organic Compounds, Antarctic- Environmental Protocol, Antarctic- Marine Living Resources, Antarctic Treaty, Biodiversity, Climate Change, Desertification, Endangered Species, Environmental Modification, Hazardous Wastes, Law of the Sea, Marine Dumping, Marine Life Conservation, Nuclear Test Ban, Ozone Layer Protection, Ship Pollution, Tropical Timber 83, Tropical Timber 94, Wetlands, Whaling signed, but not ratified: Air Pollution-Persistent Organic Pollutants, Climate Change-Kyoto Protocol
Geography - note: long boundary with Russia; Helsinki is northernmost national capital on European continent; population concentrated on small southwestern coastal plain People Finland
Population: 5,183,545 (July 2002 est.)
Age structure: 0-14 years: 17.9% (male 471,920; female 454,082) 15-64 years: 66.9% (male 1,752,493; female 1,717,544) 65 years and over: 15.2% (male 306,216; female 481,290) (2002 est.)
Population growth rate: 0.14% (2002 est.)
Birth rate: 10.6 births/1,000 population (2002 est.)
Death rate: 9.78 deaths/1,000 population (2002 est.)
Net migration rate: 0.62 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2002 est.)
Sex ratio: at birth: 1.03 male(s)/female under 15 years: 1.04 male(s)/female 15-64 years: 1.02 male(s)/female 65 years and over: 0.64 male(s)/ female total population: 0.95 male(s)/ female (2002 est.)
Infant mortality rate: 3.76 deaths/1,000 live births (2002 est.) Life expectancy at birth: total population: 77.75 years female: 81.52 years (2002 est.) male: 74.1 years
Total fertility rate: 1.7 children born/woman (2002 est.) HIV/AIDS - adult prevalence rate: 0.05% (1999 est.) HIV/AIDS - people living with HIV/ 1,100 (1999 est.)
HIV/AIDS - deaths: less than 100 (1999 est.)
Nationality: noun: Finn(s) adjective: Finnish
Ethnic groups: Finn 93%, Swede 6%, Sami 0.11%, Roma 0.12%, Tatar 0.02%
Religions: Evangelical Lutheran 89%, Russian Orthodox 1%, none 9%, other 1%
Languages: Finnish 93.4% (official), Swedish 5.9% (official), small Lapp- and Russian-speaking minorities
Literacy: definition: age 15 and over can read and write total population: 100% (1980 est.) male: NA% female: NA% Government Finland
Country name: conventional long form: Republic of Finland conventional short form: Finland local short form: Suomi local long form: Suomen Tasavalta
Government type: republic
Capital: Helsinki Administrative divisions: 6 provinces (laanit, singular - laani); Aland, Etela-Suomen Laani, Ita-Suomen Laani, Lansi-Suomen Laani, Lappi, Oulun Laani
Independence: 6 December 1917 (from Russia)
National holiday: Independence Day, 6 December (1917)
Constitution: 17 July 1919
Legal system: civil law system based on Swedish law; Supreme Court may request legislation interpreting or modifying laws; accepts compulsory ICJ jurisdiction, with reservations
Suffrage: 18 years of age; universal
Executive branch: chief of state: President Tarja HALONEN (since 1 March 2000) head of government: Prime Minister Paavo LIPPONEN (since 13 April 1995) and Deputy Prime Minister Ville ITALA (since 31 August 2001) cabinet: Council of State or Valtioneuvosto appointed by the president, responsible to Parliament elections: president elected by popular vote for a six-year term; election last held 6 February 2000 (next to be held NA February 2006); prime minister and deputy prime minister appointed from the majority party by the president after parliamentary elections note: government coalition - SDP, Kok, Leftist Alliance (People's Democratic Union and Democratic Alternative), SFP, and Green League election results: Tarja HALONEN elected president; percent of vote - Tarja HALONEN (SDP) 51.6%, Esko AHO (Kesk) 48.4%
Legislative branch: unicameral Parliament or Eduskunta (200 seats; members are elected by popular vote on a proportional basis to serve four-year terms) election results: percent of vote by party - SDP 22.9%, Kesk 22.5%, Kok 21.0%, Leftist Alliance (Communist) 10.9%, SFP 5.1%, Green League 7.2%, SKL 4.2%; seats by party - SDP 51, Kesk 48, Kok 46, Leftist Alliance (Communist) 20, SFP 11, Green League 11, SKL 10, other 3 elections: last held 21 March 1999 (next to be held NA March 2003)
Judicial branch: Supreme Court or Korkein Oikeus (judges appointed by the president) Political parties and leaders: Center Party or Kesk [Esko AHO]; Finnish Christian Democratic Party or SKL [C. P. Bjarne KALLIS]; Green League [Osmo SOININVAARA]; Leftist Alliance (Communist) composed of People's Democratic League and Democratic Alternative [Suvi-Anne SIIMES]; National Coalition (conservative) Party or Kok [Ville ITALA]; Social Democratic Party or SDP [Paavo LIPPONEN]; Swedish People's Party or SFP [Jan-Erik ENESTAM]; True Finns [Timo SOINI] International organization AfDB, AsDB, Australia Group, BIS,
participation: CBSS, CCC, CE, CERN, EAPC, EBRD, ECE, EIB, EMU, ESA, EU, FAO, G- 9, IADB, IAEA, IBRD, ICAO, ICC, ICFTU, ICRM, IDA, IEA, IFAD, IFC, IFRCS, IHO, ILO, IMF, IMO, Interpol, IOC, IOM, ISO, ITU, NAM (guest), NC, NEA, NIB, NSG, OAS (observer), OECD, OPCW, OSCE, PCA, PFP, UN, UNCTAD, UNESCO, UNFICYP, UNHCR, UNIDO, UNIFIL, UNIKOM, UNMEE, UNMIBH, UNMIK, UNMOGIP, UNMOP, UNMOVIC, UNTSO, UPU, WEU (observer), WFTU, WHO, WIPO, WMO, WTrO, ZC Diplomatic representation in the US: chief of mission: Ambassador Jukka Robert VALTASAARI consulate(s) general: Los Angeles and New York FAX: [1] (202) 298-6030 telephone: [1] (202) 298-5800 chancery: 3301 Massachusetts Avenue NW, Washington, DC 20008 Diplomatic representation from the chief of mission: Ambassador Bonnie
US: McELVEEN-HUNTER embassy: Itainen Puistotie 14B, FIN- 00140, Helsinki mailing address: APO AE 09723 telephone: [358] (9) 171931 FAX: [358] (9) 174681
Flag description: white with a blue cross extending to the edges of the flag; the vertical part of the cross is shifted to the hoist side in the style of the Dannebrog (Danish flag) Economy Finland -
Economy - overview: Finland has a highly industrialized, largely free-market economy, with per capita output roughly that of the UK, France, Germany, and Italy. Its key economic sector is manufacturing - principally the wood, metals, engineering, telecommunications, and electronics industries. Trade is important, with exports equaling almost one-third of GDP. Except for timber and several minerals, Finland depends on imports of raw materials, energy, and some components for manufactured goods. Because of the climate, agricultural development is limited to maintaining self-sufficiency in basic products. Forestry, an important export earner, provides a secondary occupation for the rural population. Rapidly increasing integration with Western Europe - Finland was one of the 11 countries joining the euro monetary system (EMU) on 1 January 1999 - will dominate the economic picture over the next several years. Growth in 2001 was held back by the global slowdown and will likely be anemic again in 2002.
GDP: purchasing power parity - $133.5 billion (2001 est.)
GDP - real growth rate: 0.6% (2001 est.)
GDP - per capita: purchasing power parity - $25,800 (2001 est.) GDP - composition by sector: agriculture: 3% industry: 28% services: 69% (2000) Population below poverty line: NA% Household income or consumption by lowest 10%: 4.2%
percentage share: highest 10%: 21.6% (1991) Distribution of family income - Gini 25.6 (1991)
index: Inflation rate (consumer prices): 2.6% (2001 est.)
Labor force: 2.6 million (2000 est.) Labor force - by occupation: public services 32%, industry 22%, commerce 14%, finance, insurance, and business services 10%, agriculture and forestry 8%, transport and communications 8%, construction 6%
Unemployment rate: 9.4% (2001 est.)
Budget: revenues: $36.1 billion expenditures: $31 billion, including capital expenditures of $NA (2000 est.)
Industries: metal products, electronics, shipbuilding, pulp and paper, copper refining, foodstuffs, chemicals, textiles, clothing Industrial production growth rate: 5.1% (2001) Electricity - production: 75.356 billion kWh (2000) Electricity - production by source: fossil fuel: 40.86% hydro: 19.22% other: 11.6% (2000) nuclear: 28.32% Electricity - consumption: 81.961 billion kWh (2000)
Electricity - exports: 326 million kWh (2000)
Electricity - imports: 12.206 billion kWh (2000)
Agriculture - products: barley, wheat, sugar beets, potatoes; dairy cattle; fish
Exports: $40.1 billion (f.o.b., 2001)
Exports - commodities: machinery and equipment, chemicals, metals; timber, paper, pulp
Exports - partners: Germany 12.5%, Sweden 9.3%, UK 9.1%, US 7.4%, France 5.2%, Italy 4.4% (2000)
Imports: $31.2 billion (f.o.b., 2001)
Imports - commodities: foodstuffs, petroleum and petroleum products, chemicals, transport equipment, iron and steel, machinery, textile yarn and fabrics, grains
Imports - partners: Germany 14.2%, Sweden 10.3%, Russia 9.4%, US 7.1%, UK 6.4%, Japan 5.3% (2000)
Debt - external: $30 billion (December 1993)
Economic aid - donor: ODA, $379 million (1997)
Currency: markka (FIM); euro (EUR) note: on 1 January 1999, the European Monetary Union introduced the euro as a common currency to be used by financial institutions of member countries; on 1 January 2002, the euro became the sole currency for everyday transactions within the member countries
Currency code: FIM; EUR
Exchange rates: euros per US dollar - 1.1324 (January 2002), 1.1175 (2001), 1.0854 (2000), 0.9386 (1999); markkaa per US dollar - 5.3441 (1998), 5.1914 (1997)
Fiscal year: calendar year Communications Finland Telephones - main lines in use: 2.861 million (1997) Telephones - mobile cellular: 2,162,574 (1997)
Telephone system: general assessment: modern system with excellent service domestic: cable, microwave radio relay, and an extensive cellular net provide domestic needs international: 1 submarine cable; satellite earth stations - access to Intelsat transmission service via a Swedish satellite earth station, 1 Inmarsat (Atlantic and Indian Ocean regions); note - Finland shares the Inmarsat earth station with the other Nordic countries (Denmark, Iceland, Norway, and Sweden) Radio broadcast stations: AM 2, FM 186, shortwave 1 (1998)
Radios: 7.7 million (1997) Television broadcast stations: 130 (plus 385 repeaters) (1995)
Televisions: 3.2 million (1997)
Internet country code: .fi Internet Service Providers (ISPs): 23 (2000)
Internet users: 2.27 million (2000) Transportation Finland
Railways: total: 5,865 km broad gauge: 5,865 km 1.524-m gauge (2,234 km electrified; 480 km double- or multiple-track) (2000 est.)
Highways: total: 77,831 km paved: 49,789 km (including 444 km of expressways) unpaved: 28,042 km (1999)
Waterways: 6,675 km note: includes Saimaa Canal; 3,700 km suitable for large ships
Pipelines: natural gas 580 km
Ports and harbors: Hamina, Helsinki, Kokkola, Kotka, Loviisa, Oulu, Pori, Rauma, Turku, Uusikaupunki, Varkaus
Merchant marine: total: 98 ships (1,000 GRT or over) totaling 1,172,404 GRT/1,144,139 DWT ships by type: bulk 9, cargo 26, chemical tanker 5, passenger 1, petroleum tanker 11, roll on/roll off 36, short-sea passenger 10 note: includes some foreign-owned ships registered here as a flag of convenience: Germany 1, Sweden 1 (2002 est.)
Airports: 160 (2001) Airports - with paved runways: total: 73 over 3,047 m: 3 2,438 to 3,047 m: 26 1,524 to 2,437 m: 10 914 to 1,523 m: 22 under 914 m: 12 (2001) Airports - with unpaved runways: total: 87 914 to 1,523 m: 5 under 914 m: 82 (2001) Military Finland
Military branches: Army, Navy, Air Force, Frontier Guard (including Sea Guard) Military manpower - military age: 17 years of age (2002 est.) Military manpower - availability: males age 15-49: 1,240,762 (2002 est.) Military manpower - fit for military males age 15-49: 1,024,379 (2002
service: est.) Military manpower - reaching males: 33,883 (2002 est.)
military age annually: Military expenditures - dollar $1.8 billion (FY98/99)
figure: Military expenditures - percent of 2% (FY98/99)
GDP: Transnational Issues Finland Disputes - international: none

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officially Republic of Finland

Country, northern Europe.

Area: 130,559 sq mi (338,145 sq km). Population (2002 est.): 5,201,000. Capital: Helsinki. The majority of the people are Finns; there is a small Sami (Lapp) population in Lapland. Languages: Finnish, Swedish (both official); the Sami speak a Finno-Ugric language. Religions: Lutheranism, Finnish (Greek) Orthodoxy. Currency: euro. Finland is about 725 mi (1,165 km) long and a maximum of 340 mi (550 km) wide; one-third of the country is north of the Arctic Circle. Heavily forested, Finland contains thousands of lakes, numerous rivers, and extensive areas of marshland. Except for a small highland region in the extreme northwest, most of the country lies less than 600 ft (180 m) above sea level. The south has relatively mild weather; the north has severe and prolonged winters and short summers. Finland has a developed free-market economy combined with state ownership of a few key industries. It is among the wealthiest countries in Europe and in the world. Lumbering is a major industry, and manufacturing is highly developed; service industries are also notable. Finland is a republic with one legislative house; its chief of state is the president, and the head of government is the prime minister. Archaeological discoveries have led some to suggest that human habitation in Finland dates back at least 100,000 years. Ancestors of the Sami apparently were present in Finland by about 7000 BC. The ancestors of the present-day Finns came from the southern shore of the Gulf of Finland in the 1st millennium BC. The area was gradually Christianized from the 11th century AD. From the 12th century Sweden and Russia contested for supremacy in Finland, until in 1323 Sweden ruled most of the country. Russia was ceded part of Finnish territory in 1721; in 1808 Alexander I of Russia invaded Finland, which in 1809 was formally ceded to Russia. The subsequent period saw the growth of Finnish nationalism. Russia's losses in World War I and the Russian Revolution of 1917 set the stage for Finland's independence in 1917. Finland was defeated by the Soviet Union in the Russo-Finnish War (1939–40) but then sided with Nazi Germany against the Soviets during World War II and regained the territory it had lost. Facing defeat again by the advancing Soviets in 1944, it reached a peace agreement with the Soviet Union, ceding territory and paying reparations. Finland's economy recovered after World War II. It joined the European Union in 1995.

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▪ 2009

338,417 sq km (130,664 sq mi)
(2008 est.): 5,310,000
Chief of state:
President Tarja Halonen
Head of government:
Prime Minister Matti Vanhanen

      Eero Heinäluoma, the head of Finland's Social Democratic Party (SDP), announced in February 2008 that he would not run for the position again in the June convention owing to the party's unfavourable election results in the 2007 general election. As his replacement, SDP members elected Jutta Urpilainen, a primary-school teacher who was elected to Parliament in 2003 and became vice-chair of the SDP floor group in 2007. She beat her main contender, Erkki Tuomioja, a former foreign minister and 1960s student radical, by a margin of 218–132 in the second round of voting.

      Minister for Foreign Affairs Ilkka Kanerva lost his office after the stripper to whom he had sent some 200 text messages went public early in 2008. The National Coalition (Conservative) Party chairman, Jyrki Katainen, decided to dismiss Kanerva, as the veteran politician had been warned before for similar indiscretions. The move inspired some debate, as Kanerva's “affair” had never been sexual, and some saw in the case a worrying sign of “American-style puritanism” gaining ground in Finnish politics. Kanerva was replaced in April by Alexander Stubb, a member of the European Parliament from the Conservative Party.

      Party Secretary Jarmo Korhonen of the Centre Party was implicated in a scandal over unannounced campaign contributions. Five prominent businessmen had invested €406,000 (about $556,000) in an association, founded the year before, financing mostly Centre Party politicians but also Conservative and SDP candidates. It appeared that the businessmen had received preferential treatment for their projects in municipalities of politicians whom they had supported. Unannounced campaign contributions, though illegal, carried no penalty, however, and Korhonen was reelected in June after apologizing to party supporters.

      The market shares of Finnish banks went through some changes during the year. Customers of Sampo Pankki, a subsidiary of Denmark's Danske Bank, experienced severe Internet banking problems beginning in the spring when integration of the group's information technology systems began; an estimated 40,000 customers were lost to competitors. The international credit crisis in the autumn meant an influx of depositors, especially to the wholly Finnish-owned S-Pankki, part of the retail duopoly S Group, as the Finnish operations of Iceland's Kaupthing bank were bought by Finland's Aktia and the Finnish subsidiary of Iceland's Glitnir was bought by its management. The Finnish government agreed on a maximum €50 billion (about $70 billion) to assist Finnish banks, which publicly denied that they needed help. Industrial production dropped 10.1% in November from the year earlier, the steepest decline since the recession year of 1991.

      In the municipal elections on October 26, two clear winners emerged. The Conservatives became the largest party for the first time, with 23.5% of the vote, and the tiny True Finns jumped to 5.4% from 0.9% in 2004. The latter's success was explained by the mainstream media's reluctance to discuss the adverse effects of immigration, an issue often raised by the True Finns. The biggest losers were the Social Democrats (21.2%) and the Centre Party (20.1%), which dropped to third place. The Greens increased their popularity 1.6 points to 8.9% and bumped the Social Democrats from second to third place in Helsinki, where the Conservatives remained the leading party. Voter turnout was 61.3%, up 2.7 points from 2004. The number of women councilors grew slightly to 36.7% from 36.4%.

      Former president (1994–2000) and career diplomat Martti Ahtisaari in October was awarded the 2008 Nobel Prize for Peace. Ahtisaari received the prize in honour of his life's work of successful mediation for peace, notably in Namibia, the Aceh province of Indonesia, Kosovo, Northern Ireland, the Horn of Africa, and, most recently, Iraq.

Susanna Bell

▪ 2008

338,417 sq km (130,664 sq mi)
(2007 est.): 5,286,000
Chief of state:
President Tarja Halonen
Head of government:
Prime Minister Matti Vanhanen

      The elections to the Finnish parliament in March 2007 resulted in three parties' proclaiming themselves victorious: the Centre Party remained the largest party, with a 23.1% share (down from 24.7% in 2003); the National Coalition Party (or Conservatives) emerged as the only one of the three big parties to increase its popularity, against all preelection polls, from 18.6% to 22.3%; and the tiny True Finns gained the most proportionately, growing from 1.6% to 4.1% of the vote. The overall turnout dropped slightly to 67.9%.

      The Social Democratic Party (down to 21.4% from 24.5%) was excluded from the coalition government formed after the elections. Prime Minister Matti Vanhanen of the Centre Party remained in office. His new cabinet featured 20 ministers drawn from the Centre Party, the Conservatives, the Greens, and the Swedish People's Party. Although the cabinet included 12 women, the important portfolios were in the hands of men, notably Minister for Foreign Affairs Ilkka Kanerva, Minister of Finance Jyrki Katainen, and Minister of Trade and Industry Mauri Pekkarinen.

      A leading election theme of the opposition was the purportedly low wages of nurses and the substantial raise that the opposition parties promised them. In April the new government promoted the competitiveness of wages in women-dominated professions, and a budget of €150 million (about $200 million) annually was earmarked for the purpose. In September the union of practical nurses accepted the collective agreement offered by municipal employers, but the qualified nurses' union Tehy turned it down. Tehy announced in October that it wanted a 24% raise over two and a half years, and, to make the point, 13,000 nurses gave their notice to leave their jobs en masse (effective November 19). In mid-November the government pushed through a “patient safety” law that would allow the authorities to force nurses back to work. Agreement was reached on November 18, however, just a few hours before the deadline. Nurses left the table with raises of 22–28% over four years and a 2007 year-end (Christmas) bonus of €270 (about $400).

      The Finnish-Swedish forest products group Stora Enso announced in September that it would sell its North American operations for €1.8 billion (about $2.5 billion), approximately the same amount that the group had spent on improvements to its subsidiary. (Stora Enso had acquired the American company Consolidated Papers in 2000 for €4.9 billion [about $4.5 billion].) Stora Enso closed or sold a number of facilities in Finland and elsewhere.

      Finnish cellular phone giant Nokia agreed in October to buy the American company Navteq, a maker of digital maps for mobile systems, for €5.7 billion (about $8.1 billion). The move was seen as the cell phone behemoth's effort to evolve with the times by providing content (and advertising space). Nokia CEO Olli-Pekka Kallasvuo confirmed that his company's aim was to become “number one” in mobile Internet services. The purchase of Navteq was preceded earlier in 2007 by a string of other acquisitions, including mobile advertising provider Enpocket and the Internet community Twango, as well as German mapping software company gate5 the year before.

      Another deal—smaller in amount but important for national identity—was the purchase in June of designer tableware manufacturer Iittala Group by Fiskars (a Finnish company best known for its much-copied orange-handled scissors) from Dutch bank ABN AMRO for €230 million (about $305 million). The move was generally applauded for bringing the benefits of synergy for both firms and for returning Iittala to “safe” Finnish ownership.

Susanna Bell

▪ 2007

338,145 sq km (130,559 sq mi)
(2006 est.): 5,265,000
Chief of state:
President Tarja Halonen
Head of government:
Prime Minister Matti Vanhanen

      In 2006 Finland celebrated the centenary of full political rights for women, a first in world history, and in January Pres. Tarja Halonen, the country's first woman head of state, was reelected for a second six-year term. Halonen, the Social Democratic Party candidate, gained the most votes in the first round but failed to achieve the 50% majority required for victory. In the second-round ballot on January 29, she defeated Sauli Niinistö, the National Coalition Party candidate and a European Investment Bank vice president, by 51.8–48.2%. During the campaign Niinistö suggested that if NATO continued to become more “European,” membership might be an option for Finland. Halonen, however, maintained that there was no urgent reason for Finland to join NATO. Observers speculated that one big reason for Halonen's victory could have been the large number of Centre Party voters who decided to stay away from the polls.

      Finland's second European Union presidency began in July, just a month before the outbreak of war in Lebanon. Minister for Foreign Affairs Erkki Tuomioja condemned the Israeli intervention in Lebanon while demanding the release of the two Israeli soldiers abducted by Hezbollah forces. Finland announced that it would commit troops to Lebanon, despite the fact that a Finnish UN observer in Lebanon had been killed in an Israeli attack. On December 5 the Finnish Parliament overwhelmingly approved the European Union constitution by a vote of 125–39, leading the way for President Halonen to sign the measure into law. No plebiscite was held prior to the vote.

 Prime Minister Matti Vanhanen played host at the Asia-Europe Meeting, ASEM 6, in Helsinki on September 10–11. The summit was attended by leaders from the 24 other EU members and 13 Asian countries. Police contained a demonstration that apparently was designed to become a riot. Many of the demonstrators were sponsored by the anarchist Smash ASEM group, which had disrupted previous summits, and a declaration posted on the Smash ASEM Web site promised to “bring at least a bit of disorder to streets of Helsinki as well.” Although the confrontations were mostly condemned by the media, polls showed that public opinion approved of the nonviolent police moves. After several complaints were filed, the National Bureau of Investigation looked into police actions.

      In August Russia paid €222 million (€1 = about $1.27) and agreed to provide another €25 million–€30 million in goods and services to cancel the last of its debt to Finland. The obligations dated from the late 1980s, when Russia assumed responsibility for the debts incurred by the former Soviet Union, which had owed Finland more than €1 billion.

      Finnish cellular phone giant Nokia and its German rival Siemens announced in June that they would unite their network operations. In its third-quarter report, released in October, Nokia estimated that it had increased its share of the world cell phone market from 34% to 36%.

Susanna Bell

▪ 2006

338,145 sq km (130,559 sq mi)
(2005 est.): 5,244,000
Chief of state:
President Tarja Halonen
Head of government:
Prime Minister Matti Vanhanen

      A prolonged labour dispute in Finland's paper industry, which accounted for as much as 20% of the country's exports, dominated much of 2005. The conflict began when the Finnish Forest Industries Federation announced that it would not join in the comprehensive collective labour agreement reached in late 2004. At the end of March 2005, after months of fruitless negotiations, the Finnish Paper Workers' Union (Paperiliitto) announced an overtime ban that brought production lines to a halt at several paper mills. After alternating company lockouts and union walkouts—and intervention by National Conciliator Juhani Salonius and Prime Minister Matti Vanhanen—the crisis was finally resolved in June. The repercussions of the dispute were widely felt. The Central Organization of Finnish Trade Unions (SAK) had contemplated a general strike, while contractors to the paper industry and related industries had suffered great financial losses. Even some newspapers had refrained from publishing their usual Sunday supplements.

      The generous option benefits of the state-owned energy group Fortum raised questions in the fall when their value skyrocketed to astronomical figures as Fortum share prices rose. Politicians who had given their approbation to the option scheme at the time it was drawn passed the buck to one another, toyed with the idea of a law that would grant exceptions, and finally resorted to asking option beneficiaries to give up their benefits voluntarily. Fortum CEO Mikael Lilius was among those called to a hearing in front of the parliamentary Commerce Committee. Lilius staunchly refused to give up his options or to discuss the details of his contract and blamed the imbroglio for the sudden downward trend of Fortum share prices. Pres. Tarja Halonen came out in support of the option beneficiaries, pointing out that in a country enjoying the rule of law, one could not very well back away from legitimate agreements.

       Russian military aircraft violated Finnish airspace repeatedly during the year. After Finnish media reported the incidents, government officials admitted to having known of a dozen violations. While on a visit to Moscow in early June, Vanhanen took up the issue with Russian Prime Minister Mikhail Fradkov. Four months later Russia apologized, blaming navigational errors, and Finland accepted the apology.

 Former president Martti Ahtisaari won international praise for his key role in the peace negotiations that took place in Helsinki early in the year between the Indonesian government and the Free Aceh Movement.

Susanna Bell

▪ 2005

338,145 sq km (130,559 sq mi)
(2004 est.): 5,226,000
Chief of state:
President Tarja Halonen
Head of government:
Prime Minister Matti Vanhanen

      Finnish Pres. Tarja Halonen spoke on the international stage in September 2004 when she told the United Nations that she thought the U.S.-led military intervention in Iraq was not in line with international law. Speaking to the UN General Assembly shortly after an address by U.S. Pres. George W. Bush, Halonen said that the international community had failed in advance of the Iraq war, “conflicting national interests prevailed over common will,” and “there was not enough commitment to act within the boundaries of Security Council resolutions.” She did not name the U.S. or its coalition of allies but said that some nations had resorted to the use of force, “which was not compatible with international law.” Halonen submitted that the Security Council, and particularly its permanent members, “must display a common will” and that “other nations must show support for …its decisions.” She added that it was now necessary for security and stability to be restored in Iraq so that democracy and prosperity could be achieved there.

      Prime Minister Matti Vanhanen's government, after prompting from Halonen, had earlier announced that the country would join the Ottawa Agreement against land mines. Finland's mines, which had not been deployed but were being stockpiled, would be phased out over a long period and would be replaced with comparable anti-infantry systems.

      The move aroused controversy, and a well-known political commentator remarked tartly in a letter to the press that Finland should not scrap its infantry mines until neighbouring Russia had scrapped its infantry. The two countries were evidently on good terms in 2004, although there were complaints from Moscow that Finland was delaying progress on a visa-exemption deal between Russia and the EU, of which Finland was a member.

      A former senior diplomat pointed to the rapidly recovering trade with Russia and to the opportunities by rail along what he called the “Iron Silk Road,” which could make Finland and its Baltic ports an expanding transit focus for freight from countries such as South Korea, Japan, and China.

      Finnish unemployment persisted at around 8% without progress on the government target to raise the employment rate from 69% to 75% to ensure future welfare-state funding. Anneli Jäätteenmäki, who was unseated as the country's first woman prime minister in 2003 following a scandal over a leakage of documents, left the national parliament and won election to the European Parliament after a court trial dismissed charges against her.

Edward M. Summerhill

▪ 2004

338,145 sq km (130,559 sq mi)
(2003 est.): 5,212,000
Chief of state:
President Tarja Halonen
Head of government:
Prime Ministers Paavo Lipponen, Anneli Jäätteenmäki from April 17, Antii Kalliomäki (acting) from June 18, and, from June 24, Matti Vanhanen

      Following the general elections in March 2003, opposition leader Anneli Jäätteenmäki became prime minister in April, but she resigned in June after confessing that she did not have the confidence of Parliament. Jäätteenmäki had come under intense pressure after it became known that she had acquired secret minutes of talks on Iraq held in Washington, D.C., in December 2002 between former prime minister Paavo Lipponen and U.S. Pres. George W. Bush. In her election campaign she had made use of her personal knowledge of the talks to assert that during those talks Lipponen had taken Finland closer to the U.S. position on Iraq than Finland's traditionally pro-UN policy warranted. Though critics did not dispute her right to the information, they blamed her for the underhanded way in which she had obtained the minutes from a top official. In December Jäätteenmäki was charged with having incited or helped a former presidential aide, Martti Manninen (who was also charged), to leak official secrets. The premiership went to Matti Vanhanen, also a member of the Centre Party, which formed a new government together with the Social Democratic and Swedish People's parties after the elections.

      The government reiterated its support for the UN but refrained from any overt criticism of the U.S. military action in Iraq. Former president Martti Ahtisaari—appointed late in September to head a panel to report to the UN on the August bombing of its headquarters in Baghdad, Iraq—compared the attack to those of 9/11 in the United States.

      Defense forces chief Juhani Kaskeala remarked in a speech in September that European Union defense and NATO were indivisible and that the transatlantic link was vital. His comments were broadly interpreted as suggesting that nonallied Finland should join NATO. In reviewing the national-security policy, the government considered a number of options, including cooperation with the EU and the possibility of joining the Atlantic alliance.

      Alpo Rusi, an aide to Ahtisaari who was under investigation by police for having spied for East Germany, would not face charges, a prosecutor said; there was no proof of gross espionage, and any lesser offense was barred owing to the passage of time. In addition, the prosecutor declared that the large number of unnamed Finns whom the news media had accused in 2002 of having passed information to East Germany would not be tried.

      Authorities, fearing the spread of crime, decided not to relax visa controls with neighbouring Russia.

Edward Summerhill

▪ 2003

338,145 sq km (130,559 sq mi)
(2002 est.): 5,201,000
Chief of state:
President Tarja Halonen
Head of government:
Prime Minister Paavo Lipponen

      Finland's historically edgy relationship with Russia again dominated news in 2002. During his July visit to Finland, Russian Defense Minister Sergey Ivanov declared that Moscow's NATO links would not be damaged if the other Baltic states—Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania—joined NATO, but Russia would not be pleased if NATO bases were established within 200 km (124 mi) of its borders. Prior to his visit, a newspaper had quoted Ivanov as saying that it was up to Finland to define its own security policy; Moscow, however, thought that NATO enlargement was contrary to regional and global security. Finnish leaders said that Finland was not about to join NATO but that the option would be kept open. National polls since the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks in the United States had shown that a majority of Finns favoured nonalliance. In an effort to lessen its reliance on Russia for its energy needs, in May Parliament approved the construction of another nuclear reactor, the country's fifth.

      The diaries of Urho Kekkonen were made public during the year. Kekkonen, who was president from 1956 to 1981 and died in 1986, was associated with “finlandization,” or, as he called it, “national realism,” a policy that allowed a small country like Finland to coexist with a superpower. He wrote that he was deeply shocked by the Soviet occupation of Czechoslovakia in 1968 and that he had not believed Moscow's reassurances; if the Soviet Union had invaded Finland, Kekkonen wrote, he would not have expected help from the West.

      In another echo of the Cold War, Alpo Rusi, a foreign policy adviser (1994–99) to former president Martti Ahtisaari, came under investigation by security police on suspicion that he had spied for former East Germany. Rusi denied the charge but acknowledged that he was under investigation and scrapped plans to enter politics and run for a parliamentary seat in March 2003. Helsingin Sanomat, the leading Finnish daily, reported in 2001 that it had obtained records showing that a large number of Finns supplied information to the Stasi, East Germany's intelligence agency, but it did not list their names.

      Prime Minister Paavo Lipponen, a proponent of the “northern dimension” of the European Union, sought EU funding to help underwrite a prospective health program among the Baltic states. Finnish men were crossing into Russia to purchase sex services, and HIV, a rarity in Finland, was rife there.

Edward M. Summerhill

▪ 2002

338,145 sq km (130,559 sq mi)
(2001 est.): 5,185,000
Chief of state:
President Tarja Halonen
Head of government:
Prime Minister Paavo Lipponen

      Though other countries in the region made plans in 2001 to join NATO, Finland maintained its nonalliance stance but welcomed NATO's open-door policy and pledged to cooperate closely within NATO's Partnership for Peace.

      During his visit in September, Russian Pres. Vladimir Putin remarked in Helsinki that he understood the feelings of Finns who demanded the restoration of Karelia, which was ceded to the Soviet Union after World War II, but he maintained that closer cross-border contacts would be a better way to address the issue. Though he saw no need for NATO enlargement, he understood that Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania wished to join the organization; he pledged not to launch a hysterical campaign against their efforts.

      Finnish Pres. Tarja Halonen became involved in a tiff with the Baltic States following her interview in the German press. Critics maintained that she had indicated that she was opposed to the Baltics' joining NATO. She denied taking that position, and her later talks with Baltic leaders evidently smoothed over the matter. Accession of Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania would leave Finland as the sole nonallied country along the immediate sea approaches to St. Petersburg.

      While visiting Finland, Putin laid a wreath at the tomb of Marshal of Finland C.G.E. Mannerheim, a courtesy that had not been observed by previous visiting leaders from the former Soviet Union. In a speech made while visiting St. Petersburg, Finnish Prime Minister Paavo Lipponen remarked that Putin's gesture could exemplify a new dimension in bilateral relations. Lipponen was also hoping to secure funds from the European Union to make railroad-track improvements, which could reduce to three hours the train journey between St. Petersburg and Helsinki.

      Finnish Foreign Minister Erkki Tuomioja came under criticism after an interview in which he asserted that Israel's policy was to suppress, humiliate, and impoverish the Palestinians with the kind of treatment that the Nazis had meted out to Jews in the 1930s. He later denied any intention to compare Israelis to Nazis.

      The Finnish economy surged early in 2001 before sliding toward zero growth. The governor of the central bank, Matti Vanhala, warned that a higher employment rate would be necessary if the welfare state was to be maintained.

Edward Summerhill

▪ 2001

338,145 sq km (130,559 sq mi)
(2000 est.): 5,178,000
Chief of state:
Presidents Martti Ahtisaari and, from March 1, Tarja Halonen
Head of government:
Prime Minister Paavo Lipponen

      In February 2000 Tarja Halonen (see Biographies (Halonen, Tarja )) of the left-wing Social Democratic Party was elected Finland's first woman president. Although known in her youthful political days as “Red Tarja,” she later served (1995–2000) as an orthodox foreign minister. Upon her presidential inauguration on March 1, a new constitution came into force that somewhat reduced her powers. A key change was that Parliament would choose the prime minister; Halonen, however, would wield considerable power in foreign affairs, one of her areas of expertise.

      At a news conference in Russia following talks with Pres. Vladimir Putin in Moscow, Halonen responded firmly to his curt refusal to discuss the return of Karelia, an area Finland lost to the Soviet Union during World War II; although she said that Finland would not press Russia on the issue, she indicated that the matter was not closed. Finnish authorities deplored border-guard reductions on Russia's side of the 1,269-km (788-mi) frontier. Concern was endemic among Finns, who worried that refugees from an unstable Russia might pour into their sparsely populated country. There was minor racial tension with a few refugees, but it was mainly with Somalis. Although polls indicated that Finland still opposed joining NATO—and Moscow would view its joining as an affront—Finland was prepared to offer troops to the European Union.

      The nation was shocked by a World Health Organization report that ranked Finland 31st in the world in its provision of health care. A senior commentator wrote that complacency about welfare was a state religion among Nordics. In another poll, this one about corruption, Finland ranked first—as the least corrupt country in the world.

      Finland rated extremely well in the area of high tech; leading the field was Nokia Corp., one of the foremost mobile-phone makers in the world. Prime Minister Paavo Lipponen conjectured that the high-tech industry could one day push unemployment below 7%. Investment in research and development remained massive, but the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development again criticized Finland for the rigidity of its traditional labour markets. The overall tax rate was high—at 47%—and the national debt was almost 50% of gross domestic product.

Edward Summerhill

▪ 2000

338,145 sq km (130,559 sq mi)
(1999 est.): 5,167,000
Chief of state:
President Martti Ahtisaari
Head of government:
Prime Minister Paavo Lipponen

      In 1999 Finland's Pres. Martti Ahtisaari made international news by heading talks in Belgrade that resulted in Serbia's agreeing to pull its armed forces out of Kosovo. (See Biographies (Ahtisaari, Martti ).) NATO's intervention in Yugoslavia was widely endorsed by the country's media and politicians, with the notable exception of former president Mauno Koivisto, who said that NATO intervention violated the rights of nations, the United Nations Charter, and the principles of NATO itself. He credited Ahtisaari's diplomacy with saving NATO from an inextricable situation.

      Ahtisaari did not fare as well at home. He declined to seek the nomination of his party for a second six-year presidential term, beginning in 2000. His Social Democratic Party, still narrowly the largest party and leaders of the ruling coalition following parliamentary elections in March, chose Foreign Minister Tarja Halonen as its candidate. In other developments, a constitutional amendment that would take away many of the president's powers and enhance the role of Parliament gained initial approval by Parliament in February.

      Prime Minister Paavo Lipponen had campaigned for Finland to join the European Union, which it did in 1995, so it was a point of pride when Finland assumed the six-month rotating EU presidency in July. The Finns pledged to adhere to the tradition, occasionally broken, that French, English, and the language of the presiding country were to be the languages of EU informal meetings. Germany and Austria pressed unsuccessfully for the inclusion of German (with support from Italy and Spain, who had similar designs for their languages) and declined to attend a number of EU meetings.

      A country with liberal laws on aliens but few foreigners living within its borders, Finland received an unusually large number of applicants for asylum in 1999, including more than a thousand Slovakian Roma (Gypsies), who asserted that they were oppressed in their own country. This brought friction with Slovakia, which insisted that its minorities policy was in line with international human rights standards. Meanwhile, in September the local council in Seinäjoki voted against accepting 30 Serb refugees for resettlement in their small town, fearing possible violence between the newcomers and the Albanian refugees already living there.

      Finland's official unemployment rate eased to somewhat under 10%. Nokia Corp., the world leader in manufacture of mobile telephones, contributed to a large trade surplus. The country reported the world's highest rate of cellular phone penetration with five million units, almost one per person.

Edward M. Summerhill

▪ 1999

      Area: 338,145 sq km (130,559 sq mi)

      Population (1998 est.): 5,154,000

      Capital: Helsinki

      Chief of state: President Martti Ahtisaari

      Head of government: Prime Minister Paavo Lipponen

      On June 2, 1998, the Finnish forest industry corporation Enso announced that it would merge with the Swedish corporation Stora and thereby create Europe's largest forestry enterprise and the second largest in the world, after International Paper Co. of the United States. The government of Finland, with a 44% stake in Enso, would remain the biggest shareholder in the new firm. Enso and Stora posted aggregate sales of $11 billion in 1997.

      A poll in September revealed that a slight majority of the nation had swung behind the government's decision that the country would enter the economic and monetary union of the European Union at the beginning of 1999. Unemployment declined during the year but remained high at a predicted 11%. Though the country ran a current-account surplus, government debt remained high.

      In July a Finnish senior military commander was reprimanded for saying that the territory of Karelia, ceded to the Soviet Union after the conflict between the two countries in 1939-45, should be restored to Finland. The area had contained one-tenth of the territory of Finland and one-tenth of its population, but in 1998 it contained a quarter of a million Russians. These, Brig. Gen. Kari Hietanen told a Karelian association, could be resettled elsewhere in Russia. Restoration of the territory to Finland was "largely a question of the will to right historic wrongs," he said. Pres. Martti Ahtisaari said that Finland would not raise the issue of the return with Russia but that people were entitled to discuss it.

      Late in September Iltasanomat, Finland's major newspaper, reported that Olli Mattila, an official at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs was under investigation; it was suspected that he had passed confidential European Union documents to Russia. He was the son of Olavi J. Mattila, a former high state official close to Urho Kekkonen, president from 1956 to 1981, who maintained close ties to Kremlin leaders during his long tenure. The newspaper wrote that Nikolay Makarov, whom it identified as an alleged member of the Russian intelligence service KGB, was one of two officials at the Russian embassy told to leave Finland because of the incident. Foreign Minister Tarja Halonen, commenting at a news conference, admitted that the case was "sad" but said that the documents involved were not important ones. Nonetheless, an announcement by a state prosecutor on December 30 indicated that Mattila would be charged with spying. Espionage was considered an act of treason, and such charges were extremely unusual in Finland.


▪ 1998

      Area: 338,145 sq km (130,559 sq mi)

      Population (1997 est.): 5,145,000

      Capital: Helsinki

      Chief of state: President Martti Ahtisaari

      Head of government: Prime Minister Paavo Lipponen

      In 1997 Mauno Koivisto, president of Finland from 1982 to 1994, complained that his presidential office had been swept clear of important records by the time that he took over from his ailing predecessor, Urho Kekkonen, who was known to have formed close links with Soviet leaders during his 25 years of office. Koivisto wrote in memoirs published in September that notes of face-to-face talks with foreign leaders had evidently been removed to the archives of a private foundation. In 1997 he was still being allowed only restricted access to the records. Kekkonen, forced to retire in 1981 with diagnosed symptoms of dementia, led Finland through a period during which the country was accused in the West of undue acquiescence to the wishes of Moscow.

      Unlike its Nordic neighbours, Finland in 1997 refused to endorse a global movement to ban antipersonnel land mines. Finland also differed from Denmark and Sweden in vowing that it would be in the first wave of countries to join the third stage of the European Union's (EU's) economic and monetary union, EMU. This was scheduled to become operational at the beginning of 1999 and would eventually introduce a common EU currency. A poll showed that despite resistance from the agrarian-based opposition Finnish Centre Party and from some members of the ruling coalition parties, Parliament was likely to endorse accession in a vote early in 1998.

      Finland continued to be plagued by high unemployment, running at above 12% according to the figures used for EU comparison but at a much higher rate according to the number of persons the Labour Ministry reported as receiving unemployment benefits. The nation taxed incomes at a rate above 48%, exceeded in the EU only by Denmark and Sweden and up by almost 10% from 1996, compared with a rise of 4.5% in gross domestic product.

      The government called for more flexibility in the labour market, in which a rising proportion of the workforce was absorbed by the service sector. But it also urged the renewal of the national collective agreement between employers and unions that regulated the nonunionized workforce. The unions urged tighter statutory rules for sectors not under union control.


▪ 1997

      The republic of Finland is situated in northern Europe, on the Gulf of Bothnia and the Gulf of Finland. Area: 338,145 sq km (130,559 sq mi). Pop. (1996 est.): 5,132,000. Cap.: Helsinki. Monetary unit: Finnish markka, with (Oct. 11, 1996) a free rate of 4.58 markkaa to U.S. $1 (7.21 markkaa = £ 1 sterling). President in 1996, Martti Ahtisaari; prime minister, Paavo Lipponen.

      Despite efforts by nearby former socialist countries in Eastern Europe to join NATO, Finland would in "the current circumstances" remain militarily unaligned, Pres. Martti Ahtisaari said repeatedly in 1996. He and Prime Minister Paavo Lipponen reiterated that Finland would be among the first countries of the European Union (EU) to join its economic and monetary union (EMU), which was scheduled to go into operation in 1999.

      Speaking in October, Lipponen said that Finland was joining the EMU to reduce the risk of again finding itself exposed and alone if Europe should once more divide into East and West. "Finland's interests cannot be pursued effectively with one foot inside the EU and one outside," he told a public seminar arranged by the country's biggest newspaper, Helsingin Sanomat. "In the EU and the European transformation we are continually threatened with the risk of becoming a focus of bilateralism, a situation in which we would find ourselves a focus of the policies of Moscow and Berlin," he said.

      Lipponen urged his compatriots to discard what he called their "bystander attitude" on union development and to endorse a Finnish entry into the EU's potential inner ring forming around Germany and France. He said that exclusion from the prospective inner ring would mean being shut out of the planned formulation by the EU of a foreign and security policy that would inevitably affect Finland.

      Spending on defense remained low. During the year, however, Finland received some of the U.S. F/A-18 Hornet dual-role fighter and attack warplanes ordered several years earlier. The government cut back its heavy spending on social services and described its budgeting as stringent. The nation's inflation rate for the year was slightly above zero. Its rate of unemployment eased late in the year from 17% to 16%.

      The heavily subsidized Finnish farmers continued to resist the agricultural policy of the EU. The government remained locked in negotiations with the EU over import quotas on alcoholic beverages and the EU's proposal to dismantle the Finnish national liquor monopoly ALKO.


▪ 1996

      The republic of Finland is in northern Europe, on the Gulf of Bothnia and the Gulf of Finland. Area: 338,145 sq km (130,559 sq mi). Pop. (1995 est.): 5,101,000. Cap.: Helsinki. Monetary unit: Finnish markka, with (Oct. 6, 1995) a free rate of 4.31 markkaa to U.S. $1 (6.81 markkaa = £ 1 sterling). President in 1995, Martti Ahtisaari; prime ministers, Esko Aho and, from April 13, Paavo Lipponen.

      Finland joined the European Union (EU) at the start of 1995. The impact of its entry into the EU's single market was softened by special subsidies for Finland's cold-climate farming. Finland was also allowed, on the grounds of public health, to retain part of its state monopoly on the sale of alcoholic beverages, a lucrative source of government revenue.

      Pres. Martti Ahtisaari said that Finland, despite accession to the EU, would retain its observer status on the Western European Union and would not assume WEU full membership, a move that might imply eventual membership in NATO. He also warned the West against isolating Russia, saying that democracy there would not take root unless given time. In a departure from his country's former practice of avoiding open criticism of its powerful neighbour, however, he also pointed to the environmental risks to Europe of Russia's polluting industries and possibly unsafe atomic power stations, several of which lay close to the border between Russia and Finland.

      Parliament moved toward accepting a proposal by Ahtisaari and Prime Minister Paavo Lipponen that Finland set up a rapid deployment force that could be made available for crisis situations involving the UN or the Organization for Cooperation and Security in Europe. Finland had traditionally provided the UN with troops meant only for police duties. Lipponen also announced that Finland would be among the first countries in the EU to accede to its economic and monetary union, a scheme that was intended, among other things, to lead to a single EU currency.

      In general elections in March, the Social Democratic Party, led by Lipponen, displaced the rural-based Centre Party as the biggest group in Parliament. Lipponen formed and headed a majority coalition government excluding the centrists but retaining the conservative National Coalition and Swedish People's parties and bringing into office the Green Union and the Left-Wing Alliance, an organization of former communists. The Centre Party had been a part of almost all governments since World War II, including a lengthy period when it was largely responsible for maintaining relations with the Soviet Union.

      In October the government proposed a plan to reduce unemployment, which was about 17%. Inflation fell to about 1% according to the central bank. The two big Finnish commercial banks, Kansallis-Osake-Pankki and Union Bank of Finland, merged during the year to form the Merita Bank. They announced a recovery from losses accumulated in recent years, during which they were forced to accept a still-outstanding loan from the government. Mergers also took place in the forestry industry, a key export sector that reported big profits. (EDWARD M. SUMMERHILL)

▪ 1995

      The republic of Finland is in northern Europe, on the Gulf of Bothnia and the Gulf of Finland. Area: 338,145 sq km (130,559 sq mi). Pop. (1994 est.): 5,083,000. Cap.: Helsinki. Monetary unit: Finnish markka, with (Oct. 7, 1994) a free rate of 4.74 markkaa to U.S. $1 (7.53 markkaa = £ 1 sterling). Presidents in 1994, Mauno Koivisto and, from March 1, Martti Ahtisaari; prime minister, Esko Aho.

      Finland elected Martti Ahtisaari of the Social Democratic Party as its president in February 1994 after Mauno Koivisto, also a Social Democrat, declined to run for reelection after two six-year terms. Ahtisaari, not previously active in domestic politics, defeated Elisabeth Rehn, the first woman to serve as Finnish defense minister and the first to be a significant candidate for president. Ahtisaari had served for several years with the UN. He began his presidency with the traditional visits to the other Scandinavian countries and to Finland's eastern neighbour, Russia, and visited the U.S. as the guest of Pres. Bill Clinton.

      During the year Ahtisaari became involved in a dispute with members of Parliament, including Prime Minister Esko Aho, about the powers of the presidency. The disagreements centred on who should represent the country at summit meetings of the European Union, which Finland was scheduled to join at the beginning of 1995. Ahtisaari said that the duty should fall to the president, possibly together with the prime minister as in France, while Parliament leaned strongly toward representation by the prime minister alone. The dispute was not resolved during the year.

      In an advisory referendum on October 16, Finns voted 56.9% to 43.1% in favour of European Union (EU) membership. This was in line with government policy and was advocated by Ahtisaari. Some former communists rejected membership, however, as did the small Christian Union Party and several other groups. The most significant opposition came from members of the agrarian-based Centre Party, the biggest group in Parliament and in the ruling coalition government. They protested that accession to the EU and its inner market would subject the heavily subsidized Finnish farmers to unacceptable pressures in the form of competition from member countries where producer prices were much lower. The persisting division in the Centre Party over accession to the EU was accompanied by lower popularity ratings for it in opinion polls. The polls gave the top ratings to the Social Democratic Party, suggesting it would become the largest party in Parliament after the next elections, scheduled for March 1995.

      By the end of 1994 the rate of unemployment in Finland had fallen slightly from the 20% recorded early in the year. Exports, led by products of the forestry and metalworking sectors, rose, and the country posted a trade surplus. Inflation fell to an annual rate of about 2%. The government continued to borrow to finance its deficit budgeting, and its debt was more than 60% of gross domestic product. In the private sector the nation's commercial banks continued to struggle with bad debts. Nokia, a manufacturer of electronic equipment, did increasingly well in the expanding world market for mobile telephones.

      A group of researchers reported in The New England Journal of Medicine in late November that Finland had become the first country to eliminate indigenous cases of measles, German measles, and mumps.


▪ 1994

      The republic of Finland is in northern Europe, on the Gulf of Bothnia and the Gulf of Finland. Area: 338,145 sq km (130,559 sq mi). Pop. (1993 est.): 5,058,000. Cap.: Helsinki. Monetary unit: Finnish markka, with (Oct. 4, 1993) a free rate of 5.82 markkaa to U.S. $1 (8.82 markkaa = £ 1 sterling). President in 1993, Mauno Koivisto; prime minister, Esko Aho.

      In March 1993, Pres. Mauno Koivisto, who turned 70 in November, announced that he would retire in March 1994 after completing two successive six-year terms in office. The news prompted all the major political parties, several smaller parties, and a few popular movements to nominate candidates for the post, which carried sweeping powers, including responsibility for the formulation and monitoring of foreign policy. The expected scenario of a close presidential race between a few prominent politicians was upset in the spring when a civil servant, Martti Ahtisaari, won the nomination of the opposition Social Democratic Party in a primary open to all voters. His victory was viewed as a reflection of popular disenchantment with long-serving politicians. As the 1994 elections approached, polls showed that Ahtisaari maintained a clear lead over all other rivals, including Paavo Väyrynen of the Centre Party and Raimo Ilaskivi of the National Coalition (Conservative) Party.

      Though action against politicians on ethical grounds was rare in Finland, the high court of impeachment, which had not convened since 1961, found Kauko Juhantalo, a former trade and industry minister, guilty of abuse of office and of having solicited a bribe from Skopbank, the commercial arm of an association of savings banks. Juhantalo, who received a one-year suspended prison sentence, intended to retain his parliamentary seat.

      On the domestic scene Finland continued to be blighted by a recession, which was prolonged as a result of Koivisto's advocacy of an overvalued Finnish markka, a policy he maintained until the currency was floated in September 1992. By late 1993 the markka had stabilized against major currencies at a level at least 25% below its rate of two years earlier. Diminished demand also contributed to the lingering recession. Household disposable income fell as a result of higher taxes, a freeze on wages, and unemployment. Some 500,000 persons, somewhat less than 20% of the workforce, were unemployed at the end of the year. The government predicted that the unemployment figure would not fall to 15% until the second half of the decade. The inflation rate, however, fell to about 2%. There was a loss of exports to Russia, and the government borrowed heavily from abroad while maintaining that the rising surplus in visible trade would balance the deficit in the current account within the next few years.

      The government continued to reduce public services to help reduce expenditures under the national budget. Overall spending rose, however, under supplementary budgets, which were used to offset the effects of rising unemployment and to provide financing for banks hit by the recession. The Savings Bank of Finland received some $6 billion before being sold later in the year to four commercial banks for about $2 billion.

      In foreign affairs Finland was quick to express support for Pres. Boris Yeltsin during the September leadership struggle in neighbouring Russia, which had traditionally been one of Finland's primary security concerns. Though Koivisto and other Finnish leaders repeatedly remarked that they did not fear a military threat from Russia, they expressed concern about a possible armed forces buildup just across the 1,270-km (800-mi) border after the withdrawal of Russian troops from parts of Eastern Europe.

      Finland, which hoped to join the European Community (EC) in 1995, stated that it would accept the Maastricht Treaty on European Union. Finland also agreed to a joint foreign and security policy but wished to retain its military neutrality and an independent defense. Finland's admission into the EC would depend, however, on EC assurances that special provisions would be made for Finland's heavily subsidized Arctic and sub-Arctic farming.


* * *

Finland, flag of  country located in northern Europe. Finland is one of the world's most northern and geographically remote countries and is subject to a severe climate. Nearly two-thirds of Finland is blanketed by thick woodlands, making it the most densely forested country in Europe. Finland also forms a symbolic northern border between western and eastern Europe: dense wilderness and Russia to the east, the Gulf of Bothnia and Sweden to the west.

      A part of Sweden from the 12th century until 1809, Finland was then a Russian grand duchy until, following the Russian Revolution, the Finns declared independence on Dec. 6, 1917. Finland's area decreased by about one-tenth during the 1940s, when it ceded the Petsamo ( Pechenga) area, which had been a corridor to the ice-free Arctic coast, and a large part of southeastern Karelia to the Soviet Union (ceded portions now in Russia).

      Throughout the Cold War era, Finland skillfully maintained a neutral political position, although a 1948 treaty with the Soviet Union (terminated 1991) required Finland to repel any attack on the Soviet Union carried out through Finnish territory by Germany or any of its allies. Since World War II, Finland has steadily increased its trading and cultural relations with other countries. Under a U.S.-Soviet agreement, Finland was admitted to the United Nations in 1955. Since then, Finland has sent representatives to the Nordic Council, which makes suggestions to mem-ber countries on the coordination of policies.

      Finland's international activities became more widely known when the Conference on Security and Cooperation in Europe (Security and Co-operation in Europe, Organization for), which resulted in the creation of the Helsinki Accords, was held in that city in 1975. Finland has continued to have especially close ties with the other Scandinavian countries, sharing a free labour market and participating in various economic, cultural, and scientific projects. Finland became a full member of the European Union (and its constituent European Community) in 1995.

      The landscape of ubiquitous forest and water has been a primary source of inspiration for Finnish arts and letters. Starting with Finland's national epic, the Kalevala, the country's great artists and architects—including Alvar Aalto (Aalto, Alvar), Albert Edelfeldt, Akseli Gallén-Kallela, Juha Ilmari Leiviskä, and Eero Saarinen (Saarinen, Eero)—as well as its musicians, writers, and poets—from Jean Sibelius (Sibelius, Jean) to Väinö Linna, Juhani Aho (Aho, Juhani), Zacharias Topelius (Topelius, Zacharias) and Eino Leino (Leino, Eino)—have all drawn themes and imagery from their national landscape. One of the first Modernist poets, Edith Södergran (Södergran, Edith), expressed her relationship to the Finnish environment this way in "Homecoming" :

The tree of my youth stands rejoicing around me: O human!
And the grass bids me welcome from foreign lands.
My head I recline in the grass: now finally home.
Now I turn my back on everything that lies behind me:
My only companions will be the forest and the shore and the lake.

      The notion of nature as the true home of the Finn is expressed again and again in Finnish proverbs and folk wisdom. The harsh climate in the northern part of the country, however, has resulted in the concentration of the population in the southern third of Finland, with about one-fifth of the country's population living in and around Helsinki, Finland's largest city and continental Europe's northernmost capital. Yet, despite the fact that most Finns live in towns and cities, nature—especially the forest—is never far from their minds and hearts.

 Finland is bordered to the north by Norway, to the east by Russia, to the south by the Gulf of Finland (Finland, Gulf of), to the southwest by the Gulf of Bothnia (Bothnia, Gulf of), and to the northwest by Sweden. Its area includes the autonomous territory of Åland (Åland Islands), an archipelago at the entrance to the Gulf of Bothnia. About one-third of the territory of Finland—most of the lääni (province) of Lappi—lies north of the Arctic Circle.

Relief (Finland)
      Finland is heavily forested and contains some 56,000 lakes, numerous rivers, and extensive areas of marshland; viewed from the air, Finland looks like an intricate blue and green jigsaw puzzle. Except in the northwest, relief features do not vary greatly, and travelers on the ground or on the water can rarely see beyond the trees in their immediate vicinity. The landscape nevertheless possesses a striking—if sometimes bleak—beauty.

      Finland's underlying structure is a huge worn-down shield composed of ancient rock, mainly granite, dating from Precambrian time (from a little more than 3.9 billion to roughly 540 million years ago). The land is low-lying in the southern part of the country and higher in the centre and the northeast, while the few mountainous regions are in the extreme northwest, adjacent to Finland's borders with Sweden and Norway. In this area there are several high peaks, including Mount Haltia (Haltia, Mount), which, at 4,357 feet (1,328 metres), is Finland's highest mountain.

      The coastline of Finland, some 2,760 miles (4,600 km) in length, is extremely indented and dotted with thousands of islands. The greatest number of these are to be found in the southwest, in the Turun (Turku; Åbo) archipelago, which merges with the Åland (Ahvenanmaa) Islands in the west. The southern islands in the Gulf of Finland are mainly of low elevation, while those lying along the southwest coastline may rise to heights of more than 400 feet (120 metres).

      The relief of Finland was greatly affected by Ice Age glaciation.The retreating continental glacier left the bedrock littered with morainic deposits in formations of eskers (esker), remarkable winding ridges of stratified gravel and sand, running northwest to southeast. One of the biggest formations is the Salpausselkä ridges, three parallel ridges running across southern Finland in an arc pattern. The weight of the glaciers, sometimes miles thick, depressed the Earth's crust by many hundreds of feet. As a consequence, areas that have been released from the weight of the ice sheets have risen and continue to rise, and Finland is still emerging from the sea. Indeed, land rise of some 0.4 inch (10 mm) annually in the narrow part of the Gulf of Bothnia (Bothnia, Gulf of) is gradually turning the old sea bottom into dry land.

Drainage and soils
      Finland's inland waters occupy almost one-tenth of the country's total area; there are 10 lakes of more than 100 square miles (250 square km) in area and tens of thousands of smaller ones. The largest lake, Saimaa (Saimaa, Lake), in the southeast, covers about 1,700 square miles (4,400 square km). There are many other large lakes near it, including Päijänne (Päijänne, Lake) and Pielinen (Pielinen, Lake), while Oulu is near Kajaani in central Finland, and Inari (Inari, Lake) is in the extreme north. Away from coastal regions, many of Finland's rivers flow into the lakes, which are generally shallow—only three lakes are deeper than about 300 feet (90 metres). Saimaa itself drains into the much larger Lake Ladoga (Ladoga, Lake) in Russian territory via the Vuoksi (Vuoksa) River. Drainage from Finland's eastern uplands is through the lake system of Russian Karelia to the White Sea.

      In the extreme north the Paats River and its tributaries drain large areas into the Arctic. On Finland's western coast a series of rivers flow into the Gulf of Bothnia (Bothnia, Gulf of). These include the Tornio (Torne River), which forms part of Finland's border with Sweden, and the Kemi (Kemi River), which, at 343 miles (550 km), is Finland's longest river. In the southwest the Kokemäen (Kokemäen River), one of Finland's largest rivers, flows out past the city of Pori (Björneborg). Other rivers flow southward into the Gulf of Finland (Finland, Gulf of).

      Soils include those of the gravelly type found in the eskers, as well as extensive marine and lake postglacial deposits in the form of clays and silts, which provide the country's most fertile soils. Almost one-third of Finland was once covered by bogs, fens, peatlands, and other swamplands, but many of these have been drained and are now forested. The northern third of Finland still has thick layers of peat, the humus soil of which continues to be reclaimed. In the Åland Islands the soils are mainly clay and sand.

      The part of Finland north of the Arctic Circle suffers extremely severe and prolonged winters. Temperatures can fall as low as −22 °F (−30 °C). In these latitudes the snow never melts from the north-facing mountain slopes, but in the short summer (Lapland has about two months of the midnight sun), from May to July, temperatures can reach as high as 80 °F (27 °C). Farther south the temperature extremes are slightly less marked, as the Baltic Sea- and Gulf Stream-warmed airflow from the Atlantic keeps temperatures as much as 10 degrees higher than at similar latitudes in Siberia and Greenland. Winter is the longest season in Finland. North of the Arctic Circle the polar night lasts for more than 50 days; in southern Finland the shortest day lasts about six hours. Annual precipitation, about one-third of which falls as sleet or snow, is about 25 inches (600 mm) in the south and a little less in the north. All Finnish waters are subject to some surface freezing during the winter.

Plant and animal life
      Much of Finland is dominated by conifers, but in the extreme south there is a zone of deciduous trees comprising mainly birch, hazel, aspen, maple, elm, linden, and alder. The conifers are mainly pine and spruce. Pine extends to the extreme north, where it can be found among the dwarf arctic birch and pygmy willow. Lichens become increasingly common and varied in kind toward the north. In autumn the woods are rich in edible fungi. More than 1,000 species of flowering plants have been recorded. The sphagnum swamps, which are widespread in the northern tundra or bogland area, yield harvests of cloudberries, as well as plagues of mosquitoes.

      Finland is relatively rich in wildlife. Seabirds, such as the black-backed gull and the arctic tern, nest in great numbers on the coastal islands; waterfowl, such as the black and white velvet scoter duck, nest on inland lakes. Other birds include the Siberian jay, the pied wagtail, and, in the north, the eagle. Many birds migrate southward in winter. Finland is the breeding site for many water and wading birds, including the majority of the world's goldeneyes and broad-billed sandpipers (Limicola falcinellus). Native woodland animals include bear, elk, wolf, wolverine, lynx, and Finnish elk. Wild reindeer have almost disappeared; those remaining in the north are domesticated.

      Salmon, trout, and the much esteemed siika (whitefish) are relatively abundant in the northern rivers. Baltic herring is the most common sea fish, while crayfish can be caught during the brief summer season. Pike, char, and perch are also found.

      The vegetation and wildlife of the Åland Islands is much like that of coastal southern Finland.

Ethnic groups (Finland)
      Excavations undertaken in 1996 have led to a radical reconsideration of how long people have inhabited Finland. Finds in a cave near Kristinestad in the southwestern part of the country have led some to suggest that habitation of Finland goes back at least 100,000 years. Ancestors of the Sami apparently were present in Finland by about 7000 BC. As other groups began to enter Finland some 3,000 years later, the proto-Sami probably retreated northward. Archaeological remains suggest that this second wave of settlers came from or had contact with what was to become Russia and also Scandinavia and central Europe. Peoples of Uralic (specifically Finno-Ugric (Finno-Ugric languages)) stock dominated two settlement areas. Those who entered southwestern Finland across the Gulf of Finland were the ancestors of the Hämäläiset (Tavastians, or Tavastlanders), the people of southern and western Finland (especially the historic region of Häme); those who entered from the southeast were the Karelians. Scandinavian peoples occupied the western coast and archipelagoes and the Åland Islands.

      Roughly half of Finland's small Sami population live in the area known as the Sami Homeland (Sámiid ruovttuguovlu), which consists of the three northernmost municipalities in the province of Lapland. In 1995 the Finnish constitution was amended to recognize the status of the Sami as an indigenous people and their right to maintain and develop their own language and culture. (See also Finnic Peoples.)

      Finland has two national languages, Finnish (Finnish language) and Swedish (Swedish language), and is officially bilingual. Well more than nine-tenths of the population speak Finnish; the language is an important nationalist feature, although it is spoken in strong regional dialects. The Swedish-speaking population is found mainly in the coastal area in the south, southwest, and west and in the Åland Islands (where Swedish is the sole official language). According to the constitution of 2000, public authorities are required to provide for the needs of the Finnish- and Swedish-speaking populations of the country on an equal basis. Rights and obligations concerning the national languages were addressed in greater detail in the Language Act promulgated in 2004.

      There is also a tiny minority of Sami (Sami language) speakers in the extreme north of Finland. Of the 11 Sami languages, 3 are spoken in Finland: North Sami, Inari Sami (spoken only in Finland), and Skolt Sami. The Sami languages are related to Finnish, with North Sami being the most widely spoken, by almost four-fifths of the Sami population.

      Relationships between the various language groups in Finland are good, and the position of the minority languages is strong compared with that of minority groups in most other multilingual and multicultural countries. Although Sami is not a national language of Finland like Finnish and Swedish, its status as a regional minority language is guaranteed by the Sami Language Act (2004).

      Christianity entered Finland from both the west and the east in the 13th century. Finland is now one of the most homogeneous countries in Europe in terms of Christianity and has the highest percentage of church membership in Scandinavia. The great majority of the people belong to the Evangelical Lutheran Church of Finland (Finland, Church of), whose status gradually changed from an official state church to a national church beginning in the 19th century. The archbishop has his see at Turku (Åbo). Yet, despite the high proportion of church membership, only a small number of Finns attend church regularly. Nonetheless, the majority of the people are still baptized, married, and buried with the blessing of the Lutheran church.

      A small minority of Finns belong to the Orthodox Church of Finland, the only other faith to have the status of a national church. It was granted autonomy from Moscow in 1920, and in 1923 it was transferred to the jurisdiction of the patriarch of Constantinople. It has one archbishop, with his see at Kuopio. Members of the Pentecostal church constitute another relatively small religious group in Finland, and even fewer Finns belong to independent Protestant churches and the Roman Catholic Church. Small Jewish and Muslim communities date from the 19th century, when Finland was one of the few parts of the Russian empire where Jews and Muslims could practice their religion more or less freely; however, Jews were granted full rights as citizens only after Finland became independent in 1918. With the founding of its first Islamic congregation in 1925, Finland became the first European country to officially recognize an Islamic congregation. More than one-tenth of the population have no church affiliation.

Settlement patterns
 Increased industrialization in Finland has steadily raised the proportion of the population living in urban areas; by the early 21st century, about three-fifths of the total population lived in cities and towns. Farms are most commonly located in the meadowland regions of the southwest, where the fertile land is suitable for mixed agriculture. In the north farmers usually concentrate on small dairy herds and forestry. In Finnish Lapland there is some nomadic life based mainly on the reindeer industry.

      The major urban settlements are all in the southern third of the country, with a large number of cities and towns concentrated on the coast, either on the Gulf of Finland, as is the capital, Helsinki, or on the Gulf of Bothnia, as are Vaasa and Oulu (Uleåborg). The only town of any size in the north is Rovaniemi, capital of the lääni of Lapland. Helsinki is the largest city, with a population that is significantly larger than those of Tampere (Tammerfors) and Turku, the country's capital until 1812.

Traditional regions
      There are three principal regions in Finland: a coastal plain, an interior lake district, and an interior tract of higher land that rises to the fells (tunturi) of Lapland.

      The coastal plain comprises a narrow tract in the south, sloping from Salpausselkä to the Gulf of Finland; the southwest plains of the lääni (province) of Western Finland: and the broad western coastal lowlands of the region of Pohjanmaa (Ostrobothnia) facing the Gulf of Bothnia. The coastal region has the most extensive stretches of farmland; this region also is the site of the longest continuous settlement and has the largest number of urban centres. Associated with it are the offshore islands, which are most numerous in the Turun archipelago off Turku on the southwest coast. Farther to the north in the Gulf of Bothnia another group of islands lies off Vaasa (Vasa).

 The lake district, with its inland archipelagoes, is the heart of Finland. It has been less subject to external influences than the coastal region, but since the end of World War II its population has increased, and it has become considerably industrialized.

      The higher land in the northeast and north constitutes what may still be called “colonial” Finland. These are the country's areas of expansion and development where many economic and social interests conflict, including, in the far north, the area of saamelaisalue, or Sami territory.

      The Åland Islands is a region entirely distinct from Finland, not only because of its geographic separation but also because it is surrounded by the sea. The islands—whose inhabitants are almost entirely Swedish-speaking—are autonomous, have their own parliament, and fly their own flag. On the islands farming is a more usual occupation than fishing; there are mixed farms, as in the southwest of Finland, but fruit is also grown. Mariehamn (Maarianhamina) is the capital and only large town.

Demographic trends
      Until the 1990s emigration exceeded immigration, with Sweden being one of the most attractive destinations for Finnish emigrants. Following World War II, hundreds of thousands of Finns emigrated, while immigration was practically nil, owing to government restrictions. Since 1990, however, Finland has become a country of net immigration. As a result of increasing Finnish prosperity, the fall of the Soviet Union, and a liberalization of Finnish asylum and immigration policy, the number of immigrants rose dramatically at the end of the 20th century and the beginning of the 21st, with the largest numbers coming from Russia, Sweden, Estonia, and Somalia. Internal migration since the 1950s has been steadily toward the large towns and cities.

      Finland's economy is based primarily on private ownership and free enterprise; in some sectors, however, the government exercises a monopoly or a leading role. After World War II, Finland was not fully industrialized, and a large portion of the population was still engaged in agriculture, mining, and forestry. During the early postwar decades, primary production gave way to industrial development, which in turn yielded to a service- and information-oriented economy. The economy grew rapidly in the 1980s as the country exploited its strong trading relations with both eastern and western Europe. By the early 1990s, however, Finland was experiencing economic recession, reflecting both the loss of its principal trading partner with the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991 and a general European economic slump. The economy began a slow recovery in the mid-1990s as Finland continued retooling its industry and refocused its trade primarily toward western Europe.

      Unemployment was relatively low in Finland until 1991, when it increased rapidly. After peaking at nearly 20 percent of the workforce in 1994, the unemployment rate gradually began to decline again, falling in line with continental trends by the end of the 20th century.

      Finland has subscribed to the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade since 1949 and to the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (Economic Co-operation and Development, Organisation for) since 1969. It became first an associate (1961) and later a full member (1986) of the European Free Trade Association before leaving that organization to join the European Union (EU) in 1995.

Agriculture, forestry, and fishing
      The steadily decreasing portion of the labour force working in agriculture is indicative of the sector's declining role in Finland's economy. Much land has been taken out of agricultural production, and most farms consist of smallholdings. Finland has been self-supporting in basic foodstuffs since the early 1960s. Meat production roughly equals consumption, while egg and dairy output exceeds domestic needs. Grain production varies considerably; in general, bread grain (mainly wheat) is imported and fodder grain exported. The climate restricts grain farming to the southern and western regions of the country.

      Animal husbandry in Finland traditionally concentrated on the raising of dairy cattle, but cuts were made after years of overproduction. As a result, the number of milk cows has declined. The keeping of pigs, poultry, and reindeer also is important, while sheep farming and beekeeping are of minor economic significance. The number of horses also declined until the late 1970s but then became generally stable, with the subsequent increase in the number of Thoroughbred horses raised.

      Since World War II, fur farming has made great strides in Finland. Practically all furs are exported; Finland is one of the world's main producers of farm-raised foxes (fox), and its mink furs also have a very good reputation on international markets.

      Finnish agriculture was heavily subsidized before the country entered the EU, and as a result of negotiation, Finland remains among the most subsidized under the EU's Common Agricultural Policy. Finnish farmers rely heavily on direct payments based on the amount of land under cultivation. Those farmers north of the 62nd parallel receive especially generous subsidies.

      Despite the abundance of forest resources, the forest industry faces increasing production costs. The private owners of more than four-fifths of Finland's forests effectively control domestic timber prices; nonetheless, forest products (notably paper) are a major source of the country's export earnings.

      Commercial fishing has gradually become less significant to the economy. Among the fish in Finland's catch are salmon, sea and rainbow trout, whitefish, pike, and char. River pollution, as well as dams built for hydroelectric works, have adversely affected natural spawning habits, especially those of salmon and sea trout, and Finland has established a large number of fish-breeding stations at which artificial spawning is induced. There is some trawling for Baltic herring, which also are taken in the winter by seine fishing (dragging nets under the ice) around the offshore islands.

Resources and power
 Trees are Finland's most important natural resource. Some three-fourths of the total land area is forested, with pine, spruce, and birch being the predominant species. Government cultivation programs, among other measures, have prevented forest depletion; and acid rain, which has devastated forests in central Europe, has not had any serious consequences in Finland. About one-fifth of all energy consumed in Finland is still derived from wood, though over half this total is waste sludge from pulp mills, and roughly another one-fourth consists of other forest-industry waste (bark, sawdust, etc.) rather than logs.

       peat deposits cover nearly one-third of the country, but only a small fraction of that land is suitable for large-scale peat production. Although expensive to ship and store, peat nevertheless provides a small percentage of Finnish energy and is also used in agriculture.

      A diversity of minerals occurs in the Precambrian bedrock, but mining output is modest, owing to the small size of the deposits and the low metal content of the ore. Most mines are located in the north. Iron is the most important of the industrial metals. The main nonferrous metals are nickel and zinc. Chromium, cobalt, and copper are also economically important. Gold, silver, cadmium, and titanium are obtained as by-products. There is no naturally occurring coal or oil in Finland. Some mica is quarried, mostly for export.

      Because of the cold climate and the structure of the country's industry, Finland's per capita energy consumption ranks among the highest in the world. Industries account for about half of total energy consumption, a much higher proportion than the European average. Domestic energy sources meet only about one-third of Finland's total energy requirement, and all fossil fuels must be imported.

      Much of Finland's power comes from hydroelectric (hydroelectric power) plants, but the low fall of water makes dam building necessary. The loss in 1944 of Karelian hydroelectric resources turned attention to the north of the country, where plants were built on the Oulu and Kemi rivers. Thermal-generated power is also important. Wind power is of lesser importance than it is in some other Scandinavian countries, but it is becoming more prevalent in the windier coastal areas. Finland's electricity grids are linked with those of Sweden and Russia, and electricity is imported. Fortum, the predominantly state-owned electric power company, operates a nuclear plant at Loviisa, east of Helsinki; nuclear power now constitutes about one-fourth of all power generated.

      Finland's northern location imposes certain limitations on industrial activity; severe winter conditions make the costs of construction and heating high, and ice and snow are obstacles to transport. Industrialization in Finland began in the 1860s, but the pace was slow, and early in the 20th century only some 10 percent of the population derived its livelihood from manufacturing. It was not until the mid-1960s that manufacturing overtook farming and forestry together as an employer.

      Forest products remain a vital sector of the Finnish economy. In the course of development, the traditional manufactures of vegetable tar and pitch have given way to sawn timber and pulp and later to converted paper products, building materials, and furniture.

      Reparations payable to the Soviet Union after World War II, at first a desperate burden, eventually proved a boon to Finland; their payment necessitated the development of heavy industry, which later found markets in western as well as eastern Europe. The technology industry is the largest component of the industrial sector in Finland. Biotechnology has also come to play an increasingly important role in the Finnish economy. Metals and engineering constitute another large sector of Finnish industry. Finland holds a leading international position in the building of icebreakers, luxury liners, and other specialized ships and in the manufacture of paper-processing equipment. Finland's chemical industry has also grown rapidly to become a very important part of the economy. An important branch of the chemical industry is oil refining, the production capacity of which currently exceeds domestic oil requirements.

      At the end of the 20th century, Finnish industry embraced new technological developments with great enthusiasm. The manufacture of products related to information technology and telecommunications, led by such firms as Nokia, became increasingly important.

      Textile factories are located at Turku, Tampere, Vaasa, Forssa, and Hyvinkää. Helsinki has one of Europe's largest porcelain factories, while Karhula (Kotka), Iittala, and Nuutajärvi are known internationally for glass. Leather and pewter goods, beer and vodka, and cement are among other important products. Food and drink, including functional foods (those that are both nutritious and prevent illness), constitute one of the country's largest industries. Liqueurs, soft drinks, and various sweets are made from domestic cloudberries, currants, gooseberries, and lingonberries.

      From 1980 the Finnish financial market underwent rapid change. The state's role in the money market declined, and the economy became more and more market-oriented. Foreign banks were first allowed to operate in Finland in the early 1980s and were permitted to open branch offices there in 1991.

      The Bank of Finland (Suomen Pankki), established in 1811 and guaranteed and supervised by the parliament since 1868, is the country's central bank and a member of the European System of Central Banks. In 2002, the EU's common currency, the euro, replaced the markka, which had been Finland's national currency since 1860. Compared with other European countries, Finland has relatively little currency in circulation because Finns are accustomed to banking electronically.Deposit banks are organized into three groups: commercial, cooperative, and savings. Securities trading is handled by the Helsinki Stock Exchange; foreign investors were first allowed to trade there in the early 1980s.

      Because of Finland's relatively small domestic market, specialized production, and lack of energy sources, foreign trade is vital for the economy. The collapse of the Soviet Union in the early 1990s and its loss as Finland's chief trading partner was a severe blow to the Finnish economy. Trade with Russia, while still significant, has been overshadowed by that with the countries of the European Union. In addition to Russia, Finland's chief trading partners are Germany, Sweden, and the United Kingdom. Although the traditional exports of paper and paper products and wood products remain important, heavy machinery and manufactured products now constitute the largest share of Finland's export trade. Imports consist mainly of raw materials for industrial use, consumer goods, and mineral fuels.

      By the beginning of the 21st century, government services made up as much as one-third of the service sector in Finland, but private concerns, especially business and information technology (IT) services, grew at a faster rate than public services. Unlike most other European countries, the service sector's share of Finland's gross domestic product (GDP) and employment has not increased as quickly as that of manufacturing. The Finnish government uses indirect methods, such as grants, loans, and investments in equity, as well as employee development and retraining, to promote investment in areas deemed to be in need of development. Founded in 1983, the Technology Development Centre (now the Finnish Funding Agency for Technology) played an important role in the 1980s and '90s in Finnish technological advancement by funding research and development. By the end of the 20th century, the government had earmarked almost one-third of its total spending for research and development.

Labour and taxation
      By far the majority of Finns (roughly two-thirds) are employed in the service sector. The next largest source of employment and still significant is manufacturing, while the proportion of those involved in the increasingly marginalized agricultural sector is very small. Finland's largest employer organization is the Confederation of Finnish Industry and Employers (formerly called the Finnish Employers' Confederation); the largest trade union groups are the Central Organization of Finnish Trade Unions and the Confederation of Unions for Academic Professionals.

      Employment has long been seen as a self-evident right for women in Finland, which has one of the highest rates of employment for women in Europe, with about nine-tenths of Finnish women employed full-time. On the whole, women workers are slightly better educated than their male counterparts and are more unionized; however, Finnish women are still paid only about seven-tenths of what men earn for the same job. To support the participation of women and parents in the workplace, Finland has a comprehensive system of maternal and paternal leave for new parents.

      Income taxes in Finland are higher than those for many other industrialized countries, with the taxation of above-average incomes especially heavy. Finland's value-added tax is among the highest in the European Union. Excise duties on liquid fuels, automobiles, alcohol, and tobacco are also high, while those on food, public transportation, books, and medicine are typically reduced.

Transportation and telecommunications
      Until the mid-20th century the problems posed for internal communications and transport by Finland's difficult terrain and weather conditions had hardly been tackled, and many communities remained isolated. External communications were mainly by sea, which, especially as a result of the period of Swedish rule, accounts for the series of well-developed ports on the Gulf of Bothnia and the Gulf of Finland.

      The country also has an extensive network of navigable waterways comprising lakes, rivers, and canals. Many thousands of miles of additional waterways are suitable for the flotage of felled timber, but truck and rail transport is rendering this practice obsolete in many areas. In 1963 the Soviet Union leased to Finland the Soviet end of the canal linking Lake Saimaa with the Gulf of Finland; it was opened in 1968. Most of Finland's overseas cargoes are carried in its own merchant marine. The country has a passenger-liner service, and car ferries operate to Denmark, Sweden, Germany, Estonia, Russia, and Poland.

      Finland now has a good system of highways and roads—of which about two-thirds are paved—but the lakes in the southeast tend to make routes indirect there, while north of the Arctic Circle the roads are still few. Bridges and car ferries assist road travel in the lakeland areas and in the island archipelagoes. The bus system is highly developed throughout Finland and is widely utilized.

      The railway system is much less adequate than that of the roads; the southwestern part of the country is the best-served area. The railways, which provide connections with Russia, are state-owned; about one-third of the rail lines are electrified. In 1982 Finland's first subway was inaugurated in Helsinki.

      In addition to the international air terminal near Helsinki, Finland has domestic airports, the most northerly of which is at Ivalo, at Lake Inari. Finnair, the national airline, offers domestic and international service.

      Not only was Finland quick to develop its telecommunications and information technology industry, but Finns also rapidly made new technology part of their lives. At the turn of the 21st century, Finland had the among the largest per capita numbers of mobile telephone and Internet users in the world.

Government and society

Constitutional framework
 Finland adopted a republican constitution in 1919; it has been amended several times, notably in the mid-1990s. Legislative power rests in the unicameral parliament (Eduskunta), whose members are elected for four-year terms, and in the president, whose term is six years. Executive power is shared by the president and the Council of State, or cabinet, the meetings of which are chaired by the president. The president appoints the prime minister and the cabinet. A clause in the constitution stresses that government ministers are responsible to the parliament.

      The six-year term of office and the possibility of reelection enhance the president's powers and provide the country with an important source of stability, in view of the frequent changes of government caused by the multiparty system. In cases of complete deadlock, the president can appoint a nonpolitical caretaker government. Government bills can be introduced into the parliament in the president's name; the president can refuse to sign a bill but must endorse it if it is passed in a subsequent parliament. The president also can dissolve the parliament, has certain decree-making powers, and is the head of the armed forces. Moreover, the president conducts the country's foreign policy, but decisions on major treaties and questions of war and peace must be validated by the parliament.

Local government
 Finland is divided into five läänit (provinces)—Southern Finland (Etelä-Suomi), Eastern Finland (Itä-Suomi), Western Finland (Länsi-Suomi), Lapland (Lapi), and Oulu—and the autonomous territory of Åland (Ahvenamaa). Until 1997 the country had been divided into 12 provinces. (See map—> of pre-1997 provinces.) The government of each province is headed by a governor who is appointed by the president. The provincial governor is in charge of the provincial office and the local sheriffs. The provinces of Finland are divided into communes, which may be rural or urban in character. Each commune council, elected for a four-year term, chooses its executive board. Communes are responsible for local health, education, and social services.

      Åland (Åland Islands) has special status as a demilitarized, self-governing region. The Act on the Autonomy of Åland (1920), settled by a decision of the League of Nations (1921), provided for Finnish sovereignty over Åland, predicated on a division of political power between the islands and the rest of Finland. Åland has its own parliament (Lagtinget), flag, and representative on the Nordic Council.

      The Finnish judiciary is independent of the legislature and executive; judges are removable only by judicial sentence. There are local, municipal, and rural district courts (käräjäoikeus) held in cities and towns by the chief judge (oikeuspormestari) and assistants and in the country by a judge and jurors. Appeal from these courts lies to courts of appeal in Helsinki, Turku, Vaasa, Kuopio, Kouvola, and Rovaniemi. The Supreme Court (Korkein oikeus), in Helsinki, appoints the district judges and those of the appeal courts. The chancellor of justice (oikeuskansleri) is the supreme judicial authority and also acts as public prosecutor. The parliament appoints a solicitor general, who acts as an ombudsman. The Supreme Administrative Court (Korkein hallintooikeus) is the highest tribunal for appeals in administrative cases.

Political process
      Suffrage is universal in Finland for those age 18 or older. The president is directly elected. To be elected president, a candidate must win a majority of the vote in a first round of balloting; otherwise, a run-off is held between the two candidates receiving the most votes in the first round. Parliamentary elections are conducted by a system of proportional representation.

      Proportional representation has led to a proliferation of political parties, including the Social Democratic Party, the Left-Wing Alliance (formed in 1990 from the People's Democratic League and the Finnish Communist Party), the National Coalition Party, and the Centre Party (or Finnish Centre; formerly the Agrarian Union). The People's Democratic League and its successor have been important parts of the government since World War II. Minor parties include the Swedish People's Party, the environmentalist Green League, and the True Finn Party (formerly the Finnish Rural Party, a splinter of the former Agrarian Union). Women have played a crucial role in Finnish politics since 1906, when they first became eligible not only to vote but to serve in the parliament. In the early 21st century women held some two-fifths of the seats in the parliament, and in 2003 Finland became the first European country to have a woman president (Tarja Halonen) and a woman prime minister (Anneli Jäätteenmäki) hold office at the same time.

      By the Treaty of Paris (1947), made with the Allied Powers after World War II, Finland was permitted to maintain an army of 34,400 individuals, an air force of 3,000 individuals and 60 combat aircraft, and a navy of 4,500 individuals, with ships totaling 10,000 tons. The transformation of Russia, the EU, and the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) at the end of the 20th century and the beginning of the 21st has affected security and stability in Finland's environs in northern Europe. The NATO membership of the country's Baltic neighbours Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania is generally viewed by Finns as a stabilizing factor. All male Finns between the ages of 17 and 60 are liable for military service, but civil service duty is available to conscientious objectors.

      The police authorities are subordinate to the Ministry of the Interior. The cities pay to the state a part of the expenses for local police forces.

Health and welfare
      Health centres, run by local authorities, supply free medical treatment to Finns, but there are also licensed private practitioners. The country is divided into hospital districts, each with a central hospital maintained by intermunicipal corporations. There are also smaller regional hospitals and a few private hospitals. The patient pays only a small daily hospital charge. In addition the state reimburses a large percentage of the patient's expenditures on drugs. The Finns are known as a healthy and vigorous people and are characterized by their penchant for sauna baths. Indeed, the life expectancy for Finns is among the highest in the world.

      Social security in Finland comprises a system of pensions (pension) and care for the aged, unemployment benefits, health care, and family welfare plans. The state pays disability pensions and old-age pensions to persons age 65 and older. The cost of these pensions is met from premiums originally paid by the beneficiaries and payments by employers and by the central and local governments. The Central Pensions Security Institute administers an additional earnings-related old-age pension, which is also available to farmers and other self-employed people. The National Board of Social Welfare provides care and attention for the elderly, including recreational centres to provide social amenities. Other social programs include unemployment benefits and compensation for industrial accidents, maternity benefits, and family allowances for all children under age 16.

      The National Board of Housing addresses problems of housing supply and development. There is a general housing shortage in Helsinki. About three-fifths of Finns own their own houses or flats, and the right to adequate housing was incorporated as an amendment into the Finnish constitution. Low-income families in Finland are eligible to obtain state-subsidized flats, and government loans for mortgages are also obtainable. Brick and concrete are surpassing wood as building materials, although many Finnish families have vacation cottages, typically modest lakeside dwellings of traditional log or timber construction.

      All Finnish municipalities are required to provide preschool instruction for all six-year-old children, but attendance is voluntary; school attendance in Finland is compulsory beginning at age seven. The national and local governments support the schools, and tuition is free. The introduction of a new nine-year comprehensive school system, consisting of a six-year primary stage and a three-year secondary stage, was completed during the 1970s. The English language is taught beginning in the third year, but students can also have the choice of studying other foreign languages. Finland's nine-year comprehensive school system is followed by either a three-year upper secondary school or a vocational school.

      The Finnish higher-education system is composed of two parallel sectors: universities and polytechnics. The only higher-education institutions in Finland that were founded before the country achieved independence are the University of Helsinki, founded at Turku in 1640 and transferred to Helsinki in 1828, and the Helsinki University of Technology, founded in 1849. Instruction is offered in Finnish, Swedish, and often in English. State aid for higher education is available. Adult education and continuing education are also popular in Finland, with adult education leading to certification and reemployment education free of charge.

Cultural life

Cultural milieu
      Finland is one of the most ethnically and culturally homogeneous countries in Europe. Nevertheless, Finns have been quick to incorporate ideas and impulses from Russia, elsewhere in Scandinavia, and continental Europe, particularly in the arts, music, architecture, and the sciences, but in each instance these influences have evolved into a form that is typically Finnish.

      Despite their strong neighbours to the east and west, Finns have preserved and developed the Finnish language, while adapting it to new terminology as needed; for example, the word tietokone (‘‘thinking machine ") was coined as the Finnish word for “computer” instead of adopting a variant from another language.

      Finns also have kept their cultural identity intact despite the powerful outside influences of neighbouring Finnic, Baltic, and Germanic peoples. Indeed, the traditional region of Karelia (now divided between Finland and Russia), where the songs of the Finnish national epic Kalevala originated, bears little influence from either Swedish or Russian culture.

      The best-known Finnish regional groups are the Savolainen, Karjalainen, Hämäläinen, and Pohjalainen (from the Savo, Karelia, Hame, and Ostrobothnia regions, respectively). These groups are often characterized with standard descriptors; for example, the Karjalainen are frequently referred to as “talkative.” Other regional stereotypes exist for those from Kainuu, Finland proper, and the Satakunta region, but these characterizations are not nearly as common in popular media as are those for the first four groups.

Daily life and social customs
      Many Finnish customs are closely associated with forests, which Finns have historically seen not as dark foreboding places but rather as offering refuge and shelter. In one of Finland's signature literary works, Seven Brothers, 19th-century writer Aleksis Kivi (Kivi, Aleksis) depicts the socially inept brothers' flight to the protection of the woods. Today, on weekends and during holidays, Finns flee from urban stress to their forest summerhouses.

      Other customs associated with trees and wood are alive and well in Finland. Bonfires are lit at Midsummer, the doorways of houses are decorated with birches, and leafy birch whisks are still used in the traditional wooden sauna. On Easter, mämmi, a pudding made from malt and rye flour, is traditionally eaten from containers made of (or made to resemble) birch bark. In late winter, while snow covers the ground, birch branches are brought indoors to remind the household of the coming spring.

      Although Finns consider Santa Claus to have his permanent home in Korvatunturi, in northern Finland, the spruce Christmas tree is a relative newcomer to the country, having made its first appearance in the 1820s. Now the Christmas tree is a fixture of Finnish Christmas celebrations, which also involve special foods, including rice porridge (made with milk and cinnamon), a baked glazed ham, and a potato and carrot or rutabaga gratin. The holiday is not complete without a Christmas sauna bath.

      Wood is an essential component of the typical Finnish sauna, which is almost universally constructed out of birch or other sturdy wood beams. Bathers sit on wooden benches, splashing water on the hot stones of the stove and whisking each other with birch branches, just as their ancestors would have done millennia earlier. Traditionally, the sauna was a sacred place for the Finns, used not only for the weekly sauna bath but also for ritual purposes. This was particularly the case for those rituals performed by women, such as healing the sick and preparing the dead for burial. The sauna was also used for doing laundry and for key farming activities, such as curing meat and fermenting and drying malt. Given its importance to the farm economy, it is logical that the sauna was originally built within the enclosure surrounding the farm's outbuildings. The current placement of most saunas on a lakeside or coastal inlet goes back only to the early 20th century, following the fashion of the gentry's villas.

      For a long time the sauna (whose name comes from a Finnish-Sami word) was usually heated only once a week, because it took a whole day to prepare it to stand several rounds of bathers (with men and women bathing separately). Many Finns believe sauna baths provide healing for the mind and body, and they are taken with almost religious reverence. Although not playing the central role it does in Finnish culture, the custom of sauna bathing is also widespread among the other Finnic peoples in the Baltic region—the Estonians, Karelians, Veps, and Livonians—as well as among Latvians and Lithuanians.

The arts
      Finland's national epic, the Kalevala, compiled in the 19th century by the scholar Elias Lönnrot (Lönnrot, Elias) from old Finnish ballads, lyrics, and incantations, played a vital part in fostering Finnish national consciousness and pride. Indeed, the development of almost all Finland's cultural institutions and activities has been involved with and motivated by nationalist enthusiasm. This theme can be demonstrated in the growth and development of Finnish theatre and opera, in literature and music, in art and architecture, and also in sports. The festivals of various arts, held annually at places such as Helsinki, Vaasa, and Kaustinen, and Finland's many museums show an awareness of the individuality and importance of Finland's contribution to world culture. Savonlinna, in particular, is celebrated for its annual opera festivals.

      Drama in Finland is truly popular in the sense that vast numbers act in, as well as watch, theatrical productions. Besides the dozens of theatre companies in which all the actors are professionals, there are some in which a few professionals or even the producer alone are supplemented by amateur performers. And there are amateur theatrical companies in almost every commune.

      The country's most important theatre is the National Theatre of Finland, established in 1872 with Kaarlo Bergbom (Bergbom, Kaarlo) as producer and manager; its granite building in Helsinki was built in 1902. There are also several other municipal theatres. One of the most exciting in the country is the Pyynikki Open Air Theatre of Tampere, the revolving auditorium of which can be moved to face any of the natural sets. There are innumerable institutions connected with the theatre in Finland, including the Central Federation of Finnish Theatrical Organizations. There is a wide repertory of Finnish as well as international plays. The Finnish theatre receives some degree of government assistance.

      The main centre for opera is the Finnish National Opera in Helsinki; the Savonlinna Opera Festival takes place every summer. The international success of Finnish singers such as Karita Mattila, Jorma Hynninen, and Soile Isokoski has added to the continuing national enthusiasm for opera. Several Finnish operas, including The Last Temptations by Joonas Kokkonen and The Horseman by Aulis Sallinen, gained notoriety in the late 20th and early 21st century.

      The dominant figure in Finnish music during the first half of the 20th century was Jean Sibelius (Sibelius, Jean), the country's best-known composer, who brought Finnish music into the repertoire of concert halls worldwide. Other renowned composers include Magnus Lindberg, Kaija Saariaho, and Einojuhani Rautavaara. The Sibelius Academy in Helsinki is a world-famous centre of musical study. The city is also the location of the Helsinki Philharmonic Orchestra and the Finnish Radio Symphony Orchestra. The Sibelius violin competition and Mirjam Helin song competition are held there every five years. There are annual music festivals in Helsinki and several other cities. Internationally known Finnish conductors include Paavo Berglund, Esa-Pekka Salonen, Jukka-Pekka Saraste, and Osmo Vänskä.

      Epic prose has played and continues to play an important role in Finnish literature. Seitsemän veljestä (1870; Seven Brothers) by Aleksis Kivi (Kivi, Aleksis) is considered to be the first novel written in Finnish. Other early leading prose writers include Frans Eemil Sillanpää (Sillanpää, Frans Eemil), the winner of the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1939. Although Mika Waltari (Waltari, Mika) represented newer trends in literature, it was his historical novels, among them Sinuhe, egyptiläinen (1945; The Egyptian), that brought him fame. Väinö Linna, a leading postwar writer, became known for his war novel Tuntematon soltilas (1954; The Unknown Soldier) and for the trilogy Täällä Pohjantähden alla (1959–62; Under the North Star). Other novelists have written in shorter forms, but the broad epic has remained popular, particularly among writers describing the contradictions in Finnish life from the turn of the century to modern times. One of the central figures in the Finnish modernist movement of the 1950s was poet and playwright Eeva Liisa Manner (Manner, Eeva Liisa), perhaps best remembered for her poetry collection Tämä matka (“This Journey,” 1956). Other well-known Finnish authors include Kari Hotakainen, Leena Lehtolainen, Rosa Liksom, Asko Sahlberg, and Johanna Sinisalo.

      Literature written in Swedish (Swedish language) has had a long tradition in Finland. Among 19th-century writers, Johan Ludvig Runeberg (Runeberg, Johan Ludvig), the national poet, and Zacharias Topelius (Topelius, Zacharias) played leading roles. Later 20th-century poets such as Edith Södergran (Södergran, Edith) had a strong influence on the modern poetry of both Finland and Scandinavia. One of Finland's most beloved and widely translated authors, Tove Jansson, wrote her many books about the Moomin family in Swedish. The Swedish language continues to be used in Finnish literature, and writers such as Kjell Westö, Märta Tikkanen, Monika Fagerholm, and Jörn Donner are widely read in Finland and abroad.

      From the time that the Kalevala inspired the paintings of Die Brücke (Brücke, Die) Expressionist Akseli Gallén-Kallela, there has been a distinctive school of Finnish painters, but the Finnish artistic genius has been continually drawn to three-dimensional work. Sculpture is important, highly abstract, and experimental; Eila Hiltanen's monument to Sibelius in Helsinki is composed of chrome, metal, and steel tubes.

      Modern Finnish architecture is among the most imaginative and exciting in the world. Its development was closely allied to the nationalist movement, and among its pioneers were the internationally renowned Eliel Saarinen (Saarinen, Eliel), whose work is exemplified by the National Museum and the Helsinki railway station, and Lars Sonck, whose churches in Helsinki and Tampere are particularly notable. Finnish women were also early innovators as architects, including Wiwi Lönn and Signe Hornborg, the latter one of the first formally trained female architects in the world.

 In the 20th century the idea of functionalism was developed by Gustaf Strengell. In the 1920s Alvar Aalto (Aalto, Alvar) and Erik Bryggman (Bryggman, Erik) began experimenting with regional variations on the International Style. Among the most striking examples of Aalto's work are the Paimio Sanatorium, the library at Viipuri, and Finlandia Hall, a concert and congress hall in Helsinki. There is general experimentation, using concrete and metals, in Finnish industrial buildings and flats and in environmental design, as at the garden town of Tapiola outside Helsinki. The new generation of architects has continued these standards. Architects such as Juha Ilmari Leiviskä, known for his innovative churches, and Pekka Helin and Tuomo Siitonen, whose flexible and adaptive working spaces are intended to encourage creative thinking, have been lauded at home and abroad.

 Finnish design—especially in glass, porcelain, and textiles—became internationally known during the postwar period. Factories such as the well-known Arabia and Marimekko in Helsinki have given artists a free hand to develop their ideas and skills. Tapio Wirkkala, Kaj Franck, and Timo Sarpaneva in glassware, Marjatta Metsovaara in textiles, and Dora Ljung in ryijy, a type of knotted pile-weave rug, are among the best-known designers.

Cultural institutions
      Finland's public cultural institutions are made up of a big, varied, and comprehensive network. The institutions are largely supported, planned, and organized by national and local authorities. The planning of cultural policies is in the purview of the Finnish Ministry of Education. Finnish arts and cultural activities are considered important not only to a strong national identity but as a valuable export and source of international interest. Since 1969, Finland has administered a system of artists' grants that allocate a tax-free monthly stipend (for a variety of periods) to artists working in architecture, motion pictures, crafts and design, dance, literature, music, theatre, photography, and other visual arts. Public support for artists is also made available through grants and subsidies for ‘‘high-quality productions "—including films, photographic art books, and crafts and design—and by purchasing works of art for public buildings and spaces.

      Finns are also active in creating culture on an amateur basis. People participate eagerly in cultural clubs and organizations, local choirs and orchestras, and local dance, theatre, and dramatic societies, along with other similar groups. These groups organize a wide variety of year-round local and regional cultural events throughout the country.

      Of Finland's more than 1,000 museums, about 200 are dedicated to the arts. The national art museum is the Finnish National Gallery, composed of the Ateneum Art Museum, the Museum of Contemporary Art Kiasma, the Sinebrychoff Art Museum, and the Central Art Archives. There are also a number of regional art museums.

      Libraries are especially important cultural institutions in Finland, and Finns are among the world's most avid library users. Since the founding of its first library, in 1794 in Vaasa, Finland has developed a comprehensive network of tens of millions of books and other items in its plentiful public libraries, including a seagoing library to serve the needs of islanders. Because of their important role in public education and service, especially in their use as civic meeting places and cultural centres, libraries are highly regarded and well funded by the Finns. The Helsinki University Library is also the National Library of Finland.

Sports and recreation
      In Finland the basic national sport—which originally was a necessary means of winter transportation—is cross-country skiing. Nationalism also encouraged the development of special proficiency, which was fostered by ski fairs and competitions held at Oulu beginning in the late 1890s. A century later, Finns were still making their mark on the sport, not least being Marja-Liisa Hämäläinen (Hämäläinen, Marja-Liisa), who won seven Olympic gold medals in the 1980s.

 An interest in other athletics developed from the time that the Finns took part in the interim Olympic Games held in Athens in 1906. Finland has excelled in Olympic track and field as well as winter sports, especially in distance running, in which the tradition of “Flying Finns” includes Hannes Kolehmainen (Kolehmainen, Hannes), Ville Ritola (Ritola, Ville), Lasse Virén (Virén, Lasse), and Paavo Nurmi (Nurmi, Paavo), who won six gold medals in Olympic middle- and long-distance running events in the 1920s, becoming a national hero. Other popular sports are waterskiing, riding, fishing, shooting, ice hockey, and pesäpallo, a Finnish version of baseball.

Media and publishing
      Freedom of the press is guaranteed by the 1919 constitution and the Freedom of the Press Act (also 1919); both contain provisions safeguarding editorial rights and outlining press responsibilities. The Supreme Court can suppress publications under certain circumstances, but in general there are few restrictions apart from those governing libel and copyright.

      Newspaper publication began in Finland in 1771 by the learned Aurora Society, and the Åbo Underrättelser, published in Swedish, has been in operation since 1824. Finns are among the world's most voracious newspaper readers, and the country ranks near the top of newspapers sold per capita. Most of Finland's many newspapers are independently owned and operated. The national Finnish News Agency (Oy Suomen Tietotoimisto; founded 1887) is independent and owned by the press.

      The state-run Finnish Broadcasting Company (Yleisradio Oy [YLE]; established 1926) operates a number of nationwide television networks—both public service and commercial—along with several digital channels and offers programming in Swedish. YLE also owns Radio Finland, which broadcasts in Finnish, Swedish, English, and Russian. Jointly owned by Finland, Sweden, and Norway, Sámi Radio provides radio service to the Sami areas in northern Lapland.

Carl Fredrik Sandelin Ilmari Sundblad Susan Ruth Larson


Earliest peoples
      The first people arrived in Finland about 9,000 years ago. They probably represented several groups and tribes, including the ancestors of the present Sami. Lured by the plenitude of game, particularly fur-bearing animals and fish, they followed the melting ice northward. The first people perhaps came to hunt only for the summer, but gradually more and more of them stayed over the winter. Apparently berries played a significant role in their diet.

      Another group probably arrived some 3,000 years later from the southeast. They possibly spoke a Finno-Ugric language and may have been related to the ancestors of the present Finns, if they were not actually of the same group. Other peoples—including the ancestors of the Tavastians—followed from the southwest and central Europe, eventually adopting the Finno-Ugric tongue.

      During the 1st millennium BC several more groups arrived, among them the ancestors of the present Finns. The nomadic Sami, who had been scattered over the greater part of Finland, withdrew to the north. Most other groups intermarried and assimilated with the newcomers, and settlement spread across the south of Finland. The population was still extremely sparse, but three loose unities seem to have crystallized: the Finns (Finnic Peoples) proper, the Tavastians, and the Karelians. These each had their own chiefs, and they waged war on one another.

      Even before the beginning of the Viking Age (8th–11th century AD), Swedes had settled on the southwestern coast. During the Viking Age, Finland lay along the northern boundary of the trade routes to Russia, and the inhabitants of the area served as suppliers of furs. The Finns apparently did not take part in the Viking expeditions. The end of the Viking Age was a time of unrest in Finland, and Swedish and Danish raids were made on the area, where Russians and Germans also traded.

Competition for trade and converts
      From the 12th century, Finland became a battleground between Russia and Sweden. The economic rivalry of the powers in the Baltic was turned into a religious rivalry, and the Swedish expeditions took on the character of crusades. Finland is mentioned together with Estonia in a list of Swedish provinces drawn up for the pope in 1120, apparently as a Swedish missionary area. The first crusade, according to tradition, was undertaken in about 1157 by King Erik, who was accompanied by an English bishop named Henry. Henry remained in Finland to organize the affairs of the church and was murdered by a Finnish yeoman; by the end of the 12th century, he was revered as a saint, and he later became Finland's patron. In a papal bull (papacy) (c. 1172), the Swedes were advised to force the Finns into submission by permanently manning the Finnish fortresses in order to protect the Christianization effort from attacks from the east.

      By the end of the 12th century, competition for influence in the Gulf of Finland had intensified: German traders had regular contacts with Novgorod via Gotland, and Denmark tried to establish bases on the gulf. The Danes reportedly invaded Finland in 1191 and again in 1202; in 1209 the pope authorized the archbishop of Lund to appoint a minister stationed in Finland. The Swedish king counterattacked, and in 1216 he received confirmation from the pope of his title to the lands won by himself and his predecessors from the heathens. He was also authorized to establish a seat for one or two bishops in the Finnish missionary territory. In eastern Finland the Russian church attempted to win converts, and in 1227 Duke Jaroslav undertook a program of forced baptisms, designed to tie Karelia closer to Novgorod. In response the pope placed Finland under apostolic protection and invoked a commercial blockade against Russia (1229). A large force, led by Birger (Birger Jarl), a Swedish jarl (a noble ranking immediately below the king), and including Swedes, Finns, and crusaders from various countries, was defeated in 1240 by a duke of Novgorod, and the advance of Western Christendom into Russia was halted, while the religious division of Finland was sealed, with the Karelians in the Eastern sphere. The bishop of Finland, Thomas, resigned in 1245, and the mission territory was left without leadership until 1249, when the Dominicans founded a monastery in Turku.

Finland under Swedish rule
      Birger Jarl decided that a full effort was necessary to bring Finland into the Swedish sphere; in 1249 he led an expedition to Tavastia (now Häme), an area already Christianized. Birger built a fortress in Tavastia and some fortifications along the northern coast of the Gulf of Finland, where Swedish settlement on a mass scale began. Swedes also moved to the eastern coast of the Gulf of Bothnia. In 1293 Torgils Knutsson launched an expedition in an attempt to conquer all of Karelia and built a fortress in Viipuri. The war lasted until 1323, when the Treaty of Pähkinäsaari (Nöteborg; now Petrokrepost) drew the boundary between the Russian and Swedish spheres of influence in a vague line from the eastern part of the Gulf of Finland through the middle of Karelia northwest to the Gulf of Bothnia, and the crusades were ended, with Finland a part of the Swedish realm.

      The Swedes began to administer Finland in accordance with Swedish traditions. Castles were built and taxes were collected, mainly in furs and, later, in grain, butter, and money. During the early Middle Ages, Finland was often given to members of the royal family as a duchy. Two new estates, the clergy and the nobility, evolved, with the nobility increased by transplantation from Sweden and the clergy containing a large native element. The first native bishop was appointed in 1291.

Union with Sweden
      In 1362 King Haakon (Haakon VI Magnusson) of Sweden established the right of the Finns to participate in royal elections and the equal status of Finland with the other parts of the kingdom. Several years later Haakon was overthrown and Albert of Mecklenburg was crowned. Albert was unpopular with the Finns, and by 1374 a Swedish nobleman, Bo Jonsson Grip, had gained title to all of Finland. Grip died in 1386, and Finland soon after became part of the Kalmar Union.

Henrik Enander Markku Ilmari Henriksson

The 15th, 16th, and 17th centuries
      Under Swedish sovereignty the Finnish tribes gradually developed a sense of unity, which was encouraged by the bishops of Turku. Study in universities brought Finnish scholars into direct touch with the cultural centres of Europe, and Mikael Agricola (c. 1510–57), the creator of the Finnish literary language, brought the Lutheran (Lutheranism) faith from Germany. As part of medieval Sweden, Finland was drawn into the many wars and domestic battles of the Swedish nobility. In 1581 King John III raised Finland to the level of a grand duchy to irritate his Russian rival, Tsar Ivan IV the Terrible. Dispute over the Swedish crown, combined with quarrels over social conditions, foreign policy, and religion (Roman Catholic versus Lutheran), led to the last peasant revolt in Europe, the so-called Club War, in 1596–97. The hopes of the Finnish peasants were crushed, and, even when Charles IX, whom the peasants had supported, became king (1604–11), the social conditions did not improve. In the course of the administrative reforms of Gustav II Adolf (1611–32), Finland became an integral part of the kingdom, and the educated classes thereafter came increasingly to speak Swedish.

      On its eastern frontier Finland was harassed by constant warfare, and the danger became more serious when Novgorod, at the end of the medieval period, was succeeded by a more powerful neighbour, the Grand Duchy of Moscow. In 1595, however, by the Peace of Täysinä, the existing de facto boundary, up to the Arctic Ocean, was granted official recognition by the Russians. By the Peace of Stolbovo (Stolbovo, Treaty of) (Stolbova; 1617), Russia ceded Ingermanland and part of Karelia to the kingdom of Sweden-Finland. The population of the ceded territories was of the Greek Orthodox faith, and when the Swedish government began forceful conversion to Lutheranism many fled to Russia and were replaced by Lutheran Finns. After Stolbovo, Sweden found new outlets for expansion in the south and west and developed into one of the leading powers of Europe. Though Finnish conscripts played their part in making Sweden a great power, the role of Finland in the kingdom steadily decreased in importance.

The 18th century
      In Charles XII's reign, Sweden lost its position as a great power. During the Great Northern War, Russians occupied Finland for eight years (1713–21), and, under the Peace of Uusikaupunki (Nystad) in 1721, Sweden had to cede the southeastern part of Finland with Viipuri as well as the Baltic provinces. Sweden's capacity to defend Finland had weakened, and the years of hostile occupation had given the Finns a permanent feeling of insecurity.

      In the course of the next Russo-Swedish War (1741–43), the Russian empress Elizabeth declared to the Finnish people her intention of making Finland a separate state under Russian suzerainty, but she failed to follow up the idea and at the peace settlement of Turku (Åbo, Treaty of) in 1743 contented herself with annexing a piece of Finland. Meanwhile, however, her original idea had found favour with some Finns. During the next bout of hostilities (1788–90), a number of Finnish officers involved themselves in the activities of Göran Magnus Sprengtporten (Sprengtporten, G.M.), a Finnish colonel who had fled to Russia and who wanted to detach Finland from Sweden; this movement won little general support, however.

Autonomous grand duchy
      As a part of the Swedish monarchy, Finland had been accorded practically no institutions of its own, but from the middle of the 18th century the majority of officials and intellectuals were of Finnish origin. In those circles there was a growing feeling that Finland had to bear the cost of Swedish extravagances in foreign policy. The feeling was not unfounded. Swedish strategic directives of 1785 implied that, in case of Russian attack, Swedish forces should retire from the frontier, leaving Finnish detachments behind, and that under extreme danger the whole of Finland should be evacuated. This strategy was put into effect in 1808–09. Even the treachery of the Anjala association in 1788 was repeated in 1808, when Sveaborg (Viapori; now Suomenlinna) near Helsinki capitulated to the Russians. In 1809 the Finns themselves had to carry the responsibility of coming to terms with Russia. Alexander I offered to recognize constitutional developments in Finland and to give it autonomy as a grand duchy under his throne.

Gudmund Sandvik Markku Ilmari Henriksson

The era of bureaucracy
      The political framework of Finland under Russia was laid down by the Porvoo (Borgå) Diet in 1809. Finland was still formally a part of Sweden until the peace treaty of Hamina (Fredrikshamn) later that year, but most of the Finnish leaders had already grown tired of Swedish control and wanted to acquire as much self-government as possible under Russian protection. In Porvoo, Finland as a whole was for the first time established as a united political entity—a nation.

      In recognition of Finnish autonomy, Alexander I promised to respect the religion and fundamental laws of Finland, as well as the privileges and rights of the inhabitants (that is to say, the Swedish constitution of 1772 as amended in 1789, by which the regent alone had the executive power while the consent of the Diet was required for legislation and the imposition of new taxes). The grand duke (the emperor) was not obliged to convene the Diet at regular intervals, and as a result it did not meet until 1863. From 1809 to 1863 Finland was ruled by a bureaucracy chosen by the Russian emperor, who was represented in Finland by a governor-general. Some holders of this office were Finns in the early period of the Russian regime. The highest administrative organ during the period was the Senate, which consisted of a judicial department and an economic department. The former was the country's supreme court, while the latter became a sort of ministry. A ministerial state secretary in St. Petersburg represented Finnish affairs to the emperor.

Reforms of the Russian period
      For most Finns the “era of bureaucracy” was a time of growing prosperity, favourable economic conditions, and no warfare except during the Crimean War (in Finland, the War of Åland). At that time an Anglo-French fleet attacked the Åland Islands, the fortress of Viapori in Helsinki, and some coastal towns on the Gulf of Bothnia. On its separation from Sweden in accordance with the Treaty of Hamina, Finland had a population of more than 900,000. As elsewhere in the Nordic countries, population growth was rapid, and by 1908 the figure had exceeded 2,000,000. Most of the population lived off the land. Manufacture of wooden articles, export of timber, shipbuilding, and merchant shipping were practiced in the small coastal towns.

      Despite the strongly authoritarian and bureaucratic form of government, a number of important reforms were implemented. In 1812 the Emperor was induced to restore those areas of Finnish territory that Sweden had ceded to Russia by the treaties of Uusikaupunki (1721) and Turku (1743). Furthermore, in 1812 Helsinki was chosen as the capital, and the monumental buildings in its centre stem from this period. But the vast rural population and purely agrarian structure prevented the spread of liberal and national ideas to any great extent during the first part of the 19th century.

The language problem
      The reaction reached its climax with the Finnish language ordinance of 1850, which forbade the publication in Finnish of books other than those that aimed at religious edification or economic benefit. Since Finnish was the only language understood by the majority of the population, the ordinance smacked of an attempt to maintain class differences and was well suited to preserve the existing bureaucracy.

      As late as the mid-19th century, Swedish (Swedish language) was the only language allowed within the Finnish administration. There was an almost total lack of literature in Finnish, and teaching at both the secondary and university levels was in Swedish. The division between the two languages became not only of national and cultural significance but also a social distinction. This is one of the reasons why the language controversy in Finland created such bitterness. To begin with, the advocates of a Finnish-speaking Finland, or Fennomans, were successful. By recording folk songs and writings, a Finnish literature was developed during the latter part of the 19th century. The first purely Finnish-speaking grammar school appeared in 1858. In 1863 Alexander II (ruled 1855–81) issued a decree stating that, after a 20-year interim period, Finnish was to be placed on an equal footing with Swedish in the administration and in the law courts, as far as their relations with the public were concerned. Swedish, however, remained the language of internal administration, and it was not until 1902 that Swedish and Finnish were placed on an equal footing as official languages.

Reform of the Diet and other reforms
      During the reign of Alexander II other reforms were begun. The most important was his convening of the Diet in 1863, and the promulgation of a new act in 1869 providing that it thereafter should be convened regularly. The next great reform period came after the Russian defeat in the war against Japan (1904–05).

      Until the 1890s, Russia respected Finland's special position within the Russian Empire in all essentials. In addition to the Diet ordinance of 1869, the country acquired its own monetary system (1865), and a law on conscription, which laid the foundations for the Finnish Army, was passed in 1878.

The struggle for independence
      Nationalism had already begun to raise its head in Russia before the end of Alexander II's reign, but his strong-minded successor, Alexander III, who had a personal liking for Finland, was able to resist the demands of the Russian nationalists for the abolition of Finnish autonomy and the absorption of the Finns into the Russian nation. The emergence of a united Germany south of the Baltic also worried the Russians, who wanted to secure the loyalty of Finland. Russian jurists took the line that, though Alexander I in virtue of his supreme powers had granted Finland autonomous rights, any Russian emperor exercising the same supreme powers was entitled to take them back whenever he wished. Applying this principle, Nicholas II issued a manifesto on Feb. 15, 1899, according to which he was entitled, without the Finnish Diet's consent, to enact laws enforceable in Finland if such laws affected Russian interests. Direct attempts at Russification were then made. The gradual imposition of Russian as the third official language was ordered in 1900, and in 1901 it was decreed that Finns should serve in Russian units and that Finland's own army should be disbanded. Increasing executive power was conferred on the ultranationalist governor-general, General Nikolay Bobrikov (Bobrikov, Nikolay). Faced with this situation, two opposing factions crystallized out of Finland's political parties: the Constitutionalists (the Swedish Party and the Young Finnish Party), who demanded that no one observe the illegal enactments; and the Compliers (the Old Finnish Party), who were ready to give way in everything that did not, in their opinion, affect Finland's vital interest. The Constitutionalists were dismissed from their offices and their leaders were exiled. Young men of Constitutionalist views refused to report for service when called, and at last the Emperor had to give in: the Finnish Army remained disbanded, but no Finns were drafted into the Russian Army. A more extreme group, known as the Activists, was prepared to endorse even acts of violence, and Bobrikov was assassinated by them.

Resistance and reform
      Further opposition came from the Labour Party, which was founded in 1899 and which in 1903 adopted Marxist tenets, changing its name to the Social Democratic Party. Unwilling to compromise with tsarist Russia, the party was developing along revolutionary lines. When the Constitutionalists, availing themselves of Russia's momentary weakness, combined with the Social Democrats to organize a national strike, the Emperor restored the situation that had prevailed before 1899 (Nov. 4, 1905)—but not for long. Another result of the strike was a complete reform of the parliamentary system (July 20, 1906). This had been the Social Democrats' most insistent demand. The old four-chamber Diet was changed to a unicameral Parliament elected by equal and universal suffrage. Thus, from having one of Europe's most unrepresentative political systems, Finland had, at one stroke, acquired the most modern. The parliamentary reform polarized the political factions, and the ground was laid for the modern party system. The introduction of universal and equal suffrage meant that the farmers and workers potentially commanded a great majority. The Social Democrats became the largest party in Parliament, obtaining 80 seats out of 200 in the very first elections (1907). Nevertheless, the importance of Parliament remained very small, as it was constantly being dissolved by the Emperor; thus the assault on Finnish autonomy soon began afresh. The Constitutionalists resigned from the government, and the Compliers soon followed their example, since even in their opinion the extreme limit had been overstepped. In the end an illegal Senate composed of Russians was formed. In 1910 the responsibility for all important legislation was transferred to the Russian Duma.

Return to autonomy
      During World War I the Finnish liberation movement sought support from Germany, and a number of young volunteers received military training and formed the Jägar Battalion. After the Russian Revolution (Russian Revolution of 1917) in March 1917, Finland obtained its autonomy again, and a Senate, or coalition government, assumed rule of the country. By a law of July 1917 it was decided that all the authority previously wielded by the emperor (apart from defense and foreign policy) should be exercised by the Finnish Parliament. After Russia (Union of Soviet Socialist Republics) was taken over by the Bolsheviks in November 1917 Parliament issued a declaration of independence for Finland on Dec. 6, 1917, which was recognized by Lenin and his government on the last day of the year.

Early independence
      Although the liberation from Russia occurred peacefully, Finland was unable to avert a violent internal conflict. After the revolutionary Reds had won control of the Social Democratic Party, they went into action and on Jan. 28, 1918, seized Helsinki and the larger industrial towns in southern Finland. The right-wing government led by the Conservative Pehr Evind Svinhufvud (Svinhufvud, Pehr Evind) fled to the western part of the country, where a counterattack was organized under the leadership of General Carl Gustaf Mannerheim (Mannerheim, Carl Gustaf). At the beginning of April the White Army under his command won the Battle of Tampere. German troops came to the aid of the White forces in securing Helsinki; by May the rebellion had been suppressed. It was followed by trials in which harsh sentences were passed. During the summer and fall of 1918 some 20,000 former revolutionaries either were executed or died in prison camps, bringing the total losses of the war to more than 30,000 lives. A few of the revolutionary leaders, however, managed to escape to Soviet Russia, where a small contingent founded the Finnish Communist Party in Moscow; others continued their flight to the United States and western Europe, some gradually returning to Finland.

Political change
      When the Civil War ended, it was decided, during the summer of 1918, to make Finland a monarchy, and in October the German prince Frederick Charles of Hessen was chosen as king. With Germany's defeat in the war, however, General Mannerheim was designated regent, with the task of submitting a proposal for a new constitution. As it was obvious that Finland was to be a republic, the struggle now concerned presidential power. The liberal parties and the reorganized Social Democratic Party wanted power to be invested in Parliament, while the Conservatives wanted the president to have powers independent of Parliament. The strong position held by the Conservatives after the Civil War enabled them to force through their motion that the president should be chosen by popularly elected representatives, independent of Parliament, and also that he should possess a great deal more authority, especially regarding foreign policy, than at that time was usual for a head of state. After the new constitution had been confirmed on July 17, 1919, the Social Democrats positioned themselves behind the liberal National Progressive Party leader, Kaarlo Juho Ståhlberg (Ståhlberg, Kaarlo Juho), to make him the first president of Finland and to defeat the Conservative candidate Mannerheim, who had not convinced them of his loyalty to republicanism.

Agrarian reform
      During the interwar years Finland, to a much greater extent than the rest of the Nordic countries, was an agrarian country. In 1918, 70 percent of the population was employed in agriculture and forestry, and by 1940 the figure was still as high as 57 percent. Paper and wooden articles were Finland's most important export commodities. By the Smallholdings Law of 1918 and by land reform in 1922, which allowed the expropriation of estates of more than 495 acres (200 hectares), an attempt was made to give tenant farmers and landless labourers their own smallholdings. More than 90,000 smallholdings were created, and since then the independent smallholders, who form the majority of the Agrarian Party (now the Centre Party), have been a major factor in Finnish politics.

      During Ståhlberg's presidency (1919–25), the right-wing parties and the Agrarian Party held power by means of coalitions. The president tried determinedly to minimize the recriminations of the Civil War, and in the course of time he granted amnesty to those who had received long terms of imprisonment. At the same time, the Social Democratic Party was reorganized under the leadership of Väinö Tanner (Tanner, Väinö) with an exclusively reformist program. When Tanner in 1926 formed a Social Democratic minority government, which granted a general amnesty, the old differences from the Civil War had been almost eliminated. Lauri Kristian Relander, the Agrarian Party's candidate, was elected president in 1925.

      Through the first decade of Finnish independence the Social Democratic Party remained the largest party in the Parliament. In the early 1920s the leftist wing of the Social Democrats separated from the party to preach Communism and succeeded in winning 27 seats in the 1922 election. It later changed its name from Socialist Labour Party to Labour Party, but this did not stop the police from arresting all of its parliamentary representatives for treason on the grounds of the party's revolutionary intent. The Communists, however, once more reorganized and worked closely with the Finnish Communist Party in the Soviet Union. In the following elections they were able to win about 20 seats in Parliament.

      As a reaction to the growing Finnish Communist Party, the Lapua (Lapua Movement) (Lappo) Movement emerged and in the years 1929–32 attempted to force its demands through actions against Communist newspapers, acts of terrorism against individual citizens, and mass demonstrations. These actions, which were supported by the Conservatives and many members of the Agrarian Party, were at first successful. The Communists were prevented from taking part in the 1930 election, and the 66 Social Democrats were one too few in the Parliament to prevent the passage of an anti-Communist law. This law banned the public activities of the Communist Party, forced its members underground, and stripped them of their right to vote, virtually eliminating their influence on Finnish politics. In 1931 Svinhufvud was elected president with the help of the Lapua Movement. When the Lapua Movement shortly afterward turned its activities against the Social Democrats and tried to seize power by force in the Mäntsälä coup attempt in 1932, the president intervened and managed in a radio speech to calm the rebellion. Another failure at this time was the law on the total prohibition of alcohol, introduced in 1919. As in the United States, the law resulted in a sharp increase in organized crime and smuggling, and after a referendum in 1932 it was repealed.

The language question
      The 1919 constitution provided that both Finnish (Finnish language) and Swedish should be the national languages. A younger radical generation now raised the demand for the supremacy of Finnish, and the language controversy was a bitterly contested issue during the interwar period. The position of the Swedish language was progressively weakened toward the end of the 1930s, as more Finnish speakers moved into positions of economic and cultural power. The enmity of the language issues was not healed until after the unifying effects of World War II. Following the war, the laws governing language were revised, first in 1947 and again in 1961. The constitution of 2000 guaranteed equal status for Swedish, which remains an official language of the country and a required subject in Finnish schools. For the first time the right of the Roma and Sami to maintain and preserve their cultures was also made explicit and constitutionally binding.

      After the recognition of Finland as a sovereign state, two problems had to be faced. The first was in connection with the eastern boundary, where influential groups wished to annex eastern Karelia. By the Treaty of Tartu (Dorpat) in 1920, however, the boundary was unchanged except in the north, where Finland acquired the harbour of Petsamo and a route to the Arctic Ocean. The other problem concerned the Åland Islands (Finnish: Ahvenanmaa), which Sweden had temporarily occupied during the Finnish Civil War. The demands of the population of the islands to be united with Sweden were firmly rejected. The League of Nations settled the question in 1921 in accordance with Finland's wishes.

      Finland's main security problems resulted from the threat from the Soviet Union. An attempt to solve this by a defense alliance with Estonia, Latvia, and Poland in 1922 failed when Parliament refused to ratify the agreement, and in 1932 a Finnish-Soviet nonaggression pact was signed. Despite this, relations between the two countries did not really improve, and they remained “neighbours against their will.” During the second half of the 1930s, a Finnish-Swedish defense association was planned that, among other things, would have brought about the rearming of Åland, but the Soviet Union objected to these plans, and they could not be realized.

Finland during World War II
The Winter War (Russo-Finnish War)
      After Poland's defeat in the autumn of 1939, the Soviet Union, wishing to safeguard Leningrad, demanded from Finland a minor part of the Karelian Isthmus, a naval base at Hanko (Hangö), and some islands in the Gulf of Finland. When Finland rejected the demand, the Soviet Union launched an attack on Nov. 30, 1939. Immediately after the attack a coalition government formed under Risto Ryti. Despite courageous resistance and a number of successful defense actions, the defense of the Karelian Isthmus broke down, and Finland had to initiate peace negotiations. By the Treaty of Moscow of March 12, 1940, Finland surrendered a large area of southeastern Finland, including the city of Viipuri (renamed Vyborg), and leased the peninsula of Hanko to the Soviet Union for 30 years.

Cooperation with Germany
      After the Treaty of Moscow the plan for a Nordic defense union was resumed. The Soviet Union still objected, however, and the plan was thus abandoned. In December 1940 President Kyösti Kallio resigned, and Ryti was elected in his place. When the tension between Germany and the Soviet Union grew in the spring of 1941, Finland approached Germany but did not conclude a formal agreement. Nevertheless, Finland, like Sweden after Norway's capitulation, allowed the transit of German troops. When Germany attacked the Soviet Union on June 22, 1941, therefore, German troops were already on Finnish territory, and Finland was ready for war; its submarines, in fact, were operating in Soviet waters. The “War of Continuation” (1941–44) began with a successful Finnish offensive that led to the capture of large areas of eastern Karelia. Some Finns were reluctant, however, to cross the old border of 1939, and the spirit of the Winter War that had united the Finns began to weaken. From the winter of 1942–43, Germany's defeats gave rise to a growing demand for peace in Finland. After the breakthrough of the Red Army on the Karelian Isthmus in June 1944, President Ryti resigned on August 1. He was succeeded by Marshal Gustaf Mannerheim (Mannerheim, Carl Gustaf), who began negotiations for an armistice. This was signed on Sept. 19, 1944, on condition that Finland recognize the Treaty of Moscow of 1940 and that all foreign (German) forces be evacuated. A pledge was given, moreover, to cede Petsamo; to lease an area near Porkkala, southwest of Helsinki, for a period of 50 years (in place of Hanko); and within 6 years to pay the equivalent of $300 million in goods for war reparations. In the meantime, however, the German army refused to leave the country, and, in the series of clashes that followed, it devastated great areas of northern Finland in its retreat. The final peace treaty, signed in Paris on Feb. 10, 1947, reiterated the conditions of the armistice agreement.

Jörgen Weibull Markku Ilmari Henriksson

The postwar period
      After the armistice in 1944 a coalition government was formed under the leadership of Juho Kusti Paasikivi (Paasikivi, Juho Kusti). When conditions had been stabilized, Mannerheim resigned, and Paasikivi was elected president in his place in 1946. In 1956 the leader of the Agrarian Party, Urho Kekkonen (Kekkonen, Urho Kaleva), who acted as prime minister a number of times during the period from 1950 to 1956, was elected president. He was reelected three times to the office, with an extension of his third term by the Parliament. When he resigned in 1981 because of ill health, he was succeeded by the Social Democrat Mauno Koivisto, who was reelected in 1988. Koivisto was in turn succeeded in 1994 by another Social Democrat, Martti Ahtisaari (Ahtisaari, Martti).

      Under the leadership of Paasikivi and Kekkonen, relations with the Soviet Union were stabilized by a consistently friendly policy on the part of Finland. A concrete expression of the new foreign policy—designated the Paasikivi-Kekkonen line—was the Agreement of Friendship, Cooperation, and Mutual Assistance concluded between Finland and the Soviet Union in 1948 and extended in 1955, 1970, and 1983. The agreement included a mutual defense provision and prohibited Finland from joining any organization considered hostile to the U.S.S.R. After war reparations had been paid in full, trade with the Soviet Union continued, rising to more than 25 percent of Finland's total during the 1980s. Further signs of the détente were evident when the Soviet Union returned its base at Porkkala in 1955.

      Relations with the Soviet Union, however, were not entirely without complications. After the elections of 1958, a coalition government under the leadership of the Social Democrat Karl August Fagerholm was formed, in which certain members considered anti-Soviet were included. The Soviet Union responded by recalling its ambassador and canceling credits and orders in Finland. When the Finnish government was reconstructed, relations were again stabilized. During the autumn of 1961, when international relations were severely strained because of the Berlin crisis, the Soviet Union requested consultations in accordance with the 1948 agreement. President Kekkonen succeeded in solving the “Note Crisis” by inducing the Soviet Union to abandon its request. In 1985 the Soviets warned that a split in the Finnish Communist Party between the nationalist-reformist majority and the pro-Moscow minority would jeopardize Soviet-Finnish relations, but the split occurred in 1986 without incident.

      Following the demise of the Soviet Union (Union of Soviet Socialist Republics) in 1991, Finland moved to end the old mutual defense agreement. A new agreement was reached with Russia in 1992, in which the two countries simply pledged to settle disputes between them peacefully. Finland, now freed from any restrictions, applied for membership to the European Community (from 1993 the European Union [EU]), which it joined in 1995. In 1999 it adopted the euro, the common currency of the EU, phasing out its markka by 2002. Despite shifting much of its foreign trade to EU nations, Finland's relationship with Russia remained pivotal if precarious.

Nordic cooperation
      Finland became a member of the United Nations and of the Nordic Council (Nordic Council of Ministers) in 1955. Nordic cooperation has led to many legislative and political similarities between Finland, Denmark, Iceland, Norway, and Sweden. These include free movement across the borders of these five countries, the gradual development of a common and free labour market, and other similar measures in the fields of politics, economics, and culture. In 1986 Finland became a full member of the European Free Trade Association. It left that organization in 1995 when it became a member of the EU. Tensions arose within the country when its Baltic Sea neighbours joined the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) in 1999 (Poland) and 2004 (Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania). Finland initially resisted pressure from the other Nordic countries to join the international ban on antipersonnel land mines but then declared its intention to join by 2012.

Domestic affairs
      During the early postwar years, Finland's domestic affairs were marked by economic difficulties. After World War II the country was left with the task of absorbing about 300,000 refugees (refugee) from the areas ceded to the Soviet Union and at the same time paying war reparations. Despite these obstacles, Finland quickly recovered. The war reparations brought about rapid expansion in the metal and shipbuilding industries, and the timber trade soon resumed exporting and quickly exceeded its prewar level. The rebuilding and colonization required to resettle the refugees, however, were such a drain on the country's economic resources that inflation could not be avoided; as a result Finland had to devaluate its currency on a number of occasions.

      After the armistice, the new Finnish Communist Party held a strong position, which it retained in the subsequent government. When in the spring of 1948 it was alleged that the party had planned a coup, Parliament forced the Communist minister of the interior to resign. After the parliamentary elections in the autumn of 1948, a Social Democratic government came to power under the leadership of Fagerholm. Governments changed rapidly and consisted of various party coalitions during the 1950s, in most cases under the leadership of the Agrarian Party or the Social Democrats. During this period, however, both the Conservative National Coalition Party and the leftist Finnish People's Democratic League, which included the Finnish Communist Party, were excluded from the government.

      Forming and keeping a government in Finland is very difficult because of the proliferation of political parties; no one party, and often no party group, can command a majority in Parliament. As a consequence, there have been many nonpolitical cabinets composed of civil servants appointed by the president. With continuing economic growth and because of internal disputes, Communist Party influence diminished after the 1970s, and after the party's split in the mid-1980s the Communists suffered severe losses in the 1987 election. The Conservatives gained a long-desired victory, and, with a compromise aided by President Koivisto, the Social Democrats and Conservatives, together with some smaller parties, formed a coalition government under Conservative Prime Minister Harri Holkeri. This allowed the Conservatives to return to the cabinet after more than 20 years and forced the Centre Party into opposition for the first time since independence. The Conservative–Social Democratic coalition did not satisfy the traditional constituencies of the two parties, however, and in 1991 the Centre Party reemerged as the largest party.

      A new cabinet, formed by major nonsocialist parties and with the Centre's Esko Aho as prime minister, immediately faced Finland's worst peacetime economic recession. During the early 1990s production dropped sharply and unemployment skyrocketed, largely because trade with Russia had shrunk to a fraction of the Soviet-era level. There was also a general policy of privatizing state-owned assets throughout the 1990s, which promoted rationalization in many industries. Recovery came slowly, as export markets shifted toward the EU countries. The government also tried to cut expenditures, notably on social programs. The public expressed its displeasure with the slow pace of recovery by again ousting the Centre from the government in the elections of 1995. Social Democrat Paavo Lipponen formed a cabinet from a broad-based coalition that included, for the first time, members of the environmentalist Green Union.

      Economic recovery continued into the 21st century, as did the generally positive benefits of EU membership. Unemployment was brought under control, perhaps in part because of the tremendous success of the high-tech industry, notably the manufacturing of mobile telephones. Food prices and interest rates dropped and even agriculture was not as severely affected as some economists had feared.

      Finland's integration into Europe also continued on the political front, as the country assumed the revolving EU presidency at the end of the 1990s. The new constitution, adopted in 2000, reflected both changing concepts of sovereignty in light of Finland's membership in the EU and the Finns' cautious approach to internationalization. In 2000 Finland also elected its first female president, Tarja Halonen of the Social Democratic Party. When Anneli Jäätteenmäki, of the Centre Party, was appointed prime minister in April 2003, Finland became the first European country with women as both president and prime minister. However, after Jäätteenmäki was accused of having shared with the press confidential information on Finland's policy toward Iraq, Matti Vanhanen replaced her as prime minister in June. Vanhanen retained his position when the Centre Party won a narrow victory in the 2007 parliamentary elections. The National Coalition Party finished a close second, while the Social Democrats suffered significant losses.

Jörgen Weibull Markku Ilmari Henriksson Susan Ruth Larson

Additional Reading

General works
Overviews are provided in Päivi Elovainio, Facts About Finland, 3rd ed. (2002); Max Engman and David Kirby (eds.), Finland: People, Nation, State (1989); Eric Solsten and Sandra W. Meditz (eds.), Finland: A Country Study, 2nd ed. (1990); and Finland Handbook (annual), published by the Finnish Tourist Board.

W.R. Mead, An Historical Geography of Scandinavia (1981); and Kalevi Rikkinen, A Geography of Finland, trans. from Finnish (1992), provide comprehensive surveys. A broad interpretive treatment, with a look at the social customs of Finland, is found in Philip Ward, Finnish Cities: Travels in Helsinki, Turku, Tampere, and Lapland (1987).Ethnological studies include Aurélien Sauvageot, Les Anciens Finnois (1961); and William A. Wilson, Folklore and Nationalism in Modern Finland (1976). Social life and customs are explored in Aini Rajanen, Of Finnish Ways (1981); Caj Bremer and Antero Raevuori, The World of the Sauna (1986; originally published in Finnish, 1985); Antti Tuuri, The Face of Finland, ed. by Pauli Kojo, trans. from Finnish (1983); and Anneke Lipsanen, The Finnish Folk Year: A Perpetual Diary & Book of Days, Ways, and Customs (1987).Finland's economy is discussed in Fred Singleton, The Economy of Finland in the Twentieth Century (1986); Riitta Hjerppe, The Finnish Economy, 1860–1985: Growth and Structural Change (1989; originally published in Finnish, 1988); Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development, Reviews of National Science and Technology Policy: Finland (1987); Environmental High-Technology from Finland (1986), published by the Ministry of the Environment; Economic Survey (annual), published by the Ministry of Finance; and Finnish Industry, rev. ed. (1982), an overview of developments, published by the Bank of Finland.Government and politics are analyzed in D.G. Kirby, Finland in the Twentieth Century (1979); Anthony F. Upton, Peter P. Rohoe, and A. Sparring, Communism in Scandinavia and Finland (also published as The Communist Parties of Scandinavia and Finland, 1973); Juhani Mylly and R. Michael Berry (eds.), Political Parties in Finland (1984); David Arter, Politics and Policy-Making in Finland (1987); and Risto Alapuro, State and Revolution in Finland (1988); Max Jakobson, Finland in the New Europe (1998); Jorma selovuori, Power and Bureaucracy in Finland, 1809–1998, trans. from Finnish (1999).Finnish architecture and design are discussed in J.M. Richards, 800 Years of Finnish Architecture (1978); Erik Kruskopf, Finnish Design, 1875–1975: 100 Years of Finnish Industrial Design (1975); Elizabeth Gaynor, Finland, Living Design (1984, reissued 1995); Jaakko Lintinen et al., Finnish Vision: Modern Art, Architecture, and Design, trans. from Finnish (1983); Marianne Aav and Nina Stritzler-Levine (eds.), Finnish Modern Design: Utopian Ideals and Everyday Realities, 1930–1997 (1998); Kenneth Frampton, “The Legacy of Alvar Aalto: Evolution and Influence,” in Peter Reed (ed.), Alvar Aalto: Between Humanism and Materialism (1998). Other studies of national art and culture include John Boulton Smith, The Golden Age of Finnish Art: Art Nouveau and the National Spirit, 2nd rev. ed. (1985); Marianne Aav and Kaj Kalin, Form Finland, trans. from Finnish (1986), on decorative arts; Jaakko Ahokas, A History of Finnish Literature (1973); Matti Kuusi, Keith Bosley, and Michael Branch (eds. and trans.), Finnish Folk Poetry: Epic: An Anthology in Finnish and English (1977); Bo Carpelan, Veijo Meri, and Matti Suurpää (eds.), A Way to Measure Time: Contemporary Finnish Literature, trans. from Finnish (1992); Kai Laitinen, Literature of Finland: An Outline, 2nd ed., trans. from Finnish (1994); Kalevala, ed. by Aivi Gallen-Kallela and trans. by W.F. Kirby (1986), a jubilee edition of the national epic, illustrated by Akseli Gallen-Kallela; The Kalevala: Epic of the Finnish People, trans. by Eino Friberg and ed. by George C. Schoolfield (1988); Antony Hodgson, Scandinavian Music: Finland & Sweden (1984); Paavo Helistö, Music in Finland (1980); Maija Savutie, Finnish Theatre: A Northern Part of World Theatre, trans. from Finnish (1980); and Rauno Endén, Yleisradio, 1926–1949: A History of Broadcasting in Finland, trans. from Finnish (1996).

General works on Finnish history include John H. Wuorinen, A History of Finland (1965); Eino Jutikkala and Kauko Pirinen, A History of Finland, 4th rev. ed. (1984; originally published in Finnish, 1966); Eino Jutikkala, Atlas of Finnish History, 2nd rev. ed. (1959); Byron J. Nordstrom (ed.), Dictionary of Scandinavian History (1986); Fred Singleton, A Short History of Finland, 2nd ed. (1998); and Matti Klinge, A Brief History of Finland, trans. from Finnish, 10th ed. (1997).More detailed discussions of events in the 19th and 20th centuries are available in Juhani Paasivirta, Finland and Europe: International Crises in the Period of Autonomy, 1808–1914, ed. and abridged by D.G. Kirby (1981; originally published in Finnish, 1978); L.A. Puntila, The Political History of Finland, 1809–1966 (1974; originally published in Finnish, 5th rev. and improved ed., 1971); Anthony F. Upton, The Finnish Revolution, 1917–1918 (1980), a comprehensive analysis, and Finland, 1939–1940 (1974); and Max Jakobson, Finland Survived: An Account of the Finnish-Soviet Winter War, 1939–1940, 2nd enlarged ed. (1984).Foreign relations are the main topic of Tuomo Polvinen, Between East and West: Finland in International Politics, 1944–1947, ed. and trans. by D.G. Kirby and Peter Herring (1986; originally published in Finnish, 3 vol., 1979–81); Roy Allison, Finland's Relations with the Soviet Union, 1944–1984 (1985); R. Michael Berry, American Foreign Policy and the Finnish Exception (1987); and Max Jakobson, Finland: Myth and Reality (1987). The Yearbook of Finnish Foreign Policy, published by the Finnish Institute of International Affairs, is another helpful source.Susan Ruth Larson

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Universalium. 2010.

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