Finnish and Swedish Are Both Official Languages in Finland

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    Finnish and Swedish are both official languages in Finland. About 93 percent of the population speaks

    Finnish, a Finno-Ugric language (see Finnish Language). About 6 percent of the people speak Swedish

    (see Swedish Language). The Saami speak Saami, a dialect of Finnish.

    The Evangelical Lutheran Church of Finland is the principal national church. Its members make up 86

    percent of the population. A small and declining minority of Finns (about 1 percent) belong to the

    Finnish Orthodox Church, still a national church (see Orthodox Church). Freedom of worship is

    guaranteed to all faiths.

    B. Principal Cities

    Helsinki, Finland

    Helsinki, Finland

    Helsinki is the capital of Finland. Located on Helsinki Harbor in the Gulf of Finland, it is also a major

    seaport and the largest city in the country. In this picture, the Suurkirkko, or Great Church, rises in the

    background.

    Encarta Encyclopedia

    Finnish Tourist Board

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    There are many small cities and towns in Finland but only five with populations exceeding 100,000.

    Helsinki, (Helsingfors in Swedish) is the largest, with a population of 564,521 (2006 estimate). Located

    on the southern coast, it is the national capital and the political, commercial, educational, and cultural

    center of Finland. It is an important industrial city and port.

    Aerial View of Tampere

    Aerial View of Tampere

    Tampere is an industrial center and Finlands third-largest city. Notable sites include Tampere Cathedral

    and the University of Tampere.

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    Jean Luc Barde/Scope

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    The next three largest cities are Espoo (227,472), Tampere (Tammerfors in Swedish) (202,932), and

    Turku (bo in Swedish) (174,824). Turku is an education center and major port, and it served as Finlands

    capital city until 1812. Tampere is a major manufacturing city and a center of Finlands important

    telecommunications and information technology industries.

    C. Education

    Schooling is free and compulsory in Finland between the ages of 7 and 16. Virtually all citizens are

    literate. In addition to regular primary and secondary schools, Finland has an extensive adult education

    program consisting of folk high schools, folk academies, and workers institutes. The adult education

    schools are operated privately or by municipalities or provinces and receive state subsidies.

    1. Elementary and Secondary Schools

    Compulsory education consists of six years of primary schooling and three years of secondary schooling.

    In the 2000 school year 392,200 children attended 3,851 primary schools, and 493,200 students went to

    secondary schools. Finland maintains a system of secondary vocational education with schools of

    commerce, arts and crafts, domestic science, trade, agriculture, and technology.

    2. Universities and Colleges

    The Finnish institutes of higher learning include 13 universities and several colleges and teacher-training

    schools. The largest of the universities is the University of Helsinki. Originally established at bo in 1640,

    the university was moved to Helsinki in 1828. Among the other major institutions of higher learning are

    the University of Turku (1920), the Helsinki School of Economics and Business Administration (1911), the

    University of Tampere (1966), and the University of Oulu (1958).

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    D. Culture

    Helsinki Central Railway Station

    Aalto Chair

    Helsinki Central Railway Station

    Finnish-American architect Eliel Saarinen used his trademark, bold lines and shapes, to create the

    Helsinki Central Railway Station in Helsinki, Finland. It was constructed between 1904 and 1914.

    Encarta Encyclopedia

    UPI/CORBIS-BETTMANN

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    Aalto Chair

    Finnish architect Alvar Aalto made use of newly developed technology for bending wood in many of hisfurniture designs. This chair was built for the Paimio Tuberculosis Sanitorium (1929-1933) in Turku,

    Finland. Aalto designed the building as well as the furniture and interior fittings.

    Encarta Encyclopedia

    Private Collection/Bonhams, London/Bridgeman Art Library, London/New York

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    For centuries, Finns sang their traditional epic poems to the accompaniment of the zither-like kantele.

    They decorated traditional handicrafts such as wood carvings and rugs with spirals, swastikas (anancient symbol), and other simple, geometric designs. After the conquest of the Finnish tribes by

    Sweden beginning in the 12th century, the indigenous culture was largely dominated by Swedish

    influences, although the ancient folk traditions continued. Among the educated, Swedish culture

    predominated. Swedish was spoken and, with rare exceptions, was the language of literature and

    government administration.

    Sidebars

    SIDEBAR

    Customs of Finland

    Custom, then, is the great guide of human life, wrote Scottish philosopher David Hume. Knowing the

    customs of a country is, in effect, a guide to understanding the soul of that country and its people. The

    following Sidebar is intended to provide a glimpse into the unique world of this nations customs: how

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    people marry, how families celebrate holidays and other occasions, what people eat, how they socialize

    and have fun.

    open sidebar

    Because the styles of Swedish art and architecture were largely derivative, many Finnish buildings and

    works of art reflected Italian, Flemish, German, and other European influences. In the 19th century,

    however, educated Finns began to revive the folk traditions of their country. At the same time, a

    national literature in the Finnish language emerged, and Finnish styles appeared increasingly in art and

    architecture. The sauna, a steam bath produced by pouring water over heated rocks, is a Finnish

    invention.

    1. Libraries and Museums

    The Finns are a book-loving people, and libraries and museums are an integral part of their culture. The

    Helsinki City Library (1860) holds more than 2 million volumes. The Helsinki University Library, with

    nearly 3 million volumes, serves as a national library. Altogether Finland has more than 1,500 libraries

    and more than 300 museums throughout the country. The National Museum of Finland (1893), at

    Helsinki, contains Finnish, Finno-Ugrian, and comparative ethnographical collections, as well as an

    archaeological department. Other museums include the Mannerheim, the Municipal, and the

    Athenaeum at Helsinki and the Art Museum at bo.

    2. Literature

    See Finnish Literature.

    3. Music

    Traditional Kantele of Finland

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    Traditional Kantele of Finland

    Although it is no longer performed in its authentic context, traditional Finnish music is still very popular

    at festivals and contests. Instrumental folk dance music, or pelimannimusiikki, is the most popular style

    with a variety of instrumental folk musician associations. The polska (reel), a group dance, was popular

    in the 18th century. This example of a polska is performed on a kantele, a ten-string double-boardedzither, and is well known throughout the Balto-Finnish region.

    Encarta Encyclopedia

    "Polska Dance" from Tunes and Songs of Finland (Cat.# Folkways FW 6856) (p)1957, 1961 Smithsonian-

    Folkways Recordings. All rights reserved.

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    Finland possesses a wealth of folk music and a large body of church music, the former amassed since

    ancient times and the latter developed since the acceptance of Christianity by the Finns in the 12th

    century. During the Reformation, Gregorian chant and other existing vocal church music, previously

    composed to Latin texts, was adapted to the Finnish language.

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    The cultivation of secular music began in the 17th century. An amateur orchestra was formed in the

    former Finnish capital, Turku, and in the mid-17th century music was made part of the curriculum of the

    university at bo.

    Finnish Composer Jean Sibelius

    Finnish Composer Jean Sibelius

    The music of Finnish composer Jean Sibelius was inspired by nature and Finnish folktales. Finlandia

    (1899; revised 1900), one of his most famous pieces, was banned by the Russian rulers of Finland

    because of its pro-Finnish patriotism.

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    Hulton-Deutsch Collection/CORBIS-BETTMANN

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    The development of Finnish art music began about the middle of the 19th century, mainly as a result of

    the works and teaching of two German-born musicians, composer Fredrik Pacius and conductor and

    collector of Finnish folk songs Richard Friedrich Faltin. Martin Wegelius, the first important native-born

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    composer, also significantly influenced the development of Finnish art music as director of the Helsinki

    Conservatory. His contemporary, the Finnish composer Robert Kajanus, introduced Finnish music to

    Western European audiences as conductor of the Helsinki Municipal Orchestra.

    Until the late 19th century the dominant influence on Finnish composers was that of German music.

    Pacius, Faltin, Wegelius, and Kajanus all cultivated Finnish folk music in their work, but it was Jean

    Sibelius, the student of Kajanus, who created a truly national musical style and won international

    recognition for Finnish music. One of the most famous compositions of Sibelius, Finlandia (1899; revised

    1900), is based on the Kalevala, a national epic poem of Finland. The Russian rulers of Finland banned

    the composition because it aroused Finnish patriotism.

    The Finnish National Opera House in Helsinki is the home of the Finnish National Opera and the Finnish

    National Ballet. Finland has produced many operas of distinction in recent years by composers such asAulis Sallinen, Einojuhani Rautavaara, Erik Bergman, and Joonas Kookonen. After Finland became

    independent in 1917, modern Finnish composers grew increasingly interested in a variety of modern

    trends. See also Folk Music.

    E. Visual Arts

    Finlandia Hall

    Summer Grouse

    Finlandia Hall

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    Finnish architect Alvar Aalto designed Finlandia Hall toward the end of his career. Located on Helsinkis

    waterfront, the structure displays the hallmarks of Aaltos design style: functionality, elegance, and

    grace. A public concert hall and convention center, Finlandia Hall also embodies Aaltos belief in the

    importance of civic projects.

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    Adam Woolfitt/Corbis

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    Summer Grouse

    Nordic glass designers and craftsworkers have gained a reputation for producing particularly fine,

    innovative pieces for both practical and decorative purposes. Summer Grouse, pictured here, is the work

    of Finnish artist Oiva Toikka. It is just one of a series of varied abstract bird designs in glass, which he has

    created for the firm Iittala. In this piece a strain of brown that starts at the birds head and ends at the

    tail subtly reproduces the effect of rich, varied plumage.

    Encarta Encyclopedia

    Courtesy of iittala, Inc., Finland

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    In the visual arts, the Finns have made notable contributions to handicrafts and industrial design.

    Finlands best-known sculptor of the 20th century was Win Aaltonen, noted for his monumental

    sculptures and busts. Finnish architecture is famous around the world. Among 20th century architects to

    win international recognition are Eliel Saarinen, who designed the celebrated railroad station in Helsinki

    and many other public works, and Alvar Aalto, who helped bring the functionalist style to Finland.

    IV. ECONOMY

    Economy of Finland

    Gross domestic product (GDP in U.S.$) $211 billion (2006)

    GDP per capita (U.S.$) $40,000.10 (2006)

    Monetary unit 1 euro (), consisting of 100 cents

    Number of workers 2,660,019 (2006)

    Unemployment rate 8.9 percent (2004)

    Finland has a highly industrialized economy based on abundant forest resources, metalworking and

    engineering, and high technology, especially the large telecommunications sector. Finns enjoy a high

    standard of living, and the nations business climate is considered highly competitive. Trade is central to

    Finlands economy. Major exports, including wood products, metals, and electronic goods, account for

    about one-third of Finlands gross domestic product (GDP). Apart from timber and some minerals,Finland is highly dependent on imports of raw materials and energy.

    Finland voided its longstanding friendship treaty with the Soviet Union in the early 1990s, following the

    collapse of that country. In 1992 Finland applied for membership in the European Community (EC, a

    predecessor of the European Union, or EU), becoming a full member in 1995. Finns have readily

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    embraced closer integration with Europe, setting them somewhat apart from Denmark and Sweden, the

    other Nordic EU member states. In 2002 Finland replaced its national currency with the euro, the single

    currency of the EU. In doing so, Finland became the only Nordic country to adopt the euro.

    A. Agriculture

    Farming in Finland's Lake District

    Farming in Finland's Lake District

    Finland's Lake District encompasses a large region in the central and southern part of the country, where

    a series of shallow lakes are connected by thousands of streams and channels. People have farmed theLake District since the 13th century. Most Finnish farms are small, but many farmers also own timber

    lots, which can improve a farmer's winter earnings.

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    Gary Faber/The Image Bank

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    Climactic conditions and the lack of good soils greatly limit the amount of land available for cultivation.

    Nearly all land suitable for farming is found in the fertile coastal regions of the southwest. Only 7

    percent of the total land area of Finland is under cultivation. The large majority of the farms are less

    than 20 hectares (49 acres) in size.

    Dairy farming is the principal agricultural activity. Hay and other fodder crops are grown to feed dairy

    cattle, beef cattle, sheep, and other livestock. The principal food crops are wheat (grown mainly in the

    Ahvenanmaa archipelago), rye, barley, oats, potatoes, and sugar beets. In colder northern regions, the

    land is used mainly for grazing sheep and cattle.

    B. Forestry and Fishing

    Busy Fish Market

    Busy Fish Market

    Shoppers crowd a busy fish market in Finland. Fish, caught in the nations many inland waterways and

    surrounding saltwater gulfs, are an important part of the Finnish diet.

    Encarta Encyclopedia

    Marcello Bertinetti/Photo Researchers, Inc.

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    Forests, which cover more than 70 percent of Finland, have long provided a major source of materials

    for Finlands wood and wood products industries. The most productive and accessible forests lie in the

    central and southeastern parts of the country. A majority of the forest lands are owned by private

    individuals, rather than by large corporations or the government. Throughout much of Finland, timber iscut during the winter months, and in the spring it is floated down rivers and lakes to sawmills.

    Fishing, although important for domestic consumption, accounts for a small share of foreign trade. More

    than one-third of the total catch typically comes from inland waters.

    C. Mining

    Finlands mineral resources are used mainly to supply the nations metalworking industry. Finland holds

    significant deposits of copper and produced 15,500 metric tons in 2004. Zinc production was 37,200

    metric tons. Silver mines yielded 33 metric tons. Chromite, lead, nickel, and gold are also mined.

    D. Manufacturing

    Woodworking in Finland

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    Woodworking in Finland

    This craftswoman in Finland displays the decorative and practical objects she fashioned out of wood,

    such as toys, bowls, and candleholders. Along with the woodworking industry, manufacturers in Finland

    also produce paper and pulp. Forest covers about two-thirds of the country, and the manufacture of

    wood products represents a large portion of the economy of Finland. Finland ranks as the world leader

    in the production of plywood.

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    Jack Fields/Photo Researchers, Inc.

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    The pulp, paper, and woodworking industries account for a significant share of the Finnish

    manufacturing output. Other manufactured goods include heavy machinery and transportation

    equipment, metals, engineering products (including computers, software, electronic components, and

    telecommunications equipment), printed goods, food products and beverages, textiles and clothing,

    chemicals, and glass and ceramics. The Finnish company Nokia is one of the worlds largest

    telecommunications manufacturer, producing mobile telephones, digital networking hardware, and

    other equipment.

    E. Currency and Banking

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    The monetary unit of Finland is the single currency of the European Union (EU), the euro (0.80 euros

    equal U.S. $1; 2006 average). The euro was introduced on January 1, 1999, for electronic transfers and

    accounting purposes only, and Finlands national currency, the markka, was used for other purposes. On

    January 1, 2002, euro-denominated coins and bills went into circulation, and the markka ceased to be

    legal tender.

    As a participant in the single currency, Finland must follow economic policies established by the

    European Central Bank (ECB). The ECB is located in Frankfurt, Germany, and is responsible for all EU

    monetary policies, which include setting interest rates and regulating the money supply. On January 1,

    1999, control over Finnish monetary policy was transferred from the Bank of Finland to the ECB. After

    the transfer, the Bank of Finland joined the national banks of the other EU countries that adopted the

    euro as part of the European System of Central Banks (ESCB).

    F. Transportation

    A system of canals, connecting Finlands lakes with one another and with the Gulf of Finland, provides

    cheap and efficient transport for the forest industry; about 6,600 km (about 4,100 mi) of inland

    waterways are navigable. Railroad lines have a combined length of 5,732 km (3,562 mi), owned and

    operated by the state. Finland has about 78,158 km (48,565 mi) of roads, 65 percent of them paved.

    Finnair, Finlands biggest carrier and national airline, provides domestic and international flights.

    G. Communications

    The government controls domestic telegraph services and operates the Finnish Broadcasting Company

    (Yleisradio) which broadcasts most of the radio and television programs of Finland. Two privately owned

    television stations offer programming that is available to most Finnish households.

    Finland is home to one of the worlds most advanced telecommunications sectors. Finlands densenetwork of telephone lines is entirely digital. In 1998 Finland became the first nation in the world in

    which mobile cellular telephone subscriptions outnumbered fixed-line telephone connections.

    Newspapers are privately owned and reflect a broad spectrum of opinion. Daily newspapers number

    about 53.

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    V. GOVERNMENT

    Government of Finland

    Form of government Republic

    Head of state President

    Head of government Prime minister

    Legislature Unicameral legislature:

    Parliament, 200 members

    Voting qualifications Universal at age 18

    Constitution 1 March 2000

    Highest court Supreme Court

    Finland is a democratic republic. It has a parliamentary form of government that divides executive

    power between the president and the prime minister. Finland is governed under a constitution adopted

    on March 1, 2000. The previous constitution was adopted on July 17, 1919, shortly after Finlands

    declaration of independence from Russia. All citizens who have reached 18 years of age can vote.

    A. Executive

    The president of Finland, who is elected to a six-year term by direct popular vote, is the head of state.

    Under the 1919 constitution, the president was responsible for national security and foreign affairs and

    also appointed the Council of State (cabinet) and the prime minister; the prime minister and cabinet

    were responsible for domestic policy making. The present constitution, adopted in March 2000, reduced

    the power of the president and gave more authority to the prime minister and cabinet. Today, the

    parliament elects the prime minister, who is then officially appointed by the president. The primeminister nominates cabinet members for appointment.

    The new constitution also requires the president to work more closely with the prime minister and

    cabinet on foreign policy issues. The prime ministers responsibility for Finlands relations with the

    European Union (EU) is a significant example of this.

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    B. Legislature

    The Finnish parliament is a unicameral body known as the Eduskunta (Riksdag in Swedish). Its 200members are popularly elected on a proportional basis for a term of up to four years. Members of the

    Eduskunta may initiate legislation, override presidential vetoes, or bring about the resignation of the

    cabinet and prime minister. The president may dissolve the Eduskunta and call for new elections at the

    request of the prime minister.

    C. Political Parties

    Finlands system of proportional representation encourages the formation of many small political

    parties. Nearly all governments are coalition governments. Historically, the most important political

    parties are the Finnish Social Democratic Party (SDP, formed in 1899), advocating state ownership of

    certain essential industries; the Center Party (KESK, 1906), which has traditionally derived its support

    from rural interests and advocates free enterprise; the Left Alliance (LA, 1990), formed by the 1990

    merger of the Finnish Peoples Democratic League (1944) and the Communist Party of Finland (1918);

    the National Coalition Party (KOK, 1918), an advocate of private enterprise; the Swedish Peoples Party

    (SFP, 1906), representing the Swedish-speaking minority in Finland; and the Green League, an

    environmentalist party.

    D. Local Government

    Finland is divided into five mainland provinces and the island province of land (Ahvenanmaa), which

    enjoys home-rule and keeps its own, distinct flag. Residents of land province are nearly all Swedish-

    speaking. The mainland provinces are Eastern Finland (It-Suomi), Western Finland (Lnsi-Suomi),

    Southern Finland (Etel-Suomi), Oulu, and Lappi. Each mainland province is administered by a governor

    who is appointed by the president. land is administered by a provincial council that is directly electedby residents; the council shares governing power with the governor.

    Below the provincial level are cities, townships, and communes. Each is administered by municipal or

    communal councils elected by proportional representation.

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    E. Judiciary

    The local court system of Finland is divided into municipal courts in towns and district courts in rural

    areas. Appellate courts are located in bo, Vaasa, Kuopio, Kuovila, Rovaniemi, and Helsinki. The

    supreme court, which sits at Helsinki, is the final court of appeal for all civil and criminal cases.

    F. Health and Welfare

    The Finnish social-welfare system provides unemployment, sickness, disability, and old-age insurance;

    family and child allowances; and war-invalid compensation. The National Health Act of 1972 provided

    for the establishment of health centers in all municipalities, and also provided for the elimination of

    doctors fees.

    G. Defense

    Military service for up to 12 months is compulsory for all males 17 years of age or over. Since 1995,

    women have been allowed to serve as volunteers. Finland has an army, a navy, and an air force, but the

    armed forces are restricted by the Paris peace treaty of 1947 to maximum personnel of 41,900; in 2004

    about 28,300 people were in the armed services. Reserves total about 400,000. In 1994 Finland joinedthe Partnership for Peace program as a first step toward full membership in the North Atlantic Treaty

    Organization (NATO).

    VI. HISTORY

    The earliest traces of human habitation in Finland date from about 8000 bc, when the most recent of

    the Ice Ages was retreating. These ancient hunters and gatherers probably arrived from the east.

    Pottery making characterized another type of Stone Age culture (starting 3000? bc) known as the Comb-

    Ceramic; its practitioners were of a different origin. The succeeding Battle-Ax culture (1800-1600 bc)

    may have been brought to Finland by an Indo-European people from a more southerly Baltic region.

    These people were able navigators and also introduced agriculture. A merger of the Battle-Ax people

    and the previous dwellers resulted in the so-called Kiukainen culture (1600-1200 bc).

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    The Bronze Age began in Finland about 1300 bc. During the first part of the pre-Christian era and the

    following centuries, people speaking one of the Finno-Ugric languages migrated in from the east and

    from Estonia in the south. This period marks the introduction of the Iron Age in Finland.

    A. The Viking Age

    During the age of the Vikings the Finns became exposed to both eastern and western influences. Vikings

    from Sweden colonized the land Islands (Ahvenanmaa in Finnish) in the 6th century ad as a base for

    their journeys of pillage and trade into Russia as far south as the Black Sea. Although they did not

    actually participate in these Viking expeditions, the Finns benefited by the growing contact and the

    establishment of trading colonies in their country by merchants from Sweden and the island of Gotland.

    At the end of the 11th century three Finnish tribes had spread as far north as the 62nd parallel: the

    Finns proper in the southwest, the Tavastians in the interior lake district, and the Karelians to the east.The Saami were also living in the wilderness to the north. No unified government or state existed.

    B. The Swedish Conquest

    The conversion of the Finnish tribes to Christianity was initiated by both the Orthodox and Roman

    Catholic churches of Sweden. It proceeded for more than two centuries, from 1050 to about 1300. The

    Saami became Christians at an even later date.

    According to tradition, Nicholas Breakspear, an English cardinal who became Pope Adrian IV,

    encouraged the Swedish king Eric to cross the Baltic with a strong force in 1155. His goal was not only to

    convert the heathen but also to gain economic and political ends. King Eric defeated the Finnish tribes

    but was not able to make his conquest permanent. An English clergyman, Henry, who had been bishop

    of Uppsala in Sweden, remained in Finland. He was slain within the year and subsequently became the

    patron saint of the city of bo (Turku in Finnish) and of all the Finns.

    A papal bull of 1172 (or 1171) proposed that the Swedes hold Finland in subjection by building

    fortresses with permanent garrisons; in time, the Swedes subdued the Finns and the Tavastians,

    achieved control of Finlands foreign trade, and established the Christian religion. The church was placed

    on a firm foundation when an episcopal see was established at bo in 1209 (a monastery of the

    Dominicans was founded there in 1249). In 1216 the pope confirmed Swedish title to those parts of

    Finland that were already conquered and also to mission territories in the east and north. A solid basis

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    for Swedish rule was laid by the Earl Birger, who dispatched a crusade in 1249 and built a fortress in

    Tavastia in central Finland as a protection against Russian incursions. When the ruler of Novgorod in

    Russia invaded Tavastia again in 1292, the Swedes sent a force into Karelia as far as the Neva River. A

    treaty of 1323 divided Karelia between Sweden and Novgorod.

    In 1362 the Finnish people were given the same rights within the monarchy as the people of Sweden.

    When Queen Margaret I established the Kalmar Union in 1397, Finland was drawn into the dynastic

    politics of the Scandinavian countries. All during the 15th and 16th centuries most of Finland was

    administered as fiefs by Swedish noblemen, who levied heavy taxes on the people. Numerous Swedish

    farmers, fishers, and merchants settled in Finland at this time.

    C. A Swedish Duchy

    King Gustav I Vasa attempted to institute economic and administrative reforms. At the Diet of Vsters

    in 1527 the Swedes essentially broke with Rome, although they did not formally accept the doctrines of

    Martin Luther until several years later. During this time much land and property in Finland was taken

    over by the Crown. During a war (1555-1557) against Ivan of Russia, Finland was made a Swedish duchy

    and given as a fief to the future John III. In the 25 years between 1570 and 1595 Finland was involved in

    constant warfare between Sweden and Russia.

    Under Charles IX the entire administration of Finland was concentrated in Stockholm, and a basis was

    laid for further material progress. Under Charless successor, Gustav II Adolph, protracted wars were

    fought against Denmark, Poland, and Russia. War with Russia ended with the Peace of Stolbova (1617),

    which pushed Finnish boundaries farther east into Ingria.

    Great numbers of Finnish soldiers fought for the Swedes in the Thirty Years War (1618-1648), which

    also resulted in heavy taxation on the populace. Another war with Russia (1656-1661) exacted great

    suffering but ended with a territorial status quo. The reduction (reversion to the Crown of lands that

    had been given to nobles as compensation for services rendered) of Charles XI benefited Finnish farmersto some extent, but crop failures in 1695 through 1697 caused the death of one-fourth of the

    population. This was followed by the tragic years of the Great Northern War (1700-1721), during which

    the Russians occupied Finland; at the Peace of Nystadt (1721) it lost large areas in the east. During

    another war with Russia (1741-1743) more territory was ceded; yet one more conflict in 1788 to 1790

    left the situation unchanged. The idea of Finnish independence from Sweden, however, began to take

    hold.

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    D. Russian Rule, 1809 to 1917

    A year after his agreement with French emperor Napoleon I at Tilsit (see Tilsit, Treaty of) in 1807, TsarAlexander I attacked and occupied Finland. In March 1809 he proclaimed it a grand duchy of the Russian

    Empire but granted his new subjects all their old rights and privileges. In the Peace of Hamina (Swedish

    Fredrikshamn) in September, Sweden formally ceded all Finland and the land Islands to Russia; at the

    same time, however, the Karelian areas ceded to Russia before 1809 were returned to Finland.

    The country was henceforth ruled by a Russian governor-general, with a so-called senate, which sat in

    the new capital of Helsinki, acting as a cabinet. In spite of despotic rule by some governors-general,

    much economic and cultural progress was made during the middle decades of the century. After 1820 a

    nationalist awakening took place among the population, centered mainly on a resurgence of the Finnish

    language. In 1863 the Lantdag (parliament), which had not met since 1809, was reconstituted, and in the

    same year the Finnish language was granted equal status with Swedish.

    Toward the end of the century a shift in Russian policy was manifest. In 1894 the use of the Russian

    language was introduced in some aspects of government administration, and five years later all

    legislation was placed in Russian hands. During the following years the citizens of Finland lost many of

    their constitutional rights. The Russo-Japanese War of 1904-1905 slowed the process of Russification

    somewhat. In 1906 a new parliamentary system was adopted, a one-chamber Eduskunta (parliament)created, and the right to vote given to all men and women over the age of 25. Another wave of

    Russification swept Finland in 1908, culminating in the Equal Rights Law of 1912, which gave Russians

    the same rights in Finland as the countrys own population.

    Finland was not directly involved in World War I (1914-1918), although Russian troops were garrisoned

    in the country. During the turmoil of the Russian Revolution in 1917, a newly elected Finnish parliament

    took advantage of the situation and on November 15 assumed all powers formerly held by the Tsar-

    Grand Duke. Three weeks later, on December 6, it voted in favor of an independent republic. The

    nascent Soviet government had no choice but to recognize Finnish sovereignty.

    E. Independence, Civil War, and the Interwar Period

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    Many problems faced the new republic, among them famine, widespread unemployment, and a

    stagnant economy. Moreover, the population was now sharply polarized between the radical socialists

    and the liberals and other groups. Meanwhile, two armiesthe Red Guards and the White Guards

    were forming in the country.

    The mounting friction soon erupted in violence. On January 28, 1918, the Red Guards, reacting to a

    government order to expel all Russian troops, spread a Red revolution across Finland, plundering and

    killing civilians. The government fled to Vaasa, and resistance to the Reds was organized by General Carl

    G. Mannerheim. He headed the White Guards, who, assisted by German troops, captured Helsinki and,

    in turn, instituted a wave of terror against the Red revolutionaries. After the country had been pacified,

    the parliament in July 1919 adopted a new republican constitution. Kaarlo J. Sthlberg, a liberal, was

    elected first president of Finland.

    Various coalition cabinets made up of nonsocialist parties ruled during the 1920s and 1930s. The

    Communist Party was declared illegal, but Social Democrats made some progress. A nonaggression

    treaty was concluded with the Soviet Union in 1932, and after 1935 the Scandinavian orientation of

    Finnish foreign policy was apparent.

    F. The Winter and Continuation Wars

    At the outbreak of World War II in 1939, Finland declared its neutrality. The Soviet Union, however,

    anxious to secure the approaches to Leningrad, demanded that Finland cede certain territory in return

    for parts of Soviet-controlled Karelia. When the Finns refused, Soviet armies invaded Finland on

    November 30, 1939, initiating the Winter War. The Finns, under Mannerheim, fiercely resisted and won

    some astonishing victories. But superior Soviet power was decisive, and the Finns were forced to

    concede. See Russo-Finnish War. The peace terms imposed on Finland gave 10 percent of Finnish

    territory, including the Karelian Isthmus, to the Soviets.

    When Germany attacked the USSR in June 1941, the Finns again proclaimed their neutrality, although75,000 German troops were based in northern Finland. German use of Finnish territory led the Russians

    to bomb Finnish cities. Finland then declared war against the USSR, emphasizing that the Finns were not

    allies of Germany but merely co-belligerents. Nevertheless, the United Kingdom declared war on Finland

    in December 1941, and the United States broke relations. After a prolonged standstill, Marshal

    Mannerheim was installed as president in August 1944, with a mandate to secure peace. An armistice

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    was signed on September 19, 1944. Finland ceded the Petsamo area in the north and was forced to

    lease its Porkkala Peninsula in the Gulf of Finland to the USSR. Reparations were set at $300 million.

    G. Postwar Period

    Finland signed its final peace treaty with the USSR in 1947. Reparations, in the form of goods and raw

    materials, were fully paid by 1952. In 1956 gave up its lease on the Porkkala Peninsula and returned it to

    Finland. The new relationship with the USSR led Finland to legalize the Communist Party and enter a

    Treaty of Friendship, Cooperation, and Mutual Assistance (1948; voided in January 1992).

    Finland experienced serious hardship in the immediate aftermath of the war. It had lost productive

    territories, its economy was in shambles, and it had to resettle about 450,000 refugees from the landsceded to the USSR. However, within a short time, Finlands government reorganized the industrial sector

    to meet the heavy burden of war reparations. Housing was built for the refugees, many of whom went

    to work in factories. Wetlands were drained to make available new farmland, and many existing farms

    were subdivided.

    1. Foreign Policy

    Urho Kekkonen

    Urho Kekkonen

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    As president of Finland from 1956 to 1981, Urho Kekkonen supported Finnish neutrality and maintained

    friendly relations with the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics.

    Encarta Encyclopedia

    Dalmas/Sipa Press/Woodfin Camp and Associates, Inc.

    Full Size

    The main thrust of Finnish foreign policy until the collapse of Soviet domination in Eastern Europe in the

    early 1990s was strict international neutrality and friendly relations with the USSR. At the same time,

    Finland maintained its independent status. This policy, the so-called Paasikivi-Kekkonen Line, was named

    for the postwar president Juho K. Paasikivi, who initiated it, and his successor, Urho Kekkonen, who

    broadened it.

    Perhaps more than any other person, Urho Kekkonen put his stamp on Finnish postwar politics. Asprime minister from 1950 to 1956 (with two brief intervals) and president from 1956 to 1981, he eased

    Soviet fears of an unfriendly Finland and displayed a finely tuned sensitivity to Soviet wishes that Finns

    refrain from activities deemed detrimental to Soviet interests. At the same time, Finland remained

    firmly oriented toward Scandinavia and the West. Still, many Western observers remained uneasy with

    Finlands friendliness toward the USSR, using the derogatory term Finlandization to describe it.

    In 1961 Finland became an associate member of the European Free Trade Association (EFTA), and in

    1967 it joined the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development. Additional trade

    agreements continued to strengthen Finlands economic relations with the West.

    2. Internal Politics

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    Martti Ahtisaari

    Martti Ahtisaari

    Martti Ahtisaari was Finlands president from 1994 to 2000.

    Encarta Encyclopedia

    Leh-Kainulainen/Woodfin Camp and Associates, Inc.

    Full Size

    None of Finlands political parties enjoys majority support, and coalition governments are therefore the

    rule. Most postwar cabinets have been headed by Social Democratic Party (SDP) or Center Party leaders.

    In January 1982 Mauno Koivisto, a Social Democrat, was elected to succeed Urho Kekkonen as

    president. The SDP scored gains in 1983 parliamentary voting, but the elections of March 1987 broughtto power a coalition government made up of Conservatives and the SDP. It was the first time

    Conservatives found themselves in government in more than 20 years. Conservative leader Harry

    Holkeri became prime minister. President Koivisto easily won reelection in February 1988 to a second

    six-year term.

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    Holkeris coalition suffered losses at the polls in the March 1991 elections, when the Center Party edged

    out the SDP as the single largest party in the 200-seat Eduskunta. The SDP chose to go into opposition,

    and Center Party leader Esko Aho formed a majority nonsocialist coalition government.

    H. European Relations

    After the collapse of the USSR, Finland restructured its economic policies to build relationships with the

    former Soviet republics and a stronger orientation toward Europe. In March 1992 Finland formally

    applied for membership in the European Community (now called the European Union, or EU). In

    February 1994 Martti Ahtisaari of the SDP was elected president. In May the European Parliament

    endorsed Finland for EU membership and in November Finnish voters approved their countrys inclusion

    in the EU. Also in May, Finland joined the Partnership for Peace program as a first step toward full

    membership in the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), abandoning a longtime policy of strictneutrality. In January 1995 Finland, along with Austria and Sweden, officially joined the EU.

    In elections in March 1995 the SDP emerged as the strongest party in the Eduskunta, winning 63 seats.

    The SDP then formed a coalition with four other parties, and SDP chairman Paavo Lipponen was named

    premier. Finland took another step toward integration with Europe in May 1998, when it officially

    agreed to replace its national currency, the markka, with a new single European currency, the euro. The

    euro was introduced in 1999 and entirely replaced the Finnish currency in January 2002.

    I. Recent Events

    Tarja Halonen

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    Tarja Halonen

    In 2000 Tarja Halonen was elected Finland's first woman president, and she won reelection in 2006.

    Halonen is shown here addressing the United Nations Millennium Summit in New York City.

    Encarta Encyclopedia

    AFP/Corbis

    Full Size

    In national elections in March 1999 the ruling coalition headed by Lipponen and the SDP was returned

    to power, despite a poor showing by the SDP that substantially reduced the coalitions majority in

    parliament. In February 2000 Social Democrat Tarja Halonen was elected Finlands first female

    president. In a close election that was decided in a runoff, Halonen defeated former prime minister Esko

    Aho of the Center Party. Halonen replaced Martti Ahtisaari, who did not seek reelection.

    In the March 2003 national elections the Center Party emerged as the largest party in the Eduskunta

    with 55 seats. The following month the Center Party reached an agreement with the SDP, which won 53

    seats, and the small Swedish Peoples Party, to form a coalition government. Center Party leader Anneli

    Jtteenmki succeeded Lipponen as prime minister and in so doing became Finlands first female to

    hold the post. The new coalition government was dubbed the red-earth alliance to reflect the SDPs

    labor background and the Center Partys agrarian roots.

    In June 2003, within months of coming to power, Jtteenmki resigned following allegations that shehad used classified documentspurported to reveal her predecessors sympathy for the March 2003

    U.S.-led invasion of Iraqduring the election campaign. Matti Vanhanen, defense minister and the

    Center Partys deputy leader, replaced Jtteenmki as prime minister. In early 2006 Halonen narrowly

    won reelection as president. Parliamentary elections in March 2007 gave the Center Party 51 seats, only

    1 more than its rival, the conservative National Coalition Party. The SDP was reduced to 45 seats.

    Vanhanen faced difficult talks on forming a new coalition government.

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    MORE SOURCES

    Web Links

    Finland: Consular Information Sheet

    The U.S. State Department reports on visitor entry requirements and local conditions.

    http://travel.state.gov/travel/cis_pa_tw/cis/cis_1115.html

    Finnish Tourist Board

    The Finnish Tourist Board offers visitor information, an events calendar, and recommended links;

    content is available in several languages.

    http://www.lonelyplanet.com/worldguide/destinations/europe/finland/

    Economist.com Country Briefings: Finland

    Economist.com Country Briefings provide fact sheets and economic and political profiles for countries of

    the world, as well as articles from The Economist.

    http://www.economist.com/countries/Finland/

    Destination Finland

    Lonely Planet Publications offers travel information, a gallery of color photographs, and other resources.

    http://www.lonelyplanet.com/destinations/europe/finland/

    Finland [Foreign Affairs Canada]

    The Canadian Department of Foreign Affairs provides general, travel, and foreign relations information;

    available in English and French.

    http://www.dfait-maeci.gc.ca/canadaeuropa/country_fin-en.asp

    Virtual Finland

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    This official site provides information on Finnish history, geography, government, culture, and news, as

    well as other resources; available in several languages.

    http://virtual.finland.fi/

    Embassy of Finland, Washington, D.C.

    The Embassy of Finland provides information about the country's news, government, and culture.

    http://www.finland.org/

    The President of the Republic of Finland

    This official site offers information about the Finnish presidency; available in Finnish, Swedish, and

    English.

    http://www.president.fi/en/

    Tilastokeskus/Statistics Finland

    Statistics Finland offers statistical news and a library of statistical information; available in Finnish,

    Swedish, and English.

    http://www.stat.fi/

    Further Reading

    For younger readers

    McNair, Sylvia. Finland. Children's Press, 1997. For readers in grades 5 to 8.

    Rodgers, Mary M., ed. Finland: In Pictures. Lerner, 1995. An introduction to the history, people,

    economy, and government structure of Finland.

    Tan, Chung Lee. Finland. Benchmark, 1996. For readers in grades 5 to 8. Finland: History

    Derry, T. K. A History of Scandinavia: Norway, Sweden, Denmark, Finland, and Iceland. University of

    Minnesota Press, 1979. Excellent survey includes Nordic unity, political development, and world

    contributions.

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    Jutikkala, Eino, with Kauko Pirinen. A History of Finland. Trans. Paul Sjblom. 4th ed. Weilin & Gs,

    1984. Authoritative history, includes relations with Sweden and Russia, nationalism, and culture.

    Lander, Patricia S. The Land and People of Finland. Lippincott, 1991. Examination of history, geography,

    government, economy, and culture for middle school and high school readers.

    McNair, Sylvia. Finland. Children's Press, 1997. The geography, history, and culture of Finland. For

    middle school readers.

    Singleton, Frederick Bernard. A Short History of Finland. Cambridge University Press, 1990. History of

    Finland from the first settlement by the Finns to the 1980s.

    Solsten, Eric, and Sandra W. Meditz, eds. Finland: A Country Study. 2nd ed. Government Printing Office,

    1990. Authoritative, official U.S. analysis dealing with all aspects of the country; statistical tables and

    detailed index.

    Trotter, William P. A Frozen Hell: The Russo-Finnish Winter War of 1939-1940. Algonquin, 1991. The

    Soviet invasion of 1939 and Finland's heroic resistance. Finland: Politics, Society, and Culture

    Arter, David. Politics and Policy-Making in Finland: A Study of a Small Democracy in a West European

    Outpost. St. Martin's, 1987.

    Edelsward, L. M. Sauna as Symbol: Society and Culture in Finland. Lang, 1991. Anthropological and

    sociological study of Finnish social life and customs.

    Jutikkala, Eino, with Kauko Pirinen.Trans. Paul Sjblom. A History of Finland. 4th ed. Weilin & Gs,

    1984. Authoritative history, includes relations with Sweden and Russia, nationalism, and culture.

    Lander, Patricia S. The Land and People of Finland. Lippincott, 1991. Examination of history, geography,

    government, economy, and culture for middle school and high school readers.

    McNair, Sylvia. Finland. Children's Press, 1997. The geography, history, and culture of Finland. For

    middle school readers.

    Poole, Scott. The New Finnish Architecture. Rizzoli, 1991. A study of Finland's architecture over the last

    40 years.

    Solsten, Eric, and Sandra W. Meditz, eds. Finland: A Country Study. 2nd ed. Government Printing Office,1990. Authoritative, official U.S. analysis dealing with all aspects of the country; statistical tables and

    detailed index.

    Sidebars

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    Customs of Finland

    Custom, then, is the great guide of human life, wrote Scottish philosopher David Hume. Knowing the

    customs of a country is, in effect, a guide to understanding the soul of that country and its people. The

    following Sidebar is intended to provide a glimpse into the unique world of this nations customs: how

    people marry, how families celebrate holidays and other occasions, what people eat, how they socializeand have fun.

    more...

    ALSO IN ENCARTA

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    How to cite this article:

    "Finland." Microsoft Student 2009 [DVD]. Redmond, WA: Microsoft Corporation, 2008.

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    Helsinki

    Area

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    130,559 sq mi

    Population

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    Web Sites(9)

    Destination Finland

    Lonely Planet Publications offers travel information, a gallery of color photographs, and other resources.

    http://www.lonelyplanet.com/destinations/europe/finland/

    Economist.com Country Briefings: Finland

    Economist.com Country Briefings provide fact sheets and economic and political profiles for countries of

    the world, as well as articles from The Economist.

    http://www.economist.com/countries/Finland/

    Embassy of Finland, Washington, D.C.

    The Embassy of Finland provides information about the country's news, government, and culture.

    http://www.finland.org/

    Finland [Foreign Affairs Canada]

    The Canadian Department of Foreign Affairs provides general, travel, and foreign relations information;

    available in English and French.

    http://www.dfait-maeci.gc.ca/canadaeuropa/country_fin-en.asp

    Finland: Consular Information Sheet

    The U.S. State Department reports on visitor entry requirements and local conditions.

    http://travel.state.gov/travel/cis_pa_tw/cis/cis_1115.html

    Finnish Tourist Board

    The Finnish Tourist Board offers visitor information, an events calendar, and recommended links;

    content is available in several languages.

    http://www.lonelyplanet.com/worldguide/destinations/europe/finland/

    The President of the Republic of Finland

    This official site offers information about the Finnish presidency; available in Finnish, Swedish, and

    English.

    http://www.president.fi/en/

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    Tilastokeskus/Statistics Finland

    Statistics Finland offers statistical news and a library of statistical information; available in Finnish,

    Swedish, and English.

    http://www.stat.fi/

    Virtual Finland

    This official site provides information on Finnish history, geography, government, culture, and news, as

    well as other resources; available in several languages.

    http://virtual.finland.fi/

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    Customs of Finland

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