(Suomen Tasavalta; Republiken Finland). State of Northern Europe (338,435 km²). Capital: Helsinki. Administrative division: provinces (6). Population: 5,517,919 (2018 estimate). Language: Finnish and Swedish (official), Lappish, Russian. Religion: Protestants 75.3%, non-religious / atheists 22.1%, Orthodox 1.1%, other religions 1.5%. Monetary unit: euro (100 cents). Human Development Index: 0.92 (15th place). Borders: Norway (N), Russia (E-SE), Sweden (NW), Gulf of Finland (S), Gulf of Bothnia (W). Member of: Council of Europe, Nordic Council, EBRD, OCDE, UN, OSCE, EU and WTO.
The persistent occupation of the land by the ice meant that human settlement in Finland occurred with considerable delay compared to other European areas, especially the Mediterranean ones. Only starting from the century. IV d. C. there were considerable migrations of Finnic populations, coming from Estonia who, having crossed the Gulf of Finland, settled in the southern belt of the country; the northern area instead became the domain of the Lapps (people of a fairly similar ethnic group as they also belonged to the great Finno-Ugric family), while Swedish groups occupied stretches of the southwestern coast. For a long time the appropriations (except for the Lapps) remained limited to the coastal areas, and were rather scarce even in these areas: it is estimated that the country hosted only 300,000 residents. in the middle of the century. XVI and ca. 420,000 in 1750. With the subsequent agricultural and forestry exploitation of more and more inland regions, the population began to increase at a rather rapid rate. The years after 2000 are characterized by a very modest natural growth (0.4% in the 2015-2020 period), which is lost in the phenomenon of emigration to foreign countries. Finland remains, with 16.3 residents / km², one of the least densely populated countries in Europe; Uusimaa (2013) area where the capital is located, to the 2 residents / km² of Lapland (Lapin). Until the middle of the century. XX the appropriations were predominantly rural in nature – urban planning, in fact, due to the relatively recent developments of the industrial economy, became established with relative delay; consisting mostly of scattered farms rather than actual villages. Given the manner in which the population of the country took place, the oldest cities are located on the coast; among the centers of the interior, located in the lake platform, those placed on natural communication routes, generally corresponding to morainic strips, have reached a considerable development. The largest city in Finland is the capital Helsinki, which is home to more than 10% of the total population. It is a modern metropolis which, thanks to its favorable position on the Gulf of Finland, has become the largest economic (industrial and port), as well as cultural and political center of the country. The most historically important city is Turku, the capital until 1812, also with a very active port. Located at the meeting point between the Gulf of Bothnia and that of Finland, it is the outlet of the most fertile and populated part of the state. Other numerous port centers include Vaasa and especially Oulu, which collects products from a very wide hinterland and is home to numerous wood processing plants, as well as Pori and Kotka. The largest city in the interior is Tampere; Lahti, a hub for land communications and inland waterways, and Kuopio, the main lake center, also have considerable importance. Finally, Rovaniemi is the “capital” of Lapland.
The boreal coniferous forest, the taiga, which extends over 73% of the Finnish soil and has a vegetation composed of pines, spruces and birches, constitutes the dominant feature of the landscape. Broad-leaved forests (with oaks, elms, maples, etc.), on the other hand, are frequent on the coastal strip, where the climate is milder. Proceeding N, the taiga gives way to the arctic prairie, the tundra, made up of low shrubs, moss and lichens. The largest mammal that inhabits the Finnish forests is the brown bear; other typical exponents of the local fauna are the elk, the fox, the lynx and the porcupine. Reindeer are raised in the northern part of the country, which is also populated by many beavers. More than 300 different bird species can be found in Finland, including black grouse, cranes and osprey. The finch and the nightingale are the most common species in the forests. Despite an uncontaminated aspect, the great extension of the woods and the presence of lakes and rivers that suggests an idyllic environmental situation, the industrial development of the country has led to a notable increase in pollution levels. First of all, the impact of paper mills on the environment is very strong, and contributes to the contamination of inland waters of lakes and rivers, considered among the most polluted in the entire European Union. Furthermore, the profound dependence of the economy on timber production suggests that large portions of the wooded area will be destined for deforestation in a short time. Despite the intensity of forest exploitation, in Finland large areas are set up in which the forest heritage is safeguarded and protected, the hunting laws protect the fauna, the analyzes of water, air and land follow one another to better monitor the ecological conditions of the environment. The presence on the territory of national parks, reserves and protected areas is remarkable (15.1%). There are 37 national parks in Finland, of which the largest is Lammenjoki, in Lapland. Also in Lapland there are also the Parks of Pallas-Ounastunturi and Urho Kekkonen. In the south of the country, the Koli and Patvinsuo parks offer pristine forests and lakes, peat bogs and rivers inhabited by beavers. Some marine parks are home to gray seals and other species that are now rare or threatened with extinction. There is also an area, divided between Sweden and Finland, declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO, consisting of the Höga kusten (Swedish coast overlooking the Gulf of Bothnia) and the Finnish Kvarken Archipelago (2000). Visit clothingexpress.org for how to get to Finland.