338,144 sq km (130,558 sq miles).
Helsinki. Population: 605,523 (2013).
Finland is situated in Scandinavia in the far north of Europe. Bounded to the west by Sweden and the Gulf of Bothnia, to the north by Norway, to the east by the Russian Federation and to the south by the Gulf of Finland, it is the fifth-largest country in Europe. There are about 30,000 islands off the Finnish coast, mainly in the south and southwest, and inland lakes containing a further 98,000 islands. The Saimaa lake area is the largest inland water system in Europe. Ten per cent of the total land area is under water, and 65 per cent forest, the country being situated almost entirely in the northern coniferous zone. In the south and southwest the forest is mainly pine, fir and birch. In Lapland, in the far north, trees become more sparse and are mainly dwarf birch. Eight per cent of the land is cultivated.
There are two official languages: Finnish, spoken by 93.6 per cent of the population, and Swedish, spoken by 6 per cent of the population. About 1700 people speak Same (Lapp). English is taught as the first foreign language.
90 per cent Evangelical Lutheran, 10 per cent others including Finnish Orthodox, Baptists, Methodists, Free Church, Roman Catholic, Jews and Muslims.
220 volts AC, 50Hz. Continental two-pin plugs are standard.
Full IDD is available. Country code: 358. Outgoing international code: 990, 994 or 999. For international number enquiries and tariff information within Finland, callers should dial 020 208. Calls made in telephone boxes require Fmk5 and Fmk1 coins.
GSM 900/1800 networks available. Main operators include Sonera (website: www.sonera.fi), OY Radiolinja AB (website: www.radiolinja.fi) and Suomen 2 GOy (website: www.suomen2g.fi).
Letters and postcards sent by airmail usually take about three days to reach destinations within Europe. Stamps are available from post offices, book and paper shops, stations and hotels. Visitors can have mail sent to them Poste Restante, Central Post Office, Mannerheimintie 11, 00100 Helsinki, which is open Mon-Fri 0800-2100; Sat 0900-1800; and Sun 1100-2100. Generally, post offices are open Mon-Fri 0900-1700, closed Saturday. During winter many town offices are open 0900-1800.