Just the Facts

Area: 130,559 sq miles. Approximately the same area as Montana

Population: 5,206,295

Capital:Helsinki

Religion: 85 percent Evangelical Lutheran

Language: Finnish 93.4% (official), Swedish 5.9% (official), small Sami- and Russian-speaking minorities

Independence Day: December 6 (1917)

Currency: Euro

Climate
: Average temperature is 41.5 degrees F. Winters average -4 degrees. Summer averages 61 degrees.

Economy: Finland has an Advanced Industrial economy. A full 2/3 of the nation's economic output comes from the service sector. 50% of Finland's exports are in metal/engineering/electronics, while another 31% are related to the forest industry (paper, timber, furniture).

Education: All Finns are required to get their basic education between the ages of 7 to 16. They may then choose to further their education at an upper secondary (3 year term) or vocational (2-5 year terms) school.

Government: Finland operates as a republic and has been independent since 1917. The country has a President (Tarja Halonen, Finland's first woman prez, elected in 2000), but the real governing power comes from the 200-member parliament known as the Eduskunta. The majority of seats are held by the Social Democratic, Centre, National Coaltion and Left Wing Alliance parties