Official Name: Republic of Finland
Established: 6 December 1917 (Independence from Russia)
Population: 5,528,737 (2020 estimate)
Religion: 68.7% Evangelical Lutheran Church of Finland, 26.3% no religion
Language(s): Finnish, Swedish
Order of Visit: Twenty-First
First Visit: 08 July 2006
Last Visit: 23 July 2006
Duration: 4 Days
Visit Highlights: Parliament Building, ice breakers ships, Suomenlinna Island, Lutheran Cathedral, sun shining at 1 am in the morning!
Places Visited: Helsinki
Finland Journal Entry
History and Geography
Finland is a Nordic country located in Northern Europe covering 338,455 square kilometres. Finland shares land borders with Sweden to the west, Russia to the east, and Norway to the north and the Baltic Sea to the south. . Finland has more than 180,000 recorded lakes.
Finland was inhabited around 9000 BC. he Stone Age introduced several different ceramic styles and cultures. The Bronze Age and Iron Age were characterised by extensive contacts with other cultures in Fennoscandia and the Baltic region.
From the late 13th century, Finland gradually became an integral part of Sweden as a consequence of the Northern Crusades, the legacy is reflected by Swedish language being the official language.
In 1809 Finland was annexed by the Russian Empire as the autonomous Grand Duchy of Finland, during which Finnish art flourished and the idea of independence began to take hold. In 1906, Finland became the first European state to grant all adult citizens the right to vote, and the first in the world to give all adult citizens the right to run for public office.
The last Tsar of Russia Nicholas II tried to terminate Finland’s political autonomy, but after the 1917 Russian Revolution, Finland declared itself independent from the empire. In 1918, the fledgling state was divided by the Finnish Civil War.
During World War II, Finland fought the Soviet Union in the Winter War and the Continuation War, and Nazi Germany in the Lapland War. After the wars, Finland lost parts of its territory, but maintained its independence.
After World War II, the country rapidly industrialised and developed an advanced economy, while building an extensive welfare state based on the Nordic model, resulting in widespread prosperity and a high per capita income.
Finland joined the United Nations in 1955 and adopted an official policy of neutrality. Finland joined the OECD in 1969, the NATO Partnership for Peace in 1994, the European Union in 1995, the Euro-Atlantic Partnership Council in 1997, and the Eurozone at its inception in 1999.
Finland is a top performer in numerous metrics of national performance, including education, economic competitiveness, civil liberties, quality of life and human development. In 2015, Finland was ranked first in the World Human Capital and the Press Freedom Index.
What I experienced
I was really on in Finland for a very short time as a jumping point into Russia and other Eastern Europe countries. My biggest memory was that the sun never seemed to set as I was walking outside after midnight wearing a cap to keep the sun out of my eyes. I guess the downside in winter would be very little sunlight.
Helsinki was a very clean and beautiful place, I particularly loved sitting on the coast of Suomenlinna Island and enjoying the beauty of Helsinki. I also got to check into a hostel that was part of the 1952 Olympic Stadium and see some of that experience. Every local I interacted with was very friendly and I know this is a very progressive country which I suspect is worth deeper exploring.