Finland Geography and Population

Finland – geography

Finland is with 15 residents per. km2 one of Europe’s most sparsely populated countries; only Iceland and Norway are more sparsely populated. The southern, coastal regions are fairly densely populated, while large areas in northern Finland are completely dominated by mighty and largely uninhabited forests. In between lies Sølandet with the thousands of large and small lakes which are filled with islands that give them the character of inner archipelagos.


Since the middle of the 1700’s, when the population numbered almost half a million, the population has grown tenfold. Population growth shows large periodic fluctuations. 1880-1905 there was a large emigration to North America, and in 1945 425,000 Finns were relocated from the territories that were ceded to the Soviet Union at the conclusion of the Second World War. It was a subsidy of 11% of the then population, which was now to be housed in the Rest of Finland. The period 1960-70 was again marked by great emigration, when 142,000 Finns traveled out to look for work, a large part to Sweden. In the 1990’s, despite high unemployment in the forest and agricultural regions, there is an incipient shortage of labor for the urban industries. Retraining and relocation of unemployed forest workers and farmers from the northern and inland districts has proved to be a difficult and often insurmountable task, but has promoted a continued population distortion of the country with migration from north to south. The capital region and other growth centers are now recruiting well-educated labor abroad; The number of foreigners, which has traditionally been low in Finland, has grown strongly in recent years and now accounts for 2.2% of the population.

  • Countryaah: Do you know how many people there are in Finland? Check this site to see population pyramid and resident density about this country.

The Finnish-speaking population is probably a mixture of the original Sami with later immigrant Baltic Sea Finns as well as Indo-Europeans who came via the Baltics and Scandinavia in the Bronze Age. The Sami, who originally lived over most of Finland, were eventually displaced to the north of the Arctic Circle. The Swedish-speaking population, as in the 1800’s. amounted to approximately 15%, now amounts to only 5.5%. It originates partly from Swedes who immigrated in the period 1000-1300, and from Finns who for Swedish reasons became Swedish-speaking.

Finnish and Swedish are both official languages. In addition, Sami, which is also the official language within the Sami so-called homeland, where approximately 4000 Sami live. De approximately 10,000 gypsies who have been a minority in the country for a little over 500 years have now also achieved a constitutionally protected position for their language, Romani. The Swedish-speakers live mainly in the southwestern coastal area and on the Åland Islands. On the Finnish mainland, the linguistic conditions are regulated so that if a minority in a municipality is over 8% or at least 3000 people, the municipality is bilingual. However, according to the new language law, a municipality can choose to maintain the status of bilingual, even if these requirements are no longer met. The majority of Swedes in Finland live in 44 bilingual municipalities with either a Finnish or Swedish majority; 19 out of a total of 431 municipalities are monolingual Swedish. Bilingual municipalities and some other localities have both Finnish and Swedish names; where the majority name is always mentioned first. This principle is followed in this presentation.


Only 7% of the area is used for agriculture, while 70% is forest. The mechanization of both the agricultural and forestry industries has meant that employment has declined, and less than 5% of the labor force is employed here. As in the other developing countries, the share of industry is also declining, while the service sector is growing strongly and now comprises two thirds of the workforce. The women make up approximately half of the workforce.


Agriculture in Finland is run under difficult climatic conditions. Frost is a latent danger throughout the early and late summer, and the growing season (average daily temperature above 6 °C) varies from 175 days in the south to 110 days in the north. In large parts of inland Finland, the soil is a rocky, barren moraine. The raised seabed areas along the coasts are fertile, but these plains make up only a small part of the arable land. Despite these unfavorable natural conditions, agriculture has always been an important factor in Finnish business, and Finland is the northernmost country that can supply its own population with basic products such as bread grains, meat, milk, butter, cheese and eggs. In addition, the country has a significant export of these products to Russia.

The structure of agriculture is changing. Rationalization and specialization have meant that an ever-increasing number of farms are run without livestock, and that others have specialized in dairy cattle, pigs or other. In 1969, the number of farms reached a maximum of 264,000; in 1994 it had dropped to 165,000 and in 2005 to 69,500, where it is especially the small units that disappear or are merged. Units larger than 50 ha thus increase in numbers. It is the small farms in northern Finland and the farms on the poor soil in Sølandet that have been closed down at a rapid pace. Mergers of agricultural holdings include a consequence of the age structure of the profession. Farmers are on average. 55-60 years old (the oldest in the Nordic countries), which leads to a large number of retirements, which often involves the sale of land. In addition, EU support for Finnish agriculture will be reduced.

On the best soils in southern Finland, bread grains, winter and spring wheat and rye are grown in particular. In the northern part of the coastal zone as well as in Sølandet, barley is most important; north of this, agriculture is mainly based on the cultivation of grass and other fodder crops. This is where the focus of Finland’s cattle breeding, both meat and dairy cattle, lies. It is not without problems that production is so far from consumers in the large urban areas of Southern Finland, but the natural conditions are best utilized in this way. The special conditions that apply in the polar summer with light around the clock, are utilized for the production of berries and vegetables of particularly good quality. Several of the small polar farms use this niche in their struggle to continue to maintain an economically sustainable production.


The forest occupies 70% of the area; of which almost half are pine, one-third spruce, and one-fifth deciduous (especially birch)). Production is increasing, but a complete mechanization of the profession has led to less than 2000 egl in 2005. forest workers left; ten years earlier the number was 4,000 and in 1985 14,000. Many forest areas have long been an important part of agricultural land; to a large extent, they are sold off and merged, so that it becomes possible to use large, modern forest machines rationally. Even in 2003, the farmers owned more than 50% of the forest area, but the proportion is decreasing year by year. In the same year, the state owned just over 37%, groups and joint stock companies a small 8%, while the rest was in other private ownership. State forests are found mainly in northern Finland, where 96% is forest and bog land.

The powerful forest resources and a high quality of wood have made Finland the world’s second largest exporter of paper and board (surpassed only by Canada). The Finns are also among the leading exporters of the other products from the wood industry. 80-90% of the timber industry’s products are exported, but they still make up an ever smaller part of the country’s total export value, in 2005 thus 20% against 33% ten years earlier. This is due to the fact that exports of electronics in particular have risen sharply and now account for 25%. Product development, continued mechanization and conversion to data-driven production require large investments that only capital-rich companies can perform. Through an ever-increasing degree of processing of wood products and structural reorganisations of production (including through mergers), the Finnish wood industry is improving its ability to compete internationally.

Modern forestry shows a large part of the external characteristics of agriculture: the trees are “harvested” by clear-cutting, ie. felling of all trees on large, total areas; then follows a careful tillage, set-aside for a few years, drainage if necessary, planting, fertilizing, spraying against pests and regular thinning. After 60-100 years of care, you are ready for a new “harvest”. Large logging machines take care of 80% of the tree felling, while hand-held chainsaws do the rest. An expanded road network makes transport easy and cheap on the shorter distances. The longer transports go per. railway or waterway (floating via rivers and lakes) to the timber industries at the export ports (including Kotka, Hamina, Rauma, Pori, Oulu and Kemi). In 2004, 80% of the transport work was done by truck,

The wood industry employs 23,000 as well as 65,000 in follow-on industries (2004). The 200 sawmills, veneer and chipboard factories are scattered throughout Finland (raw material location), while the 90 cellulose, paper and board factories are almost all located in the major cities of southern Finland, at ports and on the border with Russia (market location).

Pollution damage to forests is a growing problem, especially in the southern industrial belt and in northern Finland, which receives large amounts of sulfur and heavy metals from the Russian mining industry on the Kola Peninsula. The timber industry’s own pollution has been significantly reduced and no longer poses a serious danger to wildlife.


The development of industry in Finland is closely linked to the growing need for timber, paper and cellulosein Europe after 1860. Sawmills, paper and cellulose factories expanded throughout the country and many new ones were built. When steam-powered saws began to be used instead of saws powered by river watermills, a large part of the export-oriented timber industry moved to the coastal towns. It cheapened the import of coal and the export of the wood products. The remaining timber industries inland were connected to the largest port cities through a well-developed railway network. This localization pattern continues to exist, but has been supplemented by large companies in Lappeenranta and Imatra near the Russian border to the southeast. Here is also an iron and steel plant. This location is based on the large war damages to the Soviet Union after World War II, which were mainly paid for with products from the wood and iron industry.

In the case of the iron and metal industry, war damages were the prelude to a large-scale development in the industry; both in terms of employment and production, it now exceeds the timber industry. There are steelworks in Raahe, Turku, Imatra and on Hanko as well as smelters and foundries. The machinery industry is most important; here, among other things, equipment for the Finnish and foreign wood industry as well as for water, nuclear and traditional power plants. The production of means of transport is also considerable; ships (especially passenger ships and icebreakers), drilling rigs, locomotives and other railway equipment, trucks, hydraulic cranes and elevators are important products. The electronic industry manufactures telephone exchanges, mobile phones and televisions. Most industries are characterized by high technology and good competitiveness in the world market.

Finland has no oil production and 80% of crude oil is imported from Russia. Two oil refineries, in Sköldvik near Porvoo and Naantali west of Turku, cover domestic consumption of oil products. The chemical industry is growing and includes several large fertilizer factories located in the agricultural areas (market location). In the past, the food industries were also here, close to their raw materials, but many have moved closer to the markets in southern Finland.

The Finnish textile industry is concentrated in the Tampere area and is internationally known. On the basis of imported raw materials, skilled designers have created a significant, exclusive and distinctive clothing industry, which exports a very significant part of the production.

70% of industrial employment is in southern and western Finland. The focus is on the capital region around Helsinki, which stretches from Hanko in the west to Porvoo in the east, but also Turku, Rauma, Pori, Tampere, Lahti, Kotka and Lappeenranta-Imatra are important industrial cities. North of this industrial belt are Vaasa, Jyväskylä, Oulu, Kemi and at the Rovaniemi Arctic Circle, all of which have a growing industrial sector.


A large part of Finnish industry consists of ‘energy-heavy’ companies, and in addition there is consumption in the significant transport sector and a large consumption for house heating in the long winters. Both consumption and production of energy vary greatly from year to year; consumption depends on the length and severity of the winter (heating), and the production at the hydropower plants on the size of the precipitation. Finland has the largest energy consumption per capita. population in the Nordic countries, and only Denmark surpasses Finland in terms of CO 2emissions. In 2015, 24% of energy consumption was covered by oil, 26% by wood-based fuel, 19% by nuclear power, while coal and natural gas cover 8 and 6% respectively; peat has risen to 4% while hydropower has fallen to 5%. Hydropower opportunities are limited by the moderate rainfall and the slight fall of the rivers; most developed are the Oulu and Kemijoki in the north and Saimaa’s drain Vuoksi (Imatra power plants).

Finland decided in 2002 to expand its nuclear power; In addition to the existing four nuclear power plants, two at Loviisa and two at Olkiluoto north of Rauma, a fifth high-performance reactor is being constructed at Olkiluoto. In addition, Finland is in the process of switching from oil and coal to natural gas. A branched natural gas network has been established in the industrial belt, and it is constantly being expanded. The gas comes from Russia, but the possibility of a transfer from Norway has been discussed.


The infrastructure is well developed with traffic arteries on a total of 470,000 km, of which 78,000 km are roads and 5,700 km of railways, and a large network of waterways (including the important Saimaa Canal, which connects Sølandet with the Baltic Sea for ocean-going ships). The network of domestic flights is among the most developed in Europe. The car fleet in 2015 is just over DKK 5 million. cars.

The large and growing concentration of population and businesses in Southern Finland has required the expansion of motorways here, and a network of high-speed trains connects the main cities. There are also high-speed trains between Helsinki and St. Petersburg. Shipping is important, as the majority of both imports and exports are transported by ship; the most important ports are Skjöldvik, Helsinki, Kotka and Naantali. Ferry traffic across the Baltic Sea to Sweden and Estonia is also very significant; here, Turku and Mariehamn in the Åland Islands also play an important role. In the long and often snowy winters, a modern icebreaker fleet and a lot of snow plows keep the traffic going.

Leisure and tourism

The mighty forests and the thousands of lakes and islands are places where the Finns cultivate both loneliness and social relations. Sports and outdoor life play a very big role, not least all kinds of winter events. The country is visited by an increasing, but still quite limited number of actual tourists, who are attracted by the cities’ exciting architecture and the large forest and lake areas with beautifully situated, highly classified campsites. Large ferries, sailing hotels with pedestrian environments, transport a large number of short-term tourists to Mariehamn, Turku and Helsinki, a traffic which, however, has decreased after Finland’s and Sweden’s accession to the EU, which has reduced the importance of alcohol sales.


Most of Finland’s underground belongs to the Baltic Shield from the Precambrian. Through mountain range folds, the existing continent was penetrated by numerous horizontal and vertical faults, where basalt penetrated and solidified in several of the fault lines. For approximately 2200 mio. years ago there was a lively volcanic activity on the then southern continental shelf, whereby the formation of Outokumputhe copper deposit and other ores were initiated. In the subsequent period (2050-1700 million years ago) two mountain range folds occurred, the Sveco-Phoenician and the Kola-Karelian, during which the ore deposits in the belt from Enonkoski via Outokumpu, Pyhäsalmi and Vihanti to Kemi got their current design. The chromium deposit at Kemi is among the most important in Europe, and Finland is one of the continent’s largest producers of copper and nickel.

The bedrock is composed of igneous and metamorphic rocks, especially granites and crystalline shales, with gneisses as the dominant ones. Since the rocks do not decompose as quickly, the most resistant ones will form rocky sections that protrude. The crustal movements associated with the alpine folding in the Tertiary manifested themselves in Finland as a large number of fractures and fissures as well as vertical displacements. Thus, the northwestern part of the Enontekiö area was raised, and it is now the country’s only real mountain area with mountain peaks over 1000 m, Halti (1328 m), Finland’s highest point, and Saana (1029 m). During this period, the area around Lake Inari in northern Finland was sunk.

The countryside

The main features of the landscape are determined by the ancient bedrock, but the details are most often created by the moraine deposits from the last ice age, which in Finland ended 9000-10,000 years ago. The moraine layer is generally 2-5 m thick, but in the edge moraine ridges up to 100 m as in the largest and southernmost of the Salpausselkä edge moraines, which stretches 600-700 km through southern Finland from Hanko in the west to Joensuu in the east. In many places, completely bare, ice-scraped bedrock protrudes. A very common landscape feature is the elongated and narrow hill systems that are up to 70 m high and several hundred km long. The best known is Punkaharju near Savonlinna. Another widespread ice age formation is the drumlin landscapes with rows of 20-40 m high and 1-2 km long, narrow and softly shaped, parallel hills. They are known from Sølandet between Mikkeli and Kuopio.

As the huge ice cap moved across the substrate, it hollowed out the bedrock where this was less resistant. These depressions contain most of Finland’s more than 187,000 lakes (over 500 m 2). Lakes with the same drain to the sea form a lake system. Among the largest are the Vuoksi, Kymi and Paatselvenes lake systems with resp. 22,560, 12,460 and 22,800 lakes. Each of the three has a large central lake: Saimaa, Päijänne and Inari. In relation to the size of the country, Finland has more lakes than any other country in the world. In the lakes there are over 98,000 islands larger than 100 m 2.

The colossal weight of the ice sheet pushed the substrate down, and after the melting of the ice, the land has risen and continues to do so; at the Gulf of Finland 3 mm per. years, rising to 9 mm in the northern part of the Gulf of Bothnia. Land uplift means that Finland’s area will increase by 10 km2 per year; the coast moves outwards, and new skerries and islands emerge from the sea. The Finnish archipelago coast now has approximately 81,000 islands incl. The Åland Islands.


Due to the large extent of the country from north to south and due to the location of Western and Eastern Finland at resp. The Baltic Sea and the greater Eurasian Continent, there are significant climate differences between the regions. In relation to the country’s location on the globe, the climate must generally be described as mild with an annual average temperature of 6 °C; The Baltic Sea, the many lakes and not least warm, westerly winds soften the climate. The continental air currents from east and south bring cold and dry air to Finland in winter and strong heat in summer. The precipitation in this temperate mainland climate is evenly distributed throughout the year; however, the winters are a little less. Farthest to the north there is almost two months of polar darkness in winter and 70 days of midnight sun in summer.

Finland – language

Finland is officially bilingual with the national languages ​​Finnish and Swedish. approximately 4.86 million Finns are registered with Finnish as their mother tongue, while approximately 5.39% (291,000) in 2012 are registered with Swedish as their mother tongue. According to an international convention from 1920, however, Åland is monolingually Swedish. In Finland itself, the Swedish-speaking areas are typically the coastal country around Turku (Turku) and in Ostrobothnia (Pohjanmaa) and Uusimaa (Uusimaa). However, it is not possible to be registered as a bilingual, and for the same reason this group is not recorded. However, it is possible to write a mother tongue by registering it with the Finnish Population Register. For culture and traditions of Finland, please check aparentingblog.

Among the official minority languages ​​are the three Sami languages, Northern Sami, Inari Sami and Skolt Sami (a total of approximately 1900) (2012), Romani (approximately 5000), Yiddish, Tatar (166), the sign languages and Old Russian. In addition, 5,000 and 12,000 speak Karelian in Finland, which became the official minority language in 2012, although it is only the mother tongue of approximately 100 people.

The rights of Swedish-speakers, most recently confirmed by a revision of the Language Act from 1922, which came into force in 2004, include the right to use Swedish in contact with state authorities and authorities in municipalities with at least 8% or 3,000 residents with Swedish as their mother tongue. However, this is made more difficult in practice by the fact that Swedish skills among the Finnish-speakers are declining, not least as a result of down-prioritization of Swedish in the education system. From 2004, Swedish is thus no longer a compulsory subject for high school students. In return, there are now requirements for public employees in the Act on the language skills required of public employeesin order to meet the language requirements. In addition, state administrations and companies must, according to the Language Act, provide information in both Finnish and Swedish, e.g. on their websites.

Since 1992, the Sami languages ​​have had official status in the Sami homelands, ie. Enontekiö, Inari and Utsjoki municipalities as well as in the northern part of Sodankylä Municipality, which gives the Sami the right to use their mother tongue for errands at the administrations and in the hospitals. In some schools in Inari and Utsjoki, Sami is mainly the language of instruction, just as it is possible to take a matriculation examination in Northern Sami. Since 2013, the Sami have been able to register for registration with Southern Sami, Inari Sami, Kildin Sami, Skolt Sami, Luleå Sami and Northern Sami as mother tongues in the Finnish Population Register.

After the collapse of the Soviet Union and after the Baltic countries became independent in 1991, the number of Russian and Estonian speakers in Finland has increased significantly as a result of immigration, so that Russian (approximately 62,500) and Estonian (approximately 38,000) (2012) are as foreign mother tongue become resp. the third and fourth largest language after Finnish and Swedish.