The Moscow State Social- Humanitarian
The Faculty of foreign languages
The English Department
Developed by the student
Of the group PM-07
2. Geography and environment
4. Political system
5. Industry, economy and globalization
Geography and environment
Detailed map of Finland.
Finland is a country of thousands of lakes and islands; 187,888 lakes
(larger than 500 m?) and 179,584 islands to be precise. One of these
lakes, Saimaa, is the fifth largest in Europe. The Finnish landscape is
mostly flat with few hills and its highest point, the Halti at 1,324
metres, is found in the extreme north of Lapland at the border between
Finland and Norway.
The landscape is covered mostly (seventy-five percent of land area) by
coniferous taiga forests and fens, with little arable land. The most
common type of rock is granite. It is a ubiquitous part of the scenery,
visible wherever there is no soil cover. Moraine or till is the most
common type of soil, covered by a thin layer of humus of biological
origin. The greater part of the islands are found in southwest in the
Archipelago Sea, part of the archipelago of the Aland Islands, and along
the southern coast in the Gulf of Finland.
Finland is one of the few countries in the world whose surface area is
still growing. Owing to the post-glacial rebound that has been taking
place since the last ice age, the surface area of the country is growing
by about 7 square kilometres (2.7 square miles) a year.
The distance from the most Southern point – Hanko – to the most northern
point of Finland – Nuorgam – is 1,445 kilometres (898 miles) (driving
distance), which would take approximately 18.5 hours to drive. This is
very similar to Great Britain (Land’s End to John o’ Groats –
1,404 kilometres (872 miles) and 16.5 h).
Flora and fauna
All terrestrial life in Finland was completely wiped out during the last
ice age that ended some 10,000 years ago, following the retreat of the
glaciers and the appearance of vegetation.
Today, there are over 1,200 species of vascular plant, 800 bryophytes
and 1,000 lichen species in Finland, with flora being richest in the
southern parts of the country. Plant life, like most of the Finnish
ecology, is well adapted to tolerate the contrasting seasons and extreme
weather. Many plant species, such as the Scots Pine, spruce, birch
spread throughout Finland from Norway and only reached the western coast
less than three millennia ago. Oak and maple grows in nature only in the
southern part of Finland.
The Archipelago Sea, between the Gulf of Bothnia and the Gulf of
Finland, is the largest archipelago in the world by number of islands;
estimates vary between 20,000 and 50,000.
Similarly, Finland has a diverse and extensive range of fauna. There are
at least sixty native mammalian species, 248 breeding bird species, over
seventy fish species and eleven reptile and frog species present today,
many migrating from neighbouring countries thousands of years ago.
Large and widely recognised wildlife mammals found in Finland are the
Brown Bear (the national animal), Gray Wolf, elk and reindeer. Other
common mammals include the Red Fox, Red Squirrel, and Mountain Hare.
Some rare and exotic species include the flying squirrel, Golden Eagle,
Saimaa Ringed Seal and the Arctic fox, which is considered the most
endangered. The Whooper Swan, the national bird of Finland, is a large
Northern Hemisphere swan. The most common breeding birds are the Willow
Warbler, Chaffinch and Redwing. Of some seventy species of freshwater
fish, the northern pike, perch and others are plentiful. Salmon remains
the favorite of fly rod enthusiasts.
The endangered Saimaa Ringed Seal, one of only three lake seal species
in the world, exists only in the Saimaa lake system of southeastern
Finland, down to only 300 seals today. It has become the emblem of the
Finnish Association for Nature Conservation.
Due to hunting and persecution in history, many animals such as the
Golden Eagle, Brown Bear and Eurasian Lynx all experienced significant
declines in population. However, their numbers have increased again in
the 2000s, mainly as a result of careful conservation and the
establishment of vast national parks.
The climate in Southern Finland is a northern temperate climate. In
Northern Finland, particularly in the Province of Lapland, a subarctic
climate dominates, characterised by cold, occasionally severe, winters
and relatively warm summers. The main factor influencing Finland’s
climate is the country’s geographical position between the 60th and 70th
northern parallels in the Eurasian continent’s coastal zone, which shows
characteristics of both a maritime and a continental climate, depending
on the direction of air flow. Finland is near enough to the Atlantic
Ocean to be continuously warmed by the Gulf Stream, which explains the
unusually warm climate considering the absolute latitude.
A quarter of Finland’s territory lies above the Arctic Circle, and as a
consequence the midnight sun can be experienced – for more days, the
farther north one travels. At Finland’s northernmost point, the sun does
not set for 73 consecutive days during summer, and does not rise at all
for 51 days during winter.
Eduskuntatalo, the main building of the Parliament of Finland
(Eduskunta) in Helsinki.
Finland has a semi-presidential system with parliamentarism. The
president is responsible for foreign policy outside of the European
Union in cooperation with the cabinet (the Finnish Council of State)
where most executive power lies, headed by the Prime Minister.
Responsibility for forming the cabinet is granted to a person nominated
by the President and approved of by the Parliament. This person also
becomes Prime Minister after formal appointment by the President. Any
minister and the cabinet as a whole, however, must have continuing trust
of the parliament and may be voted out, resign or be replaced. The
Council of State is made up of the Prime Minister and the ministers for
the various departments of the central government as well as an
ex-officio member, the Chancellor of Justice.
The 200-member unicameral parliament is called the Eduskunta (Finnish)
or Riksdag (Swedish). It is the supreme legislative authority in
Finland. The parliament may alter the Constitution of Finland, bring
about the resignation of the Council of State, and override presidential
vetoes. Its acts are not subject to judicial review. Legislation may be
initiated by the Council of State, or one of the Eduskunta members, who
are elected for a four-year term on the basis of proportional
representation through open list multi-member districts.
The judicial system of Finland is divided between courts with regular
civil and criminal jurisdiction and administrative courts with
responsibility for litigation between the individuals and the
administrative organs of the state and the communities. Finnish law is
codified and based on Swedish law and in a wider sense, civil law or
Roman law. Its court system consists of local courts, regional appellate
courts, and the Supreme Court. The administrative branch of justice
consists of administrative courts and the Supreme Administrative Court.
In addition to the regular courts, there are a few special courts in
certain branches of administration. There is also a High Court of
Impeachment for criminal charges (for an offence in office) against the
President of the Republic, the justices of the supreme courts, members
of the Council of State, the Chancellor of Justice and the Ombudsman of
The parliament has, since equal and common suffrage was introduced in
1906, been dominated by secular Conservatives, the Centre Party (former
Agrarian Union), and Social Democrats, which have approximately equal
support, and represent 65–80 percent of voters. After 1944 Communists
were a factor to consider for a few decades. The relative strengths of
the parties vary only slightly in the elections due to the proportional
election from multi-member districts but there are some visible
Like the Netherlands and the United Kingdom, Finland has no
constitutional court, and courts may not strike down laws or pronounce
on their constitutionality. In principle, the constitutionality of laws
in Finland is verified by a simple vote in the parliament. However, the
constitutional committee in the parliament reviews legistlation during
the lawmaking process, and thus performs a similar role.
According to Transparency International, Finland has had the lowest
level of corruption in all the countries studied in its survey for the
last several years. Also according to the World Audit study, Finland is
the least corrupt and most democratic country in the world as of 2006.
In its 2007 Worldwide Press Freedom Index, Reporters Without Borders
ranked Finland (along with Belgium and Sweden) 5th out of 169 countries.
Industry, economy and globalization
Headquarters of Nokia, Finland’s largest company.
Finland has a highly industrialised, free-market economy with a per
capita output equal to that of other western economies such as Sweden,
the UK, France and Germany. The largest sector of the economy is
services at 65.7 percent, followed by manufacturing and refining at 31.4
percent. Primary production is low at 2.9 percent, reflecting the fact
that Finland is a resource-poor country. With respect to foreign trade,
the key economic sector is manufacturing. The largest industries are
electronics (21.6 percent), machinery, vehicles and other engineered
metal products (21.1 percent), forest industry (13.1 percent), and
chemicals (10.9 percent). International trade is important, with exports
equalling almost one-third of GDP. Except for timber and several
minerals, Finland depends on imports of raw materials, energy and some
components for manufactured goods.
Because of the northern climate, agricultural development is limited to
maintaining self-sufficiency. Forestry, an important export earner,
provides a secondary occupation for the rural population.
Finland was one of the eleven countries joining the euro monetary system
(EMU) on January 1, 1999. The national currency markka (FIM), in use
since 1860, was withdrawn and replaced by the euro (EUR) at the
beginning of 2002 (see Finnish euro coins).
The World Economic Forum has declared Finland to be the most competitive
country in the world for three consecutive years (2003–2005) and four
times since 2002. In recent years there has been national focus on
innovation and research and development, with special emphasis on
information technology. Nokia, the telecommunications company, is
generally regarded as the single most significant cause of Finland’s
Finnish trade relationships and politics were by large determined by
avoidance of provoking first the feudally ruled Imperial Russia and then
the totalitarian Soviet Union. However, the peaceful relationship with
both the Soviet Union and Western powers was turned into an economic
advantage. The Soviet Union conducted bilateral trade with Finland, but
Western countries remained Finland’s main trading partners. After the
Second World War, the growth rate of the GDP was high compared to other
Europe, and Finland was often called “Japan of the North”. In the
beginning of the 1970s, Finland’s GDP per capita reached the level of
Japan and the UK.
In 1991, Finland fell into a severe depression caused by economic
overheating, depressed foreign markets and the dismantling of the barter
system between Finland and the former Soviet Union. More than twenty
percent of Finnish trade was with the Soviet Union before 1991, and in
the following two years the trade practically ceased. The growth in the
1980s was based on debt, and when the defaults began rolling in, an
avalanche effect increased the unemployment from a virtual full
employment to one fifth of the workforce. However, civil order remained
and the state alleviated the problem of funding the welfare state by
taking massive debts. 1991 and again in 1992, Finland devalued the
markka to promote export competitiveness. This helped stabilise the
economy; the depression bottomed out in 1993, with continued growth
through 1995. Since then the growth rate has been one of the highest of
OECD countries, and national debt has been reduced to 41.1 percent of
GDP (fulfilling the EU’s Stability and Growth Pact requirement).
Unfortunately, the unemployment has been persistent, and is currently at
about 7 percent.
The 339 metres long M/S Freedom of the Seas and her sister ship M/S
Liberty of the Seas, built at Aker Yards in Perno, Turku, are the
largest cruise ships and passenger vessels in the world.
Notable Finnish companies include Nokia, the market leader in mobile
telephony; Stora Enso, the largest paper manufacturer in the world;
Neste Oil, an oil refining and marketing company; UPM-Kymmene, the third
largest paper manufacturer in the world; Aker Finnyards, the
manufacturer of the world’s largest cruise ships (such as Royal
Caribbean’s Freedom of the Seas); KONE, a manufacturer of elevators and
escalators; Waertsilae, a producer of power plants and ship engines; and
Finnair, the country’s international airline.
Helsinki-Vantaa Airport, the main airport of the Helsinki Metropolitan
Region and the whole of Finland.
Finland’s transport network is developed. As of 2005, the country’s
network of main roads has a total length of 13,258 km, and is mainly
centred on the capital city of Helsinki. The total length of all public
roads is 78,186 km, of which 50,616 km are paved. The motorway network
is still to a great extent under development, and currently totals
653 km. There are 5,865 km of railways in the country. Helsinki has an
urban rail network, and light rail systems are currently being planned
in Turku and Tampere. Finland also has a considerable number of airports
and large ports.
The national railway company is VR (Valtion Rautatiet, or State
Railways). It offers InterCity and express trains throughout the country
and the faster Pendolino trains connecting the major cities. There are
large discounts (usually fifty percent) available for children (7–16
yr), students, senior citizens and conscripts. There are international
trains to St. Petersburg (Finnish and Russian day-time trains) and
Moscow (Russian over-night train), Russia. Connections to Sweden are by
bus due to rail gauge differences. It’s possible to take the
· Silja Line and Viking Line ferries from Helsinki and Turku to
Mariehamn and Lagans, Stockholm (Sweden) and Tallinn (Estonia),
· Tallink ferries from Helsinki to Tallinn (Estonia) and Rostock
· Eckeroe Line ferries from Helsinki to Tallinn (Estonia) and from
Eckeroe to Grisslehamn (Sweden).
There are about 25 airports in Finland with scheduled passenger
services. Finnair, Blue1 and Finncomm Airlines provide air services both
domestically and internationally. Helsinki-Vantaa Airport is Finland’s
global gateway with scheduled non-stop flights to such places as
Bangkok, Beijing, Delhi, Guangzhou, Mumbai, Nagoya, New York, Osaka,
Shanghai, Hong Kong and Tokyo. Helsinki has an optimal location for
great circle airline traffic routes between Western Europe and the Far
East. Hence, many foreign tourists visit Helsinki on a stop-over while
flying from Asia to Europe or vice versa.
Chimneyless sauna building in Enonkoski. Strong Finnish sauna culture is
one of the remains of the aboriginal Finnish culture.
Like the people, Finnish culture is indigenous and most prominently
represented by the Finnish language. Throughout the area’s prehistory
and history, cultural contacts and influences have concurrently, or at
varying times, come from all directions. As a result of 600 years of
Swedish rule, Swedish cultural influences are still notable. Today,
cultural influences from North America are prominent. Into the
twenty-first century, many Finns have contacted cultures from distantly
abroad, such as with those in Asia and Africa. Beyond tourism, Finnish
youth in particular have been increasing their contact with peoples from
outside Finland by travelling abroad to both work and study.
There are still differences between regions, especially minor
differences in accents and vocabulary. Minorities, such as the Sami,
Finland Swedes, Romani, and Tatar, maintain their own cultural
characteristics. Many Finns are emotionally connected to the countryside
and nature, as urbanisation is a relatively recent phenomenon.
Finland comfortably won the first Eurovision Dance Contest in September
Though Finnish written language could be said to exist since Mikael
Agricola translated the New Testament into Finnish in the sixteenth
century as a result of the Protestant Reformation, few notable works of
literature were written until the nineteenth century, which saw the
beginning of a Finnish national Romantic Movement. This prompted Elias
Loennrot to collect Finnish and Karelian folk poetry and arrange and
publish them as Kalevala, the Finnish national epic. The era saw a rise
of poets and novelists who wrote in Finnish, notably Aleksis Kivi and
After Finland became independent there was a rise of modernist writers,
most famously Mika Waltari. Frans Eemil Sillanpaeae was awarded the
Nobel Prize in Literature in 1939 – so far the only one for a Finnish
author. The second World War prompted a return to more national
interests in comparison to a more international line of thought,
characterized by Vaeinoe Linna. Literature in modern Finland is in a
healthy state, with detective stories enjoying a particular boom of
popularity. Ilkka Remes, a Finnish author of thrillers, is very popular.
The architect couple Aino and Alvar Aalto.
Finns have made major contributions to handicrafts and industrial
design. Finland’s best-known sculptor of the twentieth century was
Waeinoe Aaltonen, remembered for his monumental busts and sculptures.
Finnish architecture is famous around the world. Among the top of the
twentieth century Finnish architects to win international recognition
are Eliel Saarinen (designer of the widely recognised Helsinki Central
railway station and many other public works) and his son Eero Saarinen.
Alvar Aalto, who helped bring the functionalist architecture to Finland,
is also famous for his work in furniture and glassware.
Much of the music of Finland is influenced by traditional Karelian
melodies and lyrics, as comprised in the Kalevala. Karelian culture is
perceived as the purest expression of the Finnic myths and beliefs, less
influenced by Germanic influence, in contrast to Finland’s position
between the East and the West. Finnish folk music has undergone a roots
revival in recent decades, and has become a part of popular music.
The people of northern Finland, Sweden and Norway, the Sami, are known
primarily for highly spiritual songs called Joik. The same word
sometimes refers to lavlu or vuelie songs, though this is technically
Classical and opera
The Finnish composer Jean Sibelius (1865–1957), a significant figure in
the history of classical music.
The first Finnish opera was written by the German composer Fredrik
Pacius in 1852. Pacius also wrote Maamme/Vart land (Our Land), Finland’s
national anthem. In the 1890s Finnish nationalism based on the Kalevala
spread, and Jean Sibelius became famous for his vocal symphony Kullervo.
He soon received a grant to study runo singers in Karelia and continued
his rise as the first prominent Finnish musician. In 1899 he composed
Finlandia, which played its important role in Finland gaining
independence. He remains one of Finland’s most popular national figures
and is a symbol of the nation.
Today, Finland has a very lively classical music scene. Finnish
classical music has only existed for about a hundred years, and many of
the important composers are still alive, such as Magnus Lindberg, Kaija
Saariaho, Aulis Sallinen and Einojuhani Rautavaara. The composers are
accompanied with a large number of great conductors such as Sakari
Oramo, Mikko Franck, Esa-Pekka Salonen, Osmo Vaenskae, Jukka-Pekka
Saraste, Susanna Maelkki and Leif Segerstam. Some of the internationally
acclaimed Finnish classical musicians are Karita Mattila, Soile
Isokoski, Kari Kriikku, Pekka Kuusisto, Reka Szilvay and Linda Brava.
Modern Finnish popular music includes a renowned heavy metal scene, in
common with other Nordic countries, as well as a number of prominent
rock bands, jazz musicians, hip hop performers, and dance music acts
such as Bomfunk MCs and Darude. Finnish electronic music such as the
Saehkoe Recordings record label enjoys underground acclaim. Iskelmae
(coined directly from the German word Schlager, meaning hit) is a
traditional Finnish word for a light popular song. Finnish popular music
also includes various kinds of dance music; tango, a style of
Argentinean music, is also popular. One of the most productive composers
of popular music was Toivo Kaerki, and the most famous singer Olavi
Virta (1915–1972). Among the lyricists, Sauvo Puhtila (born 1928), Reino
Helismaa (died 1965) and Veikko “Vexi” Salmi are the most remarkable
authors. The composer and bandleader Jimi Tenor is well known for his
brand of retro-funk music.
Notable Finnish dance music artists include Bomfunc MCs, Darude, JS16,
and DJ Orkidea.
Rock, hard rock and heavy metal music
Tarja Turunen, Amorphis, Children of Bodom, HIM, Lordi, Nightwish,
Sentenced, Sonata Arctica, Stratovarius, The 69 Eyes, and Negative,
(“Best Finnish Act” MTV Europe Music Awards 2007) , have had success in
European and Japanese heavy metal and hard rock scenes since the 1990s,
and have been gaining popularity rapidly in the United States since the
late 1990s. In the later 1990s the cello metal group Apocalyptica played
Metallica cover versions as cello quartettos and sold half a million
records worldwide. The recently retired Timo Rautiainen & Trio
Niskalaukaus were one of Finland’s most popular metal acts in the early
Arguably one of Finland’s most domestically popular rock groups is CMX.
Although this group is not widely known outside of the country, bassist
Billy Gould of popular U.S. rock group Faith No More produced CMX’s 1998
One of the most influential musical contribution to international rock
music is the band Hanoi Rocks, led by guitarist Andy McCoy, aka Antti
Hulkko. Another rock band to enjoy commercial success is The Rasmus.
After eleven years together and several domestic releases, the band
finally captured Europe (and other places, like South America). Their
2003 album Dead Letters sold 1.5 million units worldwide and garnered
them eight gold and five platinum album designations. The single “In the
Shadows” placed on Top 10 charts in eleven countries and was the most
played video on MTV Europe for 2005. Most recently, the Finnish hard
rock/heavy metal band Lordi won the 2006 Eurovision Song Contest with a
record 292 points, giving Finland its first ever victory. So far the
most successful Finnish band in the United States is HIM.
Tuska Open Air Metal Festival, one of the largest open-air heavy metal
festivals in the world, is held annually in Kaisaniemi, Helsinki.
Erkki Karu, one of the pioneers of the Finnish cinema, with
cinematographer Eino Kari in 1927.
Finland has a growing film industry with a number of famous directors
such as Aki Kaurismaeki, Timo Koivusalo, Aleksi Maekelae and Klaus
Haeroe. Hollywood film director/producer Renny Harlin (born Lauri
Mauritz Harjola) was born in Finland.
Media and communications
Linus Torvalds, a famous Finnish software engineer, known for his
contribution to the Linux operating system.
Finland is one of the most advanced information societies in the world.
There are 200 newspapers; 320 popular magazines, 2,100 professional
magazines and 67 commercial radio stations, with one nationwide, five
national public service radio channels (three in Finnish, two in
Swedish, one in Sami); digital radio has three channels. Four national
analog television channels (two public service and two commercial) were
fully replaced by five public service and three commercial digital
television channels in September 1, 2007.
Each year around twelve feature films are made, 12,000 book titles
published and 12 million records sold. 67 percent of the population use
Finns, along with other Nordic people and the Japanese, spend the most
time in the world reading newspapers. The most read newspaper in Finland
is Helsingin Sanomat, with a circulation of 434,000. The media group
SanomaWSOY behind Helsingin Sanomat also publishes the tabloid
Ilta-Sanomat and commerce-oriented Taloussanomat. It also owns the
Nelonen television channel. SanomaWSOY’s largest shareholder is Aatos
Erkko and his family. The other major publisher Alma Media publishes
over thirty magazines, including newspaper Amulets, tabloid Iltalehti
and commerce-oriented Kauppalehti. Finland has been at the top of the
worldwide Press Freedom Ranking list every year since the publication of
the first index by Reporters Without Borders in 2002.
Finland’s National Broadcasting Company YLE is an independent
state-owned company. It has five television channels and 13 radio
channels in two national languages. YLE is funded through a television
license and private television broadcasting license fees. Ongoing
transformation to digital TV broadcasting is in progress — analog
broadcasts ceased on the terrestrial network 31 August, 2007 and will
cease on cable at the end of 2007. The most popular television channel
MTV3 and the most popular radio channel Radio Nova are owned by Nordic
Broadcasting (Bonnier and Prevents Industries).
The people of Finland are accustomed to technology and information
services. The number of cellular phone subscribers as well as the number
of Internet connections per capita in Finland are among the highest in
the world. According to the Ministry of Transport and Communications,
Finnish mobile phone penetration exceeded fifty percent of the
population as far back as August 1998 – first in the world – and by
December 1998 the number of cell phone subscriptions outnumbered
fixed-line phone connections. By the end of June 2007 there were 5.78
million cellular phone subscriptions, or 109 percent of the population.
Another fast-growing sector is the use of the Internet. Finland had more
than 1.52 million broadband Internet connections by the end of June
2007, i.e., about 287 per 1,000 inhabitants. The Finns are not only
connected; they are heavy users of Internet services. All Finnish
schools and public libraries have for years been connected to the
Karjalanpiirakka, a traditional Finnish pastry.
Traditional Finnish cuisine is a combination of European, Fennoscandian
and Western Russian elements; table manners are European. The food is
generally simple, fresh and healthy. Fish, meat, berries and ground
vegetables are typical ingredients whereas spices are not common due to
their historical unavailability. In years past, Finnish food often
varied from region to region, most notably between the west and east. In
coastal and lakeside villages, fish was a main feature of cooking,
whereas in the eastern and also northern regions, vegetables and
reindeer were more common. The prototypical breakfast is oatmeal or
other continental-style foods such as bread. Lunch is usually a full
warm meal, served by a canteen at workplaces. Dinner is eaten at around
17.00 to 18.00 at home.
Modern Finnish cuisine combines country fare and haute cuisine with
contemporary continental cooking style. Today, spices are a prominent
ingredient in many modern Finnish recipes, having been adopted from the
east and west in recent decades.
All official holidays in Finland are established by acts of Parliament.
The official holidays can be divided into Christian and secular
holidays, although some of the Christian holidays have replaced holidays
of pagan origin. The main Christian holidays are Christmas, Epiphany,
Easter, Ascension Day, Pentecost, and All Saints Day. The secular
holidays are New Year’s Day, May Day, Midsummer Day, and the
Independence Day. Christmas is the most extensively celebrated holiday:
usually at least 23rd to 26th of December are holidays.
In addition to this, all Sundays are official holidays, but they are not
as important as the special holidays. The names of the Sundays follow
the liturgical calendar and they can be categorised as Christian
holidays. When the standard working week in Finland was reduced to 40
hours by an act of Parliament, it also meant that all Saturdays became a
sort of de facto public holidays, though not official ones. Easter
Sunday and Pentecost are Sundays that form part of a main holiday and
they are preceded by a kind of special Saturdays. Retail stores are
prohibited by law from doing business on Sundays, except during the
summer months (May through August) and in the pre-Christmas season
(November and December). Business locations that have less than 400
square metres of floor space are allowed Sunday business throughout the
year, with the exception of official holidays and certain Sundays, such
as Mother’s Day and Father’s Day.The List of Literature used:
Encyclopedia countries of the world
The internet Resources
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