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Finland was a province and then a grand duchy under Sweden from the 12th to the 19th centuries, and an autonomous grand duchy of Russia after 1809. It won its complete independence in 1917. During World War II, it was able to successfully defend its freedom and resist invasions by the Soviet Union - albeit with some loss of territory. In the subsequent half century, the Finns made a remarkable transformation from a farm/forest economy to a diversified modern industrial economy; per capita income is now among the highest in Western Europe. A member of the European Union since 1995, Finland was the only Nordic state to join the euro system at its initiation in January 1999. In the 21st century, the key features of Finland's modern welfare state are a high standard of education, equality promotion, and national social security system - currently challenged by an aging population and the fluctuations of an export-driven economy.


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Geography

Location
Northern Europe, bordering the Baltic Sea, Gulf of Bothnia, and Gulf of Finland, between Sweden and Russia

Geographic coordinates
64 00 N, 26 00 E

Map references
Europe

Area World Ranking: 65
Total 338,145 sq km
Land 303,815 sq km
Water 34,330 sq km

Area - comparative
Slightly smaller than Montana

Land boundaries
Total 2,654 km
Border countries
Norway 727 km, Sweden 614 km, Russia 1,313 km

Coastline
1,250 km

Maritime claims
Territorial sea
12 nm (in the Gulf of Finland - 3 nm)
Contiguous zone 24 nm
Exclusive fishing zone
12 nm; extends to continental shelf boundary with Sweden
Continental shelf
200 m depth or to the depth of exploitation

Climate
Cold temperate; potentially subarctic but comparatively mild because of moderating influence of the North Atlantic Current, Baltic Sea, and more than 60,000 lakes

Terrain
Mostly low, flat to rolling plains interspersed with lakes and low hills

Elevation extremes
Lowest point Baltic Sea 0 m
Highest point
Halti (alternatively Haltia, Haltitunturi, Haltiatunturi) 1,328 m

Natural resources
Timber, iron ore, copper, lead, zinc, chromite, nickel, gold, silver, limestone

Land use
Arable land 6.54%
Permanent crops 0.02%
Other 93.44% (2005)

Irrigated land
770 sq km (2003)

Total renewable water resources
110 cu km (2005)

Freshwater withdrawal (domestic/industrial/agricultural)
Total 2.33 cu km/yr (14%/84%/3%)
Per capita 444 cu m/yr (1999)

Natural hazards
NA

Environment - current issues
Air pollution from manufacturing and power plants contributing to acid rain; water pollution from industrial wastes, agricultural chemicals; habitat loss threatens wildlife populations

Environment - international agreements
Party to
Air Pollution, Air Pollution-Nitrogen Oxides, Air Pollution-Persistent Organic Pollutants, Air Pollution-Sulfur 85, Air Pollution-Sulfur 94, Air Pollution-Volatile Organic Compounds, Antarctic-Environmental Protocol, Antarctic-Marine Living Resources, Antarctic Treaty, Biodiversity, Climate Change, Climate Change-Kyoto Protocol, Desertification, Endangered Species, Environmental Modification, Hazardous Wastes, Law of the Sea, Marine Dumping, Marine Life Conservation, Ozone Layer Protection, Ship Pollution, Tropical Timber 83, Tropical Timber 94, Wetlands, Whaling
Signed, but not ratified
None of the selected agreements

Geography - note
Long boundary with Russia; Helsinki is northernmost national capital on European continent; population concentrated on small southwestern coastal plain


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  Finland (Helsinki):


  GPS points from Finland (Helsinki)

Ahveninen Finland (general)

Koistila Oulu

Pantari Southern Finland

Leppakoski Southern Finland

Lilla Ledharun Province Of Western Finland

Kaitarainen Province Of Western Finland

Korsnas Ahvenanmaa

Hastholm Southern Finland




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