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Location of Finland
Location of Finland

Finland (Finnish: Suomi [ˈsuo̯mi] (listen); Swedish: Finland [ˈfɪ̌nland] (listen)), officially the Republic of Finland (Finnish: Suomen tasavalta; Swedish: Republiken Finland (listen to all)), is a Nordic country in Northern Europe. It shares land borders with Sweden to the northwest, Norway to the north, and Russia to the east, with the Gulf of Bothnia to the west and the Gulf of Finland across Estonia to the south. Finland covers an area of 338,455 square kilometres (130,678 sq mi) with a population of 5.6 million. Helsinki is the capital and largest city, forming a larger metropolitan area with the neighbouring cities of Espoo, Kauniainen, and Vantaa. The vast majority of the population are ethnic Finns; Finnish, alongside Swedish, are the official languages. Finland's climate varies from humid continental in the south to the boreal in the north. The land cover is primarily a boreal forest biome, with more than 180,000 recorded lakes.

Finland was first inhabited around 9000 BC after the Last Glacial Period. The Stone Age introduced several different ceramic styles and cultures. The Bronze Age and Iron Age were characterized 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. In 1809, as a result of the Finnish War, Finland became part of 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 universal suffrage, and the first in the world to give all adult citizens the right to run for public office. Nicholas II, the last Tsar of Russia, tried to russify Finland and terminate its political autonomy, but after the 1917 Russian Revolution, Finland declared independence from Russia. 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. It subsequently lost parts of its territory, including the culturally and historically significant town of Vyborg, but maintained its independence. (Full article...)

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The Helsinki tram network forms part of the Helsinki public transport system organised by Helsinki Regional Transport Authority and operated by Metropolitan Area Transport Ltd (Finnish: Pääkaupunkiseudun Kaupunkiliikenne Oy, Swedish: Huvudstadsregionens Stadstrafik Ab) in the Finnish capital city of Helsinki. The trams are the main means of transport in the city centre. 56.7 million trips were made in 2013. The Helsinki system is one of the oldest electrified tram networks in the world. (Full article...)
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The Central Park of Helsinki during the summer

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Lighthouse on Lågskär island
Lighthouse on Lågskär island

Lågskär (Swedish for "low skerry") is a small island within the Åland's archipelago of Finland. It belongs to the municipality of Lemland. It is situated about 24 kilometres (15 mi) south of Mariehamn in the Baltic's Sea of Åland. The main island of Lågskär measures 61 hectares (150 acres) in area. Rock stacks, sea cliffs and rocky shores are found along the coastline of the island.

As a breeding ground for waterfowl, Lågskär has the status of an Important Bird Area (IBA) and is frequented by ornithologists who use the Lågskär Lighthouse buildings during their stay. In the past, several vessels have sunk off the coast. (Full article...)
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