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Map of Finland ( Click the map to enlarge it! )

Finland Map

Finland, officially the Republic of Finland, is a Nordic country situated in the Fennoscandian region of Northern Europe. It is bordered by Sweden in the west, Norway in the north and Russia in the east, while Estonia lies to its south across the Gulf of Finland.

Around 5.4 million people reside in Finland, with the majority concentrated in the southern region. It is the eighth largest country in Europe in terms of area and the most sparsely populated country in the European Union. Finland is a parliamentary republic with a central government based in Helsinki and local governments in 336 municipalities.A total of about one million residents live in the Greater Helsinki area (which includes Helsinki, Espoo, Kauniainen and Vantaa), and a third of the country's GDP is produced there. Other larger cities include Tampere, Turku, Oulu, Jyvaskyla, Lahti and Kuopio.

Finland was historically a part of Sweden and from 1809 on, an autonomous Grand Duchy within the Russian Empire. Finnish Declaration of Independence from Russia in 1917 was followed by a civil war, wars against the Soviet Union and Nazi Germany, and a period of official neutrality during the Cold War. Finland joined the United Nations in 1955, the OECD in 1969, the European Union in 1995, and the eurozone since its inception.

Finland was a relative latecomer to industrialisation, remaining a largely agrarian country until the 1950s. Thereafter, economic development was rapid, Finland built an extensive welfare state and balanced between the East and the West in global economics and politics. With the best educational system in Europe, Finland has recently ranked as one of the world's most peaceful, competitive and livable countries.