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    Why Finland is Building a Wood City

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    Benefits for looking after a child at home. Child benefit. Other family benefits. Taking care of a child. Balancing family life and work.

    Expand Problem situations. Coronavirus COVID Financial problems. Discrimination and racism. Do you need a lawyer?

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    Voluntary work. Expand Information about Finland. Expand Basic information about Finland. Finland in brief. Finnish history. Finnish climate.

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    Expand Vantaa. Moving to Vantaa. Expand Living in Vantaa. Settling in Vantaa. Employment and entrepreneurship in Vantaa. Finnish and Swedish in Vantaa.

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    Expand Kauniainen. Moving to Kauniainen. Expand Living in Kauniainen. Settling in Kauniainen. Work and Enterprise in Kauniainen.

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    Leisure in Kauniainen. Information on Kauniainen. Expand Turku. Moving to Turku. Expand Life in Turku. Settling in Turku. Finnish industry recovered quickly after Second World War.

    By the end of industrial output surpassed pre-war numbers. Between and , Finland's industry was at the mercy of international economic trends.

    International economy was stable in the s. This trend can be seen in Finland as well, where steady growth of industrial output throughout the decade was recorded.

    After failed experiments with protectionism, [ citation needed ] Finland eased restrictions and concluded a free trade agreement with the European Community in , making its markets more competitive.

    Finland's industrial output declined in Local education markets expanded and an increasing number of Finns also went abroad to study in the United States or Western Europe, bringing back advanced skills.

    Support for capitalism was widespread. In the beginning of the s, Finland's GDP per capita reached the level of Japan and the UK. Finland's economic development shared many aspects with export-led Asian countries.

    Significant bilateral trade was conducted with the Soviet Union , but this did not grow into a dependence. Like other Nordic countries, Finland has liberalized its system of economic regulation since late s.

    Financial and product market regulations were modified. Some state enterprises were privatized and some tax rates were altered.

    This was caused by a combination of economic overheating largely due to a change in the banking laws in which made credit much more accessible , depressed markets with key trading partners particularly the Swedish and Soviet markets as well as local markets, slow growth with other trading partners, and the disappearance of the Soviet bilateral trade.

    The crisis was amplified by trade unions' initial opposition to any reforms. A total of over 10 billion euros were used to bail out failing banks, which led to banking sector consolidation.

    Finland joined the European Union in The central bank was given an inflation-targeting mandate until Finland joined the euro zone.

    Finland was one of the 11 countries joining the third phase of the Economic and Monetary Union of the European Union , adopting the euro as the country's currency, on 1 January The national currency markka FIM was withdrawn from circulation and replaced by the euro EUR at the beginning of The following table shows the main economic indicators in — Finland's climate and soils make growing crops a particular challenge.

    In response to the climate, farmers have relied on quick-ripening and frost-resistant varieties of crops. Most farmland had originally been either forest or swamp, and the soil had usually required treatment with lime and years of cultivation to neutralise excess acid and to develop fertility.

    Irrigation was generally not necessary, but drainage systems were often needed to remove excess water. Until the late nineteenth century, Finland's isolation required that most farmers concentrate on producing grains to meet the country's basic food needs.

    In the fall, farmers planted rye; in the spring, southern and central farmers started oats, while northern farmers seeded barley. Farms also grew small quantities of potatoes, other root crops, and legumes.

    Nevertheless, the total area under cultivation was still small. Cattle grazed in the summer and consumed hay in the winter.

    Essentially self-sufficient, Finland engaged in very limited agricultural trade. This traditional, almost autarkic, production pattern shifted sharply during the late nineteenth century, when inexpensive imported grain from Russia and the United States competed effectively with local grain.

    At the same time, rising domestic and foreign demand for dairy products and the availability of low-cost imported cattle feed made dairy and meat production much more profitable.

    These changes in market conditions induced Finland's farmers to switch from growing staple grains to producing meat and dairy products, setting a pattern that persisted into the late s.

    In response to the agricultural depression of the s, the government encouraged domestic production by imposing tariffs on agricultural imports.

    This policy enjoyed some success: the total area under cultivation increased, and farm incomes fell less sharply in Finland than in most other countries.

    Barriers to grain imports stimulated a return to mixed farming, and by Finland's farmers were able to meet roughly 90 percent of the domestic demand for grain.

    The disruptions caused by the Winter War and the Continuation War caused further food shortages, especially when Finland ceded territory, including about one-tenth of its farmland, to the Soviet Union.

    The experiences of the depression and the war years persuaded the Finns to secure independent food supplies to prevent shortages in future conflicts.

    After the war, the first challenge was to resettle displaced farmers. Most refugee farmers were given farms that included some buildings and land that had already been in production, but some had to make do with "cold farms," that is, land not in production that usually had to be cleared or drained before crops could be sown.

    The government sponsored large-scale clearing and draining operations that expanded the area suitable for farming. As a result of the resettlement and land-clearing programs, the area under cultivation expanded by about , hectares, reaching about 2.

    Finland thus came to farm more land than ever before, an unusual development in a country that was simultaneously experiencing rapid industrial growth.

    During this period of expansion, farmers introduced modern production practices. The widespread use of modern inputs—chemical fertilisers and insecticides, agricultural machinery, and improved seed varieties—sharply improved crop yields.

    Yet the modernisation process again made farm production dependent on supplies from abroad, this time on imports of petroleum and fertilisers.

    By domestic sources of energy covered only about 20 percent of farm needs, while in domestic sources had supplied 70 percent of them.

    In the aftermath of the oil price increases of the early s, farmers began to return to local energy sources such as firewood. The existence of many farms that were too small to allow efficient use of tractors also limited mechanisation.

    Another weak point was the existence of many fields with open drainage ditches needing regular maintenance; in the mids, experts estimated that half of the cropland needed improved drainage works.

    At that time, about 1 million hectares had underground drainage, and agricultural authorities planned to help install such works on another million hectares.

    Despite these shortcomings, Finland's agriculture was efficient and productive—at least when compared with farming in other European countries.

    Forests play a key role in the country's economy, making it one of the world's leading wood producers and providing raw materials at competitive prices for the crucial wood-processing industries.

    As in agriculture, the government has long played a leading role in forestry, regulating tree cutting, sponsoring technical improvements, and establishing long-term plans to ensure that the country's forests continue to supply the wood-processing industries.

    Finland's wet climate and rocky soils are ideal for forests. Tree stands do well throughout the country, except in some areas north of the Arctic Circle.

    In the forested area totaled about The proportion of forest land varied considerably from region to region. In the central lake plateau and in the eastern and northern provinces, forests covered up to 80 percent of the land area, but in areas with better conditions for agriculture, especially in the southwest, forests accounted for only 50 to 60 percent of the territory.

    The main commercial tree species—pine, spruce, and birch—supplied raw material to the sawmill, pulp, and paper industries.

    The forests also produced sizable aspen and elder crops. The heavy winter snows and the network of waterways were used to move logs to the mills.

    Loggers were able to drag cut trees over the winter snow to the roads or water bodies. In the southwest, the sledding season lasted about days per year; the season was even longer to the north and the east.

    The country's network of lakes and rivers facilitated log floating, a cheap and rapid means of transport. Each spring, crews floated the logs downstream to collection points; tugs towed log bundles down rivers and across lakes to processing centers.

    The waterway system covered much of the country, and by the s Finland had extended roadways and railroads to areas not served by waterways, effectively opening up all of the country's forest reserves to commercial use.

    Forestry and farming were closely linked. During the twentieth century, government land redistribution programmes had made forest ownership widespread, allotting forestland to most farms.

    In the s, private farmers controlled 35 percent of the country's forests; other persons held 27 percent; the government, 24 percent; private corporations, 9 percent; and municipalities and other public bodies, 5 percent.

    The forestlands owned by farmers and by other people—some , plots—were the best, producing 75 to 80 percent of the wood consumed by industry; the state owned much of the poorer land, especially that in the north.

    The ties between forestry and farming were mutually beneficial. Farmers supplemented their incomes with earnings from selling their wood, caring for forests, or logging; forestry made many otherwise marginal farms viable.

    At the same time, farming communities maintained roads and other infrastructure in rural areas, and they provided workers for forest operations. Indeed, without the farming communities in sparsely populated areas, it would have been much more difficult to continue intensive logging operations and reforestation in many prime forest areas.

    The Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry has carried out forest inventories and drawn up silvicultural plans.

    According to surveys, between and the late s foresters had cut trees faster than the forests could regenerate them. Nevertheless, between the early s and , Finland was able to boost the total area of its forests by some 2.

    Beginning in , the country instituted plans that called for expanding forest cultivation, draining peatland and waterlogged areas, and replacing slow-growing trees with faster-growing varieties.

    By the mids, the Finns had drained 5. Thinning increased the share of trees that would produce suitable lumber, while improved tree varieties increased productivity by as much as 30 percent.

    Comprehensive silvicultural programmes had made it possible for the Finns simultaneously to increase forest output and to add to the amount and value of the growing stock.

    By the mids, Finland's forests produced nearly 70 million cubic meters of new wood each year, considerably more than was being cut.

    During the postwar period, the annual cut increased by about percent to about 50 million cubic meters. Wood burning fell to one-fifth the level of the immediate postwar years, freeing up wood supplies for the wood-processing industries, which consumed between 40 million and 45 million cubic meters per year.

    Main exports from Finland were furs, slaves, castoreum , and falcons to European courts. Imports included silk and other fabrics, jewelry, Ulfberht swords , and, in lesser extent, glass.

    Production of iron started approximately in BC. At the end of the 9th century, indigenous artifact culture, especially women's jewelry and weapons, had more common local features than ever before.

    This has been interpreted to be expressing common Finnish identity which was born from an image of common origin. An early form of Finnic languages spread to the Baltic Sea region approximately BC with the Seima-Turbino-phenomenon.

    Common Finnic language was spoken around Gulf of Finland years ago. The dialects from which the modern-day Finnish language was developed came into existence during the Iron Age.

    The Sami cultural identity and the Sami language have survived in Lapland, the northernmost province, but the Sami have been displaced or assimilated elsewhere.

    The 12th and 13th centuries were a violent time in the northern Baltic Sea. The Livonian Crusade was ongoing and the Finnish tribes such as the Tavastians and Karelians were in frequent conflicts with Novgorod and with each other.

    Also, during the 12th and 13th centuries several crusades from the Catholic realms of the Baltic Sea area were made against the Finnish tribes. According to historical sources, Danes waged at least three crusades to Finland, in or slightly earlier, [47] in and in , [48] and Swedes , possibly the so-called second crusade to Finland , in against Tavastians and the third crusade to Finland in against the Karelians.

    The so-called first crusade to Finland , possibly in , is most likely an unreal event. Also, it is possible that Germans made violent conversion of Finnish pagans in the 13th century.

    As a result of the crusades and the colonisation of some Finnish coastal areas with Christian Swedish population during the Middle Ages, [51] including the old capital Turku , Finland gradually became part of the kingdom of Sweden and the sphere of influence of the Catholic Church.

    Due to the Swedish conquest, the Finnish upper class lost its position and lands to the new Swedish and German nobility and to the Catholic Church.

    Swedish kings visited Finland rarely and in Swedish contemporary texts Finns were portrayed to be primitive and their language inferior.

    Swedish became the dominant language of the nobility, administration, and education; Finnish was chiefly a language for the peasantry , clergy, and local courts in predominantly Finnish-speaking areas.

    During the Protestant Reformation , the Finns gradually converted to Lutheranism. In the 16th century, Mikael Agricola published the first written works in Finnish, and Finland's current capital city, Helsinki , was founded by Gustav I of Sweden.

    The Finns reaped a reputation in the Thirty Years' War — as a well-trained cavalrymen called " Hakkapeliitta ", that division excelled in sudden and savage attacks, raiding and reconnaissance , which King Gustavus Adolphus took advantage of in his significant battles, like in the Battle of Breitenfeld and the Battle of Rain In the 18th century, wars between Sweden and Russia twice led to the occupation of Finland by Russian forces, times known to the Finns as the Greater Wrath — and the Lesser Wrath — Two Russo-Swedish wars in twenty-five years served as reminders to the Finnish people of the precarious position between Sweden and Russia.

    An increasingly vocal elite in Finland soon determined that Finnish ties with Sweden were becoming too costly, and following Russo-Swedish War — , the Finnish elite's desire to break with Sweden only heightened.

    Even before the war there were conspiring politicians, among them Col G. Sprengtporten , who had supported Gustav III's coup in Sprengporten fell out with the king and resigned his commission in In the following decade he tried to secure Russian support for an autonomous Finland, and later became an adviser to Catherine II.

    Notwithstanding the efforts of Finland's elite and nobility to break ties with Sweden, there was no genuine independence movement in Finland until the early 20th century.

    As a matter of fact, at this time the Finnish peasantry was outraged by the actions of their elite and almost exclusively supported Gustav's actions against the conspirators.

    The High Court of Turku condemned Sprengtporten as a traitor c. On 29 March , having been taken over by the armies of Alexander I of Russia in the Finnish War , Finland became an autonomous Grand Duchy in the Russian Empire with the recognition given at the Diet held in Porvoo , until the end of In , Alexander I incorporated the Russian Vyborg province into the Grand Duchy of Finland.

    During the Russian era, the Finnish language began to gain recognition. From the s onwards, a strong Finnish nationalist movement known as the Fennoman movement grew, and one of its most prominent leading figures of the movement was the philosopher J.

    Snellman , who was strictly inclined to Hegel's idealism , and who pushed for the stabilization of the status of the Finnish language and its own currency, the Finnish markka , in the Grand Duchy of Finland.

    The famine led the Russian Empire to ease financial regulations, and investment rose in following decades. Economic and political development was rapid.

    In , universal suffrage was adopted in the Grand Duchy of Finland. However, the relationship between the Grand Duchy and the Russian Empire soured when the Russian government made moves to restrict Finnish autonomy.

    For example, the universal suffrage was, in practice, virtually meaningless, since the tsar did not have to approve any of the laws adopted by the Finnish parliament.

    Desire for independence gained ground, first among radical liberals [66] and socialists. The case is known as the " Russification of Finland ", driven by the last tsar of Russian Empire, Nicholas II.

    After the February Revolution , the position of Finland as part of the Russian Empire was questioned, mainly by Social Democrats.

    Since the head of state was the tsar of Russia, it was not clear who the chief executive of Finland was after the revolution. The Parliament, controlled by social democrats, passed the so-called Power Act to give the highest authority to the Parliament.

    This was rejected by the Russian Provisional Government which decided to dissolve the Parliament. New elections were conducted, in which right-wing parties won with a slim majority.

    Some social democrats refused to accept the result and still claimed that the dissolution of the parliament and thus the ensuing elections were extralegal.

    The two nearly equally powerful political blocs, the right-wing parties and the social democratic party, were highly antagonized.

    The October Revolution in Russia changed the geopolitical situation anew. Suddenly, the right-wing parties in Finland started to reconsider their decision to block the transfer of highest executive power from the Russian government to Finland, as the Bolsheviks took power in Russia.

    Rather than acknowledge the authority of the Power Act of a few months earlier, the right-wing government, led by Prime Minister P. Svinhufvud , presented Declaration of Independence on 4 December , which was officially approved two days later by Finnish Parliament , on 6 December Russian Soviet Federative Socialist Republic RSFSR , led by Vladimir Lenin , recognized independence on 4 January On 27 January , the official opening shots of the war were fired in two simultaneous events.

    The government started to disarm the Russian forces in Pohjanmaa , and the Social Democratic Party staged a coup. This sparked the brief but bitter civil war.

    The Whites , who were supported by Imperial Germany , prevailed over the Reds , [70] which were guided by Kullervo Manner 's desire to make young independent country a Finnish Socialist Workers' Republic also known as "Red Finland" and thus part of RSFSR.

    Deep social and political enmity was sown between the Reds and Whites and would last until the Winter War and beyond; still, even nowadays, the civil war is an inherently sensitive, emotional topic.

    At that time, the idea of Greater Finland was also properly on display for the first time. After a brief experimentation with monarchy , when an attempt to made Prince Frederick Charles of Hesse a king for Finland proved to be a poor success, Finland became a presidential republic, with K.

    Finnish democracy did not see any Soviet coup attempts and survived the anti-Communist Lapua Movement. The relationship between Finland and the Soviet Union was tense.

    Army officers were trained in France, and relations with Western Europe and Sweden were strengthened. In , the population was 3 million.

    Credit-based land reform was enacted after the civil war, increasing the proportion of capital-owning population. Finland fought the Soviet Union in the Winter War of — after the Soviet Union attacked Finland and in the Continuation War of —, following Operation Barbarossa , when Finland aligned with Germany following Germany's invasion of the Soviet Union.

    For days, the German army, aided indirectly by Finnish forces, besieged Leningrad , the USSR's second-largest city. This was followed by the Lapland War of —, when Finland fought retreating German forces in northern Finland.

    Perhaps the most famous war heroes during the aforementioned wars were Simo Häyhä , [80] [81] Aarne Juutilainen , [82] and Lauri Törni.

    The treaties signed in and with the Soviet Union included Finnish obligations, restraints, and reparations—as well as further Finnish territorial concessions in addition to those in the Moscow Peace Treaty of Almost the whole population, some , people , fled these areas.

    The former Finnish territory now constitutes part of Russia's Republic of Karelia. Finland was never occupied by Soviet forces and it retained its independence, but at a loss of about 97, soldiers.

    Finland rejected Marshall aid , in apparent deference to Soviet desires. However, the United States provided secret development aid and helped the Social Democratic Party, in hopes of preserving Finland's independence.

    Valmet was founded to create materials for war reparations. After the reparations had been paid off, Finland continued to trade with the Soviet Union in the framework of bilateral trade.

    The average number of births per woman declined from a baby boom peak of 3. Finland took part in trade liberalization in the World Bank , the International Monetary Fund and the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade.

    Officially claiming to be neutral , Finland lay in the grey zone between the Western countries and the Soviet Union.

    The YYA Treaty Finno-Soviet Pact of Friendship, Cooperation and Mutual Assistance gave the Soviet Union some leverage in Finnish domestic politics.

    This was extensively exploited by president Urho Kekkonen against his opponents. He maintained an effective monopoly on Soviet relations from on, which was crucial for his continued popularity.

    In politics, there was a tendency of avoiding any policies and statements that could be interpreted as anti-Soviet. This phenomenon was given the name " Finlandization " by the West German press.

    During the Cold War , Finland also developed into one of the centers of the East-West espionage , in which both the KGB and the CIA played their parts.

    Despite close relations with the Soviet Union, Finland maintained a market economy. Various industries benefited from trade privileges with the Soviets, which explains the widespread support that pro-Soviet policies enjoyed among business interests in Finland.

    Economic growth was rapid in the postwar era, and by Finland's GDP per capita was the 15th-highest in the world. In the s and '80s, Finland built one of the most extensive welfare states in the world.

    Finland negotiated with the European Economic Community EEC, a predecessor of the European Union a treaty that mostly abolished customs duties towards the EEC starting from , although Finland did not fully join.

    In , President Urho Kekkonen's failing health forced him to retire after holding office for 25 years. Finland reacted cautiously to the collapse of the Soviet Union, but swiftly began increasing integration with the West.

    On 21 September , Finland unilaterally declared the Paris Peace Treaty obsolete, following the German reunification decision nine days earlier.

    Miscalculated macroeconomic decisions, a banking crisis , the collapse of its largest trading partner the Soviet Union , and a global economic downturn caused a deep early s recession in Finland.

    The depression bottomed out in , and Finland saw steady economic growth for more than ten years. Financial and product market regulation were loosened.

    Some state enterprises have been privatized and there have been some modest tax cuts. The Finnish Lakeland is the area with the most lakes in the country; many of the major cities in the area, most notably Tampere , Jyväskylä and Kuopio , are located in the immediate vicinity of the large lakes.

    Much of the geography of Finland is a result of the Ice Age. The glaciers were thicker and lasted longer in Fennoscandia compared with the rest of Europe.

    Their eroding effects have left the Finnish landscape mostly flat with few hills and fewer mountains. The retreating glaciers have left the land with morainic deposits in formations of eskers.

    These are ridges of stratified gravel and sand, running northwest to southeast, where the ancient edge of the glacier once lay. Among the biggest of these are the three Salpausselkä ridges that run across southern Finland.

    Having been compressed under the enormous weight of the glaciers, terrain in Finland is rising due to the post-glacial rebound. As a result, the old sea bottom turns little by little into dry land: the surface area of the country is expanding by about 7 square kilometres 2.

    The landscape is covered mostly by coniferous taiga forests and fens , with little cultivated land. The forest consists of pine , spruce , birch , and other species.

    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. Podzol profile development is seen in most forest soils except where drainage is poor.

    Gleysols and peat bogs occupy poorly drained areas. Phytogeographically , Finland is shared between the Arctic, central European, and northern European provinces of the Circumboreal Region within the Boreal Kingdom.

    According to the WWF , the territory of Finland can be subdivided into three ecoregions : the Scandinavian and Russian taiga , Sarmatic mixed forests , and Scandinavian Montane Birch forest and grasslands.

    On the southwestern coast, south of the Helsinki- Rauma line, forests are characterized by mixed forests, that are more typical in the Baltic region.

    In the extreme north of Finland, near the tree line and Arctic Ocean, Montane Birch forests are common.

    Finland had a Forest Landscape Integrity Index mean score of 5. Similarly, Finland has a diverse and extensive range of fauna. There are at least sixty native mammalian species, breeding bird species, over 70 fish species, and 11 reptile and frog species present today, many migrating from neighboring countries thousands of years ago.

    Large and widely recognized wildlife mammals found in Finland are the brown bear , gray wolf , wolverine , and elk.

    The brown bear, which is also nicknamed as the "king of the forest" by the Finns, is the country's official national animal, [] which also occur on the coat of arms of the Satakunta region is a crown-headed black bear carrying a sword, [] possibly referring to the regional capital city of Pori , whose Swedish name Björneborg and the Latin name Arctopolis literally means "bear city" or "bear fortress".

    The latter is considered an indicator of old-growth forest connectivity, and has been declining because of landscape fragmentation.

    Atlantic salmon remains the favourite 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 seals today.

    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.

    In the Köppen climate classification , the whole of Finland lies in the boreal zone , characterized by warm summers and freezing winters.

    Within the country, the temperateness varies considerably between the southern coastal regions and the extreme north, showing characteristics of both a maritime and a continental climate.

    Finland is near enough to the Atlantic Ocean to be continuously warmed by the Gulf Stream. The Gulf Stream combines with the moderating effects of the Baltic Sea and numerous inland lakes to explain the unusually warm climate compared with other regions that share the same latitude , such as Alaska , Siberia , and southern Greenland.

    In northern Finland, particularly in Lapland, the winters are long and cold, while the summers are relatively warm but short.

    The winter of the north lasts for about days with permanent snow cover from about mid-October to early May.

    The Finnish climate is suitable for cereal farming only in the southernmost regions, while the northern regions are suitable for animal husbandry.

    A quarter of Finland's territory lies within the Arctic Circle and 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.

    Finland consists of 19 regions , called maakunta in Finnish and landskap in Swedish. The regions are governed by regional councils which serve as forums of cooperation for the municipalities of a region.

    The main tasks of the regions are regional planning and development of enterprise and education.

    In addition, the public health services are usually organized on the basis of regions. Currently, the only region where a popular election is held for the council is Kainuu.

    Other regional councils are elected by municipal councils, each municipality sending representatives in proportion to its population.

    In addition to inter-municipal cooperation, which is the responsibility of regional councils, each region has a state Employment and Economic Development Centre which is responsible for the local administration of labour, agriculture, fisheries, forestry, and entrepreneurial affairs.

    The Finnish Defence Forces regional offices are responsible for the regional defence preparations and for the administration of conscription within the region.

    Regions represent dialectal, cultural, and economic variations better than the former provinces , which were purely administrative divisions of the central government.

    Historically, regions are divisions of historical provinces of Finland , areas which represent dialects and culture more accurately.

    The region of Eastern Uusimaa Itä-Uusimaa was consolidated with Uusimaa on 1 January The fundamental administrative divisions of the country are the municipalities , which may also call themselves towns or cities.

    They account for half of public spending. Spending is financed by municipal income tax, state subsidies, and other revenue.

    As of [update] , there are municipalities, [10] and most have fewer than 6, residents. In addition to municipalities, two intermediate levels are defined.

    Municipalities co-operate in seventy sub-regions and nineteen regions. These are governed by the member municipalities and have only limited powers.

    Sami people have a semi-autonomous Sami native region in Lapland for issues on language and culture. The land area is given in km 2 , and the density in inhabitants per km 2 land area.

    The figures are as of 31 July The capital region — comprising Helsinki , Vantaa , Espoo and Kauniainen — forms a continuous conurbation of over 1.

    However, common administration is limited to voluntary cooperation of all municipalities, e. The Constitution of Finland defines the political system; Finland is a parliamentary republic within the framework of a representative democracy.

    The Prime Minister is the country's most powerful person. The current version of the constitution was enacted on 1 March , and was amended on 1 March Citizens can run and vote in parliamentary, municipal, presidential and European Union elections.

    The head of state of Finland is President of the Republic of Finland in Finnish: Suomen tasavallan presidentti ; in Swedish: Republiken Finlands president.

    Finland has had for most of its independence a semi-presidential system , but in the last few decades the powers of the President have been diminished.

    In constitution amendments, which came into effect in or and also with a new drafted constitution of , amended in , the President's position has become primarily a ceremonial office.

    However, the President still leads the nation's foreign politics together with the Council of State and is the commander-in-chief of the Defence Forces.

    Direct, one- or two-stage elections are used to elect the president for a term of six years and for a maximum of two consecutive 6-year terms. The current president is Sauli Niinistö ; he took office on 1 March Former presidents were K.

    Relander — , P. Svinhufvud — , Kyösti Kallio — , Risto Ryti — , C. Mannerheim — , J. Paasikivi — , Urho Kekkonen — , Mauno Koivisto — , Martti Ahtisaari — , and Tarja Halonen — The current president was elected from the ranks of the National Coalition Party for the first time since The presidency between and the present was instead held by a member of the Social Democratic Party or the Centre Party.

    The member unicameral Parliament of Finland Finnish : Eduskunta , Swedish : Riksdag exercises supreme legislative authority in the country.

    It may alter the constitution and ordinary laws, dismiss the cabinet, and override presidential vetoes. Its acts are not subject to judicial review; the constitutionality of new laws is assessed by the parliament's constitutional law committee.

    The parliament is elected for a term of four years using the proportional D'Hondt method within a number of multi-seat constituencies through the most open list multi-member districts.

    Various parliament committees listen to experts and prepare legislation. Since universal suffrage was introduced in , the parliament has been dominated by the Centre Party former Agrarian Union , the National Coalition Party , and the Social Democrats.

    Their lowest common total of MPs, , was reached in the elections. For a few decades after , the Communists were a strong fourth party.

    Due to the electoral system of proportional representation, and the relative reluctance of voters to switch their support between parties, the relative strengths of the parties have commonly varied only slightly from one election to another.

    However, there have been some long-term trends, such as the rise and fall of the Communists during the Cold War; the steady decline into insignificance of the Liberals and its predecessors from to ; and the rise of the Green League since In the s, the Finns Party achieved exceptional success, increasing its representation in the election from 5 to 39 seats, surpassing the Centre Party.

    The Parliament can be dissolved by a recommendation of the Prime Minister, endorsed by the President. This procedure has never been used, although the parliament was dissolved eight times under the pre constitution, when this action was the sole prerogative of the president.

    After the parliamentary elections on 19 April , the seats were divided among eight parties as follows: [].

    After parliamentary elections, the parties negotiate among themselves on forming a new cabinet the Finnish Government , which then has to be approved by a simple majority vote in the parliament.

    The cabinet can be dismissed by a parliamentary vote of no confidence, although this rarely happens the last time in , as the parties represented in the cabinet usually make up a majority in the parliament.

    The cabinet exercises most executive powers, and originates most of the bills that the parliament then debates and votes on.

    It is headed by the Prime Minister of Finland , and consists of him or her, of other ministers, and of the Chancellor of Justice.

    The current prime minister is Sanna Marin Social Democratic Party. Each minister heads his or her ministry, or, in some cases, has responsibility for a subset of a ministry's policy.

    After the prime minister, the most powerful minister is the minister of finance. The incumbent Minister of Finance is Matti Vanhanen.

    As no one party ever dominates the parliament, Finnish cabinets are multi-party coalitions. As a rule, the post of prime minister goes to the leader of the biggest party and that of the minister of finance to the leader of the second biggest.

    The judicial system of Finland is a civil law system divided between courts with regular civil and criminal jurisdiction and administrative courts with jurisdiction over litigation between individuals and the public administration.

    Finnish law is codified and based on Swedish law and in a wider sense, civil law or Roman law. The court system for civil and criminal jurisdiction consists of local courts käräjäoikeus , tingsrätt , regional appellate courts hovioikeus , hovrätt , and the Supreme Court korkein oikeus , högsta domstolen.

    The administrative branch of justice consists of administrative courts hallinto-oikeus , förvaltningsdomstol and the Supreme Administrative Court korkein hallinto-oikeus , högsta förvaltningsdomstolen.

    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 against certain high-ranking officeholders.

    Some crime types are above average, notably the high homicide rate for Western Europe. Finland has successfully fought against government corruption, which was more common in the s and '80s.

    In , Transparency International criticized the lack of transparency of the system of Finnish political finance. Nine Ministers of Government submitted incomplete funding reports and even more of the members of parliament.

    The law includes no punishment of false funds reports of the elected politicians. Finland has been ranked above average among the world's countries in democracy , [] press freedom , [] and human development.

    Amnesty International has expressed concern regarding some issues in Finland, such as alleged permitting of stopovers of CIA rendition flights , the imprisonment of objectors to military service , and societal discrimination against Romani people and members of other ethnic and linguistic minorities.

    According to the constitution, the president currently Sauli Niinistö leads foreign policy in cooperation with the government, except that the president has no role in EU affairs.

    In , president Martti Ahtisaari was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize. Finland has one of the world's most extensive welfare systems, one that guarantees decent living conditions for all residents: Finns, and non-citizens.

    Since the s the social security has been cut back, but still the system is one of the most comprehensive in the world.

    Created almost entirely during the first three decades after World War II, the social security system was an outgrowth of the traditional Nordic belief that the state was not inherently hostile to the well-being of its citizens, but could intervene benevolently on their behalf.

    According to some social historians, the basis of this belief was a relatively benign history that had allowed the gradual emergence of a free and independent peasantry in the Nordic countries and had curtailed the dominance of the nobility and the subsequent formation of a powerful right wing.

    Finland's history has been harsher than the histories of the other Nordic countries, but not harsh enough to bar the country from following their path of social development.

    The Finnish Defence Forces consist of a cadre of professional soldiers mainly officers and technical personnel , currently serving conscripts, and a large reserve.

    A universal male conscription is in place, under which all male Finnish nationals above 18 years of age serve for 6 to 12 months of armed service or 12 months of civilian non-armed service.

    Voluntary post-conscription overseas peacekeeping service is popular, and troops serve around the world in UN, NATO, and EU missions.

    Approximately women choose voluntary military service every year. The army consists of a highly mobile field army backed up by local defence units.

    The army defends the national territory and its military strategy employs the use of the heavily forested terrain and numerous lakes to wear down an aggressor, instead of attempting to hold the attacking army on the frontier.

    Finnish defence expenditure per capita is one of the highest in the European Union. The term total means that all sectors of the government and economy are involved in the defence planning.

    The armed forces are under the command of the Chief of Defence currently General Jarmo Lindberg , who is directly subordinate to the president in matters related to military command.

    The branches of the military are the army , the navy , and the air force. The border guard is under the Ministry of the Interior but can be incorporated into the Defence Forces when required for defence readiness.

    Even while Finland hasn't joined the North Atlantic Treaty Organization , the country has joined the NATO Response Force , the EU Battlegroup , [] the NATO Partnership for Peace and in signed a NATO memorandum of understanding , [] [] thus forming a practical coalition.

    The economy of Finland has a per capita output equal to that of other European economies such as those of France, Germany, Belgium , or the UK.

    Primary production represents 2. The gross domestic product peaked in As of [update] , the country's economy is at the level. Finland has significant timber, mineral iron , chromium , copper , nickel , and gold , and freshwater resources.

    The Greater Helsinki area generates around one third of Finland's GDP. In a OECD comparison, high-technology manufacturing in Finland ranked second largest after Ireland.

    Knowledge-intensive services have also resulted in the smallest and slow-growth sectors — especially agriculture and low-technology manufacturing — being ranked the second largest after Ireland.

    Finland's climate and soils make growing crops a particular challenge. Interior design shops, fashion boutiques, jewellers, antique shops, galleries, museums, restaurants, hotels, design agencies - everything can be found in the Helsinki Design District.

    Finnish art, design and architecture Art, design and architecture from Finland are making waves internationally. Did we mention Finland is truly a land of contrasts?

    Cultural Landscapes and Natural Attractions Read more. Olav Waterway Read more. What are the Finns like? Read article. Say it in Finnish Read article.

    Space to think — a journey into Finnish arts and culture Read article. Falling in love with Finnish design Read article.

    Can you festival? Sustainable Finnish design Read article. Join the Finns in the sauna Read article.

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