Finland FAQs – Questions and answers about the land of a thousand lakes

Finland is colloquially known as the “land of a thousand lakes” because of its abundance of water. In summer and winter, the Scandinavian country is a popular tourist destination. In the following we answer frequently asked questions about Finland, which come from the fields of politics, tourism, culture, economy and nature.

Who rules in Finland?

Finland has been a parliamentary republic since 1919 and is governed by the Council of State. The Parliament is composed of 200 deputies and is responsible for legislation. Members of parliament elect the prime minister, who is the chairman of the Finnish government and thus the highest-ranking government official in the Scandinavian country.

Who is flying to Finland?

Numerous airlines offer direct connections to Finland from inner-European airports. Lufthansa and Air Berlin fly from Frankfurt/M. and Munich or from Düsseldorf and Berlin to Helsinki. Finnair flies to the Finnish capital from almost all German airports. Austrian Airlines offers direct flights from Vienna and Swiss flies non-stop from Zurich to Helsinki. Connecting flights within the country are usually handled by Finnair, Air Baltic or Blue 1.

Where is Finland?

Finland is a northern European country and is located in eastern Scandinavia. Around 33 percent of the country’s land area lies north of the Arctic Circle. To the south and west, the Gulf of Finland and the Gulf of Bothnia form the natural boundary. In the east, the Scandinavian country has a border of about 1,270 km with Russia, while in the west Sweden borders Finland. The length of the border with Norway in the north is about 715 km.

Where to go on vacation in Finland?

With its countless lakes, unspoiled natural landscapes and long coastline, Finland offers numerous opportunities for a relaxing vacation. The answer to the question: “Where to go on vacation in Finland?”, depends on individual preferences. In winter, Eastern Finland and Finnish Lapland are good destinations. Besides aurora watching, snowmobiling and dog sledding in deep snow are among the favorite activities. If you want to experience the big city feeling, pay a visit to the capital Helsinki. Nature lovers, anglers and water sports enthusiasts are drawn to the Finnish Lake District in the center of the country during the summer.

Where can you see auroras in Finland?

The aurora borealis is a mysterious fascination and many people travel to Finland specifically to observe the celestial phenomena. For most travelers the question arises in advance: Where can you see auroras in Finland? In principle, this is possible throughout the country. The best prospects to catch a glimpse of the twitching lights are in northern Lapland. The village of Sodankylä is home to the Northern Lights Research Center, which makes predictions about the occurrence of auroras in winter. On average, the celestial phenomena can be seen every other night in northern Lapland.

How many lakes does Finland have?

The Finnish Lake District in the interior of the country is one of the most water-rich regions on earth. More than 42,000 lakes are located in this area. This corresponds to just under 20 percent of the total area. In total, there are more than 188,000 lakes in Finland, with Lake Saimaa being the largest with an area of about 4,370 km².

How long is it light in Finland in summer?

Finland is one of the northernmost countries on earth and about one third of its land mass lies above the Arctic Circle. In this region, the sun does not set in midsummer and it remains light 24 hours a day for several weeks. In the south of the country, at the time of the summer solstice, the sun sinks behind the horizon for only 1-3 hours and the brightness gives way to a soft twilight. This phenomenon, which also occurs in the Finnish capital Helsinki, is called “white nights”.

How is Christmas celebrated in Finland?

Those planning a trip to Finland over the turn of the year often ask themselves the question: How is Christmas celebrated in Finland? The festivities kick off with the Feast of St. Lucia, which is celebrated the week after December 6. On this occasion, young girls parade through the streets with wreaths of lights and sing Christmas carols in front of houses and apartments. The proclamation of the Christmas Truce in the city of Turku on December 24 at 12 noon officially heralds the Christmas holiday. Graves in the cemeteries are then decorated before families gather in a small circle for a Christmas feast. After that, the Finnish Santa Claus with the name Joulupukki takes over the gift-giving. Christmas Day is a day of rest and reflection, while December 26 is a day for sledding in the villages and attending dances in the cities.

What is a must-see in Finland?

The Finnish Lake District with its more than 40,000 inland lakes is undoubtedly one of the scenic attractions in Finland. In the middle of this natural landscape lies the Linnansaari National Park with numerous hiking trails and over 130 islands. The most famous hiking trail in Finland is the so-called Bear Circuit near Kuusamo with a total length of 80 km. Rauma is one of the oldest cities in the country. The historic old town with its wooden houses and the Old Town Hall was included in the UNESCO World Heritage List. An architectural highlight in the Finnish capital Helsinki is the cathedral. The classicist building was inaugurated in the middle of the 19th century. Olavinlinna Castle, a medieval fortress from the 15th century, rises in the city of Savonlinna and is the venue for renowned opera festivals every year.

What does Finland export?

Many regions of Finland are covered by forests and lakes and are sparsely populated. The Scandinavian country is a major exporter of wood and paper products. This sector is facing increasing competition from the metal and electronics industries, which also account for the lion’s share of exported goods. Fiskars, a manufacturer of tools and household goods, is one of Finland’s most important exporters.

What is the currency in Finland?

Finland is a member of the European Union and belongs to the area where the common currency is the euro. The euro replaced the Finnish mark as official currency in 2002. This eliminates the need for all travelers to exchange money before traveling to the Scandinavian country. A peculiarity in Finland is the almost complete absence of 1- and 2-cent coins. Stores usually round up or down to the nearest 5 cents.

Why does Finland do so well in Pisa studies?

The evaluations of the Pisa study regularly certify that Finnish students have an above-average level of achievement. Against this background, many people ask the question: Why does Finland do so well in Pisa studies? The answer to this question is complex. On the one hand, the low value placed on performance-based learning is considered a reason for the students’ good performance. School grades are not given in grades 1-4. They are not required until the 8th grade. In addition, teachers have generous freedom in designing lessons and the profession is held in high esteem by the population. The almost complete absence of private schools in Finland further equalizes social inequalities.

Why is Finland not in NATO?

After the end of World War II, in which Finland and Russia faced each other as adversaries, the government of the Scandinavian country pursued a consistent policy of neutrality. This was due to mutual dependencies between the two countries, which share a border of almost 1,300 km. Finland’s rapprochement with NATO came only after the end of the Cold War in the 1990s. To date, the country has not joined the North Atlantic military alliance.

Why is Finland in the EU?

Finland has been a member of the EU since 1995. The decision to join the common economic area was made in a referendum in which 57 percent of Finns voted in favor of membership in the European Union. The most important reason was the economic growing together of the member countries and the resulting advantages. The integration course was embarked upon in order to have a say in important decisions and to be able to exert influence in this way.

Who brings the Christmas presents in Finland?

Christmas customs in the Scandinavian countries differ slightly from the festive traditions in Central Europe and often visitors to the country ask the question: who brings Christmas presents in Finland? Santa Claus is called Joulupukki in Finland and is based on Mount Korvatunturi in Lapland. On the evening of December 24, Santa Claus visits people and distributes gifts previously made by numerous Secret Santa.

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Ich bin absoluter Skandinavien-Fan und reise schon seit über 12 Jahren in die schönen Länder Skandinaviens. Hier teile ich meine Erfahrungen und Tipps zu den skandinavischen Ländern und der Ostsee-Region.