- Capital: Helsinki
- Currency: Euro
- Demonym: Finnish
- Anthem: Maamme – Finnish, Vart Land – Swedish
- Government: Parliamentary republic
- Abbreviation: Finn
- Population: 5,477,359
- Languages: Finnish, Swedish
- Area: 130,596 square miles
- Religion: Evangelical/Lutheranism/Eastern Orthodox
- Food: The People of Finland Drink the Most Coffee in the World
- History: Santa Claus Lives in Finland
- Geography: Finland Is the Most Sparsely Populated Country in the EU
- Geography: The Country Holds the Record for Having the Most Lakes and Islands
- History: Nokia was Established in Finland
- Geography: Finland Is Called the Land of the Midnight Sun
- Food: Karelian Pasty Is a Traditional Finnish Dish
- Industry: Finland Is the Largest Producer of Wood in Europe
- Industry: The Inventor of Linux Was Born in Helsinki
- Sport: The National Sport of Finland Is Called Pesapallo
- Finnish Children are the Highest Achievers in Europe – But they Don’t Like School!
- Finnish Athletes Have Won More Olympic Medals than Any Other Nation Per Capita!
- The Päijänne Water Tunnel Is the World’s Second Longest Tunnel
- 10% of the Country Is Actually Missing!
- Finns Used to Pay for Goods with Squirrel Skins
The People of Finland Drink the Most Coffee in the World
The first in our series of interesting Finland facts tells us a little about the nation’s drinking habits. They are, perhaps surprisingly, the biggest coffee drinkers in the world. On average, per person they consume 26.4 pounds of the delicious beverage per year. That’s twice the amount the Italians drink – a nation noted for their love of coffee. It’s also three times as much as US citizens drink, and four times as much as the Brits drink.
Santa Claus Lives in Finland
In Finland, he is also known as Joulupukki or the “Yule Goat” and he lives near the town of Rovaniemi, which is in the northernmost part of Lapland, a place that is run by a regional council of Finland and Sweden. Children from all over the world write to him at the following address: Santa Claus Village, FIN-96930 Arctic Circle. In 2014, he received in excess of 700,000 letters.
Finland Is the Most Sparsely Populated Country in the EU
This next in our series of interesting Finland facts tells us a little bit about how its population compares to other countries within Europe. Finland is in fact the most sparsely populated country in the entire European Union. For every 3,280 feet (or 1 kilometer) there are only 16 people.
The Country Holds the Record for Having the Most Lakes and Islands
There are quite an astonishing number of lakes and islands in the country and, in fact, Finland holds the world record for having the highest number of each. There are 187,888 lakes and 179,584 islands. The lakes are all over 1,640 feet (500 meters) square. Some people believe that Sweden may possibly have more islands – at just under 200,000 – but this has never been officially confirmed, so Finland holds the record for both.
Nokia was Established in Finland
The next in our series of Finland facts centers on the well-known phone company, Nokia. The firm has its roots in Finland. Although it only began as a telecommunication company in the 1960s, it actually established itself in the town of Nokia as the Finnish Rubber Company and the Finnish Cable Company as far back as 1865!
Finland Is Called the Land of the Midnight Sun
The next of our Finland facts teaches us a little about the seasons the country experiences. During the summer months, the sun does not drop below the horizon at all in the north of the country, meaning it shines continually day and night. Finland therefore has a unique nickname: The Land of the Midnight Sun.
Karelian Pasty Is a Traditional Finnish Dish
This savory treat originally came from the Republic of Karelia, a breakaway part of the country. However, it is now eaten throughout Finland. It is a delicacy made from rye pastry and filled with rice and boiled egg. Sometimes the filling can be adapted to contain potato, and the crust may be made from buckwheat, but traditionally rye is used. Karelian pasties are served hot, sometimes with melted butter brushed over the top.
Finland Is the Largest Producer of Wood in Europe
Another of our fascinating Finland facts centers on the vast amounts of wood produced there. This is mostly because it is heavily covered with trees, such as pine, spruce, and birch. In fact, it is believed that as much as 86% of Finland is covered with forests. This, therefore, makes it the country that has the most forests, and is also the largest producer of wood, in all of Europe.
The Inventor of Linux Was Born in Helsinki
Here’s one for all the computer geeks among you. Linus Torvalds, a Finnish software engineer, was born in Helsinki in 1945. He is credited with inventing the Linux kernel which became the most popular kernel for computer operating systems after its inception. Torvalds was named after Linus Pauling (the famous chemist who won the Nobel Prize), and his grandfather, Leo Tornqvist, was a noted statistician.
The National Sport of Finland Is Called Pesapallo
This roughly translates as Nestball and, in rules and appearance, it is quite similar to baseball. The main difference between pesapallo and baseball is that when the ball is pitched it is done so vertically, which in theory makes it easier to hit. However, it also makes the game faster than traditional baseball too.
Finnish Children are the Highest Achievers in Europe – But they Don’t Like School!
Finland has, according to a UNICEF report, the highest levels of achievement in literacy, numeracy and sciences in the whole world. However, that doesn’t necessarily mean the children are any happier. The same report also established that just 8% of Finnish pupils said that they liked school!
Finnish Athletes Have Won More Olympic Medals than Any Other Nation Per Capita!
This is another of our fascinating Finland facts. As of 2012, when the last Summer Olympics were held, Finland actually held the record for the highest number of medals won per capita, beating every other competing nation. Despite having a population that only totals around 5.4 million, Finland has, over time, won 302 medals. Of these, 101 were gold. Finland has won an average of 55.9 medals per million inhabitants.
The Päijänne Water Tunnel Is the World’s Second Longest Tunnel
Located in the southern half of the country, the Päijänne Water Tunnel is the world’s second longest water tunnel. The longest in the world is in Delaware. The Finnish tunnel is 75 miles long and runs 328 feet (100 meters) deep at some points under the bedrock. The tunnel provides fresh water for the people who live in the southern half of the country. Construction began in 1972 and ended 10 years later in 1982. It cost approximately 200 million euros (in today’s money) to build.
10% of the Country Is Actually Missing!
During World War II, the Finns signed a pact with Nazi Germany which stated that they wouldn’t be allies, but would fight against “the same foe”. When the Finnish Army fought the Soviet Army they had to give up about 10% of their territory, including the city of Vyborg. After the war ended hundreds of thousands of people had to be resettled and the lost lands became known as the Republic of Karelia. Even into the 1980s there were attempts to turn the Republic back over to Finland, but most have failed and the official language there is still Russian.
Finns Used to Pay for Goods with Squirrel Skins
This is the last of our Finland facts – and a strange one it is too. Early Scandinavian traders to the country (and those who came from Germany) would sell their own goods, primarily tools and weapons for the most valuable resource the country had at the time – squirrel skins. They were noted for being incredibly soft and warm. The Finnish word for money was derived from the word Raha, which translates as ‘animal pelt’. Finnish people sometimes still refer to money as oravannahka, which is a direct translation of squirrel skin.
Finland Facts – Facts about Finland Summary
Facts about Finland tell us that the Finns are a nation of coffee addicts, and are well known for being high achievers in the field of technology, with both the Nokia phone company and the inventor of Linux computer technology hailing from there. The Finns have a delicious national dish called a Karelian pasty, and a national sport called pesapallo to help them work off the calories from the food! Finally, they’re a country that used to pay for all their goods with squirrel skins.