Finland is the most sparsely populated country in the European Union, with only 16 inhabitants per km².
There are exactly 187,888 lakes (larger than 500 m²) and 179,584 islands within the territory of Finland. Both are world records.
The 120 km Päijänne Water Tunnel is Europe's longest tunnel and the world's second longest.
History & People
Finland was one of the last region of Europe to be Christianised, in the 12th century.
Finland has only been an independent country since 1918. Before that it belonged to Russia or Sweden.
Finnish athletes have won more Summer Olympic medals per capita than any other nation. As of 2012, Finland had won in total 302 Summer Olympic medals (incluidng 101 gold medals) for a population of only 5.4 million. That is an average of 55.9 medals (18.7 gold medals) per million people. Finland is only second to Norway for the number of Winter Olympic medals per capita (28.8 medals/million).
Drivers from Finland have won more World Rally championships (14 titles) than any other country, and more Formula One championships compared to their country's population (4 titles for 5 million inhabitants - the next best being Austria with 4 titles for a population of 8 million).
Society & Culture
Finland has been at the top of the worldwide Press Freedom Ranking list every year since the publication of the first index by Reporters Without Borders in 2002.
According to the 2007 UNICEF report on child well-being in rich countries, Finland has the highest level of academic achievements of all surveyed countries for reading, mathematics and sciences. However, it also has the lowest percentage of children 'liking school a lot' (only 8%).
Since 2004, Finland has regularly been ranked as 2nd or 3rd best country for the State of the World’s Mothers by Save the Children.
Finnish language (a.k.a. Suomi) is an non Indo-European language belonging to the Uralic family, along with Estonian and Hungarian.
The Finns are the world's biggest coffee drinkers, gulping down no less than 12 kg of the black substance annually, twice more than the Italians, three times more than the Americans, and four times more than the Brits.
Santa Claus (known in Finland as Joulupukki or "Yule Goat") officially resides in a house built right on top of the Arctic circle, near the town of Rovaniemi, in the northern province of Lappland. The Santa Claus Post Office (address: Santa Claus Village, FIN-96930 Arctic Circle) receives some 700,000 letters every year from children from 198 countries (so far).
According to a 2013 YouGov survey on sexual behaviour in Europe, Finnish respondents came on top for watching the most pornography (63%), using sex toys (39%), filming or taking photos of themselves while having sex (15%), dressing up in costumes while having sex (14%), and taking viagra (11%). Finns also have the highest percentage of respondents having been unfaithful to their partner (32%) and having had a sexually transmitted disease (16%). They come second after the Danes for the number of people have admit having had one-night stands (48%).
The OECD Better Life Index found that, as of 2022, the Finns have the highest life satisfaction and the best education among developed countries.
Economy & Politics
The current president of Finland, Tarja Halonen, is a woman, as are 12 of the 20 government ministers.
Finland has been ranked first on the Environmental Sustainability Index of Yale and Columbia University. It was also ranked first for technological achievement by the United Nations Development Program.
Nokia Corporation (a Finnish company) was the world's largest manufacturer of mobile telephones from 1998 to 2012, with a global market share of over 35% between 2006 and 2009.