Going Global: Finland

by Mary Hemphill & Maquisha Mullins

Welcome to Finland

Suomi, is Finnish for Finland. In Swedish it is Finland, but officially called the Republic of Finland. Finland is a Nordic country situated in the Fennoscandian region of Northern Europe. It is bordered by Sweden to the west, Norway to the north and Russia to the east, while Estonia lies to the south across the Gulf of Finland. 5.4 million people live in Finland (end of 2012), with the majority concentrated in its southern regions.

Finland was a latecomer to industrialization, remaining a largely agrarian country until the 1950s. Thereafter, economic development was rapid, such that today, with a nominal per-capita income of over $49,000 (2011), Finland is one of the world's wealthiest nations. According to some measures, Finland has the best educational system in Europe and has recently been ranked as one of the world's most peaceful and economically competitive countries. It has also been ranked as one of the world's countries with the highest quality of life. In 2010, Newsweek magazine ranked Finland as the overall "best country in the world." Adapted from: www.wikipedia.org

The People

Population: 5.4 million, 15.8 inhabitants per km² (40.5 per square mile)

Life expectancy: Men 76 years, women 83 years

Languages: Official languages are Finnish (spoken by 91%) and Swedish (5.4%). Sámi is the mother tongue of about 1,700 people, members of the indigenous Sámi people of northern Lapland

Religion: Christianity; 79.9 % Lutheran and about 1.1% Orthodox. In practice society is fairly secularized

State & Government

Independence: Declared on December 6, 1917. Previously a grand duchy in the Russian empire for 108 years, and a part of Sweden for 600 years before that

Form of government: Republic, parliamentary democracy

Parliament: 200 members in one chamber, elected every 4 years in a direct vote (next elections in 2015)

Cabinet: Multiparty coalition cabinet. The current Cabinet is run by Prime Minister Jyrki Katainen

Head of State: President of the Republic, elected every 6 years, two-term maximum. Currently Mr Sauli Niinistö, elected in 2012.

International cooperation: Member of United Nations since 1955 and European Union since 1995

Society & Economy

Key features: High standard of education, social security and healthcare, all financed by the state

GDP per capita: 33,618 euros (2010)

Main exports: Electrotechnical goods, metal products, machinery, transport equipment, wood and paper products, chemicals

Main imports: Raw materials, investment goods, energy, consumer goods (for example cars and textiles)

Currency unit: Euro

© 1995 – 2013, thisisFINLAND

Published by the Finland Promotion Board, Updated February 2013

Produced by the Ministry for Foreign Affairs, Department for Communications and Culture

Finnish Top News Stories

Education: A Finnish Perspective

Finnish Educational System

Finland is not a fan of standardization in education. However, teacher education in Finland is carefully standardized. All teachers must earn a master’s degree at one of the country’s research universities. Competition to get into these teacher education programs is tough; only “the best and the brightest” are accepted. As a consequence, teaching is regarded as an esteemed profession, on par with medicine, law or engineering. There is another “teacher quality” checkpoint at graduation from School of Education in Finland. Students are not allowed to earn degrees to teach unless they demonstrate that they possess knowledge, skills and morals necessary to be a successful teacher.


Connections to "No Nonsense Guide to Globalization"

"Over the past decade the UN has documented a steady shift of global income from wages to profit throughout the world. Even so investors are no longer satisfied with fix or six percent annual returns...From the 'real' economy of manufacturing and commodity production investors turned to the world of international finance. Speculation and gambling in international money markets seemed an easier path than competing for fewer and fewer paying customers in the old goods and services economy. The era of the 'global casino' had arrived" (Ellwood, 2010, p.71)