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‘Finland did not fit easily into the bipolarised world of NATO and the Warsaw Pact. It was patently not neutral in the classic Swiss manner, since it had specified military obligations in the event of attack by Germany or its allies on Finland or on the Soviet Union via Finnish territory, according to article one of the 1948 mutual assistance treaty.’

David Kirby,‘The Baltic World 1772-1993’ 1995.’


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However, it’s not just a matter of ‘happiness’. 'The Independent' noted that academically Finland’s students are also just about the best in the West, obtaining impressively high scores in a survey conducted for the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD). Anu Partanen, a Finnish journalist writing in ‘The Atlantic’ made a surprising, but certainly true, observation: ‘Decades ago, when the Finnish school system was badly in need of reform, the goal of the programme that Finland instituted, resulting in so much success today, was never excellence. It was equity.’ Surprisingly, Finland has no nationally standardised tests, inspections or league tables, no private schools or private universities, and no fees. Competition is actually discouraged, co-operation encouraged.

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- Timeline

- Political structure

- Population,

- Education  

- Health

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- Main cities

- Languages spoken

- Media

- Economy

- Agriculture

- Industry and manufacturing

- Tourism

- Mining,

- Hydrocarbons

- Energy

- Financial markets

- Banking and insurance

- Time

- Geography

- Climate

- Dress codes

- Entry requirements

- Health (for visitors)

- Hotels

- Credit cards

- Public holidays

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- Telecommunications

- Electricity

- Social customs and useful tips

- Security

- Getting there

- Getting about

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Key Facts

Key Facts:

Key Facts
Official name: Suomen Tasavalta: Republiken Finland (Republic of Finland)
Head of State: Presidential Sauli Niinistö (from 1 Mar 2012)
Head of government: Prime Minister Juha Petri Sipila (Kesk) (from 29 May 2015)
Ruling party: Coalition led by Juha Sipilä (Suomen Keskusta) (Kesk) (Centre Party of Finland), with Timo Soini (Perussuomalaiset) (PS) (Finns Party) and Alexander Stubb (Kansallinen Kokoomus) (Kok) (National Coalition Party).
Area: 338,144 square km
Population: 5.48 million (2014)*
Capital: Helsinki
Official language: Finnish and Swedish
Currency: Euro (€) = 100 cents (from 1 Jan 2002; previous currency markka, locked at M5.95 per euro)
Exchange rate: €0.89 per US$ (Sep 2015)
GDP per capita: US$49,497 (2014)*
GDP real growth: -0.11% (2014)
GDP: US$271.17 billion (2014)
Labour force: 2.64 million (2014)*
Unemployment: 8.64% (2014)*
Inflation: 1.21% (2014)
Balance of trade: US$4.80 billion (2013)*
* estimated figure


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