Finland is a Northern European nation bordering Sweden, Norway and Russia. Its capital, Helsinki, occupies a peninsula and surrounding islands in the Baltic Sea. Helsinki is home to the 18th-century sea fortress Suomenlinna, the fashionable Design District and diverse museums. The Northern Lights can be seen from the country's Arctic Lapland province, a vast wilderness with national parks and ski resorts.

🙂 24 hour sun. Saunas. Bears. Northern Lights.

🙁 24 hour darkness. Expensive. Cold in winter.

Currency: Euro (Formerly Finnish Markka)

FIVE things that we did not know about Finland:

  1. Finland has a population of 5.5m and there are over 2 m saunas in Finland – 99% of Finns take a Sauna once a week or more!
  2. Finland built a lighthouse in Sweden by accident!! The Swedish/Finnish border crosses straight over a tiny island called Märket in the Gulf of Bothnia, which is only 8.2 acres in size and makes up the westernmost point of Finnish territory. In 1885, Finland (an autonomous part of Russia at the time) accidentally built a lighthouse on the Swedish side of the island. Since the island is uninhabited, the mistake was ignored for 100 years. In 1985, the border was officially changed to an unusual ‘S’ shape to place the lighthouse on Finnish territory.
  3. Finland’s 338,424 square kilometre size is still growing by about 7km each year. This is because the country is still rebounding from the weight of ice age glaciers – more than 10,000 years after the last ice age – and gradually rising out of the sea.
  4. Finnish graduates receive interesting mementos. Rather than the graduation cap and gown, Finnish high school graduates instead receive a sailor style cap at their graduation ceremony, a tradition which dates from 1870. PhD graduates are even luckier; they receive a top hat and a sword!
  5. Finland leads the way in Olympic medals. Finland holds the most Summer Olympic medals per capita than any other nation on Earth, with a total of 302 as of 2016. They also come second in Winter Olympic medals, behind their neighbour, Norway. Finland is also one of only two countries in the world to have won a medal at every Summer Olympic games since commencement in 1908.

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