Ermak Travel Guide

 

The World at your fingertips 

 

 

 

Finland

 

Finland Destinations Travel Guide

 

 

 

Language: Finnish, Swedish

Currency: Euro (EUR)

Calling Code: 358

 

 

 

Description of Finland

Finland, officially the Republic of Finland, is a member country of the European Union since 1995 and located in northeastern Europe. It has borders to the west with Sweden, to the east with Russia and to the north with Norway. To the west and south it is surrounded by the Baltic Sea, which separates it from Sweden and Estonia, crossing the gulfs of Botnia and Finland, respectively. The most important capital and city of the country is Helsinki.

In 2017, Finland had a population of 5.5 million inhabitants in an area of ​​338 145 km² The vast majority of the country's population is concentrated in the extreme south, on the coast of the Gulf of Finland and its surroundings ( including the Metropolitan Area of ​​Helsinki). Finland is the sixth largest country in Europe and has a low population density of 16 inhabitants per km², which makes the country the first lowest population density in the European Union. Most Finns speak Finnish (or Finnish) as their mother tongue, which is one of the few official languages ​​of the European Union that do not descend from the Indo-European family. The second official language of Finland is Swedish, spoken as a mother tongue by 5.6% of the population.

Finland was part of Sweden until in 1809 it was annexed by the Russian Empire, becoming the Grand Duchy of Finland (an autonomous entity of Russia until 1917, when it gained independence). Currently, Finland is a democratic and parliamentary republic, and has been a member of the United Nations since 1955, as well as of the European Union since 1995. The Finnish economy is one of the most prosperous in Europe, based on the important service sectors, as well as as of manufacture. In the country there is a welfare state, as well as a highly democratic policy with extremely low levels of corruption.

 

Travel Destinations in Finland

Helsinki

Helsinki is the largest city Finland and also the capital of the country. It was found in Uusimaa province 1550 by a Swedish king Gustav I of Sweden

 

 

 

 

Häme Castle

Medieval Häme Castle was constructed shortly after Second Swedish Crusade that was intended to bring Christianity to the region.

Kajaani Castle

Kajaani Castle is a medieval stronghold constructed on a Ämmäkoski island of the Kajaani river.

Koli National Park

Koli National Park protects beatiful hills on the western shore of lake Pielinen in Finland.

 

Lemmenjoki National Park

Lemmenjoki National Park is a large protected area in the Lapland tundra and taiga.

 

Mannerheim Line

Mannerheim Line was a massive Finish defenses on the border with USSR that was tested during the Winter War.

 

Nuuksio National Park

Nuuksio National Park protected are in the south Finish regions of Espoo, Kirkkonummi and Vihti.

 

Olavinlinna Castle

Olavinlinna Castle besides holding an honorable title of the northernmost stone fortress still standing it is has impressive and unusual appearance.

 

Oulanka National Park

Oulanka National Park is a natural reserve in the Finnish regions of Lapland and Northern Ostrobothnia.

 

Pallas-Yllästunturi National Park

Pallas-Yllästunturi National Park is a natural reserve in Lapland region of Finland.

 

Patvinsuo National Park

Patvinsuo National Park is a natural preserve in picturesque North Karelia region of Finland.

 

Raseborg Castle

Well preserved walls and towers of medieval Raseborg Castle kept their original condition despite years of neglect.

Urho Kekkonen National Park

Urho Kekkonen is one of Finland's largest protected areas and situated in Lapland region.

 

 

 

 

History

Ancient history
According to archaeological research, the first settlements on the territory of Finland appeared at the end of the ice age, that is, about 8500 BC. e. Inhabitants in Finland were hunters and gatherers using stone tools. The first pottery appeared in the 3rd millennium BC. e., when settlers from the East brought the culture of comb ceramics. The arrival of the battle ax culture on the southern coast of Finland in the 32 century BC e. coincided with the birth of agriculture. Despite this, hunting and fishing still remained an important part of the settlers' lives, especially in the northern and eastern parts of the country.

As part of Sweden (1150 / 1300-1809)
By the end of the Viking era, Swedish merchants and kings had spread their influence throughout the Baltic region.

For several centuries, Finland was ruled by Catholic and then Protestant Sweden, since 1595 having the name of the Grand Duchy of Finland.

March 1, 1753 throughout the duchy there was a transition from the Julian to the Gregorian calendar.

As part of the Russian Empire (1809-1917)
In 1807, Russia, under the terms of the Tilsit Peace, became an ally of the French Empire in the struggle against Great Britain and its allies. One of the allies of Great Britain was Sweden. Russia was obliged to force Sweden to join the so-called. “Continental blockade” - the blockade of the British Isles. Great Britain, in turn, suggested Sweden pay a million pounds for each month of the war, no matter how much it went, and also land a British expeditionary force in Sweden. King Gustav IV Adolf defiantly returned to Alexander the highest order of the Russian Empire granted to him, the Order of St. Andrew the First-Called. Gustav IV Adolf said that he could not wear the same order as Napoleon Bonaparte, as this humiliates him.

Since Russia’s diplomatic efforts have not yielded results, at the beginning of 1808 Russian troops launched an offensive in Southeast Finland and in the summer of that year, Alexander I announced the conquest of Finland. On March 15, 1809, the Russian emperor signed the Manifesto on the Finnish government, which preserved on its territory, in terms of internal affairs, the effect of Swedish law, which was announced the next day at the opening of the first estate meeting of representatives of the peoples of Finland, but hostilities continued interruptions until the summer of 1809 and ended with the conclusion on September 5 in Friedrichsham of peace between Russia and Sweden, according to which Sweden ceded Russia to Finland and part of Westerbotnia before Tornio and Muonio (modern community Tornio, Ylitornio, Pello, Kolari, Muonio and Enontekiö).

Beginning in the 1840s, during the reign of Nicholas I, the princedom began to carry out reforms in the field of education. From now on, teaching in Finnish was allowed in local schools. The highest permission was granted for the publication of religious, historical and economic literature in national languages. This policy was carried out under the emperor Alexander II. In 1858, the first lyceum appeared, where teaching was conducted in Finnish.

Since the 1860s, a steady cultural upsurge has taken place in the Grand Duchy, progressive forces of the local intelligentsia sought to give the Finnish language the status of the state language, which was done by Alexander II. In addition, the equality of Swedish and Finnish languages ​​in court and administration was recognized at the legislative level.

September 6 (18), 1861, the first issue of the Swedish newspaper Barometern was published. It was the first Swedish newspaper regularly published in the Russian Empire. Already in the first years of its publication, the Finnish Barometern becomes the “liberal ideal” of Swedish-speaking residents of the Governor-General.

In 1863, in Helsingfors, after a long break, the Finnish Diet was convened again. It was the beginning of the reforms that strengthened the autonomous status of the Grand Duchy of Finland.

The unpopular process of forced Russification, which began in 1899, only contributed to the intensification of the struggle for independence and instilled protest sentiments in the multinational society of Finland.

Revolution of 1917

In 1917, after the February Revolution and the fall of the autocracy in Russia, power passed to the Provisional Government, which went towards public opinion. In Finland, a manifesto was published that abolished all the integration measures carried out since 1899. The privileges of Finland lost after the 1905 revolution were renewed. A new governor general was appointed and a diet was convened. However, after the Sejm unilaterally declared Finland independent in internal affairs, by a decision of the Provisional Government of Russia of July 18, 1917, the law on restoring the autonomous rights of Finland, which was approved by the Sejm, was rejected, the sejm was dissolved, and its building was occupied by Russian troops, however located in Veliky In the Principality, parts of the Russian army no longer had control over the situation. The police were disbanded and ceased to maintain order, resulting in unrest in the country. In general, by the summer of 1917, the idea of ​​independence was widely spread.

The October Revolution of 1917, which overthrew the Provisional Government, allowed the Finnish Senate to sign the Declaration of Independence of Finland on December 4, 1917, which was approved by parliament on December 6. Thus, the independence of Finland was proclaimed, which was simultaneously declared a republic (Republic of Finland).

On December 18, 1917, by the Decree of the Council of People's Commissars of the RSFSR, it was proposed "to recognize the state independence of the Republic of Finland."

Independent Finland (since 1917)
In December 1917 - January 1918, the struggle between the "Reds", supported by the Russian Soviet Republic, and the Shyutskor ("guard units") intensified, an amateur fighting organization that first arose in the 1905 revolution (the "Union of Forces"), banned in 1909 by the Russian government and revived in 1917 on the same principles, but under a new name. This confrontation grew into a revolution and civil war. During the revolution, the “Reds" proclaimed the Revolutionary Government of Finland, which took the name of the Council of People's Commissioners of Finland, which was supported by the Russian Soviet Republic. The Council of People's Commissioners of Finland controlled the southern territory of the republic. The rest of the territory was under the control of the former Finland Senate. This side is called “white” (“white finns”). The backbone of her future army was made up of representatives of the Shyutskor. The whites were supported by Kaiser Germany, which sent its troops to Finland (after the end of the civil war they were left in Finland).

During the 108 days of the civil war in Finland, about 35,000 people died. Even after its end, the White Terror against the Social Democrats and those supporting them did not stop. In total, over 80 thousand suspects of sympathy for the left were arrested, of whom 75 thousand were imprisoned in concentration camps. Due to torture and anti-human conditions, 13,500 people (15%) died, in addition to 7370 directly executed.

As a result of the civil war of 1918 and carried out by the victorious forces of the Finnish "white" political repressions, a ruling majority was formed in the Finnish parliament, which excluded the participation of left-wing factions. In the parliament convened in May 1918, out of 92 Social Democratic deputies, 40 were hiding in Russia, and about 50 were arrested. 97 right-wing deputies and only one Social Democrat Matti Paasivuori arrived at the first meeting. Parliament received the nickname "parliament-stump" (Fin. Tynkäeduskunta). The maximum number of deputies was 111, with 200 laid down. Due to incomplete representation, parliamentary decisions were particularly controversial.

Among the deputies of the parliament, monarchical ideas were especially popular, a monarchical form of government was widespread in Europe, the legislation of Finland inherited from the Swedish period was also assumed. As a result, on October 9, 1918, Finland was declared a kingdom (Finnish. Suomen kuningaskuntahanke, literally: “Project of the Kingdom of Finland”), and the husband of the sister of the German Emperor Wilhelm II, Prince of Hesse Friedrich Karl (Fredrik Kararle in Finnish transcription) was elected king.

However, just a month later, a revolution took place in Germany, the German emperor Wilhelm II left power and fled the country, and on November 11, 1918, the Compiegne Peace Agreement was signed, ending the First World War, in which Germany lost. German influence in Finland weakened, and the elected king in Finland never arrived and was forced to abdicate. On December 16, German troops departed for their homeland.

 

The state at that time was led by regents. While waiting for the arrival of the elected king, the regent was the current actual head of state, Chairman of the Senate (Government of Finland), Per Ewind Svinhuvud. Following the abdication of the elected king from the throne on December 12, 1918, Swinhuvud announced his resignation to the parliament as regent. On the same day, parliament approved the resignation and elected General Mannerheim as the new regent of Finland. But legally Finland remained a kingdom. During the Mannerheim Regency, there was an active discussion about the future state system. The government submitted two draft amendments to the parliament for the republic and two for the monarchy. Legislative changes in the form of government took place on July 17, 1919 after the election of a new parliament in March 1919. The uncertainty that lasted a year and a half ended, and the monarchical period, which lasted centuries, also. Finland has become a republic. On July 25, 1919, the first presidential elections in Finland were held. They became Kaarlo Juho Stolberg.

The civil war unfolded in Finland and throughout Russia. Moreover, the actions of the Finnish “whites” and “reds” were not limited to the territory of Finland. On February 23, 1918, while at the station of Antrea, turning to the troops, the Supreme Commander-in-Chief of the Finnish Army General Gustav Mannerheim pronounced “the oath of the sword”, in which he stated that “he would not put his sword into the scabbard before the last warrior and hooligan of Lenin was expelled as from Finland and from East Karelia. ” At the end of March 1918, units of the Finnish “whites” entered North Karelia. Local self-government was organized there under the leadership of pro-minded supporters of the independence of Karelia. After the end of the civil war in Finland in May 1918, Finnish "white" units advanced to occupy East Karelia and the Kola Peninsula. As a result, the civil war in Finland gradually grew into a civil war in Karelia, called the First Soviet-Finnish War.

In the north, the troops of Finland were opposed by the forces of the Entente, which landed in Murmansk in March 1918, in agreement with the Bolshevik government, "to protect Murmansk and the railway from the possible offensive of the German-Finnish troops." Of the Finnish Red Guards who retreated to the east to act against the White Finns associated with the Germans, on June 7, 1918, the British formed the Murmansk Legion, led by Oscari Tokoy. Simultaneously with the Murmansk Legion, the Karelian Legion (“Karelian Squad”) was created in Kem under the command of Iivo Ahab.

On October 15, 1918, the Finns occupied the Rebolsky volost in East Karelia.

On December 30, 1918, Finnish troops under the command of General Vetzer landed in Estonia, where they assisted the Estonian government in the fight against the Bolshevik troops, which continued during the Civil War in Russia. The First Soviet-Finnish War ended on October 14, 1920, when the Tartu Peace Treaty was signed, fixing a number of territorial concessions on the part of Soviet Russia (at that time the Russian Socialist Federative Soviet Republic - RSFSR).

Subsequently, already on November 6, 1921, the Second Soviet-Finnish War began on the invasion of Finnish troops in East Karelia. Finland decided to support the uprising of the Eastern Karelians, which was raised as a result of the vigorous actions of Finnish activist agitators who have been active in East Karelia since the summer of 1921, as well as about 500 Finnish military men who performed various command functions among the rebels. Units of the Red Finns who emigrated to the RSFSR after the civil war in Finland, in particular, the ski battalion of the Petrograd International Military School (the commander of the battalion Toivo Antikainen), took part in the rout of the Belofin troops. The Second Soviet-Finnish War ended on March 21, 1922 by the signing in Moscow of the Agreement between the governments of the RSFSR and Finland on taking measures to ensure the inviolability of the Soviet-Finnish border.

In the winter of 1939, the Soviet Union launched the Third Soviet-Finnish War. On December 1, 1939, in Terioki, on the part of the territory of the Karelian Isthmus occupied by Soviet troops, the creation of the Finnish Democratic Republic, a puppet state headed by the communist Otto Kuusinen, was proclaimed. On March 12, 1940, the Treaty of Friendship and Mutual Assistance was concluded between the USSR and the FDR. As a result of several months of bloody battles, Finland lost part of its territory, but the country managed to maintain independence.

 

After a short peace in 1941, Finland entered the Second World War on the side of the “axis” countries. In the summer of 1944, the Finns went to the conclusion of peace, after which Finland fought against the German armed forces in Finnish Lapland until the spring of 1945. In the postwar years, weakened Finland took a new course in its relations with the Soviet Union.

In 1952, the Summer Olympic Games were held in Finland in Helsinki.

In 1956, Urho Kekkonen was elected President of Finland. The 25 years of his presidency (1956-1981) were characterized by smart balanced actions: Kekkonen had a good command of the internal situation in the country; he also managed to strengthen relations with the Scandinavian countries, while not moving away from the USSR.

The collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991 coincided with the difficult economic downturn for Finland. At the end of 1995, Finland joined the European Union.