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During the cold winter months, the northern lights Aurora Borealis can be seen in Northern Finland. It is located on the Scandinavian Peninsula and is bordered by Sweden to the west, Russia to the east, and Norway to the north. Finland is consists of flat land covered with lush forests and 1000's of lakes. It's considered to be the most sparsely populated country in the world.

Finland was once part of the Russian Empire, but today it is an independent country. They have a Democratic Republican Government with a semi Presidential System and Parliamentary System located in its capital, Helsinki. The President is mostly responsible for Foreign Relations outside the country, whereas the Prime Minister and Cabinet are responsible for national issues. Finland is part of the European Union and adopted the Euro in place of its Markka in 1999. It is also a member of the United Nations.

The former Swedish reign left influences throughout Finland including the Turku Castle which was transformed into a museum. In Helsinki, Imperial Russia left its mark leaving parts of the city to resemble St. Petersburg, due to the Grand Duchy Architecture found there. There are also churches and cathedrals positioned all over the country. The language and culture is protected by law so much of the history is preserved. They speak Finnish as their national language but a minority speaks Swedish. The people enjoy playing Pesapallo; it is the national sport that resembles baseball. Other popular sports include floor ball, Nordic walking, running and skiing. Their food is generally simple, fresh and healthy including fish, meat, berries, and ground vegetable with spices only becoming popular within the last few decades.

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Quick Facts

Population: 5,262,930
Capital: Helsinki
Per-capita GDP: $ 36700
Size: 338,145 km2
Time Zone: (GMT + 02:00 hours) Kaliningrad

US State Department

Travel Warning: YES
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Country Specific Info.

Country information is adapted from public domain resources including the CIA World Fact Book and
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Presbyterian College Office of International Programs