Finland (officially the Republic of Finland) is a Nordic country situated in the Fennoscandian region of northern Europe. It borders Sweden on the west, Russia on the east, and Norway on the north, while Estonia lies to its south across the Gulf of Finland. The capital city is Helsinki.
Around 5.3 million people reside in Finland, with the majority concentrated in the southern part of the country. It is the eighth largest country in Europe in terms of area and the most sparsely populated country in the European Union. The native language for most of the population is Finnish, a member of the Finno-Ugric language family most closely related to Estonian, and is one of only four official EU languages not of Indo-European origin. The other official language of Finland, Swedish, is the mother tongue of 5.5 percent of the population. Finland is a democratic, parliamentary republic with a mostly Helsinki-based central government and local governments in 348 municipalities. A total of a million residents live in Greater Helsinki area (including Helsinki, Espoo, Kauniainen and Vantaa) and a third of the country’s GDP is produced there. Other major cities include Tampere, Turku, Oulu, Jyväskylä, Kuopio and Lahti.
Finland has good results in many international comparisons of national performance such as the share of high-technology manufacturing, public education, health care, the rate of gross domestic product growth, and the protection of civil liberties.