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The Republic of Finland (Finnish: Suomi, Suomen tasavalta, Swedish: Republiken Finland), is one of the Nordic countries. Situated in Northern Europe, it shares land borders with Sweden to the west, Russia to the east and Norway to the north while Estonia lies to its south. Finland is bounded by the Baltic Sea with the Gulf of Finland to the south and the Gulf of Bothnia to the west. The Åland Islands, off the south-western coast, are an autonomous province of Finland.
Finland has a population of over five million people spread over more than 330,000 km² (127,000 sq. mi) making it one of the most sparsely populated countries in the world.
Finland is ranked 11th on the 2006 United Nations Human Development Index.
Along with Estonian, Hungarian and Maltese, Finnish is one of the few official languages of the European Union that is not of Indo-European origin.
Since its earliest contact with foreign peoples and monarchs, Finns have been influenced by Western Europe (particularly Sweden and Germany) and, more recently, North America. Especially in Eastern Finland and Karelia, many influences from Russia (Orthodox) are present. Into the twenty-first century, many Finns have been willing to incorporate many other cultural styles from even further abroad, such as Asia and Africa. More than just for tourism, Finnish youth in particular have been increasing their contact with peoples from the outside by travelling abroad to both work and study.
There are still differences between regions, especially minor differences in accents and vocabulary. Minorities maintain their own cultural characteristics, such as the Sami and Swedish Finns. Many Finns are emotionally connected to the countryside and nature, as urbanisation is a relatively recent phenomenon.
Information provided by Wikipedia
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