After having lived for decades in the shadow of the Soviet Union, Finland is now well settled in the European Union.
Following its defeat at the hands of the Soviet Union in the Second World War, the country endured strong influence from Moscow during the Cold War, though retaining its sovereignty.
When the Soviet Union collapsed Finland joined the EU and is the only Nordic EU member to use the euro as its national currency.
The country spends heavily on education, training and research – investment which pays dividends by delivering one of the best-qualified workforces in the world.
Two pillars of the Finnish economy have been in serious decline in recent years: the timber industry, amid a drop in global demand for paper, and Nokia, once a source of national pride but which lost its spot as world leader in mobile phones in 2012, before its mobile phone unit was finally sold.
- Republic of Finland
- Capital: Helsinki
- Population 5.4 million
- Area 338,145 sq km (130,559 sq miles)
- Major languages Finnish, Swedish
- Major religion Christianity
- Life expectancy 77 years (men), 83 years (women)
- Currency euro