Finland Overview

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Finland is one of the innovation leaders in Europe. For Germany, Finland has long been a strategically important partner in science, research and innovation, although there is no formal agreement on bilateral cooperation. Researchers from both countries cooperate in forward-looking topics on a trusting basis.

finland population - fertility rate

Population / geography

Country name Suomen Tasavalta (Finnish)Republics of Finland (Swedish)

Republic of Finland

Capital Helsinki
Land area 338,435 square kilometers
Population 5,518,371 million2017 estimate
Life expectancy Men: 79, yearsWomen: 83.7 years

2017 estimate

Age structure 0-14: 16.43%15-64: 62.47%

65 and older: 21.1%

2017 estimate

Population growth 0.36%2017 estimate
Population groups Finns 93.4%Sweden 5.6%

Russians 0.5%

Estonians 0.3%

Roma 0.1%

Seeds 0.1%


Languages Finnish (official language),Swedish (official language)

Russian 2016

Religions Lutherans 72%,Orthodox 1%

Others 1.6%

No affiliation 25.3%

2016 estimate

Time zone Central European Time (+2 hours)
Currency Euro
Prefix +358



Politics / Administration

Country name Suomen Tasavalta (Finnish)Republics of Finland (Swedish)

Republic of Finland

Capital Helsinki
Form of government Parliamentary democracy with elements of a presidential democracy
Head of state President of the Republic of FinlandMr. Sauli Niinistö

since March 1, 2018

Head of government Juha SipiläPrime Minister since May 29, 2015
Foreign Minister Timo Soinisince May 29, 2015
Minister of Education Sanni Grahn-Laasonensince May 5, 2017 (previously she was Minister for Education and Culture)
Science Minister Separate department in the Ministry of Education and Culture, which is the responsibility of the Minister of Education
Houses of Parliament EduskuntaA 200-seat chamber elected every four years. The last election was on April 19, 2015; the upcoming election will be on April 14th, 2019.

Following the elections and subsequent coalition negotiations, the President of the Republic on May 29, 2015

Ruling parties The Prime Minister’s government is a coalition of the Center Party (49 seats), the National Assembly Party (38) and the Blue Party (19). Together, the governing parties have 106 out of 200 seats.
Opposition parties The opposition (94 seats) consists of six parties:

  • Social Democratic Party (35),
  • The Greens (15),
  • Base fins (17),
  • Left Alliance (12),
  • Swedish People’s Party (10),
  • Finnish Christian Democrats (5).
National holiday December 6th – Independence Day
Independence day On December 6, 1917, Finland declared itself independent from Russia.

State building and current political developments

The Republic of Finland is a parliamentary democracy with elements of a presidential democracy. The Prime Minister is appointed by the President and is responsible to Parliament. He represents the president when he is unable to attend. The ministers are appointed by the state president on the proposal of the prime minister. The president is directly elected by the people for a term of six years; re-election is possible once.

The Finnish government is to be understood on the one hand as the body responsible for the general government of the country, consisting of the Prime Minister and other ministers, and on the other hand as the decision-making body for government and administrative matters, consisting of the government plenary session and the ministries. The current Finnish government consists of 12 ministries.

The Prime Minister directs the activities of the government and oversees the preparation and examination of matters falling within the government’s mandate. The Prime Minister chairs the plenary sessions of the government as well as the statutory sessions of the Committee of Ministers. Each ministry is responsible for preparing matters within its mandate and for the proper functioning of the administration.

There are four ministerial committees required by law: the Ministerial Committee for Foreign and Security Policy, the Ministerial Committee for European Union Affairs, the Ministerial Committee for Finance and the Ministerial Committee for Economic Policy.

The administrative structure in Finland consists of the highest organs of the state, which include the Parliament, the President of the Republic and the Government, as well as the independent courts.

The central administration of the state consists of the ministries and the government agencies and institutions in their areas of responsibility. There are 12 ministries. In all, there are about a hundred central government organizations, including ministries. Six regional state administrative authorities and 15 centers for economic development, transport and the environment (ELY centers) act as regional administrative authorities. There are 11 police departments, 11 local registry offices, 22 law enforcement agencies, 11 prosecutor’s offices, and 15 Employment and Economic Development (TE Office) offices as local government agencies.

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