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Location of Finland

Finland (Finnish: Suomi [ˈsuo̯mi] ; Swedish: Finland [ˈfɪ̌nland] ), officially the Republic of Finland (Finnish: Suomen tasavalta; Swedish: Republiken Finland; listen to all), is a Nordic country in Northern Europe. It borders Sweden to the northwest, Norway to the north, and Russia to the east, with the Gulf of Bothnia to the west and the Gulf of Finland to the south, opposite Estonia. Finland covers an area of 338,145 square kilometres (130,559 sq mi) and has a population of 5.6 million. Helsinki is the capital and largest city. The vast majority of the population are ethnic Finns. Finnish and Swedish are the official languages, with Swedish being the native language of 5.2% of the population. Finland's climate varies from humid continental in the south to boreal in the north. The land cover is predominantly boreal forest biome, with more than 180,000 recorded lakes.

Finland was first settled around 9000 BC after the last Ice Age. During the Stone Age, various cultures emerged, distinguished by different styles of ceramics. The Bronze Age and Iron Ages were marked by contacts with other cultures in Fennoscandia and the Baltic region. From the late 13th century, Finland became part of Sweden as a result of the Northern Crusades. In 1809, as a result of the Finnish War, Finland became part of the Russian Empire as the autonomous Grand Duchy of Finland. During this period, Finnish art flourished and the idea of independence began to take hold. In 1906, Finland became the first European state to grant universal suffrage, and the first in the world to give all adult citizens the right to run for public office. Following the Russian Revolution of 1917, Finland declared its independence from Russia. In 1918 the young nation was divided by the Finnish Civil War. During the World War II, Finland fought against the Soviet Union in the Winter War and the Continuation War, and later against Nazi Germany in the Lapland War. As a result, it lost parts of its territory but retained its independence. (Full article...)

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A jolly-looking older gentleman in a white suit, holding a cigar in his left hand and laughing
Jean Sibelius, photographed in 1939. By then he had probably ceased all work on his Eighth Symphony, although he continued to maintain for many years that it was still a viable project.

The Symphony No. 8, JS 190, was the final major compositional project of the Finnish composer Jean Sibelius, occupying him intermittently from the mid-1920s until around 1938, though he never published it. During this time Sibelius was at the peak of his fame, a national figure in his native Finland and a composer of international stature. A fair copy of at least the first movement was made, but how much of the Eighth Symphony was completed is unknown. Sibelius repeatedly refused to release it for performance, though he continued to assert that he was working on it even after he had, according to later reports from his family, burned the score and associated material, probably in 1945.

Much of Sibelius's reputation, during his lifetime and subsequently, derived from his work as a symphonist. His Seventh Symphony of 1924 has been widely recognised as a landmark in the development of symphonic form, and at the time there was no reason to suppose that the flow of innovative orchestral works would not continue. However, after the symphonic poem Tapiola, completed in 1926, his output was confined to relatively minor pieces and revisions to earlier works. During the 1930s the Eighth Symphony's premiere was promised to Serge Koussevitzky and the Boston Symphony Orchestra on several occasions, but as each scheduled date approached Sibelius demurred, claiming that the work was not ready for performance. Similar promises made to the British conductor Basil Cameron and to the Finnish Georg Schnéevoigt likewise proved illusory. It is thought that Sibelius's perfectionism and exalted reputation prevented him ever completing the symphony to his satisfaction; he wanted it to be even better than his Seventh. (Full article...)
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Helsinki Cathedral
Helsinki Cathedral is an Evangelical Lutheran cathedral of the Diocese of Helsinki, located in the centre of Helsinki, Finland. Designed by Carl Ludvig Engel to form the focal point of Senate Square, it was built from 1830 to 1852 in the Neoclassical style. The church's plan forms a Greek cross (a square centre and four equilateral arms), symmetrical in each of the four cardinal directions. The cathedral is one of the most popular tourist attractions in Helsinki, with more than half a million visitors in 2018.

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The old Town hall

Kajaani (Finnish: [ˈkɑjɑːni]), historically known as Cajanaburg (Swedish: Kajana), is the most populous town and the capital of the Kainuu Region of Finland. It is located southeast of Lake Oulu (Oulujärvi), which drains into the Gulf of Bothnia through the Oulu River (Oulujoki). As of 19 September 2023, it had a population of 36,315.

The town was founded in the 17th century, fueled by the growth of the tar industry, but it was preceded by a long history of settlements. During the Great Northern War it succumbed to Russian forces, who ruined Kajaani Castle in 1716. Today, the local economy is mainly driven by the sawmill, lumber, and paper industries, although UPM Kymmene's paper mill, the main employer from 1907 until 2008, has since closed. Kajaani's church was built in 1896 in the Neo-Gothic style by the architect Jac Ahrenberg to replace an earlier church. Kajaani's town theatre was established in 1969. (Full article...)

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In the news

25 August 2023 – Finland–Russia relations
Yan Petrovsky, one of the leaders of the Russian far-right paramilitary Rusich Group, is detained in Finland. Ukraine has sent a request for Petrovsky's extradition. (Meduza) (
20 June 2023 – 2023 Finnish parliamentary election
Petteri Orpo is officially appointed as the 47th prime minister of Finland and forms his cabinet. (Reuters)
11 May 2023 –
Twenty-four people are injured when a temporary pedestrian bridge collapses in Espoo, Finland. (AP) (Yle)
16 April 2023 – Olkiluoto Nuclear Power Plant
After 18 years under construction, the Olkiluoto 3 reactor in Finland, Europe's most powerful nuclear power plant unit at 1.6 GW, begins delivering regular electrical output. (Reuters) (Bloomberg)

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View of Helsinki
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Photo credit: commons:User:Roccodm
Panoramic photo shot of Helsinki, Finland



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