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Finland is in Northern Europe and has borders with Norway to the north, Sweden to the West and Russia to the east. The country offers vast areas of unspoiled nature together with modern and well planned towns and cities. Finland is comprised of approximately 188,000 islands and the same again of lakes and in the northernmost part of the country you can see the Northern Lights (aurora borealis) in winter and the midnight sun in summer. Finland not only claims to be the home of Santa Claus but is also one of the most technologically developed countries in the world.
Finland was an integral part of Sweden from the 12th to the 19th century and an autonomous grand duchy under Russian rule after 1809. It finally won its complete independence in 1917, although the country promptly plunged into a brief but bitter civil war between the conservative Whites and the Socialist Reds, eventually won by the Whites.
Finland joined the United Nations in 1955. This was quickly followed by Finland joining the OECD in 1969 and the European Union in 1995. The country performs very well with high levels of technology, manufacturing, public education, health care, the rate of gross domestic product growth and the protection of civil liberties.
The Finns are famous for their willingness to party which is evident during the countries festivals and the endless summer days. Life is more subdued in the winter months but does continue with the aid of skis, dog sleds and snow tyres.
Helsinki is the capital of Finland and offers many historical sights including the Dipoli Hall which is an internationally acknowledged 20th century masterpiece. The south of the country is surrounded by thousands of islands with unspoiled sandy beaches and can be explored by local cruises from the many coastal towns. Southwest Finland and the Aland Islands cultivate extensive fruit and vegetables for the country and is known as the cradle of Finnish civilization harbouring a large concentration of granite churches and manors. Overall Finland is a natural wonderland with more trees than people and more islands than any other nation in the world. It provides a feast of adventure for any traveller.