Located in center of the capital, Senate Square is surrounded by famous historical buildings; the Helsinki Cathedral, the Government Palace and the University of Helsinki. The square has the statue of the Emperor Alexander II as a reminder of the times Finland was a Grand Dutchy of the Russian Empire. Senate Square is the beating heart of the city, with regular art and culture events.
The Republic of Finland is known as the Land of a Thousand Lakes – indeed there are some 170 000 lakes within the borders of the Finnish Maiden – she is one wet lady. Within Finland is the autonomous Åland Islands. Finland borders Sweden to the west, Norway to the north and shares a 1 200 km border with Russia to the east. The population is heavily condensed to the area around the capital, some 25% of Finns live there. The Finnish Lapland has skiing centers, hilly national parks and scenic hiking trails. Finnish, unrelated to any other Nordic languages, is the main language, with Sweden as a second official language, and Sami as a recognized minor language. The currency is the Euro (EUR).
338 424 km²
Finland is the northernmost state in the EU, and is geographically distinct from the other Nordic countries. Its landmass is largely covered by forest, and lakes and rivers abound. The longest season is winter, and most of the country is located north of 60 degrees north latitude. Finland has a low population density. The most populated city is the capital, Helsinki, ranked the world's most liveable city in 2011 by the Monocle magazine.
The stereotypical idea of Finns is that they are quiet and socially awkward. It is true that it can take time to break the ice with these people from the icy north, but when you open a dialogue you will find talkative and friendly people. Finns are determined (sisu), have self-deprecating sense of humor and make loyal friends.
In addition, Finns are modest, hard working and avoid unnecessary decoration and formalities – perhaps having grown tired of ceremonies after being under the rule of Swedish and Russian royalties in recent history.
The Finnish people have a special relationship with silence – it is not found awkward, and in fact strategic silences in a conversation are important for bonding and understanding – you are good friends when you don’t have to fill in every silence. This can be misunderstood by foreigners for lack of desire to discuss or coldness, which is not true. Finns are to the point and avoid filler discussion with no content.