Flag of Finland
Flag of Finland

Finland is a small county located in Europe, near Norway, Sweden and Russia. Finland has over 5 million people living in its 338 000 square kilometers. It's capital is Helsinki, located at the bottom of Finland, bordering the Gulf of Finland. Finland has two official languages, Swedish and Finnish. They have many medium to large animals that are native to their country, such as reindeer, wolverines and the brown bear. Finland currently uses the Euro for their currency. Finland's Prime Minister is Tarja Halonen and their President is Mari Kiviniemi. Finland's largest exports are telecommunications equipment, cars and forestry equipment.

Map of Finland
Map of Finland

Music In FinlandThere is a lot of folk music in Finland. Folk music varies in style depending on what area of Finland you are in. Finland also has a lot of classical musicians and composers. Some of these well known composers are Fredrik Pacius who wrote the first Finnish opera and their national anthem, and Jean Sibelius who is known for his vocal symphony. As well, Finland has some popular jazz musicians such as Janita and Edward Vesala.
Popular instruments you would find in Finland are trumpets, horns and whistles. Traditional instruments include the kantele, which is a chordophone. A chordophone is an instrument that has strings pulled between two points, and they make a sound when vibrated, like a guitar or a mandolin. A sakkipilli is another traditional instrument, similar to a bagpipe, that they use in Finland.
Finland's most popular selling album of all time is Jari Sillanpaa's self titled album which debuted in 1996, selling over 270 000 records.
The Emma - gaala is a popular Finnish music gala that is arranged every year to showcase and award the most proficient musicians in the country. A group of representatives from the board that arranges the gala (IFPI Finland), choose the nominees each year, and a group of music critics choose the winners from those nominees.

Education System
Education in Finland is compulsory in a public school. Students start school at age seven and continue for nine years. Tuition fees are not allowed, even for the few private schools. After the first nine years of education (primary education), students go on to secondary education at age fifteen, choosing either to attend vocational school to study a trade, or to attend a school preparing them for university. After secondary school, students who did not attend vocational school may attend a tertiary school, or rather, a university.

Finland has been known to claim their national sport as hockey, even though it is officially baseball. Hockey has been played in Finland for over 80 years. Finland first started competing on a world level in 1939. They did not do well, and couldn't even begin to compete with places like Canada and Russia. The first indoor rink was built in Tampere, Finland in 1965. In 1988, after playing on a global level for almost 50 years, Finland finally earned a medal at the Olympic games that year, claiming a silver medal. Finland was the first European country to have an Ice Hockey Museum and Hall of Fame.

Finland cuisine uses a lot of meat and fish in the western part of the country, where in the eastern part of the country they use a lot of vegetables and mushrooms. Some typical Finnish food include:
Cabbage rolls - a filling of some sort wrapped in cabbage leaves.
Pea soup - a yellow-green colored soup made from dried peas. This is typically served on Thursdays with pork and mustard with pancakes as a dessert.
Finnish meatballs - a ball of ground beef that is baked with various spices.

Useful PhrasesHi! - Terve
I'm looking for John. - Etsin John:ia
I like Finnish - Pidän suomenkielestä
Merry Christmas! - Hyvää joulua!
Can You Speak Slowly? - Voitko puhua hitaanmin?
I love you! - Rakastan sinua!

National Anthem
The words to Finland's national anthem in Finnish:
Oi maamme, Suomi, synnyinmaa
soi, sana kultainen!
Ei laaksoa, ei kukkulaa
ei vettä, rantaa rakkaampaa
kuin kotimaa tää pohjoinen,
maa kallis isien.
Sun kukoistukses kuorestaan
kerrankin puhkeaa;
viel' lempemme saa nousemaan
sun toivos, riemus loistossaan,
ja kerran laulus, synnyinmaa
korkeemman kaiun saa

The english version, a translation from Finnish:
Oh our land, Finland, birthland,
echo loudly, golden word!
No valley, no hill,
no water, shore more dear
than this northern homeland,
this precious land of our fathers.
One day from your bud
you will bloom;
From our love shall rise
your hope, glorious joy,
and once in song, birthland
higher still will ring.

Finnish SkittlesFinnish skittles is a game in which players (typically in teams of four), throw large wooden bats and try to hit skittles (wooden cylinders) out of a square on the ground. Points are tallied, with regards to how many throws you took to clear all the skittles from your square.

Finnish Skittles
Finnish Skittlesääryleet