Finland is among the largest countries in Europe. With its 5.5 million people, however, it is the most sparsely populated country in the European Union. Its population is concentrated in the southern parts of the country and in a few cities.
Around 75% of its area is covered by forests, and nearly 10% is covered by lakes and rivers. Bogs are typical in Finland as well, ranging from swamps to wetlands. Peat from bogs generates around 5% of the energy used in Finland.
Finns like to call their forests Green Gold because they are its most important natural resource and the forest industry has been a major contributor to well-being in Finland. Other resources include peat, fresh water resources and minerals, for example iron ore, copper, lead, zinc, chromite, nickel, cobalt, gold, silver, phosphate, limestone, talc, quartz and uranium.
Finland’s climate has four distinct seasons. The summers are usually fairly warm with temperatures rising above +20 degrees Celsius. In Lapland, the sun does not set during the summer months. Finnish winters can be cold and temperatures below –20 degrees are not uncommon. The mean temperature in Helsinki in July is +17 degrees and –5.7 degrees in February.
One of the great concepts in Finland is called “Everyman’s Rights”. This gives you the right to walk, ski or cycle freely where you want without permission from landowners (except very near people's homes, or in fields and plantations which could easily be damaged). You can also camp out temporarily. You can pick wild berries, mushrooms and flowers, fish with a rod and line, use boats, swim or bathe in inland waters and the sea, and walk, ski, or drive a motor vehicle or fish on frozen lakes, rivers and the sea. The concept has evolved over time and started out as an unwritten code created by a sparse population living in a vast, densely forested country.