Cruising to Finland

Background

Finland was a province and then a grand duchy under Sweden from the 12th to the 19th centuries and an autonomous grand duchy of Russia after 1809. It won its complete independence in 1917. During World War II, it was able to successfully defend its freedom and resist invasions by the Soviet Union - albeit with some loss of territory. In the subsequent half century, the Finns made a remarkable transformation from a farm/forest economy to a diversified modern industrial economy; per capita income is now on par with Western Europe. As a member of the European Union, Finland was the only Nordic state to join the euro system at its initiation in January 1999.

Geography

Location: Northern Europe, bordering the Baltic Sea, Gulf of Bothnia, and Gulf of Finland, between Sweden and Russia
Geographic coordinates: 64 00 N, 26 00 E
Map references: Europe
Area: total: 338,145 sq km
Land: 304,473 sq km
Water: 33,672 sq km

Coastline

1,250 km

Maritime claims

Territorial sea: 12 nm (in the Gulf of Finland - 3 nm)
Continental shelf: 200-m depth or to the depth of exploitation
Exclusive fishing zone: 12 nm; extends to continental shelf boundary with Sweden

Climate

Cold temperate; potentially subarctic but comparatively mild because of moderating influence of the North Atlantic Current, Baltic Sea, and more than 60,000 lakes

Terrain

Mostly low, flat to rolling plains interspersed with lakes and low hills

Elevation extremes

Lowest point: Baltic Sea 0 m
Highest point: Haltiatunturi 1,328 m

Economy

Finland has a highly industrialized, largely free-market economy with per capita output roughly that of the UK, France, Germany, and Italy. Its key economic sector is manufacturing - principally the wood, metals, engineering, telecommunications, and electronics industries. Trade is important; exports equal two-fifths of GDP. Finland excels in high-tech exports, e.g., mobile phones. Except for timber and several minerals, Finland depends on imports of raw materials, energy, and some components for manufactured goods.

Because of the climate, agricultural development is limited to maintaining self-sufficiency in basic products. Forestry, an important export earner, provides a secondary occupation for the rural population. Rapidly increasing integration with Western Europe - Finland was one of the 12 countries joining the European Economic and Monetary Union (EMU) - will dominate the economic picture over the next several years. High unemployment remains a persistent problem.

Transportation

Airports: 148 (2005)
Airports - with paved runways: total: 76
Airports - with unpaved runways: total: 72
Pipelines: gas 694 km (2004)
Railways: total: 5,851 km
Roadways: total: 78,168 km

Waterways

7,842 km; note: includes Saimaa Canal system of 3,577 km; southern part leased from Russia (2005)

Merchant marine

Total: 96 ships (1000 GRT or over) 1,390,254 GRT/1,108,246 DWT
By type: bulk carrier 4, cargo 24, chemical tanker 7, container 1, passenger 5, passenger/cargo 21, petroleum tanker 7, roll on/roll off 27
Foreign-owned: 5 (Norway 1, Sweden 3, US 1)
Registered in other countries: 43 (The Bahamas 7, Bermuda 2, Estonia 1, Germany 2, Gibraltar 1, Luxembourg 3, Netherlands 9, Norway 4, Serbia and Montenegro 1, Sweden 11, UK 2) (2005)

Sailing Specifics: Ports and terminals

Hamina, Hanko, Helsinki, Kotka, Naantali, Pori, Porvoo, Raahe, Rauma, Turku

Other Sailing Destinations in the Region

Belgium - Denmark - Estonia - Finland - Germany - Latvia - Lithuania - Netherlands - Norway - Poland - Russia - Sweden

Further Reading

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