Year of EU entry: 1995 / Capital city: Helsinki / Population: 5.3 million
Finland is s country of forests and lakes, is perhaps best known for its unspoilt natural beauty. In the far north, the White Nights, during which the sun does not set, last for around 10 weeks of the summer.
Finland became an independent state following the Russian revolution in 1917. Its remote northern beauty has inspired many artists, including the composer Jean Sibelius and the designer Alvar Aalto.
Finland has developed a modern, competitive economy, and is a world leader in telecommunications equipment. Main exports include telecoms equipment, engineering products, paper, pulp and lumber, glassware, stainless steel and ceramics.
Traditional specialties include fish (e.g. salmon and turbot roe), as well as reindeer meat. Specific dishes to look for include karjalanpiirakka (rice or potato pastry) and kalakukko (fish and pork fat baked inside a loaf).