Finland (Finnish Suomi? / I [suɔmi], Swedish Finland [fɪnland]), officially the Republic of Finland (Finnish. Suomen tasavalta, Swed. Republics Finland), is a parliamentary republic in northern Europe and since 1995 member of the European Union. Finland borders Sweden, Norway, Russia and the Baltic Sea. With 5.4 million inhabitants in an area almost the size of Germany Finland is one of the most sparsely populated countries in Europe. Much of the population is concentrated in the south of the country with the capital Helsinki, as well as the cities of Espoo, Tampere, Vantaa, Turku and Oulu. The two official languages are Finnish and Swedish. 92\% of the population are Finno, 6\% Swedish-speaking. The Swedish-speaking archipelago of Åland has a far-reaching autonomy. The area of Finland, which was sparsely populated for thousands of years, joined with the incorporation into the Swedish empire from the 12th century in the historical time. It remained an integral part of Sweden for many centuries until it was ceded to Russia in 1809, under whose rule Finland developed as a nation. In 1917, the country gained state independence.
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