Animals and Plants
Finland’s nature: what is growing here?
Finland is largely covered with forest. Yes, it is actually the most forested country in Europe. 86 percent of its area are forests. The coniferous forests of the taiga take up most of this. Most of all pines and spruces grow here. In between, birches feel at home as deciduous trees. Mosses, lichens and blueberries grow on the forest floor.
To the south the coniferous forest changes into deciduous forest. In addition to birch trees, alders, elms and ash trees also grow here. Oaks are only found in the extreme southwest, where there is mixed forest. In the far north, however, there are hardly any trees left, especially on the fells (forest-free mountains or plateaus above the tree line) only lichens and low shrubs or dwarf trees grow. In addition to forests, there are many lakes and moors.
Which animals live in Finland?
Because there is so much forest in Finland, there are of course many forest animals. They also include the moose, which is found in large numbers. Unfortunately, there are always traffic accidents with moose. With some protective measures, the number of bears, lynxes and wolves is increasing again. Foxes and raccoon dogs also feel at home in Finland. Wolverines also occur. The flying squirrel is another resident. It has a flight membrane that it can stretch and so sail or glide a long way.
Of course, many fish live in the countless lakes. The Saimaa ringed seal is only found in the Saimaa area of the Finnish Lake District. So it lives in fresh water, which is otherwise just another subspecies of the ringed seal.
Birds live both in the forests and on lakes and on the coast. Capercaillie, golden eagle, eagle owl, oystercatcher, willow tit or red grouse are just a few examples.
The whooper swan was named the national bird. It breeds in the north and an area in the southwest of Finland. It differs from the common mute swan with a straighter neck and a more yellow or orange beak instead of a pink one.
Paper and electronics
As a country located in Europe detailed by estatelearning, Finland is one of the wealthy countries in Europe. It wasn’t always like this: Finland was a poor country for a long time. In the second half of the 20th century Finland transformed from a country whose economy was based on agriculture and forestry to a modern industrial nation.
A third of the income today comes from exports. The paper and wood industry still plays a major role, because wood is the most important raw material in the country. In the meantime, however, it has been overtaken by the electronics and metal industries. Cars, ships and machines are also built.
Agriculture can only be practiced in the south of the country because it is too cold for that in the north. For Finland, agriculture generates 2.7 percent of the total output. 4 percent of Finns are employed in this area. That is little, but a lot more than in neighboring countries or in Germany with a share of 0.6 percent and 1.4 percent employees.
The main crops are cereals: barley, oats and wheat. There are also fields with sugar beets and potatoes. In cattle breeding, pigs are mainly kept in the south, more cattle in the center of the country and in the east. Dairy products play a major role overall.
Reindeer are reared in Lapland in the north, mainly by the Sami people, but in Finland also by others. The reindeer live semi-wild and are rounded up in autumn. Then it is decided which animals should be slaughtered.
Tourism in Finland
Services make up around 70 percent of the entire economy. In addition to trade and finance, this also includes tourism. 4.6 million visitors came to Finland in 2015.
By far most of the tourists come from Russia, followed by Swedes, Germans and British. In the summer, many tourists go on vacation by a lake or come to Helsinki on a cruise ship. Northern lights can be observed in autumn and skiing in winter.
Eating in Finland
What do you eat in Finland?
What you eat in Finland depends on the one hand on its location in Northern Europe. Grain and potatoes grow here, there is plenty of fish on the coasts, moose in the forests and reindeer in the north. There you can also find berries and mushrooms, which are also popular. Today there is also the meat of pigs, cattle and chickens.
Influence from Sweden and Russia
On the other hand, Finland was influenced by Sweden and Russia for centuries – that too has shaped Finnish cuisine. The Swedish dishes Janssons frestelse or Pyttipanna are also available in Finland, only under Finnish names, namely Janssoninkiusaus and Pyttipannu. Food such as kissel (a pastry, in Finland kiisseli) or pierogies (filled dumplings, in Finnish karjalanpiirakka) come from Russia.
A pierogi is a stuffed dumpling pocket that people like to eat in Russia. The Karelian pierogy (Karjalanpiirakka in Finnish) comes from Karelia. Today, this historical landscape mostly belongs to Russia, but was once Finnish too. The thin dough is baked from rye flour and water. The filling usually consists of rice pudding, sometimes mashed potatoes. In addition you eat “egg butter”, which are chopped eggs in butter. You can also top the pie with sausage or cheese. Karelian pierogi are eaten all over Finland today. Pierogi with meat filling are also popular: lihapiirakka.
What are pulla?
Pulla is a Finnish pastry. In Swedish it is called Bulle and in Norwegian Boller – the relationship is recognizable. Pulla is baked with yeast, the dough is usually seasoned with cardamom. There are many types: Korvapuusti correspond to cinnamon buns, Voisilmäpulla have a butter filling in the middle and simple, small rolls are called Pikkupulla. You can find a recipe for them in the tip !
Mammi tastes good too
Mämmi is the name of a malt pudding from Finland. It is traditionally eaten on Good Friday. You need rye flour, malt and sugar syrup to bake Mämmi. Because the pudding tastes like rye flour, people like to eat it with cream, sugar or vanilla ice cream.