Portal:Finland

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The Republic of Finland (Finnish: Suomen tasavalta Swedish: Republiken Finland) is a Nordic country in northeastern Europe, bordered by the Baltic Sea to the southwest, the Gulf of Finland to the south and the Gulf of Bothnia to the west. Finland has land frontiers with Sweden, Norway and Russia. The Åland Islands, off the southwestern coast, are under Finnish sovereignty while enjoying extensive autonomy. The Finnish name for Finland is Suomi; in Swedish it is Finland.

Finland gained independence from Russia on 6 December 1917. Prior to that, it had been part of the Kingdom of Sweden and an autonomous Grand Duchy of Finland under Imperial Russia. After fighting two wars with the Soviet Union in the mid-20th century, it has grown quickly from a largely agrarian society to one of the world's most developed countries. Finland has a high standard of living, one of the best educational systems in the world, and it has been the birthplace to many technological phenomena such as Nokia, sms, Linux, Angry Birds and IRC.

Finland has been a member of the European Union since 1995.


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The first page of Abckiria (1543), the first book written in the Finnish language.

Finnish (About this sound suomi , or suomen kieli) is the language spoken by the majority of the population in Finland (92% as of 2006) and by ethnic Finns outside of Finland. It is one of the two official languages of Finland and an official minority language in Sweden. In Sweden, both standard Finnish and Meänkieli, a Finnish dialect, are spoken. The Kven language, which is closely related to Finnish, is an official minority language in Norway.

Finnish is a member of the Finno-Ugric language family and is typologically between fusional and agglutinative languages. It modifies and inflects the forms of nouns, adjectives, pronouns, numerals and verbs, depending on their roles in the sentence.

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Snow-covered landscape in Isokuru, Pyhä-Luosto National Park.

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Henri Toivonen (August 25, 1956 – May 2, 1986) was a Finnish rally driver born in Jyväskylä, the home of Rally Finland. His father, Pauli Toivonen, was the 1968 European Rally Champion for Porsche and his brother, Harri Toivonen, became a professional circuit racer.

Toivonen's first World Rally Championship victory came with a Talbot Sunbeam Lotus at the 1980 Lombard RAC Rally in Great Britain, just after his 24th birthday. He had the record of being the youngest driver ever to win a world rally until his countryman Jari-Matti Latvala won the 2008 Swedish Rally at the age of 22. Toivonen switched to driving for Lancia before finally signing up for a full WRC programme in 1985. Despite nearly ending up paralysed at a rally in Costa Smeralda early in 1985, he returned to rallying later that year. He won the last event of the season, the RAC Rally, as well as the 1986 season opener, the Monte Carlo Rally, which his father had won exactly 20 years earlier.

Toivonen, driving a Lancia Delta S4, died in an accident on May 2, 1986 while leading the Tour de Corse rally in Corsica. His American co-driver, Sergio Cresto, also died when the Lancia plunged down a ravine and exploded. The fatal accident had no close witnesses and the remains of the car were merely blackened spaceframe, making it impossible to determine the cause of the accident. Within hours of the accident, Jean-Marie Balestre, then President of the FISA, had banned the powerful Group B rally cars from competing the following season, ending rallying's popular supercar era. The annual Race of Champions, originally organised in Toivonen's memory, awards the winning individual driver the Henri Toivonen Memorial Trophy.

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View of Lake Pielinen in Koli National Park
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Panorama of Lake Pielinen from a hill in Koli National Park, Finland.

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