Finland

The flight on SAS from Stockholm to Helsinki involved a smaller jet and would allow carry on luggage weighing only 8 kg (18 lbs)!  Mine was slightly over, so i put my computer in a handbag and transferred a few items (toiletries) to Jessica’s bag and checked it at a cost of about $50!

Helsinki, the capital of Finland is a city still trying to find its own identity after nearly 100 years of independence.  Currently, the main parts are under massive renovation and updating in preparation for 2017 Finland centennial of independence as well as celebrating 500 years since Martin Luther nailed the 95 theses to the church door.  With Finlanders identifying as 73% Lutheran this is certainly appropriate.  Having been under Russian rule for several years, the architecture and ‘feel’ of the city still has that look and feel.  Their history, however, reveals a tug of war between Russia and Sweden, and occasionally the Danes jumped in.

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Helsinki Cathedral

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Uspenski Cathedral – Russian Orthodox
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Inside the Uspenski Cathedral
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Standing in the Gulf of Finland – Baltic Sea on the coast of Suomenlinna

More recent history tidbits include:

From 1906 Finnish women were also allowed to vote. Finland was the first European country and the third in the world, after New Zealand and Australia to allow women to vote in national elections. Furthermore in 1907 Finnish women became the first in the world to win seats in a national parliament.

Before the Second World War the main occupation in Finland was agriculture. Since 1945 metalworking, engineering and electronics industries have grown but Finland is still less industrialized than the other Scandinavian countries. The main resource of Finland is timber.

In 1995 Finland joined the EU. In 1999 Finland joined the Euro. Finland suffered badly in the recession of 2009 but eventually recovered.

Meanwhile in 2000 Tarja Halonen was elected the first woman President of Finland. In the same year Helsinki celebrated its 450th anniversary. Today the population of Finland is 5.4 million.

Finland is known for its number of lakes and lays very flat.

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National Library of Finland 

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