Finland is divided into 19 regions (Finnish : maakunta; Swedish : landskap) The regions are governed by regional councils, which serve as forums of cooperation for the municipalities of a region. The main tasks of the regions are regional planning and development of enterprise and education. In addition, the public health services are usually organized on the basis of regions. Between 2004 and 2012, the only region where a popular elections for the council were held was Kainuu as part of an experimental regional administration. Currently the regional councils are elected by municipal councils, each municipality sending representatives in proportion to its population. The Government of Finland is in the process of establishing elected regional councils by 2022 through a health and social services reform. In the process the official English name for the administrative unit will be changed from region to county, while the Finnish and Swedish names will be kept intact.
One region, Åland has a special status and has a much higher degree of autonomy than the others, with its own Parliament and local laws, due to its unique history and the fact that the overwhelming majority of its people are Finland Swedes. The sole language of Åland is Swedish/Finland Swedish, unlike the rest of the country where Finnish and Swedish share official status. It has its own elected head of government who carries the title of Premier and heads the Lantrad, the regional executive. Most powers that would be exercised by the Government of Finland on the mainland are instead exercised by Åland-specific authorities which execute independent policy in most areas. The Åland islanders elect a single representative to the national legislature, while the Government of Finland appoints a Governor to represent the national government on Åland. Åland is a demilitarised zone and Åland islanders are exempt from conscription.
In addition to inter-municipal cooperation, which is the responsibility of regional councils, there are 15 Centres for Economic Development, Transport and the Environment (Finnish: elinkeino-, liikenne- ja ympäristökeskus, abbreviated ely-keskus), which is responsible for the local administration of labour, agriculture, fisheries, forestry and entrepreneurial affairs. They are each responsible for one or more of regions of Finland, and include offices of the Ministries of Employment and the Economy, Transport and Communications and Environment. The Finnish Defence Forces regional offices are responsible for the regional defence preparations and for the administration of conscription within the region.
|Flag||Coat of arms||Name||Official English name||Finnish name||Swedish name||Capital||Area (km2)||Population|
(31 Dec 2019)
|–||North Ostrobothnia||North Ostrobothnia||Pohjois-Pohjanmaa||Norra Österbotten||Oulu||36,815||412,830|
|North Karelia||North Karelia||Pohjois-Karjala||Norra Karelen||Joensuu||17,761||161,211|
|Northern Savonia||North Savo||Pohjois-Savo||Norra Savolax||Kuopio||16,768||244,236|
|Southern Savonia||South Savo||Etelä-Savo||Södra Savolax||Mikkeli||14,257||142,335|
|–||South Karelia||South Karelia||Etelä-Karjala||Södra Karelen||Lappeenranta||5,327||127,757|
|Central Finland||Central Finland||Keski-Suomi||Mellersta Finland||Jyväskylä||16,703||275,104|
|South Ostrobothnia||South Ostrobothnia||Etelä-Pohjanmaa||Södra Österbotten||Seinäjoki||13,444||188,685|
|Central Ostrobothnia||Central Ostrobothnia||Keski-Pohjanmaa||Mellersta Österbotten||Kokkola||5,020||68,158|
|–||Southwest Finland||Southwest Finland||Varsinais-Suomi||Egentliga Finland||Turku||10,663||479,341|
|Number||Coat of Arms||Name||Official English name||Finnish name||Swedish name||Capital||Dissolution (date)|
|20||Eastern Uusimaa||Itä-Uusimaa||Itä-Uusimaa||Östra Nyland||Porvoo||January 1, 2011|
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|Subdivisions of Finland|
Finland, officially the Republic of Finland, is a Nordic country in Northern Europe. It shares land borders with Sweden to the west, Russia to the east, Norway to the north, and is defined by the Gulf of Bothnia to the west, and the Gulf of Finland of the Baltic Sea across Estonia to the south. Finland covers an area of 338,455 square kilometres (130,678 sq mi), with a population of 5.5 million. Helsinki is the country's capital and largest city, but together with the neighboring cities of Espoo, Kauniainen and Vantaa, it forms a larger metropolitan area. Finnish, the native language of the Finns, is among the few Finnic languages in the world. The climate varies relative to latitude, from the southern humid continental climate to the northern boreal climate. The land cover is primarily a boreal forest biome, with more than 180,000 recorded lakes.
The Barents Region is a name given, by advocates of establishing international cooperation after the fall of the Soviet Union, to the land along the coast of the Barents Sea, from Nordland in Norway to the Kola Peninsula in Russia and beyond all the way to the Ural Mountains and Novaya Zemlya, and south to the Gulf of Bothnia of the Baltic Sea and the great lakes Ladoga and Onega. Among the projects is the Barents Road from Bodø in Norway through Haparanda in Sweden and Finland to Murmansk in Russia. One concrete sign of the increased communication within the region is the establishment in 2006 of an IKEA store in Haparanda (Sweden), targeting customers 500 km away in Murmansk and northern Norway. The region has six million inhabitants on 1.75 million km2; three quarters of both belong to Russia.
Savonia is a historical province in the east of Finland. It borders Tavastia, Ostrobothnia, and Karelia. Currently, Savonia is divided into two provinces: Northern Savonia and Southern Savonia. The largest cities in Savonia by population are Kuopio, Mikkeli, Savonlinna, Varkaus and Iisalmi.
Ostrobothnia, Swedish: Österbotten, Finnish: Pohjanmaa is a historical province comprising a large western and northern part of modern Finland. It is bounded by Karelia, Savonia, Tavastia and Satakunda in the south, the Bothnian Sea, Bothnian Bay and Swedish Västerbotten in the west, Laponia in the north and Russia in the east.
Häme is the name of a geographical region in Finland, associated with the Tavastians, or Häme people (hämäläiset), a subgroup of the Finnish people. The precise area referred to can vary depending on the context.
The historical provinces of Finland are a legacy of the country's joint history with Sweden. The provinces ceased to be administrative entities in 1634 when they were superseded by the counties, a reform which remained in force in Finland until 1997. The provinces remain as a tradition, but have no administrative function today. The spread of Finnish language dialects approximately follows their borders.
The municipalities represent the local level of administration in Finland and act as the fundamental, self-governing administrative units of the country. The entire country is incorporated into municipalities and legally, all municipalities are equal, although certain municipalities are called cities or towns. Municipalities have the right to levy a flat percentual income tax, which is between 16 and 22 percent, and they provide two thirds of public services. Municipalities control many community services, such as schools, health care and the water supply, and local streets. They do not maintain highways, set laws or keep police forces, which are responsibilities of the central government.
Lapland is the largest and northernmost region of Finland. The municipalities in the region cooperate in a Regional Council. There are 21 municipalities in Lapland region. Lapland borders the region of North Ostrobothnia in the south. It also borders the Gulf of Bothnia, Norrbotten County in Sweden, Troms and Finnmark County in Norway, and Murmansk Oblast and the Republic of Karelia in Russia. Topography varies from vast mires and forests of the South to fells in the North. The Arctic circle crosses Lapland, so polar phenomena such as the midnight sun and polar night can be seen in Lapland.
Pirkanmaa, is a region of Finland. It borders the regions of Satakunta, South Ostrobothnia, Central Finland, Päijät-Häme, Kanta-Häme and Southwest Finland. Most of the water area in the Kokemäki River watershed is located in the Pirkanmaa region, although Lake Vanajavesi is partly in the Kanta-Häme region. The region got its name from Pirkkala, which in the Middle Ages comprised most of present-day Pirkanmaa. Tampere is the regional center and capital of Pirkanmaa, and at the same time the largest city in the region.
Northern Savonia or, officially, North Savo is a region in eastern Finland. It borders the regions of Southern Savonia, Central Finland, North Ostrobothnia, Kainuu, and North Karelia. Kuopio is the largest city in the region and Lake Kallavesi is the largest lake in the region.
Finland is divided into 70 sub-regional units. The sub-regions are formed by groups of municipalities within the 19 regions of Finland. The sub-regions represent a LAU 1 level of division used in conjunction with the Nomenclature of Territorial Units for Statistics.
North Ostrobothnia is a region of Finland. It borders the Finnish regions of Lapland, Kainuu, North Savo, Central Finland and Central Ostrobothnia, as well as the Russian Republic of Karelia.
Kainuu is one of the 19 regions of Finland. Kainuu borders the regions of North Ostrobothnia, North Savo and North Karelia. In the east, it also borders Russia.
Central Finland is a region in Finland. It borders the regions of Päijät-Häme, Pirkanmaa, South Ostrobothnia, Central Ostrobothnia, North Ostrobothnia, North Savo, and South Savo.
Eastern Uusimaa or, officially, Itä-Uusimaa was one of the 19 regions of Finland, until it consolidated with the region of Uusimaa on January 1, 2011. It bordered the regions of Uusimaa, Päijänne Tavastia (Päijät-Häme) and Kymenlaakso.
The Savonian dialects are forms of the Finnish language spoken in Savonia and other parts of Eastern Finland. It belongs to the eastern Finnish dialects and it is divided into more specific dialect groups.
As of 2017, Finland is divided into:
The two main official languages of Finland are Finnish and Swedish. There are also several official minority languages: three variants of Sami, Romani, Finnish Sign Language and Karelian.
The toponyms of Finland result mainly from the legacy left by three linguistic heritages: the Finnish language, the Swedish language and Sami languages. Finland’s place names range from those of unknown or unrecognizable origins to more clearly derivable onomastics. There are both national and international recommendations on how to use the bilingual country's place names in texts written in different languages. In Finland, the Research Institute for the Languages of Finland and the National Land Survey of Finland are jointly responsible for the standardization of place names.
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