The toponyms of Finland result mainly from the legacy left by three linguistic heritages: the Finnish language (spoken as first language by about 93% of the population), the Swedish language (about 5.5%) and Sami languages (about 0.03%). 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.
A few notable place names – such as a few major hydronyms Päijänne, Saimaa, Imatra and Keitele which are thought to be among the oldest toponyms – still lack a sound derivation from existing languages despite of different approaches.[ clarification needed ] This has led to the postulation that they may originate from an unknown language. A substratum of archaic Sami place names, often fennicized in the course of time, can be found throughout the country. The majority of Finland’s toponyms can be recognized having archaic or dialectal Finnish origins. A Finnish substratum can be deduced in Swedish place names and vice versa in many cases. Major urbanisation started and city rights were granted in Finland when the country was part of Sweden in a situation where Swedish was the de facto only official language though the majority always spoke Finnish dialects as a first language. Therefore, in older foreign writing, many municipal and city names are given only in their Swedish form. Other substrata in Finland’s toponyms include Finnic, Baltic, Germanic and Slavic linguistic influence in several chronological layers.
Finland, except for the Åland islands, has two official languages: Finnish and Swedish. The Åland islands have a single official language: Swedish. On the mainland, Swedish-speakers are concentrated to the regions Ostrobothnia, Uusimaa and around Turku. North Sami, Inari Sami and Skolt Sami are semi-official in the Sami Domicile Area. The Language Act of 2003 groups municipalities into three groups: monolingually Finnish, monolingually Swedish and bilingual. The municipality is monolingual, if it has less than 8% of the minority language speakers and if the population of the lingual minority in the municipality is below 3,000. Other communities are bilingual.
In bilingual municipalities, the Language Act requires that all toponyms have both a Finnish and a Swedish name.In addition, many monolingually Finnish municipalities have an official Swedish name, and vice versa. The municipalities have the power to decide their own name but they are required to consult with the Research Institute for the Languages of Finland before the official decision.
These are the current conventions recommended by the Research Institute for the Languages of Finland. The conventions have also been adopted by the United Nations Group of Experts on Geographical Names:
The convention concerning street names and traffic signs maintains that the majority language toponym is presented topmost and place names in the minority languages are listed below.
A few exonyms (in Medieval or Neo-Latin, not in use in Finland or Sweden) exist for Finland’s provincial structures. These include the names of the nine historical provinces (Fi: maakunta, Sw: landskap) that have given names to some of Finland’s current regions (Fi: maakunta, Sw: landskap, altogether 20 as of 1997). These may fall under the category of "already established place names in foreign languages" mentioned in the above recommendations.
The names of the nine historical provinces in Finnish, Swedish and English :
In urban planning, new names are needed for different places. Suburbs, streets, parks and other areas must be named. In bilingual municipalities, the task is complicated by the need to use two different languages in the toponyms. As all municipalities in the Finnish capital region, which is the most swiftly developing area in Finland, are bilingual, the problem of devising good toponyms is not a small task.
The Research Institute for the Languages of Finland has given guidelines for devising new toponyms. The basic principle is to use toponyms already in use and spell them according to the modern language norms. As the old toponym for a minor place, such as a field, often exist only in one language, they should be translated with care. Only such names which carry an identifiable meaning should be translated directly. If the toponym already exists in both languages, the existing forms should be used. If the translation of the name is unfeasible and there exists no toponym in the other language, then the toponym should be loaned in its original form. Personal names should not be translated. However, if the existing name is unusable in the other language for phonetic or grammatical reasons, a new name may be freely invented.
The cases where two municipalities are fused together, create a special case for the construction of toponyms. There are two simple cases for the name selection:
In other cases, the toponym should be selected from the historical toponyms of the area. In many cases, there are historical administrative structures that have encompassed the area of the merging municipalities. If such names are unusable, the name of some the most prominent villages in the area should be used. To reduce the possibility of confusion, the new name should not include the name of the province or the region. In no case should the name be made up of two parts, because the use of such name is grammatically difficult in Finnish language. The names of the merger projects or frivolous names should also be avoided at all costs.
If the merging municipalities will form a bilingual municipality, the Finnish name chosen for the municipality should be such that a Swedish counterpart can be found without difficulty. The Swedish name of the new municipality should be devised according to the same principles as in other toponymical planning.
In Finnish grammar, some toponyms receive external locative suffixes, especially those named for bodies of water, as in (river and town Seinäjoki) Seinäjoella (either on river Seinäjoki or in town Seinäjoki. Case of being in or under the river being Seinäjoessa). The rest receive internal locative suffixes, as in Helsingissä (being inflected form of the town, meaning: in Helsinki).
Finland has a population of over 5.53 million people and an average population density of 19 inhabitants per square kilometre. This makes it the third most sparsely populated country in Europe, after Iceland and Norway. Population distribution is very uneven: the population is concentrated on the small southwestern coastal plain. About 85% live in towns and cities, with 1.5 million living in the Greater Helsinki area. In Arctic Lapland, on the other hand, there are only 2 people to every square kilometre.
Sápmi is the cultural region traditionally inhabited by the Sámi people. Sápmi is in Northern Europe and includes the northern parts of Fennoscandia.
Kokkola is a town and municipality of Finland. The town is located in the Central Ostrobothnia region. The town has a population of 47,774 and covers an area of 2,730.80 square kilometres (1,054.37 sq mi) of which 1,286.61 km2 (496.76 sq mi) is water. The population density is 33.08 inhabitants per square kilometre (85.7/sq mi). Neighbour municipalities are Halsua, Kalajoki, Kannus, Kaustinen, Kronoby, Lestijärvi, Larsmo and Toholampi.
Finland Swedish or Fenno-Swedish is a general term for the variety of Standard Swedish and a closely related group of Swedish dialects spoken in Finland by the Swedish-speaking population as their first language.
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 Swedish-speaking population of Finland is a linguistic minority in Finland. They maintain a strong identity and are seen either as a separate ethnic group, while still being Finns, or as a distinct nationality. They speak Finland Swedish, which encompasses both a standard language and distinct dialects that are mutually intelligible with the dialects spoken in Sweden and, to a lesser extent, other Scandinavian languages. On 6 November, Finnish Swedish Heritage Day, a general flag day, is celebrated in Finland; that day celebrates the Swedish-speaking population of Finland, their culture, and the bilinguality of Finland.
Finland is divided into 19 regions 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. Currently, the only region where a popular election is held for the council is Kainuu. Other regional councils are elected by municipal councils, each municipality sending representatives in proportion to its population.
ISO 3166-2:FI is the entry for Finland in ISO 3166-2, part of the ISO 3166 standard published by the International Organization for Standardization (ISO), which defines codes for the names of the principal subdivisions of all countries coded in ISO 3166-1.
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.
Kanta-Häme, sometimes referred to as Tavastia Proper is a region of Finland. The region is also sometimes called the Häme region. It borders the regions of Southwest Finland, Pirkanmaa, Päijät-Häme, and Uusimaa.
Satakunta is a region of Finland, part of the former Western Finland Province. It borders the regions of Southwest Finland, Pirkanmaa, South Ostrobothnia and Ostrobothnia. The capital city of the region is Pori. The name of the region literally means Hundred. The historical province of the same name was a larger area within Finland, covering modern Satakunta as well as much of Pirkanmaa.
Finns or Finnish people are a Baltic Finnic ethnic group native to Finland.
Uusimaa is a region of Finland. It borders the regions of Southwest Finland, Tavastia Proper (Kanta-Häme), Päijänne Tavastia (Päijät-Häme), and Kymenlaakso. Finland's capital and largest city, Helsinki, along with the surrounding Greater Helsinki area, are both contained in the region, and Uusimaa is Finland's most populous region. The population of Uusimaa is 1,703,649.
Ostrobothnia is a region in western Finland. It borders the regions of Central Ostrobothnia, South Ostrobothnia, and Satakunta and is one of the four modern regions making up the historical province of Ostrobothnia.
The Archipelago Sea is a part of the Baltic Sea between the Gulf of Bothnia, the Gulf of Finland and the Sea of Åland, within Finnish territorial waters. By some definitions it contains the largest archipelago in the world by the number of islands, although many of the islands are very small and tightly clustered.
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.
Below is a list of Finnish language exonyms for places in non-Finnish-speaking areas:
Terjärv was an independent municipality of Finland until 1969 but is now together with Nedervetil, a part of the municipality of Kronoby.