Finland is one of the most northerly parts of Europe and its large size and low population make it one of the least densely populated. The population is almost 5.4 million, of which 0.6 million live in the capital Helsinki, although over 1 million live in the Helsinki metropolitan area. The population is expected to increase to 5.7 million by 2030, with the proportion of people over 65 expected to increase from 26% to 43% over the same period. There are two official languages. 93% are Finns while 6% have Swedish as their mother tongue. English is widely spoken. The Euro is the official currency in Finland. The standard VAT rate is 23%.

 Finland                               Capital: Helsinki



5.4 million à 5.7 million (2030)

Proportion of people over 65 is 26% à 43% (2030)


93% Finns, 6% Swedish


80% Evangelical Lutheran

GDP / head

€ 35,600   (EU average: € 25,100)





GDP growth (volume)



0.8% in 2012 (f)

1.7% in 2013 (f)

Unemployment rate

(Feb 2012)

7.4%   (EU average: 10.2%)

Inflation rate

3.3%   (EU average: 3.1%)


Figures relate to 2011, except where indicated.                                      Source: Eurostat, Searce (2012)


Finland has a GDP per capita of €33,600, compared to the EU average of €24,400 in 2010. According to the OECD, the Finnish economy grew by 3% in 2011, and is expected to grow by 1.4% in 2012 and 2% in 2013 (compared to the Eurozone average of 1.6%, 0.2% and 1.4% respectively). The inflation rate was 2.6% in 2011, compared to 3% in the EU. The unemployment rate was 7.7%, compared to 9.8% in the EU as a whole in 2011.

Finland is an egalitarian society. People tend to be quite modest and humble, as well as being considerate. In a business context they tend to get to the point and don’t waste time on small talk. Direct contact is not essential and Finns are happy to conduct business via email. Verbal commitments are considered agreements. Meetings begin and end on time.