Finland, or as it is officially called "Republic of Finland", is a Nordic country in Northern Europe. The nearest neighbours are Sweden in the west, Norway in the north and Russia in the east. Its southern border is the Gulf of Finland with Estonia lying across the sea. In 2013 Finland's population numbered approximately 5,5 million people, in combination with its size (it is the eight largest country in the European Union) it is the most sparsely populated country in the European Union.
Helsinki is the capital, the hub of the central government as well as the largest city of the country. Other large cities include Tampere, Turku, Oulu, Jyväskylä, Lahti, and Kuopio. 336 municipalities and an autonomous region, the Åland Islands, form the parliamentary republic of Finland.