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  • The cycle-mad city in Finland that doesn't stop for snow, BBC News (Jan 21, 2023)

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Finland (Finnish: Suomi [ˈsuo̯mi] (listen); Swedish: Finland [ˈfɪ̌nland] (listen)), officially the Republic of Finland (Finnish: Suomen tasavalta; Swedish: Republiken Finland (listen to all)), is a Nordic country in Northern Europe. It shares land borders with Sweden to the northwest, Norway to the north, and Russia to the east, with the Gulf of Bothnia to the west and the Gulf of Finland to the south, across from Estonia. Finland covers an area of 338,455 square kilometres (130,678 sq mi) with a population of 5.6 million. Helsinki is the capital and largest city. The vast majority of the population are ethnic Finns. Finnish and Swedish are the official languages, Swedish is the native language of 5.2% of the population. Finland's climate varies from humid continental in the south to the boreal in the north. The land cover is primarily a boreal forest biome, with more than 180,000 recorded lakes.

Finland was first inhabited around 9000 BC after the Last Glacial Period. The Stone Age introduced several different ceramic styles and cultures. The Bronze Age and Iron Age were characterized by contacts with other cultures in Fennoscandia and the Baltic region. From the late 13th century, Finland became a part of Sweden as a consequence of the Northern Crusades. In 1809, as a result of the Finnish War, Finland became part of the Russian Empire as the autonomous Grand Duchy of Finland, during which Finnish art flourished and the idea of independence began to take hold. In 1906, Finland became the first European state to grant universal suffrage, and the first in the world to give all adult citizens the right to run for public office. After the 1917 Russian Revolution, Finland declared independence from Russia. In 1918, the fledgling state was divided by the Finnish Civil War. During World War II, Finland fought the Soviet Union in the Winter War and the Continuation War, and Nazi Germany in the Lapland War. It subsequently lost parts of its territory, but maintained its independence.

Finland largely remained an agrarian country until the 1950s. After World War II, it rapidly industrialized and developed an advanced economy, while building an extensive welfare state based on the Nordic model; the country soon enjoyed widespread prosperity and a high per capita income. During the Cold War, Finland adopted an official policy of neutrality. Finland joined the European Union in 1995 and the Eurozone at its inception in 1999. Finland is a top performer in numerous metrics of national performance, including education, economic competitiveness, civil liberties, quality of life and human development. In 2015, Finland ranked first in the World Human Capital, topped the Press Freedom Index, and was the most stable country in the world during 2011–2016, according to the Fragile States Index; it is second in the Global Gender Gap Report, and has ranked first in every annual World Happiness Report since 2018.

Climate action[edit | edit source]

Climate change in Finland has far reaching impacts on the natural environment and people of Finland. Finland was among the top five greenhouse gas emitters in 2001, on a per capita basis. Emissions increased to 58.8 million tonnes in 2016. Finland needs to triple its current cuts to emissions in order to be carbon neutral by 2035. Finland relies on coal and peat for its energy, but plans to phase out coal by 2029. Finland has a target of carbon neutrality by the year 2035 without carbon credits. The policies include nature conservation, more investments in trains, changes in taxation and more sustainable wood burning. After 2035 Finland will be carbon negative, meaning soaking more carbon than emitting.

Police estimate that 10,000 people attended the April 2019 climate peace march in Helsinki. In January 2020 99% of Finns said action must be taken to stop climate change.

Open spaces[edit | edit source]

Green Hearts, Park Walks in Helsinki

Community involvement[edit | edit source]

Yhteismaa (Common Ground), a Finnish non-profit dedicated to participatory city culture and placemaking

Community energy[edit | edit source]

Finland's Renewable Energy

Wikipedia: Renewable energy in Finland, Finland National Renewable Energy Action Plan, Solar energy in Finland

Cycling activism[edit | edit source]

Critical Mass bicycle rides in Finland

Ethical consumerism[edit | edit source]

Buy Nothing Day

Food activism[edit | edit source]

Restaurant Day[edit | edit source]

In big cities, people of many different cultures live in close proximity. However, there often aren't enough chances for them to intermingle and experience the diverse traditions within their city. In an effort to bring people together and foster cross cultural interaction, local organizers in Helsinki, Finland, created "Ravintolapäivä," or Restaurant Day. Initiated in 2011, it began as a food carnival where anyone with a passion for food was encouraged to run a "restaurant" in their private home or in public spaces for a single day. Even though the pop-up restaurants charge money for the meals, the emphasis is not on profit, but rather on community teamwork and cultural exchange. During the event, Helsinki is transformed by hundreds of these informal restaurants serving a wide range of cuisines in this city-wide street festival. The event is put on through distributed organization — individual volunteer restaurateurs are responsible for finding a location, managing the menu and invitations, and setting the meal prices. Now, Restaurant Day has become a global movement, with over 27,000 pop-up restaurants having served over 3 million community members across 75 countries. —Khushboo Balwani[1]

Other initiatives

Cottages and Allotments, City of Helsinki

Sustainable transport activism[edit | edit source]

Train schedules: VR.fi EN

Bus timetables and routes in Helsinki region: HSL.fi EN

Towards sustainable economies[edit | edit source]

The federal government of Finland is currently (Oct 2017) conducting an experiment of the effects of a basic income on unemployed citizens, which began in January 2017 and will conclude in December 2018.[2]

Basic Income Experiment 2017–2018

wikipedia:Cleantech Finland

Resources[edit | edit source]

Networks and sustainability initiatives[edit | edit source]

Events[edit | edit source]

Regular events

Restaurant Day 2015, Visit Helsinki, approximately once every three months

Community resources[edit | edit source]

Sompasauna, wood burning self-service public sauna in Helsinki built and maintained by a group of volunteers.

Apps for sustainability[edit | edit source]

Täsä, city of Turku. Mobile app, which helps capture citizens' ideas regarding urban development sites.

Citizens data initiative[edit | edit source]

Urban Facts, open data at the City of Helsinki.

Maps[edit | edit source]

Helsinki Region Transport - Vehicles, bus and tram (English)

Google Maps Location

Research[edit | edit source]

wikipedia:Finnish Environment Institute

News and comment[edit | edit source]


  • Finnish researchers have installed the world's first fully working "sand battery" which can store green power for months at a time, BBC News (Jul 05, 2022)


Nordic countries endure heatwave as Lapland records hottest day since 1914, Jul 6[3]


The full impact of Finland's UBI experiment is in - improving wellbeing, cognitive confidence, and a sense of personal control, May 5[4]

My country's ambitious plan to be carbon-neutral in 15 years[5]


Finnish Prime Minister Marin calls for a 4-day-week and 6-hour-day for her country, Dec 19[6]

Lahti becomes the European Green Capital in 2021, Jun 24[7]

Finland's result on its UBI experiment: people don't shirk work. And it increases trust, health & wellbeing, Feb 8[8]

The city with no homeless on its streets, Jan 31[9]


Finland: Where second-hand comes first, Nov 8[10]

Helsinki unveils plan to reach carbon neutrality by 2035, Mar 21[11]

Safe, happy and free: does Finland have all the answers? Feb 12[12]


A basic income for everyone? Yes, Finland shows it really can work, Aditya Chakrabortty, Nov 1[13]

How one city plans to steer residents away from driving, Sep 26[14]


Free Cash in Finland. Must Be Jobless. Dec 17[15]

Helsinki Treats New Bike-Share as Another Form of Public Transit, May 27[16]


Finland is considering giving every citizen a basic income, December 5[17]

The Sharing Economy is Booming in Helsinki: Here's Why, October 22[18]

Dinner Under the Helsinki Sky Turns Busy Street into Community Table, September 14[19]

Helsinki Volunteers Reinvent the Public Sauna, September 4[20]

Why Helsinki – a mix of Detroit and Geneva – is one of the most exciting cities in the world, Aug 10[21]

Finnish parliament approves new climate bill that commits to 80% emissions reductions by 2050, March 6.[22]

Mobility survey reveals three-quarters of Helsinki journeys are sustainable, January 7[23]


Finland Sets New Goal For Cutting Greenhouse Gas Emissions, June 11[24]


"Finland is about to start using crowdsourcing to create new laws", September 20[25]

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External links[edit | edit source]

References[edit | edit source]

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