Finland

Sparsely populated, Finland is covered with forests and waterways. The coastal lowlands extend along the Gulfs of Finland and Bothnia, off which lie thousands of rocky islands; the lake district in the interior is dotted with lakes, swamps and bogs; and the northern upland, much of which lies north of the Arctic Circle, turns to tundra.

Due to Finland’s geographic position, the northern parts of the country experience long periods of darkness in winter and the white nights of summer.

Despite the pristine environment, Finland still faces a number of threats, which include air pollution from manufacturing and power plants, eutrophication from agriculture, and habitat loss and illegal hunting that threatens such wildlife as brown bear, lynx, wolf and wolverine. The flying squirrel, the white-backed woodpecker and the highly endangered freshwater saimaa seal, found only in small numbers in Finland’s Lake Saimaa, are also at risk.
 / ©: WWF-Canon / Krista Sormunen
Sunset and snowed under tree. Lapland in WInter, Finland.
© WWF-Canon / Krista Sormunen

Country Eco-tips

Energy and Water
  • Finland is one of the world’s leading users of renewable sources of energy, especially bioenergy (wood and wood-based fuels) and hydro energy. Finland’s nuclear power sources provide more than a quarter of the country’s electricity.
  • Most of Finland’s tap water is purer than many brands of bottled water.
  • Through WWF-Finland’s Green Office programme, companies can reduce office waste and save on materials and energy. http://www.wwf.fi/green_office/
  • Be prepared for the weather: during Finland’s long winter it can get as cold as -15°C in the south and as cold as -30°C in the north. Winters, however, have become warmer in the south due to global warming.
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Recycling
  • Refillable containers are the most prevalent container type in Finland, and the return rate for these containers is close to 100%.
  • There are deposit refunds on most beverage containers: aluminum cans (0.15€); 0.33l glass bottles (0.10€); 0.50l refillable PET plastic bottles (0.20€); and 1.50l refillable PET plastic bottles (0.40€). There are empty bottle return points in supermarkets throughout the country.
  • Most cities have recycling collection for biowaste, paper, glass, metal and carton.
  • When buying electrical equipment, the price includes a recycling fee; shops must take back old equipment for recycling.
  • There are recycling centres for hazardous waste; recycling bins for batteries are found at many supermarkets.
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Transport

  • The Finnish railway network covers the whole country, including Lapland (https://www.vr.fi/heo/eng/).
  • Helsinki has an excellent integrated public transportation system that includes buses, trains, trams, a subway and ferry services to Suomenlinna Islands. Information on public transportation in Helsinki can be found at: http://www.hel.fi/wps/portal/HKL_en/
  • Buses are often quicker and more frequent than trains over the shorter east-west trips.
  • In the summer time you can rent a bright green Citybike in Helsinki by paying a deposit of €2, which you get back when you return the bike. There are 26 Citybike stands around the city centre. http://www.hel.fi/wps/portal/HKL_en/Artikkeli?WCM_GLOBAL_CONTEXT=/hkl/en/Services/Citybikes
  • Helsinki has an extensive network of bike routes. Cycling downtown can be tricky as the bike lanes sometimes are on the sidewalk instead of next to car lanes on the street. A map of downtown bike lanes is available.  Once you get out of the city centre, the bike lanes work better and cycling is faster.
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Food
  • Organic food can be found in most supermarkets. Look for the Sun label, Finland’s official organic label.
  • A number of vegetarian restaurants and health food stores can be found in Helsinki and other large cities: http://www.happycow.net/europe/finland/index.html
  • Finnish reindeer meat products, particularly from Lapland, are sold in many grocery stores.
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Souvenirs
  • Reindeer herding is an important business in northern Finland. Souvenirs and products made from reindeer are widely available and legal.
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Green Spots
  • Oulanka National Park: Covering an area of 27,500ha in northeastern Finland near the Russian border and close to the Arctic Circle, Oulanka is home to deer, lynx and wolf, as well as over 100 bird species. Hiking, canoeing and bird watching are popular activities within the park. http://www.luontoon.fi/page.asp?Section=5144
  • Urho Kekkonen National Park: Named after a former Finnish president, this is one of Finland’s largest national parks. Located in northeast Lapland, the park is home to bears, wolverines, golden eagles and otters. http://www.luontoon.fi/page.asp?Section=5392
  • Southwestern Archipelago National Park: The park and its surrounding area contain thousands of rugged rocky islets and forested islands, separated by open sea. Visitors can use their own boat, the ferry services or take a guided boat trip through the park. http://www.luontoon.fi/page.asp?Section=5300
  • Nuuksio National Park: Less than an hour from Helsinki, this park is popular for its forests and lakes, and is home to a number of threatened species, including Siberian flying squirrels, European nightjars and woodlarks. Hiking in the park is a popular weekend activity for Helsinki residents. http://www.luontoon.fi/page.asp?Section=5131
  • Kaivopuisto Park: Helsinki’s oldest and most famous park, Kaivopuisto’s rock cliffs and green lawns off the water offer great views of the city and archipelago. The Ursa Observatory is at the highest point of the park.
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Every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy and completeness of the above information. However, WWF makes no warranties, expressed or implied, regarding errors or omissions and assumes no legal liability or responsibility for loss or damage resulting from its use.
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