Finland is a Northern European state. It is bounded to the North by Norwegian Lapland, to the East by Russia, to the South by the Gulf of Finland and to the West by the Gulf of Bothnia and Sweden.
It is a republic with 5.25 million inhabitants (2009) and is divided into 6 provinces (laanit, singular : laani): Ahvenanmaan Laani (Åland), Etela-Suomen Laani (southern Finland), Itä-Suomen Laani (Eastern Finland), Lansi-Suomen Laani (western Finland), Lapin Laani (Lapland) and Oulun Laani. The capital est Helsinki. Other major cities: Espoo (Espo), Turku (Abo), Tempere (Tampere).