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The swastika is an icon which is widely found in both human history and the modern world. A swastika generally takes the form of a cross , the arms of which are of equal length and perpendicular to the adjacent arms, each bent midway at a right angle.

It was used by the Nazi Party to symbolize German nationalistic pride. To Jews and other victims and enemies of Nazi Germany, it became a symbol of antisemitism and terror.

The word swastika is derived from the Sanskrit root swasti , which is composed of:. The word swastika has been used in the Indian subcontinent since BCE.

An important early use of the word swastika in a European text was in with the publications of Heinrich Schliemann , who discovered more than 1, ancient samples of the swastika symbol and its variants while digging the Hisarlik mound near the Aegean Sea coast for the history of Troy.

Schliemann linked his findings to the Sanskrit swastika. The word swasti occurs frequently in the Vedas as well as in classical literature, meaning 'health, luck, success, prosperity', and it was commonly used as a greeting.

The earliest known use of the word swastika is in Panini's Ashtadhyayi which uses it to explain one of the Sanskrit grammar rules, in the context of a type of identifying mark on a cow's ear.

All swastikas are bent crosses based on a chiral symmetry — but they appear with different geometric details: as compact crosses with short legs, as crosses with large arms and as motifs in a pattern of unbroken lines.

One distinct representation of a swastika, as a double swastika or swastika made of squares, appears in a Nepalese silver mohar coin of , kingdom of Patan NS KM Chirality describes an absence of reflective symmetry , with the existence of two versions that are mirror images of each other.

The mirror-image forms are typically described as:. The left-facing version is distinguished in some traditions and languages as a distinct symbol from the right-facing and is called the " sauwastika ".

Kruszwica's mursunsydän. The sauwastika is included in the Unicode character sets of two languages. In Unicode 5. European hypotheses of the swastika are often treated in conjunction with cross symbols in general, such as the sun cross of Bronze Age religion.

As such it is a symbol of life, of the vivifying role of the supreme principle of the universe, the absolute God , in relation to the cosmic order.

It represents the activity the Hellenic Logos , the Hindu Om , the Chinese Taiyi , "Great One" of the principle of the universe in the formation of the world.

He argues that this symbol was later attested as the four-horse chariot of Mithra in ancient Iranian culture. They believed the cosmos was pulled by four heavenly horses who revolved around a fixed centre in a clockwise direction.

He suggests that this notion later flourished in Roman Mithraism , as the symbol appears in Mithraic iconography and astronomical representations.

In his book Comet , Carl Sagan reproduces a Han-dynasty Chinese manuscript the Book of Silk , 2nd century BCE that shows comet tail varieties: most are variations on simple comet tails, but the last shows the comet nucleus with four bent arms extending from it, recalling a swastika.

Sagan suggests that in antiquity a comet could have approached so close to Earth that the jets of gas streaming from it, bent by the comet's rotation, became visible, leading to the adoption of the swastika as a symbol across the world.

Bob Kobres in his paper Comets and the Bronze Age Collapse contends that the swastika-like comet on the Han-dynasty silk comet manuscript was labeled a "long tailed pheasant star" dixing because of its resemblance to a bird's foot or footprint, [50] the latter comparison also being drawn by J.

Hewitt's observation on page of Primitive Traditional History: vol. The earliest known swastika is from 10, BCE — part of "an intricate meander pattern of joined-up swastikas" found on a late paleolithic figurine of a bird, carved from mammoth ivory, found in Mezine , Ukraine.

It has been suggested that this swastika may be a stylized picture of a stork in flight. Mirror-image swastikas clockwise and anti-clockwise have been found on ceramic pottery in the Devetashka cave , Bulgaria , dated to 6, BCE.

Some of the earliest archaeological evidence of the swastika in the Indian subcontinent can be dated to 3, BCE. The investigators put forth the theory that the swastika moved westward from India to Finland , Scandinavia , the Scottish Highlands and other parts of Europe.

Swastikas have also been found on pottery in archaeological digs in Africa, in the area of Kush and on pottery at the Jebel Barkal temples, [59] in Iron Age designs of the northern Caucasus Koban culture , and in Neolithic China in the Majiabang [60] and Majiayao [61] cultures.

In Sintashta culture 's " Country of Towns ", ancient Indo-European settlements in southern Russia , it has been found a great concentration of some of the oldest swastika patterns.

The swastika is also seen in Egypt during the Coptic period. Textile number T. The Tierwirbel the German for "animal whorl" or "whirl of animals" [65] is a characteristic motif in Bronze Age Central Asia, the Eurasian Steppe , and later also in Iron Age Scythian and European Baltic [66] and Germanic culture, showing rotational symmetric arrangement of an animal motif , often four birds' heads.

Even wider diffusion of this "Asiatic" theme has been proposed, to the Pacific and even North America especially Moundville. The petroglyph with swastikas, Gegham mountains , Armenia [68].

The Victorian-era reproduction of the Swastika Stone on Ilkley Moor , which sits near the original to aid visitors in interpreting the carving.

In all these cultures, the swastika symbol does not appear to occupy any marked position or significance, appearing as just one form of a series of similar symbols of varying complexity.

In the Zoroastrian religion of Persia, the swastika was a symbol of the revolving sun, infinity, or continuing creation. The icon has been of spiritual significance to Indian religions such as Hinduism, Buddhism and Jainism.

All Jain temples and holy books must contain the swastika and ceremonies typically begin and end with creating a swastika mark several times with rice around the altar.

The four arms of the swastika symbolize the four places where a soul could be reborn in the cycle of birth and death — svarga "heaven", naraka "hell", manushya "humanity" or tiryancha "as flora or fauna" — before the soul attains moksha "salvation" as a siddha , having ended the cycle of birth and death and become omniscient.

The swastika is an important Hindu symbol. The swastika has a particular association with Diwali , being drawn in rangoli coloured sand or formed with deepak lights on the floor outside Hindu houses and on wall hangings and other decorations.

In the diverse traditions within Hinduism, both the clockwise and counterclockwise swastika are found, with different meanings.

The clockwise or right hand icon is called swastika , while the counterclockwise or left hand icon is called sauvastika. It is one of the important monuments of Pallava dynasty.

In Buddhism , the swastika is considered to symbolize the auspicious footprints of the Buddha. The swastika symbol is common in esoteric tantric traditions of Buddhism, along with Hinduism, where it is found with Chakra theories and other meditative aids.

Swastika-like symbols were in use in China already in Neolithic scripts. In East Asian countries, the left-facing character is often used as symbol for Buddhism and marks the site of a Buddhist temple on maps.

In Chinese, Japanese, and Korean the swastika is also a homonym of the number 10,, and is commonly used to represent the whole of creation, e.

When the Chinese writing system was introduced to Japan in the 8th century, the swastika was adopted into the Japanese language and culture.

It is commonly referred as the manji lit. Since the Middle Ages, it has been used as a mon by various Japanese families such as Tsugaru clan , Hachisuka clan or around 60 clans that belong to Tokugawa clan.

In Chinese and Japanese art, the swastika is often found as part of a repeating pattern. One common pattern, called sayagata in Japanese, comprises left- and right-facing swastikas joined by lines.

An object very much like a hammer or a double axe is depicted among the magical symbols on the drums of Sami shamans, used in their religious ceremonies before Christianity was established.

Sometimes on the drums, a male figure with a hammer-like object in either hand is shown, and sometimes it is more like a cross with crooked ends, or a swastika.

The pagan Anglo-Saxon ship burial at Sutton Hoo , England, contained numerous items bearing the swastika, now housed in the collection of the Cambridge Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology.

Hilda Ellis Davidson theorized that the swastika symbol was associated with Thor , possibly representing his Mjolnir — symbolic of thunder — and possibly being connected to the Bronze Age sun cross.

She placed it where she could for happiness, including drawing it in pencil on the walls and windows in the Ipatiev House — where the royal family was executed.

There, she also drew a swastika on the wallpaper above the bed where the heir apparently slept. The neo-Nazi Russian National Unity group's branch in Estonia is officially registered under the name "Kolovrat" and published an extremist newspaper in under the same name.

One Narva resident was sentenced to 1 year in jail for distribution of Kolovrat. The perpetrator of the Christchurch mosque shootings in Christchurch , New Zealand used the Kolovrat swastika on one of his dog tags alongside the Celtic Cross.

The bronze frontispiece of a ritual pre-Christian c. At the Northern edge of Ilkley Moor in West Yorkshire , there is a swastika-shaped pattern engraved in a stone known as the Swastika Stone.

Ancient Greek architectural, clothing and coin designs are replete with single or interlinking swastika motifs.

There are also gold plate fibulae from the 8th century BCE decorated with an engraved swastika. The swastika symbol is also known in these contexts by a number of names, especially gammadion , [] or rather the tetra-gammadion.

Ancient Greek architectural designs are replete with the interlinking symbol. In Greco-Roman art and architecture, and in Romanesque and Gothic art in the West, isolated swastikas are relatively rare, and the swastika is more commonly found as a repeated element in a border or tessellation.

The swastika often represented perpetual motion, reflecting the design of a rotating windmill or watermill. A meander of connected swastikas makes up the large band that surrounds the Augustan Ara Pacis.

A design of interlocking swastikas is one of several tessellations on the floor of the cathedral of Amiens , France.

A swastika border is one form of meander , and the individual swastikas in such a border are sometimes called Greek keys. There have also been swastikas found on the floors of Pompeii.

Bronze Age Mycenaean "doll" with human, solar and tetragammadion swastika symbols, Louvre Museum. Greek helmet with swastika marks on the top part circled , — BCE from Taranto , found at Herculanum.

Two sauwastikas opposite-facing swastikas on an ancient Greek kantharos , Attica, c. The swastika was widespread among the Illyrians , symbolizing the Sun.

The Sun cult was the main Illyrian cult; the Sun was represented by a swastika in clockwise motion, and it stood for the movement of the Sun.

Swastikas in Armenia were founded on petroglyphs from the copper age, predating the Bronze Age. During the Bronze Age it was depicted on cauldrons , belts, medallions and other items.

Swastikas can also be seen on early Medieval churches and fortresses, including the principal tower in Armenia's historical capital city of Ani.

Swastika shapes have been found on numerous artifacts from Iron Age Europe. In Christianity, the swastika is used as a hooked version of the Christian Cross , the symbol of Christ's victory over death.

Some Christian churches built in the Romanesque and Gothic eras are decorated with swastikas, carrying over earlier Roman designs. Swastikas are prominently displayed in a mosaic in the St.

Sophia church of Kiev , Ukraine dating from the 12th century. They also appear as a repeating ornamental motif on a tomb in the Basilica of St. Ambrose in Milan.

A ceiling painted in in the church of St Laurent in Grenoble has many swastikas. It can be visited today because the church became the archaeological museum of the city.

A proposed direct link between it and a swastika floor mosaic in the Cathedral of Our Lady of Amiens , which was built on top of a pagan site at Amiens , France in the 13th century, is considered unlikely.

The stole worn by a priest in the painting of the Seven Sacraments by Rogier van der Weyden presents the swastika form simply as one way of depicting the cross.

Swastikas also appear in art and architecture during the Renaissance and Baroque era. The fresco The School of Athens shows an ornament made out of swastikas, and the symbol can also be found on the facade of the Santa Maria della Salute , a Roman Catholic church and minor basilica located at Punta della Dogana in the Dorsoduro sestiere of the city of Venice.

In the Polish First Republic the symbol of the swastika was also popular with the nobility. According to chronicles, the Rus' prince Oleg , who in the 9th century attacked Constantinople , nailed his shield which had a large red swastika painted on it to the city's gates.

Boreyko, Borzym, and Radziechowski from Ruthenia, also had swastikas as their coat of arms. The family reached its greatness in the 14th and 15th centuries and its crest can be seen in many heraldry books produced at that time.

The swastika was also a heraldic symbol, for example on the Boreyko coat of arms , used by noblemen in Poland and Ukraine.

In the 19th century the swastika was one of the Russian Empire's symbols, and was used on coinage as a backdrop to the Russian eagle.

A swastika can be seen on stonework at Valle Crucis Abbey , near Llangollen. Because the outer lines point counterclockwise instead of the swastika's clockwise-pointing ends, this is referred to as a sauwastika.

This pattern can be found in a Venetian palace that likely follows a Roman pattern, at Palazzo Roncale, Rovigo. A swastika composed of Hebrew letters as a mystical symbol from the Jewish Kabbalistic work "Parashat Eliezer".

Swastikas on the vestments of the effigy of Bishop William Edington d. Swastikas can be seen in various African cultures.

In Ethiopia the Swastika is carved in the window of the famous 12th Century rock-hewn church Lalibela. In Ghana, the swastika is among the adinkra symbols of the Akan peoples.

Called nkontim , Swastikas could be found on Ashanti gold weights and clothing. The swastika is a Navajo symbol for good luck, also translated to "whirling log".

The symbol was used on state road signs in Arizona. In the Western world, the symbol experienced a resurgence following the archaeological work in the late 19th century of Heinrich Schliemann , who discovered the symbol in the site of ancient Troy and associated it with the ancient migrations of Proto-Indo-Europeans , whose proto-language was not coincidentally termed "Proto-Indo-Germanic" by German language historians.

He connected it with similar shapes found on ancient pots in Germany, and theorized that the swastika was a "significant religious symbol of our remote ancestors", linking it to ancient Teutons , Greeks of the time of Homer and Indians of the Vedic era.

Schliemann's work soon became intertwined with the political völkisch movements, which used the swastika as a symbol for the " Aryan race " — a concept that theorists such as Alfred Rosenberg equated with a Nordic master race originating in northern Europe.

The swastika remains a core symbol of neo-Nazi groups. The Benedictine choir school at Lambach Abbey , Upper Austria, which Hitler attended for several months as a boy, had a swastika chiseled into the monastery portal and also the wall above the spring grotto in the courtyard by Their origin was the personal coat of arms of Abbot Theoderich Hagn of the monastery in Lambach, which bore a golden swastika with slanted points on a blue field.

In the s the Theosophical Society adopted a swastika as part of its seal, along with an Om , a hexagram or star of David , an Ankh and an Ouroboros.

The current seal also includes the text "There is no religion higher than truth. The Danish brewery company Carlsberg Group used the swastika as a logo [] from the 19th century until the middle of the s when it was discontinued because of association with the Nazi Party in neighbouring Germany.

In Copenhagen at the entrance gate, and tower, of the company's headquarters, built in , swastikas can still be seen.

The tower is supported by four stone elephants, each with a swastika on each side. The tower they support is topped with a spire, in the middle of which is a swastika.

In the fifties Heinrich Böll came across a van belonging to the company while he was staying in Ireland, leading to some awkward moments before he realized the company was older than Nazism and totally unrelated to it.

The chimney of the boiler-house of the laundry still stands, but the laundry has been redeveloped. In Finland, the swastika vääräpää meaning 'crooked-head', and later hakaristi , meaning 'hook-cross' was often used in traditional folk-art products, as a decoration or magical symbol on textiles and wood.

The swastika was also used by the Finnish Air Force until , and is still used on air force flags. The tursaansydän , an elaboration on the swastika, is used by scouts in some instances, [] and by a student organization.

Traditional textiles are still made in Finland with swastikas as parts of traditional ornaments. The Finnish Air Force used the swastika as an emblem, introduced in , until January [].

The type of swastika adopted by the air-force was the symbol of luck for the Swedish count Eric von Rosen , who donated one of its earliest aircraft; he later became a prominent figure in the Swedish nazi-movement.

The swastika was also used by the women's paramilitary organization Lotta Svärd , which was banned in in accordance with the Moscow Armistice between Finland and the allied Soviet Union and Britain.

According to the protocol, the president shall wear the Grand Cross of the White Rose with collar on formal occasions. The original design of the collar, decorated with 9 swastikas, dates from and was designed by the artist Akseli Gallen-Kallela.

The Grand Cross with the swastika collar has been awarded 41 times to foreign heads of state. To avoid misunderstandings, the swastika decorations were replaced by fir crosses at the decision of president Urho Kekkonen in after it became known that the President of France Charles De Gaulle was uncomfortable with the swastika collar.

Also a design by Gallen-Kallela from , the Cross of Liberty has a swastika pattern in its arms. The Cross of Liberty is depicted in the upper left corner of the standard of the President of Finland.

In December , a silver replica of the World War II-period Finnish air defence's relief ring decorated with a swastika became available as a part of a charity campaign.

The original war-time idea was that the public swap their precious metal rings for the state air defence's relief ring, made of iron.

In , the old logo of Finnish Air Force Command with Swastika was replaced by a new logo showing golden eagle and a circle of wings.

However, the logo of Finland's air force academy still keeps the swastika symbol. Earlier versions pointed counter-clockwise, while later versions pointed clock-wise and eliminated the white background.

As in Latvia, the symbol is a traditional Baltic ornament, [] [] found on relics dating from at least the 13th century. The traditional symbols of the Podhale Rifles include the edelweiss flower and the Mountain Cross, a swastika symbol popular in folk culture of the Polish mountainous regions.

The units of Podhale Rifles, both historical and modern, are notable for their high morale and distinctive uniforms.

The logo was replaced in , when Adolf Hitler came to power in Germany. During the early s, the swastika was used as a symbol of electric power, perhaps because it resembled a waterwheel or turbine.

On maps of the period, the sites of hydroelectric power stations were marked with swastikas. Swastikas adorn its wrought iron gates. The architects knew the swastika as a symbol of electricity [ citation needed ] and were probably not yet aware that it had been usurped by the German Nazi party and would soon become the foremost symbol of the German Reich.

The fact that these gates survived the cleanup after the German occupation of Norway during WW II is a testimony to the innocence and good faith of the power plant and its architects.

The swastika motif is found in some traditional Native American art and iconography. Historically, the design has been found in excavations of Mississippian -era sites in the Ohio and Mississippi River valleys, and on objects associated with the Southeastern Ceremonial Complex S.

It is also widely used by a number of southwestern tribes, most notably the Navajo , and plains nations such as the Dakota. Among various tribes, the swastika carries different meanings.

The Passamaquoddy Native American tribe, now located in the state of Maine and in Canada , used an elongated swastika on their war canoes in the American colonial period as well as later.

Before the s, the symbol for the 45th Infantry Division of the United States Army was a red diamond with a yellow swastika, a tribute to the large Native American population in the southwestern United States.

It was later replaced with a thunderbird symbol. A swastika shape is a symbol in the culture of the Kuna people of Kuna Yala , Panama.

In Kuna tradition it symbolizes the octopus that created the world, its tentacles pointing to the four cardinal points.

In February , the Kuna revolted vigorously against Panamanian suppression of their culture, and in they assumed autonomy. The flag they adopted at that time is based on the swastika shape, and remains the official flag of Kuna Yala.

A number of variations on the flag have been used over the years: red top and bottom bands instead of orange were previously used, and in a ring representing the traditional Kuna nose-ring was added to the center of the flag to distance it from the symbol of the Nazi party.

The town of Swastika, Ontario, Canada , is named after the symbol. From to , the K-R-I-T automobile, manufactured in Detroit, Michigan, used a right-facing swastika as their trademark.

Chief William Neptune of the Passamaquoddy , wearing a headdress and outfit adorned with swastikas. Chilocco Indian Agricultural School basketball team in Fernie Swastikas women's hockey team, The Buffum tool company of Louisiana used the swastika as its trademark.

It went out of business in the s. The swastika was widely used in Europe at the start of the 20th century. It symbolized many things to the Europeans, with the most common symbolism being of good luck and auspiciousness.

This insignia was used on the party's flag, badge, and armband. In his work Mein Kampf , Adolf Hitler writes that: "I myself, meanwhile, after innumerable attempts, had laid down a final form; a flag with a red background, a white disk, and a black Hakenkreuz in the middle.

After long trials I also found a definite proportion between the size of the flag and the size of the white disk, as well as the shape and thickness of the Hakenkreuz.

When Hitler created a flag for the Nazi Party, he sought to incorporate both the Hakenkreuz and "those revered colors expressive of our homage to the glorious past and which once brought so much honor to the German nation".

Red, white, and black were the colors of the flag of the old German Empire. He also stated: "As National Socialists, we see our program in our flag.

In red, we see the social idea of the movement; in white, the nationalistic idea; in the Hakenkreuz, the mission of the struggle for the victory of the Aryan man, and, by the same token, the victory of the idea of creative work.

The swastika was also understood as "the symbol of the creating, effecting life" das Symbol des schaffenden, wirkenden Lebens and as "race emblem of Germanism" Rasseabzeichen des Germanentums.

The concept of racial hygiene was an ideology central to Nazism, though it is scientific racism. Following many other writers, the German nationalist poet Guido von List believed it was a uniquely Aryan symbol.

Before the Nazis, the swastika was already in use as a symbol of German völkisch nationalist movements Völkische Bewegung. During World War II it was common to use small swastikas to mark air-to-air victories on the sides of Allied aircraft, and at least one British fighter pilot inscribed a swastika in his logbook for each German plane he shot down.

Because of its use by Nazi Germany, the swastika since the s has been largely associated with Nazism. In the aftermath of World War II it has been considered a symbol of hate in the West, [] and of white supremacy in many Western countries.

As a result, all use of it, or its use as a Nazi or hate symbol, is prohibited in some countries, including Germany.

Because of the stigma attached to the symbol, many buildings that have used the symbol as decoration have had the symbol removed.

Black , the highest courts have ruled that the local governments can prohibit the use of swastika along with other symbols such as cross burning, if the intent of the use is to intimidate others.

The German and Austrian postwar criminal code makes the public showing of the Hakenkreuz the swastika , the sig rune , the Celtic cross specifically the variations used by white power activists , the wolfsangel , the odal rune and the Totenkopf skull illegal, except for scholarly reasons.

It is also censored from the reprints of s railway timetables published by the Reichsbahn. The swastikas on Hindu, Buddhist, and Jain temples are exempt, as religious symbols cannot be banned in Germany.

A controversy was stirred by the decision of several police departments to begin inquiries against anti-fascists. In the Stade police department started an inquiry against anti-fascist youths using a placard depicting a person dumping a swastika into a trashcan.

The placard was displayed in opposition to the campaign of right-wing nationalist parties for local elections. On Friday, 17 March , a member of the Bundestag , Claudia Roth reported herself to the German police for displaying a crossed-out swastika in multiple demonstrations against Neo-Nazis , and subsequently got the Bundestag to suspend her immunity from prosecution.

She intended to show the absurdity of charging anti-fascists with using fascist symbols: "We don't need prosecution of non-violent young people engaging against right-wing extremism.

On 9 August , Germany lifted the ban on the usage of swastikas and other Nazi symbols in video games. The European Union's Executive Commission proposed a European Union-wide anti-racism law in , but European Union states failed to agree on the balance between prohibiting racism and freedom of expression.

In early , while Germany held the European Union presidency, Berlin proposed that the European Union should follow German Criminal Law and criminalize the denial of the Holocaust and the display of Nazi symbols including the swastika, which is based on the Ban on the Symbols of Unconstitutional Organizations Act.

This led to an opposition campaign by Hindu groups across Europe against a ban on the swastika. They pointed out that the swastika has been around for 5, years as a symbol of peace.

The public display of Nazi -era German flags or any other flags is protected by the First Amendment to the United States Constitution , which guarantees the right to freedom of speech.

As with many neo-Nazi groups across the world, the American Nazi Party used the swastika as part of its flag before its first dissolution in The symbol was chosen by the organization's founder, George L.

The swastika, in various iconographic forms, is one of the hate symbols identified in use as graffiti in US schools, and is described as such in a US Department of Education document, "Responding to Hate at School: A Guide for Teachers, Counselors and Administrators", edited by Jim Carnes, which provides advice to educators on how to support students targeted by such hate symbols and address hate graffiti.

Examples given show that it is often used alongside other white supremacist symbols, such as those of the Ku Klux Klan , and note a "three-bladed" variation used by skinheads , white supremacists, and "some South African extremist groups".

In the Anti-Defamation League ADL downgraded the swastika from its status as a Jewish hate symbol, saying "We know that the swastika has, for some, lost its meaning as the primary symbol of Nazism and instead become a more generalized symbol of hate".

In , Microsoft officially spoke out against use of the swastika by players of the first-person shooter Call of Duty: Black Ops. In Black Ops , players are allowed to customize their name tags to represent, essentially, whatever they want.

The swastika can be created and used, but Stephen Toulouse , director of Xbox Live policy and enforcement, stated that players with the symbol on their name tag will be banned if someone reports it as inappropriate from Xbox Live.

The swastika has been replaced by a stylized Greek cross. In , authorities in Tajikistan called for the widespread adoption of the swastika as a national symbol.

President Emomali Rahmonov declared the swastika an Aryan symbol, and "the year of Aryan culture", which would be a time to "study and popularize Aryan contributions to the history of the world civilization, raise a new generation of Tajiks with the spirit of national self-determination, and develop deeper ties with other ethnicities and cultures".

In East Asia, the swastika is prevalent in Buddhist monasteries and communities. It is commonly found in Buddhist temples, religious artefacts, texts related to Buddhism and schools founded by Buddhist religious groups.

It also appears as a design or motif singularly or woven into a pattern on textiles, architecture and various decorative objects as a symbol of luck and good fortune.

The icon is also found as a sacred symbol in the Bon tradition, but in the left facing mode. Many Chinese religions make use of the swastika symbol, including Guiyidao and Shanrendao.

All of them show the swastika in their logos. Among the predominantly Hindu population of Bali , in Indonesia , the swastika is common in temples, homes and public spaces.

Similarly, the swastika is a common icon associated with Buddha's footprints in Theravada Buddhist communities of Myanmar, Thailand and Cambodia.

Folk high schools are a distinctly Nordic institution. Originating in Denmark in the 19th century, folk high schools became common throughout the region.

Adults of all ages could stay at them for several weeks and take courses in subjects that ranged from handicrafts to economics. Finland is highly productive in scientific research.

In addition, 38 percent of Finland's population has a university or college degree , which is among the highest percentages in the world.

In a new law was enacted considering the universities, which defined that there are 16 of them as they were excluded from the public sector to be autonomous legal and financial entities, however enjoying special status in the legislation.

The change caused deep rooted discussions among the academic circles. English language is important in Finnish education.

There are a number of degree programs that are taught in English, which attracts thousands of degree and exchange students every year.

In December the OECD reported that Finnish fathers spend an average of eight minutes a day more with their school-aged children than mothers do.

Written Finnish could be said to have existed since Mikael Agricola translated the New Testament into Finnish during the Protestant Reformation , but few notable works of literature were written until the 19th century and the beginning of a Finnish national Romantic Movement.

This prompted Elias Lönnrot to collect Finnish and Karelian folk poetry and arrange and publish them as the Kalevala , the Finnish national epic.

Many writers of the national awakening wrote in Swedish, such as the national poet Johan Ludvig Runeberg and Zachris Topelius.

After Finland became independent, there was a rise of modernist writers , most famously the Finnish-speaking Mika Waltari and Swedish-speaking Edith Södergran.

World War II prompted a return to more national interests in comparison to a more international line of thought, characterized by Väinö Linna.

The visual arts in Finland started to form their individual characteristics in the 19th century, when Romantic nationalism was rising in autonomic Finland.

The best known of Finnish painters, Akseli Gallen-Kallela , started painting in a naturalist style, but moved to national romanticism.

Finland's best-known sculptor of the 20th century was Wäinö Aaltonen , remembered for his monumental busts and sculptures. Finns have made major contributions to handicrafts and industrial design : among the internationally renowned figures are Timo Sarpaneva , Tapio Wirkkala and Ilmari Tapiovaara.

Finnish architecture is famous around the world, and has contributed significantly to several styles internationally, such as Jugendstil or Art Nouveau , Nordic Classicism and Functionalism.

Among the top 20th-century Finnish architects to gain international recognition are Eliel Saarinen and his son Eero Saarinen. Architect Alvar Aalto is regarded as among the most important 20th-century designers in the world; [] he helped bring functionalist architecture to Finland, but soon was a pioneer in its development towards an organic style.

Much of Finland's classical music is influenced by traditional Karelian melodies and lyrics, as comprised in the Kalevala. Karelian culture is perceived as the purest expression of the Finnic myths and beliefs, less influenced by Germanic influence than the Nordic folk dance music that largely replaced the kalevaic tradition.

Finnish folk music has undergone a roots revival in recent decades, and has become a part of popular music. The people of northern Finland, Sweden, and Norway, the Sami , are known primarily for highly spiritual songs called joik.

The same word sometimes refers to lavlu or vuelie songs, though this is technically incorrect. The first Finnish opera was written by the German-born composer Fredrik Pacius in In the s Finnish nationalism based on the Kalevala spread, and Jean Sibelius became famous for his vocal symphony Kullervo.

He soon received a grant to study runo singers in Karelia and continued his rise as the first prominent Finnish musician.

In he composed Finlandia , which played its important role in Finland gaining independence. He remains one of Finland's most popular national figures and is a symbol of the nation.

Another one of the most significant and internationally best-known Finnish-born classical composers long before Sibelius was Bernhard Crusell.

Today, Finland has a very lively classical music scene and many of Finland's important composers are still alive, such as Magnus Lindberg , Kaija Saariaho , Kalevi Aho , and Aulis Sallinen.

Iskelmä coined directly from the German word Schlager , meaning "hit" is a traditional Finnish word for a light popular song. Modern Finnish popular music includes a number of prominent rock bands, jazz musicians, hip hop performers, dance music acts, etc.

During the early s, the first significant wave of Finnish rock groups emerged, playing instrumental rock inspired by groups such as The Shadows. Around , Beatlemania arrived in Finland, resulting in further development of the local rock scene.

During the late s and '70s, Finnish rock musicians increasingly wrote their own music instead of translating international hits into Finnish.

During the decade, some progressive rock groups such as Tasavallan Presidentti and Wigwam gained respect abroad but failed to make a commercial breakthrough outside Finland.

This was also the fate of the rock and roll group Hurriganes. The Finnish punk scene produced some internationally acknowledged names including Terveet Kädet in the s.

Hanoi Rocks was a pioneering s glam rock act that inspired the American hard rock group Guns N' Roses , among others.

Many Finnish metal bands have gained international recognition. HIM and Nightwish are some of Finland's most internationally known bands.

Apocalyptica are an internationally famous Finnish group who are most renowned for mixing strings-led classical music with classic heavy metal. Around twelve feature films are made each year.

Finland's most internationally successful TV shows are the backpacking travel documentary series Madventures and the reality TV show The Dudesons , about four childhood friends who perform stunts and play pranks on each other, which have a similar vein to the American TV show Jackass ; Bam Margera , an American professional skateboarder and stunt performer from Jackass , is actually one of good friends of the Dudesons group.

Thanks to its emphasis on transparency and equal rights, Finland's press has been rated the freest in the world.

Today, there are around newspapers, popular magazines, 2, professional magazines, 67 commercial radio stations, three digital radio channels and one nationwide and five national public service radio channels.

Each year, around 12, book titles are published and 12 million records are sold. Sanoma publishes the newspaper Helsingin Sanomat its circulation of , [] making it the largest , the tabloid Ilta-Sanomat , the commerce-oriented Taloussanomat and the television channel Nelonen.

The other major publisher Alma Media publishes over thirty magazines, including the newspaper Aamulehti , tabloid Iltalehti and commerce-oriented Kauppalehti.

Worldwide, Finns, along with other Nordic peoples and the Japanese, spend the most time reading newspapers. Yle, the Finnish Broadcasting Company, operates five television channels and thirteen radio channels in both national languages.

Yle is funded through a mandatory television license and fees for private broadcasters. All TV channels are broadcast digitally , both terrestrially and on cable.

In regards to telecommunication infrastructure, Finland is the highest ranked country in the World Economic Forum's Network Readiness Index NRI — an indicator for determining the development level of a country's information and communication technologies.

Finland ranked 1st overall in the NRI ranking, unchanged from the year before. Value-added services are rare.

Finnish cuisine is notable for generally combining traditional country fare and haute cuisine with contemporary style cooking. Fish and meat play a prominent role in traditional Finnish dishes from the western part of the country, while the dishes from the eastern part have traditionally included various vegetables and mushrooms.

Refugees from Karelia contributed to foods in eastern Finland. Finnish foods often use wholemeal products rye , barley , oats and berries such as bilberries , lingonberries , cloudberries , and sea buckthorn.

Milk and its derivatives like buttermilk are commonly used as food, drink, or in various recipes. Various turnips were common in traditional cooking, but were replaced with the potato after its introduction in the 18th century.

According to the statistics, red meat consumption has risen, but still Finns eat less beef than many other nations, and more fish and poultry.

This is mainly because of the high cost of meat in Finland. Finland has the world's highest per capita consumption of coffee. All official holidays in Finland are established by Acts of Parliament.

Christmas is the most extensively celebrated, and at least 24 to 26 December is taken as a holiday. Various sporting events are popular in Finland.

Pesäpallo , resembling baseball, is the national sport of Finland, although the most popular sports in terms of spectators is ice hockey.

In terms of medals and gold medals won per capita, Finland is the best performing country in Olympic history. At the Summer Olympics , great pride was taken in the three gold medals won by the original " Flying Finn " Hannes Kolehmainen.

At the Summer Olympics , Finland, a nation then of only 3. In the s and '30s, Finnish long-distance runners dominated the Olympics, with Paavo Nurmi winning a total of nine Olympic gold medals between and and setting 22 official world records between and Nurmi is often considered the greatest Finnish sportsman and one of the greatest athletes of all time.

For over years, Finnish male and female athletes have consistently excelled at the javelin throw. The event has brought Finland nine Olympic gold medals, five world championships, five European championships, and 24 world records.

Finland is also one of the most successful nations in bandy , being the only nation beside Russia and Sweden to win a Bandy World Championship. The Summer Olympics were held in Helsinki.

Other notable sporting events held in Finland include the and World Championships in Athletics. Finland also has a notable history in figure skating.

Finnish skaters have won 8 world championships and 13 junior world cups in synchronized skating, and Finland is considered one of the best countries at the sport.

Some of the most popular recreational sports and activities include floorball , Nordic walking , running, cycling, and skiing alpine skiing , cross-country skiing , and ski jumping.

Floorball, in terms of registered players, occupies third place after football and ice hockey. According to the Finnish Floorball Federation, floorball is the most popular school, youth, club and workplace sport.

More than 8, Finns travelled to Spain to support their team. Overall, they chartered more than 40 airplanes.

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. This is the latest accepted revision , reviewed on 1 August This article is about the European country.

For other uses, see Finland disambiguation. Nordic country on the Baltic Sea. Show globe. Show map of Europe. Finnish Finn. Main article: History of Finland.

Main article: Finland under Swedish rule. Main article: Grand Duchy of Finland. See also: Finland's language strife and Russification of Finland.

Main article: Geography of Finland. Main articles: Fauna of Finland and Wildlife of Finland. Main article: Climate of Finland. Main article: Regions of Finland.

North Ostrobothnia. North Karelia. Northern Savonia. Southern Savonia. South Ostrobothnia. Central Ostrobothnia. Central Finland.

Southwest Finland. South Karelia. Päijänne Tavastia. Tavastia Proper. Main article: Politics of Finland. See also: List of political parties in Finland and Human rights in Finland.

Main article: President of Finland. Main article: Parliament of Finland. Main articles: Law of Finland and Judicial system of Finland. Main article: Foreign relations of Finland.

Main article: Social security in Finland. See also: List of wars involving Finland. Main article: Economy of Finland.

Main article: Transport in Finland. A VR Class Sr2 locomotive. Three VR Class Sr3 locomotives. A train of the Helsinki commuter rail network.

The state-owned VR operates a railway network serving all major cities in Finland. See also: Nordic model. Main article: Tourism in Finland.

Main article: Demographics of Finland. Other European 4. Asian 2. African 0. Other 0. Languages in Finland [] Languages percent Finnish.

Main article: Religion in Finland. Orthodox Church 1. Other Christian 0. Other religions 0. Unaffiliated Main article: Healthcare in Finland.

Main article: Education in Finland. See also: List of universities in Finland and List of schools in Finland.

Main article: Culture of Finland. Main article: Finnish literature. See also: Architecture of Finland and Art in Finland. Main articles: Cinema of Finland and Television in Finland.

See also: Lists of Finnish films. See also: Telecommunications in Finland and List of newspapers in Finland. Main article: Finnish cuisine. Main articles: Public holidays in Finland and Flag days in Finland.

Main article: Sport in Finland. Finland portal. Legislation recognises only the short name. See Geonames. Scandinavian Political Studies.

According to the Finnish Constitution, the president has no possibility to rule the government without the ministerial approval, and does not have the power to dissolve the parliament under his or her own desire.

Finland is actually represented by its prime minister, and not by its president, in the Council of the Heads of State and Government of the European Union.

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Finland Asian Video

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The rupture of established social patterns brought uncertainty and an increased potential for conflict into personal relationships.

Demographic statistics according to the World Population Review in No official statistics are kept on ethnicities. However, statistics of the Finnish population according to language, citizenship and country of birth are available.

According to international census recommendations an ethnic group is defined by the perception of its members of historical and regional or national origin, and data or ethnic status should always be based on a person's own statement.

Because the census in Finland is based on registries, Finland can not produce official statistics about ethnic groups. Finnish and Swedish are defined as languages of the state.

Swedish is an official municipal language in municipalities with significant Swedish-speaking populations. The largest minority group in Finland is the Swedish-speaking Finns, who in numbered about ,, with all Swedish speakers in the country making a total of , which is 5.

Majority of Swedish-speakers live in unilingual Swedish-speaking municipalities. In around Pakistanis came to Finland for jobs.

Finland didn't want cheap labour so they turned them all down. The Sami are related to the Finns, both speak non-Indo-European languages belonging to the Uralic family of languages.

Once present throughout the country, the Sami gradually moved northward under the pressure of the advancing Finns. As they were a nomadic people in a sparsely settled land, the Sami were always able to find new and open territory in which to follow their traditional activities of hunting, fishing, and slash-and-burn agriculture.

By the 16th century, most Sami lived in the northern half of the country, and it was during this period that they converted to Christianity. By the 19th century, most of them lived in the parts of Lapland that were still their home in the s.

The last major shift in Sami settlement was the migration westward of Skolt Sami from the Petsamo region after it was ceded to the Soviet Union in A reminder of their eastern origin was their Orthodox faith; the remaining 85 percent of Finland's Sami were Lutheran.

As of , about 90 percent of Finland's 4, Sami lived in the municipalities of Enontekiö , Inari , and Utsjoki , and in the reindeer herding-area of Sodankylä.

According to Finnish regulations, anyone who spoke one of the Sami languages , or who had a relative who was a Sami, was registered as a Sami in census records.

Finnish Sami spoke three distinct Sami languages , but by the late s perhaps only a minority actually had Sami as their first language.

Sami children had the right to instruction in Sami, but there were few qualified instructors or textbooks available. One reason for the scarcity of written material in Sami is that the three languages spoken in Finland made agreement about a common orthography difficult.

Perhaps these shortcomings explained why a study found the educational level of Sami to be considerably lower than that of other Finns.

Few Finnish Sami actually led the traditional nomadic life pictured in school geography texts and in travel brochures.

Although many Sami living in rural regions of Lapland earned some of their livelihood from reindeer herding, it was estimated that Sami owned no more than one-third of Finland's , reindeer.

Only 5 percent of Finnish Sami had the herds of to reindeer needed to live entirely from this kind of work. Most Sami worked at more routine activities, including farming, construction, and service industries such as tourism.

Often a variety of jobs and sources of income supported Sami families, which were, on the average, twice the size of a typical Finnish family.

Sami also were aided by old-age pensions and by government welfare, which provided a greater share of their income than it did for Finns as a whole.

There have been many efforts over the years by Finnish authorities to safeguard the Sami' culture and way of life and to ease their entry into modern society.

Officials created bodies that dealt with the Sami minority, or formed committees that studied their situation. An early body was the Society for the Promotion of Lapp Culture, formed in In the government created the Advisory Commission on Lapp Affairs.

The Sami themselves formed the Saami-liitto in and the Johti Sabmelazzat, a more aggressive organization, in In the government arranged for elections every four years to a twenty-member Sami Parliaments that was to advise authorities.

On the international level, there was the Nordic Sami Council of , and there has been a regularly occurring regional conference since then that represented—in addition to Finland's Sami—Norway's 20, Sami, Sweden's 10, Sami, and the 1, to 2, Sami who remained in the Kola Peninsula in Russia.

Sami languages have an official status in the municipalities of Enontekiö , Inari , and Utsjoki , and in the northern part of Sodankylä since Russians in Finland had come from two major waves.

About 5, originate from a population that immigrated in the 19th and early 20th centuries, when Finland was a grand duchy of Imperial Russia. Another consisted of those who immigrated after the dissolution of the Soviet Union.

A significant catalyst was the right of return , based on President Koivisto 's initiative that people of Ingrian ancestry would be allowed to immigrate to Finland.

About 30, people have citizenship of the Russian Federation [34] and Russian is the mother language of about 70, people in Finland, which represents about 1.

Romani people , also called Kale and Roma, have been present in Finland since the second half of the 16th century. With their unusual dress, unique customs, and specialized trades for earning their livelihood, Roma have stood out, and their stay in the country has not been an easy one.

They have suffered periodic harassment from the hands of both private citizens and public officials, and the last of the special laws directed against them was repealed only in Even in the second half of the s, Finland's 5, to 6, Romani remained a distinct group, separated from the general population both by their own choice and by the fears and the prejudices many Finns felt toward them.

Finnish Roma, like Roma elsewhere, chose to live apart from the dominant societal groups. A Roma's loyalty was to his or her family and to their people in general.

Marriages with non-Roma were uncommon, and the Roma's own language, spoken as a first language only by a few in the s, was used to keep outsiders away.

An individual's place within Roma society was largely determined by age and by sex, old males having authority. A highly developed system of values and a code of conduct governed a Roma's behavior, and when Roma sanctions, violent or not, were imposed, for example via "blood feuds," they had far more meaning than any legal or social sanctions of Finnish society.

Unlike the Sami, who lived concentrated in a single region, the Romani lived throughout Finland. While most Sami wore ordinary clothing in their everyday life, Romani could be identified by their dress; the men generally wore high boots and the women almost always dressed in very full, long velvet skirts.

Like most Sami, however, Roma also had largely abandoned a nomadic way of life and had permanent residences.

Romani men had for centuries worked as horse traders, but they had adapted themselves to postwar Finland by being active as horse breeders and as dealers in cars and scrap metal.

Women continued their traditional trades of fortune telling and handicrafts. Since the s, Finnish authorities have undertaken measures to improve the Romani's standard of life.

Generous state financial arrangements have improved their housing. Their low educational level an estimated 20 percent of adult Romani could not read was raised, in part, through more vocational training.

A permanent Advisory Commission on Gypsy Affairs was set up in , and in racial discrimination was outlawed through an addition to the penal code. The law punished blatant acts such as barring Romani from restaurants or shops or subjecting them to unusual surveillance by shopkeepers or the police.

There are about 1, Jews in Finland, of whom live in Helsinki and most of the remainder live in Turku. During the period of Swedish rule, Jews had been forbidden to live in Finland.

Once the country became part of the Russian Empire, however, Jewish veterans of the Tsarist army had the right to settle anywhere they wished within the empire.

Although constrained by law to follow certain occupations, mainly those connected with the sale of clothes, the Jewish community in Finland was able to prosper, and by it numbered around 1, Finnish independence brought complete civil rights, and during the interwar period there were some 2, Jews in Finland, most of them living in urban areas in the south.

By the s, assimilation and emigration had significantly reduced the size of the community, and it was only with some difficulty that it maintained synagogues, schools, libraries, and other pertinent institutions.

The community of Finnish Tatars numbers only about The Tatars first came to Finland from the Russian Volga region near Nizni Novgorod's Tatar villages in the midth century and have remained there ever since, active in commerce.

The Tatars in Finland fully integrated into the Finnish society at the same time they preserved their religion, mother tongue and ethnic culture.

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Quite a different version of the Celtic triskelion, and perhaps the most common pre-Christian symbolism found throughout Armenian cultural tradition, is the round clockwise occasionally counter-clockwise whirling sun-like spiral fixed at a centre — the Armenian symbol of eternity.

Mehr, M. She viewed a tall building with spires and circular windows along the top of the walls. It was engraved with sun stones, a typical symbol of eternity in ancient Armenian architecture.

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There is also a High Court of Impeachment for criminal charges against certain high-ranking officeholders.

Some crime types are above average, notably the high homicide rate for Western Europe. Finland has successfully fought against government corruption, which was more common in the s and '80s.

In , Transparency International criticized the lack of transparency of the system of Finnish political finance. Nine Ministers of Government submitted incomplete funding reports and even more of the members of parliament.

The law includes no punishment of false funds reports of the elected politicians. According to the constitution, the president currently Sauli Niinistö leads foreign policy in cooperation with the government, except that the president has no role in EU affairs.

Finland has one of the world's most extensive welfare systems, one that guarantees decent living conditions for all residents: Finns, and non-citizens.

Since the s the social security has been cut back, but still the system is one of the most comprehensive in the world. Created almost entirely during the first three decades after World War II, the social security system was an outgrowth of the traditional Nordic belief that the state was not inherently hostile to the well-being of its citizens, but could intervene benevolently on their behalf.

According to some social historians, the basis of this belief was a relatively benign history that had allowed the gradual emergence of a free and independent peasantry in the Nordic countries and had curtailed the dominance of the nobility and the subsequent formation of a powerful right wing.

Finland's history has been harsher than the histories of the other Nordic countries, but not harsh enough to bar the country from following their path of social development.

The Finnish Defence Forces consist of a cadre of professional soldiers mainly officers and technical personnel , currently serving conscripts, and a large reserve.

A universal male conscription is in place, under which all male Finnish nationals above 18 years of age serve for 6 to 12 months of armed service or 12 months of civilian non-armed service.

Approximately women choose voluntary military service every year. The army consists of a highly mobile field army backed up by local defence units.

The army defends the national territory and its military strategy employs the use of the heavily forested terrain and numerous lakes to wear down an aggressor, instead of attempting to hold the attacking army on the frontier.

Finnish defence expenditure per capita is one of the highest in the European Union. The term total means that all sectors of the government and economy are involved in the defence planning.

The armed forces are under the command of the Chief of Defence currently General Jarmo Lindberg , who is directly subordinate to the president in matters related to military command.

The branches of the military are the army , the navy , and the air force. The border guard is under the Ministry of the Interior but can be incorporated into the Defence Forces when required for defence readiness.

At first he was reported be a casual Arabic student, however only later it was published that his studies were about jihadists, terrorism, and that he was employed by the military.

In May , Finnish Military sent nearly one million letters to all relevant males in the country, informing them about their roles in the war effort.

It was globally speculated that Finland was preparing for war—however Finland claimed that this was a standard procedure, yet something never done before in Finnish history.

The economy of Finland has a per capita output equal to that of other European economies such as those of France, Germany, Belgium , or the UK.

Primary production represents 2. The gross domestic product peaked in As of [update] , the country's economy is at the level.

Finland has significant timber, mineral iron , chromium , copper , nickel , and gold , and freshwater resources.

Knowledge-intensive services have also resulted in the smallest and slow-growth sectors — especially agriculture and low-technology manufacturing — being ranked the second largest after Ireland.

Finland is highly integrated into the global economy, and international trade produces one third of GDP. Trade policy is managed by the European Union, where Finland has traditionally been among the free trade supporters, except for agricultural policy.

Finland's climate and soils make growing crops a particular challenge. Annual precipitation is usually sufficient, but it occurs almost exclusively during the winter months, making summer droughts a constant threat.

In response to the climate, farmers have relied on quick-ripening and frost-resistant varieties of crops, and they have cultivated south-facing slopes as well as richer bottomlands to ensure production even in years with summer frosts.

Most farmland was originally either forest or swamp, and the soil has usually required treatment with lime and years of cultivation to neutralize excess acid and to improve fertility.

Irrigation has generally not been necessary, but drainage systems are often needed to remove excess water. Finland's agriculture has been efficient and productive—at least when compared with farming in other European countries.

Forests play a key role in the country's economy, making it one of the world's leading wood producers and providing raw materials at competitive prices for the crucial wood-processing industries.

As in agriculture, the government has long played a leading role in forestry, regulating tree cutting, sponsoring technical improvements, and establishing long-term plans to ensure that the country's forests continue to supply the wood-processing industries.

To maintain the country's comparative advantage in forest products, Finnish authorities moved to raise lumber output toward the country's ecological limits.

In , the government published the Forest plan, drawn up by the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry. Private sector employees amount to 1.

Gender segregation between male-dominated professions and female-dominated professions is higher than in the US. The unemployment rate was 9.

As of [update] , 2. The average size is 2. Residential buildings total 1. There are 2. However, second quarter of saw a slow economic growth.

Unemployment rate fell to a near one-decade low in June, marking private consumption growth much higher.

Finland has the highest concentration of cooperatives relative to its population. As of [update] , Finland has roughly the lowest industrial electricity prices in the EU equal to France.

In , the energy market was around 90 terawatt hours and the peak demand around 15 gigawatts in winter. This means that the energy consumption per capita is around 7.

The fifth AREVA - Siemens -built reactor — the world's largest at MWe and a focal point of Europe's nuclear industry — has faced many delays and is currently scheduled to be operational by —, a decade after the original planned opening.

The Onkalo spent nuclear fuel repository is currently under construction at the Olkiluoto Nuclear Power Plant in the municipality of Eurajoki , on the west coast of Finland, by the company Posiva.

The main international passenger gateway is Helsinki Airport , which handled about 17 million passengers in Oulu Airport is the second largest, whilst another 25 airports have scheduled passenger services.

Helsinki has an optimal location for great circle i. These services are branded as "Allegro" trains. The journey from Helsinki to Saint Petersburg takes only three and a half hours.

A high-speed rail line is planned between Helsinki and Turku , with a line from the capital to Tampere also proposed.

The majority of international cargo shipments are handled at ports. There is passenger traffic from Helsinki and Turku, which have ferry connections to Tallinn , Mariehamn , Stockholm and Travemünde.

The Helsinki-Tallinn route — one of the busiest passenger sea routes in the world — has also been served by a helicopter line, and the Helsinki-Tallinn Tunnel has been proposed to provide railway services between the two cities.

Initially, most of the economic development was based on two broad groups of export-led industries, the "metal industry" metalliteollisuus and "forest industry" metsäteollisuus.

The "metal industry" includes shipbuilding, metalworking, the automotive industry , engineered products such as motors and electronics , and production of metals and alloys including steel , copper and chromium.

Many of the world's biggest cruise ships , including MS Freedom of the Seas and the Oasis of the Seas have been built in Finnish shipyards.

However, in recent decades, the Finnish economy has diversified, with companies expanding into fields such as electronics Nokia , metrology Vaisala , petroleum Neste , and video games Rovio Entertainment , and is no longer dominated by the two sectors of metal and forest industry.

Likewise, the structure has changed, with the service sector growing, with manufacturing declining in importance; agriculture remains a minor part.

Despite this, production for export is still more prominent than in Western Europe, thus making Finland possibly more vulnerable to global economic trends.

In , the Finnish economy was estimated to consist of approximately 2. In , Finland was ranked 20th on the ease of doing business index , among jurisdictions.

Finnish politicians have often emulated other Nordics and the Nordic model. The level of protection in commodity trade has been low, except for agricultural products.

Finland has top levels of economic freedom in many areas. In the Business competitiveness index — Finland ranked third in the world.

Economists attribute much growth to reforms in the product markets. Nordic countries were pioneers in liberalizing energy, postal, and other markets in Europe.

This indicates exceptional ease in cross-border trading 5th , contract enforcement 7th , business closure 5th , tax payment 83rd , and low worker hardship th.

Finnish law forces all workers to obey the national contracts that are drafted every few years for each profession and seniority level.

A lack of a national agreement in an industry is considered an exception. Commercial cruises between major coastal and port cities in the Baltic region, including Helsinki, Turku , Mariehamn , Tallinn , Stockholm , and Travemünde , play a significant role in the local tourism industry.

By passenger counts, the Port of Helsinki is the busiest port in the world. Lapland has the highest tourism consumption of any Finnish region.

Lapland is so far north that the aurora borealis , fluorescence in the high atmosphere due to solar wind , is seen regularly in the fall, winter, and spring.

Tourist attractions in Finland include the natural landscape found throughout the country as well as urban attractions. Finland is covered with thick pine forests, rolling hills, and lakes.

Finland contains 40 national parks , from the Southern shores of the Gulf of Finland to the high fells of Lapland.

Outdoor activities range from Nordic skiing , golf, fishing, yachting , lake cruises, hiking, and kayaking , among many others.

Bird-watching is popular for those fond of avifauna, however hunting is also popular. Elk and hare are common game in Finland.

Finland also has urbanised regions with many cultural events and activities. Tourist attractions in Helsinki include the Helsinki Cathedral and the Suomenlinna sea fortress.

Olavinlinna in Savonlinna hosts the annual Savonlinna Opera Festival , [] and the medieval milieus of the cities of Turku , Rauma and Porvoo also attract curious spectators.

Population by ethnic background in [] []. The population of Finland is currently about 5. This is the third-lowest population density of any European country, behind those of Norway and Iceland , and the lowest population density in the EU.

Finland's population has always been concentrated in the southern parts of the country, a phenomenon that became even more pronounced during 20th-century urbanisation.

Two of the three largest cities in Finland are situated in the Greater Helsinki metropolitan area — Helsinki and Espoo.

Tampere holds the third place while also Helsinki-neighbouring Vantaa is the fourth. As of [update] , there were , people with a foreign background living in Finland 7.

If they are born in Finland and cannot get citizenship of any other country, they become citizens. The immigrant population is growing. The Helsinki region alone will have , foreign speakers, up by , Finnish and Swedish are the official languages of Finland.

The language is one of only four official EU languages not of Indo-European origin. Finnish is closely related to Karelian and Estonian and more remotely to the Sami languages and Hungarian.

Swedish is the native language of 5. The Nordic languages and Karelian are also specially treated in some contexts. Finnish Romani is spoken by some 5,—6, people; it and Finnish Sign Language are also recognized in the constitution.

There are two sign languages: Finnish Sign Language, spoken natively by 4,—5, people, [] and Finland-Swedish Sign Language , spoken natively by about people.

Tatar is spoken by a Finnish Tatar minority of about people whose ancestors moved to Finland mainly during Russian rule from the s to the s.

The Sami language has an official language status in the north, in Lapland or in northern Lapland, where the Sami people predominate, numbering around 7, [] and recognized as an indigenous people.

About a quarter of them speak a Sami language as their mother tongue. The rights of minority groups in particular Sami , Swedish speakers , and Romani people are protected by the constitution.

The largest immigrant languages are Russian 1. People can only register one language and so bilingual or multilingual language users' language competencies are not properly included.

A citizen of Finland that speaks bilingually Finnish and Swedish will often be registered as a Finnish only speaker in this system. Similarly "old domestic language" is a category applied to some languages and not others for political not linguistic reasons, for example Russian.

Religions in Finland []. With 3. A small minority belongs to the Finnish Orthodox Church 1. Other Protestant denominations and the Roman Catholic Church are significantly smaller, as are the Jewish and other non-Christian communities totalling 1.

The Pew Research Center estimated the Muslim population at 2. In , Finland was the first Nordic country to disestablish its Evangelical Lutheran church by introducing the Church Act, followed by the Church of Sweden in Although the church still maintains a special relationship with the state, it is not described as a state religion in the Finnish Constitution or other laws passed by the Finnish Parliament.

As an autonomous Grand Duchy under Russia —, Finland retained the Lutheran State Church system, and a state church separate from Sweden, later named the Evangelical Lutheran Church of Finland , was established.

It was detached from the state as a separate judicial entity when the new church law came to force in After Finland had gained independence in , religious freedom was declared in the constitution of and a separate law on religious freedom in Through this arrangement, the Evangelical Lutheran Church of Finland lost its position as a state church but gained a constitutional status as a national church alongside the Finnish Orthodox Church , whose position however is not codified in the constitution.

In , However, the majority of Lutherans attend church only for special occasions like Christmas ceremonies, weddings, and funerals.

The Lutheran Church estimates that approximately 1. Life expectancy has increased from 71 years for men and 79 years for women in to 79 years for men and 84 years for women in There has been a slight increase or no change in welfare and health inequalities between population groups in the 21st century.

Lifestyle-related diseases are on the rise. More than half a million Finns suffer from diabetes , type 1 diabetes being globally the most common in Finland.

Many children are diagnosed with type 2 diabetes. The number of musculoskeletal diseases and cancers are increasing, although the cancer prognosis has improved.

Allergies and dementia are also growing health problems in Finland. One of the most common reasons for work disability are due to mental disorders, in particular depression.

There are residents for each doctor. Most pre-tertiary education is arranged at municipal level. Even though many or most schools were started as private schools, today only around 3 percent of students are enrolled in private schools mostly specialist language and international schools , much less than in Sweden and most other developed countries.

Primary school takes normally six years and lower secondary school three years. Most schools are managed by municipal officials. The flexible curriculum is set by the Ministry of Education and the Education Board.

Education is compulsory between the ages of 7 and After lower secondary school, graduates may either enter the workforce directly, or apply to trade schools or gymnasiums upper secondary schools.

Graduation from either formally qualifies for tertiary education. In tertiary education, two mostly separate and non-interoperating sectors are found: the profession-oriented polytechnics and the research-oriented universities.

Education is free and living expenses are to a large extent financed by the government through student benefits. Forest improvement, materials research, environmental sciences, neural networks, low-temperature physics, brain research, biotechnology, genetic technology, and communications showcase fields of study where Finnish researchers have had a significant impact.

Finland has a long tradition of adult education, and by the s nearly one million Finns were receiving some kind of instruction each year.

Forty percent of them did so for professional reasons. Adult education appeared in a number of forms, such as secondary evening schools, civic and workers' institutes, study centres, vocational course centres, and folk high schools.

Study centres allowed groups to follow study plans of their own making, with educational and financial assistance provided by the state.

Folk high schools are a distinctly Nordic institution. Originating in Denmark in the 19th century, folk high schools became common throughout the region.

Adults of all ages could stay at them for several weeks and take courses in subjects that ranged from handicrafts to economics. Finland is highly productive in scientific research.

In addition, 38 percent of Finland's population has a university or college degree , which is among the highest percentages in the world.

In a new law was enacted considering the universities, which defined that there are 16 of them as they were excluded from the public sector to be autonomous legal and financial entities, however enjoying special status in the legislation.

The change caused deep rooted discussions among the academic circles. English language is important in Finnish education.

There are a number of degree programs that are taught in English, which attracts thousands of degree and exchange students every year.

In December the OECD reported that Finnish fathers spend an average of eight minutes a day more with their school-aged children than mothers do.

Written Finnish could be said to have existed since Mikael Agricola translated the New Testament into Finnish during the Protestant Reformation , but few notable works of literature were written until the 19th century and the beginning of a Finnish national Romantic Movement.

This prompted Elias Lönnrot to collect Finnish and Karelian folk poetry and arrange and publish them as the Kalevala , the Finnish national epic.

Many writers of the national awakening wrote in Swedish, such as the national poet Johan Ludvig Runeberg and Zachris Topelius.

After Finland became independent, there was a rise of modernist writers , most famously the Finnish-speaking Mika Waltari and Swedish-speaking Edith Södergran.

World War II prompted a return to more national interests in comparison to a more international line of thought, characterized by Väinö Linna. The visual arts in Finland started to form their individual characteristics in the 19th century, when Romantic nationalism was rising in autonomic Finland.

The best known of Finnish painters, Akseli Gallen-Kallela , started painting in a naturalist style, but moved to national romanticism.

Finland's best-known sculptor of the 20th century was Wäinö Aaltonen , remembered for his monumental busts and sculptures.

Finns have made major contributions to handicrafts and industrial design : among the internationally renowned figures are Timo Sarpaneva , Tapio Wirkkala and Ilmari Tapiovaara.

Finnish architecture is famous around the world, and has contributed significantly to several styles internationally, such as Jugendstil or Art Nouveau , Nordic Classicism and Functionalism.

Among the top 20th-century Finnish architects to gain international recognition are Eliel Saarinen and his son Eero Saarinen. Architect Alvar Aalto is regarded as among the most important 20th-century designers in the world; [] he helped bring functionalist architecture to Finland, but soon was a pioneer in its development towards an organic style.

Much of Finland's classical music is influenced by traditional Karelian melodies and lyrics, as comprised in the Kalevala.

Karelian culture is perceived as the purest expression of the Finnic myths and beliefs, less influenced by Germanic influence than the Nordic folk dance music that largely replaced the kalevaic tradition.

Finnish folk music has undergone a roots revival in recent decades, and has become a part of popular music. The people of northern Finland, Sweden, and Norway, the Sami , are known primarily for highly spiritual songs called joik.

The same word sometimes refers to lavlu or vuelie songs, though this is technically incorrect. The first Finnish opera was written by the German-born composer Fredrik Pacius in In the s Finnish nationalism based on the Kalevala spread, and Jean Sibelius became famous for his vocal symphony Kullervo.

He soon received a grant to study runo singers in Karelia and continued his rise as the first prominent Finnish musician. In he composed Finlandia , which played its important role in Finland gaining independence.

He remains one of Finland's most popular national figures and is a symbol of the nation. Another one of the most significant and internationally best-known Finnish-born classical composers long before Sibelius was Bernhard Crusell.

Today, Finland has a very lively classical music scene and many of Finland's important composers are still alive, such as Magnus Lindberg , Kaija Saariaho , Kalevi Aho , and Aulis Sallinen.

Iskelmä coined directly from the German word Schlager , meaning "hit" is a traditional Finnish word for a light popular song.

Modern Finnish popular music includes a number of prominent rock bands, jazz musicians, hip hop performers, dance music acts, etc.

During the early s, the first significant wave of Finnish rock groups emerged, playing instrumental rock inspired by groups such as The Shadows.

Around , Beatlemania arrived in Finland, resulting in further development of the local rock scene. During the late s and '70s, Finnish rock musicians increasingly wrote their own music instead of translating international hits into Finnish.

During the decade, some progressive rock groups such as Tasavallan Presidentti and Wigwam gained respect abroad but failed to make a commercial breakthrough outside Finland.

This was also the fate of the rock and roll group Hurriganes. The Finnish punk scene produced some internationally acknowledged names including Terveet Kädet in the s.

Hanoi Rocks was a pioneering s glam rock act that inspired the American hard rock group Guns N' Roses , among others.

Many Finnish metal bands have gained international recognition. HIM and Nightwish are some of Finland's most internationally known bands.

Apocalyptica are an internationally famous Finnish group who are most renowned for mixing strings-led classical music with classic heavy metal.

Around twelve feature films are made each year. Finland's most internationally successful TV shows are the backpacking travel documentary series Madventures and the reality TV show The Dudesons , about four childhood friends who perform stunts and play pranks on each other, which have a similar vein to the American TV show Jackass ; Bam Margera , an American professional skateboarder and stunt performer from Jackass , is actually one of good friends of the Dudesons group.

Thanks to its emphasis on transparency and equal rights, Finland's press has been rated the freest in the world. Today, there are around newspapers, popular magazines, 2, professional magazines, 67 commercial radio stations, three digital radio channels and one nationwide and five national public service radio channels.

Each year, around 12, book titles are published and 12 million records are sold. Sanoma publishes the newspaper Helsingin Sanomat its circulation of , [] making it the largest , the tabloid Ilta-Sanomat , the commerce-oriented Taloussanomat and the television channel Nelonen.

The other major publisher Alma Media publishes over thirty magazines, including the newspaper Aamulehti , tabloid Iltalehti and commerce-oriented Kauppalehti.

Worldwide, Finns, along with other Nordic peoples and the Japanese, spend the most time reading newspapers.

Yle, the Finnish Broadcasting Company, operates five television channels and thirteen radio channels in both national languages.

Yle is funded through a mandatory television license and fees for private broadcasters. All TV channels are broadcast digitally , both terrestrially and on cable.

In regards to telecommunication infrastructure, Finland is the highest ranked country in the World Economic Forum's Network Readiness Index NRI — an indicator for determining the development level of a country's information and communication technologies.

Finland ranked 1st overall in the NRI ranking, unchanged from the year before. Value-added services are rare. Finnish cuisine is notable for generally combining traditional country fare and haute cuisine with contemporary style cooking.

Fish and meat play a prominent role in traditional Finnish dishes from the western part of the country, while the dishes from the eastern part have traditionally included various vegetables and mushrooms.

Refugees from Karelia contributed to foods in eastern Finland. Finnish foods often use wholemeal products rye , barley , oats and berries such as bilberries , lingonberries , cloudberries , and sea buckthorn.

Milk and its derivatives like buttermilk are commonly used as food, drink, or in various recipes. Various turnips were common in traditional cooking, but were replaced with the potato after its introduction in the 18th century.

According to the statistics, red meat consumption has risen, but still Finns eat less beef than many other nations, and more fish and poultry.

This is mainly because of the high cost of meat in Finland. Finland has the world's highest per capita consumption of coffee. All official holidays in Finland are established by Acts of Parliament.

Christmas is the most extensively celebrated, and at least 24 to 26 December is taken as a holiday. Various sporting events are popular in Finland.

Pesäpallo , resembling baseball, is the national sport of Finland, although the most popular sports in terms of spectators is ice hockey. In terms of medals and gold medals won per capita, Finland is the best performing country in Olympic history.

At the Summer Olympics , great pride was taken in the three gold medals won by the original " Flying Finn " Hannes Kolehmainen.

At the Summer Olympics , Finland, a nation then of only 3. In the s and '30s, Finnish long-distance runners dominated the Olympics, with Paavo Nurmi winning a total of nine Olympic gold medals between and and setting 22 official world records between and Nurmi is often considered the greatest Finnish sportsman and one of the greatest athletes of all time.

For over years, Finnish male and female athletes have consistently excelled at the javelin throw. The event has brought Finland nine Olympic gold medals, five world championships, five European championships, and 24 world records.

Finland is also one of the most successful nations in bandy , being the only nation beside Russia and Sweden to win a Bandy World Championship.

The Summer Olympics were held in Helsinki. Other notable sporting events held in Finland include the and World Championships in Athletics.

Finland also has a notable history in figure skating. Finnish skaters have won 8 world championships and 13 junior world cups in synchronized skating, and Finland is considered one of the best countries at the sport.

Some of the most popular recreational sports and activities include floorball , Nordic walking , running, cycling, and skiing alpine skiing , cross-country skiing , and ski jumping.

Floorball, in terms of registered players, occupies third place after football and ice hockey. According to the Finnish Floorball Federation, floorball is the most popular school, youth, club and workplace sport.

More than 8, Finns travelled to Spain to support their team. Overall, they chartered more than 40 airplanes. From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.

This is the latest accepted revision , reviewed on 1 August This article is about the European country. For other uses, see Finland disambiguation.

Nordic country on the Baltic Sea. Show globe. Show map of Europe. Finnish Finn. Main article: History of Finland. Main article: Finland under Swedish rule.

Main article: Grand Duchy of Finland. See also: Finland's language strife and Russification of Finland. Main article: Geography of Finland.

Main articles: Fauna of Finland and Wildlife of Finland. Main article: Climate of Finland. Main article: Regions of Finland. North Ostrobothnia.

North Karelia. Northern Savonia. Southern Savonia.

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