The population of Finland
The population of Finland is approximately 5.5 million. Finland is a very sparsely populated country. The population is concentrated particularly in the large cities and urban areas. More than a million people live in the Helsinki Metropolitan Area.
Finnish and Swedish are Finland’s national languages. Finnish as a native language is spoken by nearly 4.9 million people while Swedish is the native language of just under 300,000 people. The most prominent languages after Finnish and Swedish are Russian, Estonian, English, Somali and Arabic.
The population of Finland includes a variety of minorities with a different language, culture or religion from the majority of Finns. Traditional Finnish minorities include the Swedish-speaking Finns, Sami, Romani, Jews and Tatars. In addition, many immigrants have arrived in Finland from Russia, Estonia, the Balkans, Somalia and Iraq, for example.
Religions in Finland
Most Finns are Christians. The largest religious community in Finland is the Evangelical Lutheran Church of Finland (Suomen evankelis-luterilainen kirkko), to which about 70% of the population belongs. The Orthodox Church of Finland is the second largest religious community. Slightly over 1% of the population belongs to the Orthodox Church. The Evangelical Lutheran Church and the Orthodox Church enjoy a special status in Finland. They are entitled to levy taxes, for example.
Tens of thousands of Muslims live in Finland. However, only a portion of them belong to Islamic communities. In addition, approximately 2,000 Jews live in Finland. Synagogues operate in Helsinki and Turku.
Other religious communities in Finland include the Catholic Church in Finland, the Pentecostal Church, the Evangelical Free Church of Finland, the Seventh-day Adventist Church in Finland, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints and Jehovah’s Witnesses.
The roots of many Finnish holidays lie in Christianity.
Freedom of religion and practising your religion in Finland
Finland has freedom of religion. All those living in Finland are entitled to choose their own religion and practise it. Should you not want to, you do not need to choose any religion. Furthermore, no one is forced to take part in practising a religion.
A group of at least 20 adult persons can establish a religious community. Religious groups do not need to register as a community; they can also operate without registration.
Parents decide their child’s religion. If the parents disagree on the matter, the child will not join any religion. If a court of justice has appointed one parent as the child’s sole guardian, that parent can decide the child’s religion him/herself.
Children have the right to receive education in their own religion in school.
Adults, or those who have turned 18 years of age, can make their own decision regarding their religion.