Finland Country Report
The sparsely-populated country of Finland (population 5.2 million) offers generally excellent travel conditions to foreign visitors. This Scandinavian country, extending above the Arctic Circle, continues to be characterized by stability and calm.
Nevertheless, visitors to this country should take certain precautions when visiting urban tourist sites due to the presence of pickpockets. This type of theft is an issue particularly in Helsinki during the summer, in crowded locations such as marketplaces, restaurants, harbors, at the train station, in the metro, on the Esplanadi, and on trams. Do not display outward signs of affluence, always keep an eye on belongings, and avoid walking around with valuable objects.
Legislative elections were held in April 2015. The liberal opposition Centre Party, which formed a coalition with the eurosceptic True Finns and the conservative National Coalition, was declared the victor. The next legislative elections are due to take place in 2019 while the presidential elections will occur in 2018.
Poor weather conditions can disrupt travel in winter months. That said, public transportation systems (bus, train, metro) are extensive and efficient.
Foreigners should note that Finnish law requires vehicles to be equipped with snow tires during the winter months; the general speed limit is also reduced during this period. Additionally, cars must be driven with low beams (headlights) switched on at all times of the day. Motorists should remain vigilant regarding elk and reindeer which often wander onto roads, especially around dusk.
On June 14, 2017, Finland's security services (SUPO) announced an increase of the national threat level in response to recent threats from the Islamic State (IS). Finland's threat level, previously rated "low," has been upgraded to "elevated," the second lowest level on a scale of four. Finnish security services are reportedly monitoring around 350 individuals for suspected terrorist links, which is an increase of approximately 80 percent from 2012.
Travelers should also be aware that in case of a health problem, high-quality medical services are available throughout the country.
It should be noted that strikes and demonstrations occur with some regularity, although at a much lower frequency than in other European countries. For example, air traffic controllers went on strike on August 12, 2013 to protest an industry-wide reorganization project.
Finland is a member of the European Union and uses the euro as its national currency. It is also a member of the visa- and border checkpoint-free Schengen Area.
Finland has a subarctic climate. Springs and summers are short. Winters last for some five months in the south and some seven months in Lapland (north). Temperatures are pleasant beginning in June and cool weather returns mid-August. Important fluctuations in temperatures are often observed over the course of a single day, even in summer. In the north of the country, daylight is near-constant for almost three months.
Useful NumbersCountry Code: +358 Police: 112 Fire Dept.: 112 Ambulance: 112
Voltage: 230 V ~ 50 Hz
Finland: Transport strike and protest in Helsinki February 2
TIMEFRAME: from 2/1/2018, 12:00 AM until 2/2/2018, 11:59 PM (Europe/Helsinki).
Finland: Independence Day celebrations December 5-6
TIMEFRAME: from 12/5/2017, 12:00 AM until 12/6/2017, 11:59 PM (Europe/Helsinki).