Finland, a member of the European Union since 1995, has about 5,4 million inhabitants. Finland is a northern country of great beauty and has a distinctive cultural life. The capital of the country is Helsinki. 2/3 of the surface area is covered by forest and there are nearly 200 000 lakes in Finland. The coastal archipelago with its labyrinthic waterways is unique. Finland has 35 wild and beautiful national parks covering 8170 square kilometers.