Finland is a Nordic country in Northern Europe bordered by Sweden to the west, Norway to the north and Russia to the east; Estonia lies to the south across the Gulf of Finland. Finland is part of the geographic region of Fennoscandia, which also includes Scandinavia and parts of Russia.
In 2013, Finland's population was around 5.5 million, with the majority living in its southern regions. In terms of area, it is the eighth largest country in Europe and the most sparsely populated country in the European Union. Finland is a parliamentary republic with a central government based in the capital Helsinki, local governments in 317 municipalities and an autonomous region, the åland Islands. Over 1.4 million people live in the Greater Helsinki metropolitan area, which produces a third of the country's GDP