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Country Guides for Europe

Finland

Finland

Finland is a country of very long summer days, thousands of beautiful lakes, many carefully preserved castles, and relatively low population. From the elegant architecture, scenic waterways, and wonderful museums of Helsinki and the well-preserved 13th century Turku Castle in the south, to western old town Rauma (UNESCO World Heritage listed) and the rural Aland islands, and northward to the wild national parks of Lapland, Finland offers the traveler a glimpse into history and a relaxing, scenic break.

Language: Finnish 93.4% (official), Swedish 5.9% (official), small Sami- and Russian-speaking minorities.

Major International Airport:

City

Airport
Airport
Code
Distance
From City
HelsinkiHelsinki Vantaa AirportHEL12 miles N

The preventive measures you need to take while traveling in Western Europe depend on the areas you visit and the length of time you stay. For most areas of this region, you should observe health precautions similar to those that would apply while traveling in the United States.

Travelers' diarrhea, the number one illness in travelers, can be caused by viruses, bacteria, or parasites, which can contaminate food or water. Infections may cause diarrhea and vomiting (E.coli, Salmonella, cholera, and parasites), fever (typhoid fever and toxoplasmosis), or liver damage (hepatitis). Make sure your food and drinking water are safe.

The CDC recommends the following vaccines as appropriate for age (See your doctor at least 4-6 weeks before your trip to allow time for shots to take effect):

  • Hepatitis A or immune globulin (IG). You are not at increased risk in Northern, Western, and Southern Europe, including the Mediterranean regions of Italy and Greece.
  • Hepatitis B, if you might be exposed to blood (for example, health-care workers), have sexual contact with the local population, stay longer than 6 months in Southern Europe, or be exposed through medical treatment.
  • As needed, booster doses for tetanus-diphtheria.
  • Hepatitis B vaccine is now recommended for all infants and for children ages 11-12 years who did not complete the series as infants.

All travelers should take the following precautions, no matter the destination:

  • Wash hands often with soap and water.
  • Because motor vehicle crashes are a leading cause of injury among travelers, walk and drive defensively. Avoid travel at night if possible and always use seat belts.
  • Always use latex condoms to reduce the risk of HIV and other sexually transmitted diseases.
  • Don't eat or drink dairy products unless you know they have been pasteurized.
  • Don't share needles with anyone.
  • Eat only thoroughly cooked food or fruits and vegetables you have peeled yourself. Remember: boil it, cook it, peel it, or forget it.
  • Never eat undercooked ground beef and poultry, raw eggs, and unpasteurized dairy products. Raw shellfish is particularly dangerous to persons who have liver disease or compromised immune systems.


Source: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

Ticks are the primary source of insect-borne disease in Finland, often carrying Lyme disease and encephalitis. Large swarms of mosquitos appear in the summer months, and there is a low risk of mosquito-transmitted encephalitis. Travelers should use topical insect repellent and wear insecticide-treated clothing, especially in rural and wooded areas.

Download Magellan's Chart of Insect Protection and Water Purification Needs by CountryDownload Magellan's Chart of Insect Protection and Water Purification Needs by Country

The municipal water supply in Finland is considered safe to drink.

Download Magellan's Chart of Insect Protection and Water Purification Needs by CountryDownload Magellan's Chart of Insect Protection and Water Purification Needs by Country

Finland remains largely free of terrorist incidents. However, like other countries in the Schengen area, Finland's open borders with its Western European neighbors allow the possibility of terrorist groups entering/exiting the country with anonymity. Elements of organized crime groups operating in the former Soviet Union and Eastern Europe are present in Finland, but these do not represent a specific danger to U.S. citizen residents or tourists.

For the latest security information, Americans traveling abroad should regularly monitor the Department's Internet web site at http://travel.state.gov where the current Worldwide Caution Public Announcement, Travel Warnings, and Public Announcements can be found.

Up to date information on security can also be obtained by calling 1-888-407-4747 toll free in the United States, or for callers outside the United States and Canada, a regular toll line at 1-202-501-4444. These numbers are available from 8:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. Eastern Time, Monday through Friday (except U.S. federal holidays).

The Department of State urges American citizens to take responsibility for their own personal security while traveling overseas. For general information about appropriate measures travelers can take to protect themselves in an overseas environment, see the Department of State's pamphlet A Safe Trip Abroad.

CRIME: Although the crime rate in Finland is low compared to the U.S. and most European countries, it has increased in recent years. However, Finland remains a relatively safe environment. Americans visiting Finland are seldom victims of crime, but visitors should not be complacent regarding personal safety or the protection of valuables. The same precautions employed in the U.S. should be followed in Finland. Finnish police services are excellent, however, some police officers speak little English. Due to the low crime rate, Finland has one of the lowest numbers of police of any European nation. Outside of key sites in major urban centers, they rarely project a visible presence; consequently, response times to crisis situations may be unpredictable. The telephone number for police and other emergency services throughout Finland is 112. All forms of public transportation are considered safe. Street crimes, such as muggings and pick-pocketing, remain relatively uncommon, but do occur.

INFORMATION FOR VICTIMS OF CRIME: The loss or theft abroad of a U.S. passport should be reported immediately to the local police and the nearest U.S. Embassy or Consulate. If you are the victim of a crime while overseas, in addition to reporting to local police, please contact the nearest U.S. Embassy or Consulate for assistance. The Embassy/Consulate staff can, for example, assist you to find appropriate medical care, to contact family members or friends and explain how funds could be transferred. Although the investigation and prosecution of the crime is solely the responsibility of local authorities, consular officers can help you to understand the local criminal justice process and to find an attorney if needed.

Finland has a program to provide financial compensation to victims who suffer serious criminal injuries. According to existing regulations, the victim must report the incident to the police and file an application for compensation within 10 years of the date of the crime. Finnish police routinely inform victims of serious crime of their right to seek compensation. The relevant forms and further information can be obtained from http://www.valtiokonttori.fi/insurance/.



Source: U.S. Department of State

Due to the moderating influences of the warm Gulf Stream and the Baltic Sea, Finland's climate is more temperate than many countries at the same latitude. Most of Finland experiences cool to warm summers and cold, long winters. To the south, the Baltic region has warmer summers and winters. Precipitation can be expected year round across the country.


City
Annual
Precip. Days
Annual
Precip. Totals
Helsinki11326"
Kuopio11824"
Rovaniemi11423"
Tampere11223"
Turku11527"

Finland's electrical current is 220/50 (volts/hz) and uses the plug adaptors listed to the right under Related Items. Many North American appliances are designed to operate only within the 100-125 volt range. These appliances will suffer damage if plugged into 220-250 volts without the proper transformer or converter.

To determine which plug adaptors you'll need and if you'll require a transformer or converter, use our Electrical Connection Wizard.

For a detailed discussion of international electrical standards, see our related article on Electrical and Phone Adaptation.

Download Magellan's Guide to World Electrical ConnectionsDownload Magellan's Guide to World Electrical Connections

A valid passport is required. A visa is not required for tourist or business stays of up to 90 days. That period begins when entering any of the following countries which are parties to the Schengen agreement: Austria, Belgium, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Iceland, Italy, Luxembourg, The Netherlands, Norway, Portugal, Spain, and Sweden. See our Foreign Entry Requirements brochure for more information on Finland and other countries. Travelers can also contact the Embassy of Finland at 3301 Massachusetts Avenue, N.W., Washington, DC 20008, tel: (202) 298-5800, or the Finnish Consulates General in Los Angeles or New York. Additional information is available via the Internet at http://www.finland.org.

The U.S. Embassy in Helsinki is not able to assist private U.S. citizens in obtaining any necessary visas for neighboring countries, including Russia and the former Soviet Union.



Source: U.S. Department of State

The time zone for Finland is 2 hours offset from GMT, which means that if it is 12:00 noon in New York, the time in Finland would be 7:00 pm

The unit of currency in Finland is the euro (EUR).

Look up the current exchange rate using XE.com's Universal Currency Converter

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