Like its predecessor, this study is an attempt to treat in a compact and objective manner the dominant social, political, economic, and military aspects of contemporary Finland. Sources of information included scholarly books, journals, and monographs, official reports of governments and international organizations, numerous periodicals, and interviews with individuals having special competence in Finnish and Nordic affairs. Measurements are given in the metric system.
There are two official languages in Finland, Finnish and Swedish. The latter language, once dominant, is now spoken as a first language by only 6 percent of Finland's population. For this reason, Finnish place-names are used throughout this volume. An exception was made only when referring to the Aland Islands and to their capital, Mariehamn, where the Swedish forms are preferred. In cases where it could be useful for a reader to know a Swedish place-name, it has been provided in parentheses after the Finnish place-name.
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