• Slovakia!

    Slovakia: Tatra Mountains. Go Now!

    Slovakia
    The Tatra Mountains (pictured) form the backdrop of this rural country, whose culture is rooted in this beautiful landscape. Go Now!

  • Bulgaria!

    Bulgaria: An old Turkish bridge. Go Now!

    Bulgaria
    The isolated mountains of Bulgaria hide cultural gems around every corner, including this old Turkish bridge in the Rhodopi Mountains. Explore Bulgaria!

  • Italy!

    Italy: Rome' historic buildings. Go Now!

    Italy
    Crumbling buildings in Rome (pictured) only add to the atmosphere in a country where old is redefined and western civilization begins. Explore Italy!

  • Portugal!

    Portugal: Palace of Pena. Go Now!

    Portugal
    Although next to the seas and made famous by trade, Portugal boasts dynamic landscapes and architecture, including the Palace of Pena (pictured) near the town of Sintra. Go to Portugal!

  • Armenia!

    Armenia: Noravank Monastery. Go Now!

    Armenia
    With a unique language, foods, architecture, and identity, Armenia is a fascinating country and culture unlike no other in the world. Begin Your Journey!

  • Finland!

    Finland: Finnish Sauna. Go Now!

    Finland
    Unlike its neighbors, the Finns are unique ethnically & linguistically, but are wholly European in many other ways. Begin Your Journey!

Ethnicity, Language, & Religion of Finland

Ethnicity

Finland is predominantly ethnically Finnish, however there are ethnic Swedes in the west and smaller groups of ethnic Russians in the east as well as ethnic Sami in the north. The Finnish people are a mix of early Europeans and Uralic people from Central Asia. They are most closely related to the Estonians, Karelians (in the region of Russia bordering Finland), and other people from the Ural and Siberian regions. The Sami are similar in that they are ethnically related to the Uralic peoples, but they are a distinct group from the Finns ethnically and this difference is also noticeable in a cultural sense as well.

Language

Finnish and Swedish are both official languages in Finland, although the overwhelming majority of people are native Finnish speakers. Finnish is unlike most Europe languages as it is a member of the Uralic language family and is most closely related to Estonian and to a lesser degree Hungarian and minor languages found in the Ural Mountains.

Both the Finnish and Swedish speakers tend to learn the other language, at least at an elementary level, as well as English. English is the most common second language in the country and many people are fluent English speakers. Even among recent immigrants to the country, few learn Finnish, but rather live in the country only speaking their native tongue as well as English.

Religion

Most of the Finns are Lutheran, although a small minority of Orthodox Russians exist. There is also a growing number of atheists or people that do not attach themselves to any particular religion.

Lutheranism is a protestant religion that was founded by and named after Martin Luther, who led the Protestant Reformation. Like all Christian and protestant faiths, Lutherans believe there is one God and that His son, Jesus is the savior and forgiver of sins. Lutherans also believe that the Bible, which includes the Old and New Testaments, is the only true word of God. It is generally in the interpretation of the Bible that protestant religions vary and this is true in the case of Lutheranism, which tends to interpret the Bible quite differently from Catholicism, which was the religion Lutheranism separated from.

This page was last updated: May, 2014