October 1, 2014

0010, 1190, 1260 FINLAND - The map and the flag of the country

Posted on 13.10.2011, 17.08.2014, and 01.10.2014
Bordered by Sweden, Norway, and Russia, Finland has a population of around 5.5 million, with the majority concentrated in its southern regions. Lying approximately between latitudes 60° and 70° N, Finland is one of the world's northernmost countries. Of world capitals, only Reykjavík lies more to the north than Helsinki, established as a trading town by King Gustav I of Sweden in 1550, become the capital of the Grand Duchy of Finland (in the Russian Empire) in 1812, and the capital of independent Finland in 1917. Finland is a country of thousands of lakes and islands - about 188,000 lakes and 179,000 islands. Much of its geography is explained by the Ice Age. The glaciers were thicker and lasted longer in Fennoscandia compared with the rest of Europe. Their eroding effects have left the Finnish landscape mostly flat with few hills and fewer mountains (the highest peak in Finland is Ridnitsohkka - 1,316m).


Taiga covers most of Finland from northern regions of southern provinces to the north of Lapland. On the southwestern coast, forests are mixed, that are more typical in the Baltic region. In the extreme north of Finland, near the tree line and Arctic Ocean, Montane Birch forests are common. It contains many species of mammals, birds, and fish, but only a few reptiles and amphibians. The brown bear (Ursus arctos) is Finland's national animal. The endangered Saimaa Ringed Seal, one of only three lake seal species in the world, exists only in the Saimaa lake system. It has become the emblem of the Finnish Association for Nature Conservation.

Relatively late populated by Finno-Ugric people, which Christianized barely in 11th-12th centuries, the current territory of Finland (called in the Middle Ages Österland, which means Eastern Land) was ruled by the Swedes (since 12th century until 1809), then by the Russians (1809-1917), and become a state itself status only after the October Revolution. Tenacity, modern way of thinking, and the spirit of sacrifice made from Finland in just a few decades a nation that has a hard word to say in Europe. How they responded to Soviet aggression in 1939-1940, clear social and political line after WWII and prosperity in recent decades are strong evidence to that.

Finland was a relative latecomer to industrialisation, remaining a largely agrarian country until the 1950s, but thereafter it rapidly developed an advanced economy while building an extensive Nordic-style welfare state, resulting in widespread prosperity and one of the highest per capita incomes in the world. It is a top performer in numerous metrics of national performance, including education, economic competitiveness, civil liberties, quality of life, and human development. For instance, in 2010 Newsweek chose Finland as the best country in the world. 

The flag of Finland, also called siniristilippu (Blue Cross Flag), was adopted after independence from Russia. On a white background, it features a blue Nordic cross, which represents Christianity. The blue coloring is said to represent the country's thousands of lakes and the sky, with white for the snow that covers the land in winter. This color combination has also been used over the centuries in various Finnish provincial, military, and town flags.

About the stamps
On the first postcard
The stamp, designed by graphic artist Teemu Ollikainen, is the second of the national park series (issuen on September 13, 2010) and has as subject Torronsuo National Park. Situated on the Häme lake upland, Torronsuo is Finland's deepest mire that is favoured by large crane flock as a flyway stop-over site. Torronsuo stamp was chosen runner-up in the voting for the most beautiful stamp in 2010.
On the second postcard
About these cross-shaped self-adhesives stamps I wrote here.

On the third postcard

The stamp is one of the ten issued on March 1, 2006, to commemorate the 150th anniversary of the Finnish stamp. The Finnish flag is flying in a new 1st class non-denominated self-adhesive stamps. The stamp has been designed by Marja-Leena Muukka. Its picture is based on a photograph taken by Ari Rosila (Luonnonkuva-arkisto photo archive).

About the postmarks
On the second postcard can be seen a postmark that says "Missent to Taipei". How could reached a postcard sent to Romania in Taiwan, only God knows. Winter holidays were probably to blame (the postcard left Oulu on December 19).

Sender 1: Isabela Ion 
Sent from Oulu (Northern Ostrobothnia / Finland), on 02.10.2011
Photo: Markku Wiik, Markku Könkkölä, Rodeo Oy, Jaakko Tähti 
Sender 2: Pinja / Pinjak (postcrossing)
Sent from Oulu (Northern Ostrobothnia / Finland), on 19.12.2013
Photo: Arto Komulainen, Markku Wilk, Jorma Törmänen, A & K Noponen, Tapani Romppainen
Sender 3: Kirsimarja / Koo (postcrossing)
Sent from Teuva (Southern Ostrobothnia / Finland), on 10.08.2014

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