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Kulttuurit ja uskonnot Suomessa

Cultures and religions in Finland


Approximately 5.5 million people live in Finland. The national languages are Finnish and Swedish. Finland has freedom of religion, which means that everyone can choose their own religion and practise it. This page contains information on the population, religions, freedom of religion and a child’s religion in Finland.

The population of Finland

The population of Finland is approximately 5.5 million. Finland is a very sparsely populated country. The population is concentrated particularly in the large cities and urban areas. More than a million people live in the Helsinki Metropolitan Area.

Link redirects to another websiteStatistics Finland

The Finnish population

Finnish and Swedish are Finland’s national languages. Finnish as a native language is spoken by nearly 4.9 million people while Swedish is the native language of just under 300,000 people. The most prominent languages after Finnish and Swedish are Russian, Estonian, English, Somali and Arabic.

The population of Finland includes a variety of minorities with a different language, culture or religion from the majority of Finns. Approximately 10,000 Sámi live in Finland. The Sámi are the only indigenous people of the European Union. Sámi people live not only in Finland but also in Norway, Sweden and Russia. Three Sámi languages are spoken in Finland: Northern Sami, Inari Sami and Skolt Sami. The Sámi languages have official status in the Sámi Homeland. Other long-standing ethnic minorities in Finland include the Roma, Jews and Tatars. In addition, there are people from countries such as Estonia, Russia, Iraq, China and India living in Finland.

Link redirects to another websiteStatistics Finland

Immigrants in the population

Religions in Finland

The largest religious group in Finland is the Evangelical Lutheran Church, to which about 60% of Finns belong. The Evangelical Lutheran Church of Finland and the Orthodox Church of Finland enjoy special status in Finland: for example, they have the power to levy taxes. In addition to these, there are approximately 140 registered religious communities in Finland. Islamic communities, the Catholic Church and Jehovah’s Witnesses have the most members. Many people are not members of any religious community.

Link redirects to another websiteMinistry of Education and Culture

Religious communities

Freedom of religion and practising your religion in Finland

Finland has freedom of religion. All those living in Finland are entitled to choose their own religion and practise it. Should you not want to, you do not need to choose any religion. Furthermore, no one is forced to take part in practising a religion.

Link redirects to another websiteMinistry of Education and Culture

Freedom of religion

A group of at least 20 adult persons can establish a religious community. Religious groups do not need to register as a community, they can also operate without registration.

Link redirects to another websiteNational Board of Patents and Registration of Finland

Registering a religious community

Child’s religion

Parents decide their child’s religion. If the parents disagree on the matter, the child will not join any religion. If a court of justice has appointed one parent as the child’s sole guardian, that parent can decide the child’s religion him/herself.

Children have the right to receive education in their own religion in school. Read more on the InfoFinland page Comprehensive education.

Adults, or those who have turned 18 years of age, can make their own decision regarding their religion.