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.
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. Traditional Finnish minorities include the Swedish-speaking Finns, Sami, Romani, Jews and Tatars. In addition, there are people living in Finland who have moved from Russia, Estonia, the Balkans, Somalia and Iraq, for example.
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.
Ministry of Education and CultureReligious communitiesLink redirects to another website
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.
Ministry of Education and CultureFreedom of religionLink redirects to another website
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.
National Board of Patents and Registration of FinlandRegistering a religious communityLink redirects to another website
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.