Åland consists of 6,757 islands situated midway between Sweden and Finland. Although the people of Åland speak Swedish, this autonomous territory is part of Finland.
The archipelago is largely made up of coastal rock slopes and heather moorland, and has large areas of pine forests. Only about nine per cent of Åland is arable land.
Åland is the smallest of the three Nordic autonomous territories with a population of 28,000. One third of the population lives in the capital, Mariehamn. The official language is Swedish.
Åland is part of the Republic of Finland but has its own devolved parliament. In devolved policy areas Åland acts as a nation in practice.
Åland is also a demilitarised and neutral zone. Lagtinget, the Åland Parliament, is the highest authority.
Åland is a member of the EU and the currency is the euro, but its relationship to the EU is regulated in a special protocol: to maintain the important tax free sales on the ships which sail between Finland and Sweden, Åland remains outside the VAT area.
Major sources of income on Åland are shipping and ferry services, tourism and the processing of agriculture and fisheries products.
|Total areal||1,580 km2|
|Lakes and streams||27 km2|
|Land area||1,553 km2|
|Arable land and gardens||139 km2|
|Largest lake||Eastern and Western Kyrksundet 2.6 km2|
|Highest point||Orrdalsklint 129 m|
|National borders||0.5 km (border with Sweden at Märket)|
January -2.5° C
July 15.9° C
|Precipitation Mariehamn (2006)||546 mm|
|Population 1 January 2012||28 355 inh.|
|Population density 1 January 2011||18.3 inh./km2|
|Population figure, capital (2010)||Mariehamn (municipality)
11 263 inh.
|National day||9. June (Autonomy Day 9 June 1922)|
|Form of government||Home rule - within the Republic of Finland|
|Parliament||Lagtinget (30 seats)|
|Membership of the EU||From 1 January 1995 (Not part of the tax union)|
|Membership of NATO||No|
|Head of State (March 2012)||President Sauli Niinistö (National Coalition Party)|
|Head of government (November 2011)||Camilla Gunell (Åland Social Democrats)|