THE AREA, NUMBER OF CITIZENS, BIGGER CITIES
Because the book contains many names of places, I decided to add some notes about Finland in here, before continuing.
At the end of 2013, there was 5,45 million people living in Finland. 2,68 million men and 2,77 million women. There were 706 people who were older than 100 years. 89 men and 617 women. Nationalities divided between Finnish (89%), Swedish (5,34%), Laplanders (0,04%), Russians (1,22%) and other nationalities (4,09%). 47,7% of those people are single, 37% married and 15,3% divorced. There were 44 700 Estonians, 30 700 Russians, 8 300 Swedish and 7 400 Somalians immigrated to Finland at the end of 2013. There are 3,48 million people between ages 15-69. It’s interesting that in the year 1900, there was 2,65 million people in Finland. So in 113 years the population of Finland has more than doubled.
The size of Finland in January 1st, 2014 was 338 424 km2/209 823 mi2 , so almost seven times as big as its southern neighbor Estonia. For comparison, Finland is bigger than the United Kingdom, which is “only” 229 848 km2/142 506 mi2. Finland is the fifth biggest country in Western Europe. Its length from north to south is 1160 km/719 mi and width from west to east is 540 km/ 335 mi.
The biggest cities in South-Finland by area are Helsinki, Espoo and Vantaa.
NATIONAL LANGUAGES, CLIMATE, PRIMARY EXPORT
Finland became independent in 1917, December 6th, being under the Russian Empire for 108 years before that and a part of Sweden for 600 years before that.
The climate in Finland is very contrast, in 2013 the lowest measured temperature was in Sodankylä – -39,7 degrees Celsius. The highest temperature in the same year was measured in Liperi – +32,4 degrees Celsius.
The main export articles in Finland are electronics, metal, machinery, wood and paper, chemicals.
THE BIGGER CITIES IN SOUTH-FINLAND
The city of Helsinki was built by the order of the King of Sweden, Gustav Vaasa on the delta of the river Vantaanjoen in 1550. In 1643 the city was brought to the place where it stands now. It was named the capitol of independent Finland in 1917.
The map of the center of Helsinki with its nearest districts
There were 612 000 people living in Helsinki in January 1st, 2014. The city covers an area of 719km2/446mi2, of which 503km2/312mi2 is underwater and 216km2/134mi2 on the land. There is 123km/76mi of beach line in Helsinki. There are 315 islands in the area of Helsinki. The annual average temperature is 5,9 degrees Celsius. The hottest month is July with 17,7 degrees Celsius and the coldest is February with -6,8 degrees Celsius.
Espoo has been mentioned in history as early as the 14th century, when the King’s Road from Turu to Viiburi went through it. It became a small town in 1963 and in 1972 Espoo got its city rights. In 2008 Espoo celebrated it s 550th anniversary.
Espoo and its nearest towns and bigger areas
The population of Espoo is 260 700 and it covers an area of 528km2/327mi2, of which 312km2/193mi2 is on land and 216km2/134mi2under water.
The bigger districts in Espoo are (in a random sequence): Leppävaara (12km/7,4mi north-east of Helsinki), Tapiola (9km/5,6mi west of Helsinki), Matinkylä-Olari (14km/8,7mi west of Helsinki), Espoonlahti (18km/11,2mi west of Helsinki) and Espoo Center (20km/12,4mi north-west of Helsinki).
Espoo also has smaller districts like Otaniemi (student town, 9km/5,6mi west of Helsinki), Keilaniemi (business and technology center, 8,5km/5,3mi west of Helsinki), Westend (10km/6,2mi west of Helsinki, on the coast of Finland), which is a rich neighborhood with only a few apartment houses. To the west, right next to Westend is Haukilahti, which mostly has big apartment buildings.
A beach in Haukilahti
Just north of Matinkylä-Olari is a small business district Olarinluoma with its many office buildings and car dealerships. To the west of Matinkylä, just next to Espoonlahti is Kivenlahti and just west of that a brand new neighborhood called Saunalahti. About 9km/5,6mi west from that is Masala. 10km/6,2mi west from that is a bigger center named Kirkkonummi.
I would also mention Mankkaa, which is next to Tapiola and Olarinluoma and between Tapiola-Kilo. Kilo itself is 13km/8,1mi north-west of Helsinki. Next to it is a bigger and richer neighborhood Kauniainen, which actually has its own city rights.
In 2013, about 208 000 people were living on the 873km2/541mi2 area of Vantaa. The bigger districts are: Kivistö, Myyrmäki, Korso, Aviapolis, Tikkurila, Koivukylä, Hakunila. Also there is the Helsinki-Vantaa International Airport, about 18km/11,2mi north of Helsinki.
Map of Vantaa with its parts of town.
For more details about Finland, go to the home page of the Finnish Statistics Deparment.
FINNISH TAXIS, ORDERING AND THE TAXI CULTURE
Like you saw from the numbers in the last chapter, a working area and potential clientele of a taxi driver could be quite large. Especially the drivers who mostly drive in Espoo, Helsinki and Vantaa.
The three towns cover an area of 1401km2/868,6mi2, containing about 15 000 streets and have about 1,1 million people. Of course you can’t compare the number of streets with New York or London, but it’s still a notable number for a taxi driver to learn.
It is estimated, there are about 5000 regularly working taxi drivers. Adding to that, there are about 4000 drivers who drive taxies after their day jobs.
The quality of the taxis used in Finland is mostly high. The cars in use have to be switched out every 3 years by law. The cleanliness and quality of the trip vary because of the different drivers. It’s rare that a taxi is dirty from the inside, because in Finland, it is forbidden to smoke, eat and drink in a taxi. The latter two don’t count for the driver of course. If you wish to eat or drink in a taxi yourself, I advise you to ask permission, just to be polite.
The starting fee and the kilometer charge are the same all over the country. The starting fee is 5.90 euros on workdays (6 am to 8 pm) and Saturdays (6 am to 4 pm). On holidays or Sundays the fee is 9 euros (11,25$) around the clock.
The kilometer charge depends on the number of people using the taxi. If there are 1-2 passengers, the charge is 1,52 euros (1,9$/mi). If there are 3-4 passengers, it’s 1,86 euros (2,35$/mi).
If you pre-order the taxi, the extra cost is 7 euros (8,75$). Pre-ordering the taxi does not guarantee that the taxi will be there at the time you need it to be. For example, on weekends during the night and early mornings you might not get your pre-ordered taxi because of the number of people moving around the city going partying or coming back home. On weekdays it is not a problem.
I recommend ALWAYS taking the receipt when you finish your drive and pay your bill. If you leave your personal belongings in the car, the receipt has all the information about the driver and car, so it’s easy to contact the driver or the employer. Also, you can use the information if you have had problems with the trip or the driver.
If you wish to bring a bigger package or an animal with you, the driver has right to add a special fee for transporting “cargo”.
There is a little insight to Finland as well: