The autonomous (semi-independent) Swedish-speaking Finnish province of Åland is located in the Baltic Sea, at the southern end of the Gulf of Bothnia between mainland Finland and Sweden.
The Åland archipelago consists of more than 6,500 islands – most are rocky islets, but more than 60 are inhabited. There are around 30,000 residents, who make their living primarily from tourism, maritime occupations, and banking.
Åland’s autonomous status means that it has its own government, language, and cultural policy. Since 1922, the country has had its own parliament, as well as a representative in the Finnish national parliament.
Finnish legislation applies to foreign policy, civil and criminal law, customs, and monetary policy. Finnish sovereignty is now perceived as benevolent and even beneficial by most of the islanders.