Finland consists of 6 provinces (Finnish: läänit, Swedish: län), following a 1997 redesign that reduced their number from 12.
The province authority is part of the central government's executive branch; a system that hasn't changed drastically since its creation in 1634.
The State of Finland is since the late 19th century bilingual. Its governmental offices and agencies use both domestic languages in contacts with the public
|Residence city||Population (2003)||Area (km²)||Merged Provinces (1997)
|1.||Southern Finland||Etelä-Suomen lääni|
Södra Finlands län
|2,116,914||34,378||Uusimaa, Kymi, Tavastia
|2.||Western Finland||Länsi-Suomen lääni|
Västra Finlands län
|1,848,269||74,185||Vaasa, Turku-Pori, Central Finland, Tavastia (Pirkanmaa)
|3.||Eastern Finland||Itä-Suomen lääni, Östra Finlands län
|582,781||48,726||Kuopio, North Karelia, Mikkeli
1/ Some duties, which in Mainland Finland are handled by the provinces, are on the Åland Islands transferred to the autonomous Government of Åland.
2/ The Åland Islands are unilingually Swedish.
Each province has a State Provincial Office (lääninhallitus/länsstyrelse) which act as the joint regional authority for seven ministries in the following domains:
- social and health care
- education and culture
- police administration
- rescue services
- traffic administration
- competition and consumer affairs
- judicial administration
The official entities under the Provicial Office authority are the jurisdictional districts (police) and city administrative courts (registries). Each State Provincial Office authority is led by a governor (maaherra, landshövding) who is appointed by the president after a proposal by the cabinet.