Ten countries border the Baltic Sea, an extension of the Atlantic Ocean, in northeastern Europe. These include four Scandinavian countries--Norway, Sweden, Finland and Denmark. Although it has little coastline, Russia is the largest of the Baltic countries. Three former Soviet provinces--Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania--are part of this region, as are Poland and Germany.
Only a small portion of southern Norway borders the Baltic Sea. The country has an area of 125,097 square miles and a population of 4.4 million. The capital city is Oslo.
Sweden is the largest country in Scandinavia at 173,359 square miles and a population of 8.9 million. Climate is temperate with cold, cloudy winters and partly cloudy summers. Stockholm, located in the south, is its capital.
Finland, located on the northeastern edge of the region, shares a long border with Russia. The North Atlantic Current and Baltic Sea help moderate its cold climate. The country is 130,116 square miles with a population of 5.1 million. The capital is Helsinki.
Denmark is the smallest of the Baltic Scandinavian countries with an area of 16,602 square miles and a population of 5.3 million. Its climate is temperate with mild, windy winters and cool summers. The capital of this constitutional monarchy is Copenhagen.
By far the largest county in the region, with a total population of 17 million, Russia is connected to the Baltic Sea by the Gulf of Finland. The port of St. Petersburg is the largest city on the Baltic Coast with a population of 5 million and is a popular destination for tourists. Russia is the lone country bordering the Baltic Sea that is not part of the European Union.
The Baltic States
Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania, all of which were formerly controlled by the Soviet Union, are commonly known as the Baltic States. These three countries are now liberal democracies whose economies have expanded rapidly since the fall of communism. Two important ports are located in the area: Tallinn in Estonia and Riga in Latvia.
Estonia, the northernmost of the Baltic States, has a population of 1.4 million in a total area of 17,374 square miles. Latvia lies sandwiched between Estonia and Lithuania, with a population of 2.3 million in 24,710 square miles. Vilnius is the capital of Lithuania, which is the largest of the Baltic States at 25,096 square miles. All three countries are bordered by Russia on the east.
Poland and Germany
These are the two southernmost countries bordering the Baltic Sea. Poland has numerous seaports, most notably Gdansk, where the Solidarity movement was born. Other large Polish ports are Gdynia, Police, Szczecin, and Swinoujscie. Large German ports are Lubeck and Rostock.
Poland, a former Soviet satellite nation, is now a republic with an area of 120,463 square miles and a population of 38.6 million. Weather is temperate with cold, cloudy, moderately severe winters and mild summers. Warsaw is the capital.
Germany, with Berlin as its capital, is a federal republic with a population of 82.4 million. Land area is 137,858 square miles. Climate on the seacoast is temperate and marine with cool, cloudy, wet winters and summers.