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  Scandinavian Peninsula

The Scandinavian Peninsula of northern Europe includes the countries of Norway and Sweden. Some sources include the small Finland projection of land (marked with an arrow) that separates Norway from Sweden within the peninsula's landmass number, and so do we.

Extending south from the Barents Sea, the peninsula is approximately 1,150 mi (1,850 km) long, with an area of about 290,000 sq mi (750,000 sq km).

About 25% of the peninsula lies north of the Arctic Circle, while 94% of the population of the peninsula lives south of the Arctic Circle.

The Scandinavian Peninsula occupies a large slice of the Baltic Shield which also includes Finland, the northeastern edge of Russia, and land under the Baltic Sea. Over 10,000 years ago - totally covered by ice - the weight of that ice (four kilometers thick) caused the Baltic Shield's terrain to slowly sink.

When the ice finally melted, the shield slowly rose again, especially in the north, and the south (in sort of a balancing act) continues to sink, a tendency that persists to this day along the Baltic Sea. This estimated 1-meter-per-century sinking has caused slight flooding in the low-lying areas and is forecasted to continue.

Scandinavian Peninsula photo by NASA