Surrounded by the ocean on 3 sides, Helsinki, Finland's capital, is a hub port for marine routes in the Baltic Sea. For over 750 years from the 12th century to the 20th century, Finland was controlled by Sweden and then Russia. Finland gained its independence in 1917. During World War II, Finland allied with Germany to stand against the Soviet Union and suffered defeat, incurring a huge settlement cost. Though a dark period of poverty followed, the country was able to overcome all difficulties. Now seen as the perfect sized city, Helsinki is loved for being convenient and easy to live in.