The Åland Islands (Swedish: Åland, Finnish: Ahvenanmaa) form an archipelago in the Baltic Sea. It is situated at the entrance to the Gulf of Bothnia and forms an autonomous, demilitarised, monolingually Swedish-speaking administrative province and region of Finland.
The islands consist of the main island Fasta Åland (where 50% of the population resides) and an archipelago to the east that consists of over 6,500 skerries and islands. Fasta Åland is separated from the coast of Sweden by forty kilometres (twenty-five miles) of open water to the west. In the east, the Åland archipelago is virtually contiguous with the Finnish Archipelago Sea. Åland's only land border is short and strangely shaped; it is located on the uninhabited island of Märket, which it shares with Sweden. That border was re-negotiated in 1985.
Due to Åland's autonomous status, the powers exercised at the provincial level by representatives of the central state administration in the rest of Finland are largely exercised by the Government of Åland in Åland.