The society was founded in 1838 and is based in Helsinki. It has a total of 120 full ordinary Finnish members, excluding members who have reached the age of 67 (a member who reaches the age of 67 retains the rights as a member but leaves his or her chair open for election of a new member), and 124 foreign members. It is divided into four sections: I: mathematics and physics, II: biosciences, III: humanities, and IV: social sciences.
The society publishes a yearbook, the periodical Sphinx and a number of series of publications in various fields. It also gives out a number of prizes and grants for scientific and scholarly work.