Home to the Arctic Circle, the Nordic country of Finland is off the radar for many travelers. Those who do visit this winter wonderland enjoy soaking up the magical sights of the capital Helsinki and exploring the wilderness known as Lapland. With its own unique culture and landscape, Finland is Northern Europe’s hidden gem that should be on everybody’s bucket list!
There are many misconceptions about Finland, often to do with the local language, culture, and geography. So we’ve set a few things straight! Keep reading to find out 10 interesting things about Finland.
10 It Is Not Part Of Scandinavia
The most common misconception about Finland shared among most foreigners is that it is part of Scandinavia. This is definitely an easy mistake to make thanks to its geographical location. Finland is located quite close to the Scandinavian countries of Denmark, Norway, and Sweden. But it is not one of them.
Confusingly, Finland is a Nordic country, along with the three Scandinavian countries and Sweden. Finland does not share the Scandinavian Peninsula, and so it is not considered part of Scandinavia. There are other cultural differences too, such as the language in Finland.
9 The Finnish Language Is Quite Different From The Scandinavian Languages
The Finnish language is one of the major differences between this Nordic country and the Scandinavian countries of Denmark, Norway, and Sweden. Although they have their own languages, they are quite similar. On the other hand, Finnish sounds completely different.
Swedish Nomad points out that Finnish is not an Indo-European language. It is actually part of the Finno-Ugric language group. This means it shares more similarities with Estonian than it does with Danish, Norwegian, or Swedish. The majority of European languages are Indo-European, so this makes Finnish quite unique.
8 Santa Claus Lives In Finland
Santa Claus, known in Finnish as Joulupukki, lives in Finland. While in the country, you can visit Santa’s Village in the northern province of Lapland. There’s even a Santa Claus Post Office there which receives around 700,000 letters per year.
Opened in 1985, the village is located on top of the Arctic Circle, near the town of Rovaniemi. Santa’s office is also in the village, and you can go in and chat with him (if he’s in and not out to lunch). The village also boasts its own museum dedicated to snowmobiles.
7 Finnish Men Like To Carry Their Wives
Well, Finnish men have created an official sport of competitively carrying their wives! This sport is called eukonkanto. It features men racing through an obstacle course while carrying a female teammate. Traditionally, the female teammate is their wife.
Sonkajärvi in Finland’s Savonia region is where the Wife Carrying World Championships take place. There is a great prize for the winner: His wife’s weight in beer. There are competitors from every country and thousands of spectators to impress.
6 Finns Are Proud Of Their Environment
The Finns are very respectful of their country and nature in general. This means that when you visit, you have to take extra care not to litter. You’ll notice that both the cities and the countries are rubbish free, and locals want to keep it this way. If you do leave a mess behind, expect to be told off about it!
When you look at how beautiful the Finnish countryside is, it’s not hard to see why the locals have such a great sense of pride in their environment.
5 In Finland, Your Income Is Public Knowledge
This is something that comes as a total shock to most foreigners. While how much money you make is a closely guarded secret in many cultures, all that information is available to the public in Finland. According to Her Finland, it is legal to call the Tax Office and simply ask what somebody makes in a year.
Yearly income is also used to establish the price of traffic infringement fines. If you get a speeding ticket, it will be calculated according to what you make a year. For some, this can turn out to be very expensive indeed.
4 The Ski Season Is Seriously Long
The primary reason that many travelers visit Finland is to make use of the spectacular ski fields. The good news for the ski lovers out there is that the ski season in Finland is seriously long. It can even last more than half a year. Generally, any month between late October and May is great to travel if you’re interested in skiing.
The winter days in Finland are very dark, so the ski slopes have to be artificially lit up. But when you ski during the spring, you’ll find that the sun seems to perpetually shine.
3 It’s A Great Place To Be A Mom
Interestingly, Finland is one of the best places in the world to be a new mom. It is the policy for all new mothers to be provided with a baby box on behalf of the state. These durable boxes contain diapers, sheets, toys, clothes, and a mattress, making them cozy beds for newborns to sleep in.
According to Visit Finland, all mothers are able to stay home with their babies for a year while receiving either their full salary or benefits. It’s also free to use public transport in most Finnish cities if you’re traveling with a buggy and a child.
2 Finns Love Their Heavy Metal
The nightlife in Finland will be right up your alley if you’re a fan of heavy metal music. The country is known around the world for its great contributions to the heavy metal scene. Several of the genre’s most famous bands actually come from Finland.
Edunation explains that for every 100,000 inhabitants in Finland, there are 53.2 heavy metal bands. Some of the most famous bands are Am I Blood, Before the Dawn, Throes of Dawn, and Cain’s Offering. If you’re interested in seeing some live heavy metal, there will be plenty of opportunities across the country!
1 The Finns Love Their Milk & Coffee
When it comes to the Finnish diet, there are two things that Finns absolutely adore: Milk and coffee. Out of the world’s top 10 coffee-consuming nations, Finland has been ranked at number one. In addition to being an everyday drink, coffee is a festive drink that is also taken on special occasions. Whenever there’s any kind of celebration in Finland, trust that there will be coffee there.
Similarly, milk is a staple in Finland and has been since ancient times. It is often served as a drink alongside main meals.