Monthly Archives: November 2016

Finnishness

Lapland

Lapland is an area in the North of Finland. It is for many Finnish people a very important place to spend their winter holiday. Why do we want to go to Lapland.? The answer is clear: there are always snowy landcapes, perfect opportunity for winter sports: for example downhill skiing and cross-country skiing. Tourists want to see reindeers, Northern lights and of course the Santa Claus. Snowmobile safars are very famous too. In summer time people visit Lapland to go camping and fishing. Everybody has to experience Laplands bright water and the midsummer nights when there`s no sunset.

Joupukki    northern-lights-original    Laskettelu

Summer cottage

For many Finnish people summer cottage is a very important place to relax. Summer cottage is like a second home for us. Typical Finnish summer cottage is next to a lake or on the  country side, because people want to fish and of course swim and go to sauna. About 20 years ago our summer cottages were very different than now.  In those days there was only candle light and there wasn’t electricity. Today there are for example inside toilets and drinking water comes from pipe. Electricity makes it possible to have entertainment electronics and heating systems on the cottage, so we can spend there time around the year.

Mökki onginta

Sports

Finland is a ice hockey country. Ice hockey is the most famous hobby in Finland. Ice hockey has the biggest market value of all sports in Finland.

Finnish baseball is our national game. It has been developed in 1910 from American baseball. Finnish baseball is played in only a few other countries.

pesapallo

Probably the most exotic sports is wife-carrying. In this sports man carries his wife across a cross-country cource as quick as possible. The cross-country course is 235,5 meter long and it includes a one meter deep water jump and two fences. Wife’s mimimun weight is 49 kg. Wife-carrying world championship has been organized from 1992 in Sonkajärvi. This sport has got attention worldwide and last summer there were pairs from 13 different countries in the world championship.

eukonkanto

 

Finnishness

When I think about finnishness, the fist thing to come into my mind is the people. Finnish people are definetly not the happiest people in the world, but at least they are honest. I mean, who would smile all year long when the sun shows up two times a year!  Just kidding, but finnish people truly are honest, they mean what they say and they tend to stay loyal to their friends and family.

I think finns are humble, quiet (at least when you don’t know them properly) and not that good at small talk. We have pretty big personal space and kissing and hugging is not usually the best way to greet a finn.  Safest way to approach a finnish people is to shake hands and say something about the weather.

aaaasuomi

aasuomi

But still, I think it’s great to be a finn. I’ve had the priviledge to be born in a beautiful country filled with lakes, forests and nature. Even if you live in the centre of a city, you don’t need to travel for long to be in the middle of a forest. Nature is generally being appreciated in Finland and everyone has the right to use the nature for camping, hiking or pick berries or mushrooms from there.

Even tho we would have the possibility to live in great modern houses etc., we like to have a primitive place to stay during our holidays, a cottage. We enjoy the quietness, outdoor bathrooms, wood heated saunas and carrying water to the house with buckets.

I’m not born in the countryside, but I have always spend my summers and holidays in my grandmoms and granfathers place in the middle of nowhere. I love the athmosphere in there in every season of the year and during big holidays the whole family gathers there to spend time together.

 

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I think almost every finnish people have heard the saying that it is a lottory win to be born in Finland. And I also think that people too often forget that it’s true.

Finnishness

Like anyone who knows even a little about Finland, the true Finnishess is being close to nature. I have been living my childhood near big forests and fields and even when you get used to that it is still amazing to go wandering around. In Finnish history it’s known how close and dependent people has always been with nature. People had their food from forest gathering berries and hunting animals.

Kuvahaun tulos haulle koli
View from Koli National Park in North Karelia region

Today when people are moving from smaller towns to bigger cities, we still keep our nature with us, 70% of land mass of Finland is covered in forests. Our land is also called the Land of thousand lakes, and that is a understatement to be honest, because there is approximately 188 000 lakes in Finland. Even when you’re living in big city, people always want to relax close to nature. That’s why we have over 500 000 cottages in Finland. Cottages are peoples get-away from hectic city life, you can feel fresh air, go swimming or fishing on nearby lake. Or just hike around in the forest, enjoying the nature. We in Finland love our saunas, that is a thing many foreigners doesn’t understand. While we keep our own personal space in public, in sauna we can freely be naked even with complete strangers. To cool of from sauna nothing is better than little dip in a lake.

Kuvahaun tulos haulle mökki
Cottage that you can rent for a vacation

What other comes to mind about Finland that isn’t nature? It’s education, Finland has been one of the top countries in education for many years. Many times ranked at the top of pisa test and best performing European country overall. Education in Finland is really important and high degrees are very respected here. Finnish education is also respected around the globe.

Kuvahaun tulos
Class room in Elementary school

Finland is among the best engineering countries, and technology industry is our most important export industry in Finland. Examples for great engineering and technology are Nokia(Phones and telecommunication technology) , Polar (Wireless wearable technology), SSH(Secure shell, used for secure computer administration), Linux ( operating system ), Rovio(Games and Angry Birds brand), Supercell(Games) and many others.

Fresh nature is Finnishness.

What are you thinking about a fresh nature? To me it means peaceful forest, where I can go and camp where ever I want. It means fresh water, which I can drink without boiling it. It means sound of wind in treetops and wild animals and birds, big and small. This means Finnish nature to me and nature is Finnishness.

Hammocks by the lake at Midsummer
Hammocks by the lake at Midsummer

Sometimes I feel that I have to go to the forest. I need quiet forest and fresh air. I really enjoy time, when I don’t need my smartphone, actually I can’t use it, because there is no signal in the forest. And this is great! Nowadays people stare to their phones and computer screens too much and forget the surrounding world and nature.

 

Rumours of mute Finns is rubbish. At least in woods. If a hiker meets another one, they greet and start talking to each other. And this is the moment when no one needs alcohol to become brave and start talking. That is awesome, and very Finnishness.

Skiing trekking in Urho Kekkonen's national park
Skiing trekking in Urho Kekkonen’s national park

It is normal to sleep in wilderness huts while hiking. And it is normal, that there comes some unknow person too. You talk and compromise and at the end all hikers find a place to sleep. Awesome co-operation skills from mute Finns.

This is the way, where you can find kind, talkative Finnish people. I engourace all people to go to the forest and enjoy the fresh, healing nature.

Always close to nature

In Finland nature is always close to you. We have thousands of lakes and lots and lots of forests, wild animals and rural nature. The Finnish nature is also really clean and somewhere still at it’s natural state. Here if you leave any city and drive with a car for more or less 20 minutes, you will probably be surrounded by forests or fields etc. Finland we  also have this thing called  ‘every man’s rights’ that means that you can go and pick wild berries, mushrooms and other edible plants in forests and it doesn’t matter who owns the forests or where you are from, forests are for everyone.

metsa-kodin-kuvalehti

So I think our relationship with nature defines well most Finnish people.

Most Finnish people have a summer cottage, where they go to enjoy the nature and its silence. And of course to spend time with family and friends. Often summer cottages are by lakes and forests so you can swim, go fishing, pick berries, and of course go to sauna. Because we are after all in Finland, where there are almost 2 million saunas and only 5.3 million people.

mokki-visit-finland

I never had a summer cottage, but I have been sailing most of the summers of my life. I also do a lot of hiking. Being always close to the nature has really shaped the way I now am. When I travel, I am always interested of the country’s nature. I like city holidays, but I always try to fit in at least one trip somewhere further – to the nature.

purjehdus-sail-in-finland

My Experiences of Finnishness

NATURE

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The first thing that came to my mind about Finland is the nature. It is so amazingly beautiful, pure and variable. In summer time the nature is blooming and everything is so green and the lakes are just shimmering! Finland is called the country of thousands of lakes and it´s true, cause´ nearly every city have their own lake (not quite but almost). In autumn the nature is almost yellow, orange and brown at the same time. In autumn there is a Ruska in Lapland, in that time the colors are even more stronger in there than in the South of Finland. In winter time the nature change so dramatically, the green and orange color has changed to white. There is a lot of snow everywhere, at least in Lapland but if it is a good winter in the southern Finland there is also a lot of snow in there. Although it is quite dark most of the day in winter the snow brings up a little bit light everywhere. In the spring everything comes to life again and you can just be amazed every new thing that grows in the ground. I like Finnish nature because it´s so pure and you can just go to forest to relax and you don`t have to listen any traffic noises in there!

 

luonto

 

SAUNA

sauna

Sauna was the second main thing that came to my mind thinking about Finnishness. Yeap, most of the people may doesn´t know what is sauna cause´ there isn`t any english word of that but let me explain to you. Sauna is a room where is “kiuas” which gonna heaten up even by electricity or wood, the kiuas starts to develop warm by the stones to the room and when there is like 80 degrees you go there naked to sit down and relax the warmth. People usually throw water on the stones that it will starts make some moisture and more heat in the room. And if you like grill sausage you can put your sausage in the folio-pack and put it on to the stones. Everything is possible! Sauna is like a relaxing place for Finnish people, when you are stressed out you go to sauna, when you are feeling a little bit sick you go to sauna or when you just wanna purify yourself well you go to sauna. Oh, I almost forgot, in winter some people run out in the sauna and jump into snow and then come back to sauna to get to warm up again.

 

SALMIAKKI

I just have to write about my biggest love in my life, it`s salmiakki. Salmiakki is a candy and it is usually colored black and It is almost like licorice but there is add some ammonium chloride in the taste. Salmiakki not sold any other countries than in Finland and some other Nordic countries too that´s  why it´s like our special thing. Oh god, it´s so good!  Salmiakki is at the same time sweet and salty. It´s hard to explain, you just have to try it! There is a lot of way to enjoy that candy for example pastilles, drinks, powder, ice-cream and chewing gum.  But be careful, if you eat too much salmiakki your blood pressure might rise!

salmiak-kopiosalmiakki