What people know about Finland?

Usually Aurora Borealis, Finnish sauna, Land of a Thousand Lakes, wild nature, real Santa Claus, sisu and Finnish design.

I think it’s funny that there are many Finns who have never seen the real Santa Claus or Aurora Borealis. This is because many people from the southern parts of Finland doesn’t go to the Northern Finland on holidays. The more common choice for them is to go to the Canary Islands. Despite the previous, Finns are always proud to tell and boast about the little magic lights on the northern skies and they are seriously arguing that the Real Santa Claus comes from Finland. Seldom they do boast about having clean water, beautiful lakes or magical forests which they are more familiar than with Santa or the Northern lights.

Nature is in some way an integral part of being a Finn. Of course the relationship between a Finn and the nature varies from Finn to Finn. Traditionally nature has played a major role in the Finnish society and in Finnish the way of life. In modern Finland, the relationship with nature has been loosening especially amongst those who live in cities.

In Finland there are many people who love the silence of the nature. People tend to escape from cities to the countryside to have their own space, time and fresh air. There are many people who have their own summer cottage. Sauna is a must-have in summer cottages. People can purify their body and mind in sauna. If they are lucky, the summer cottage is situated near a lake, the Baltic sea or a river. In summer holiday they sort of move to their summer cottages and enjoy the life without stress and just enjoy the midnight sunsets, fishing and swimming. Cities are often quiet during the Midsummer, because Finns are enjoying the countryside – in Midsummer the silence, however, is found from the cities.

Finns do appreciate their own personal space. Good illustration of this is Finns waiting for a bus in a bus stop. It is not rare to see a situations pictured below. Finns won’t get too close to other Finns if there is room for maintaining one’s personal space – even if it requires standing in the rain.

The preference of personal space can also be seen in coffee rooms and in celebrations. Finns tend to hold a coffee cup always with them, because then people can’t hug you and they need to stand clear to avoid spilling the coffee. Maybe that is why Finns do drink the most coffee per person in the world.

Mette Gröhn

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