When someone comes up to me and asks me where I’m from, I automatically answer “I am from Finland. You know, the country up in the north. Near Sweden and Russia.” After hearing that, people often look at me slightly confused. I don’t look at all like a typical Finn. I am dark eyed, have dark brown hair and my skin is a warm caramel tone. I am half Finnish and half Sri Lankan. However, I have lived most of my life in Finland. I own a Finnish passport and I consider myself very much a Finn.
I consider myself a Finn, because I consider Finland as my home country. I have grown up with Finnish culture and I can find some very distinctive features and characteristics in me, that all Finn have. Those features are what makes Finns special.
Very often Finns are described as introvert and shy. However, I find this to be just a wrong interpretation of character. To me, Finns are original. We are genuine. As people, Finns are very modest and feel more comfortable not being the centre of attention. I can relate to that. I see quiet, modest Finns as people who respect others and who are truthful and honest about how they feel. I truly admire this trait about Finns and feel sad that we are often wrongly understood.
Another thing about Finns, that is very distinctive, is our sincere love for nature. In Finland we are surrounded by outstandingly beautiful forests and lakes. We all love going to the countryside and having our own private moments away from the cities and having to be with other people. Finns enjoy simplicity and also need private space, which is very often something I can understand myself, since I feel the need for it too. Finns find beauty in the smallest of things and respect nature. That is something very true to “Finnishness”.
Finnishness is appreciation of clear water and clean air. Loving the summery field landscapes while on a road trip. Longing for quiet moments in the woods. Missing the seasons change. Finnishness is longing for the warm rays of summer sunshine, as well as the refreshing feeling after a summer storm. Finnishness is loving the new snow that twinkles and blue moments during winter. Sitting by a warm fire, huggled up in a knit and a pair of wool socks. Enjoying the soft warmth of the sauna. Finnishness is loving warm rye bread, milk coffee and Fazer chocolate.
With all of the things listed above, I think one of the most important aspects of being a Finn is how well educated we all are. Also, Finnishness is knowing how to live in a country with a culture where everyone has equal rights and people are treated fairly.
If someone asked me, what is the best about Finland or Finnish my first thought would be nature. Nature is important to Finn. There are so many forests and lakes in Finland. We have got used to, that there is only short walk to nearest forest in Finland. It is privilege that we have so many forest, because short walk to forest may be rarely in some other countries. It is also great that many of these forests and lakes are public, so everyone has possibility to go to walk in forest, pick berries or swim on the lakes.
I think that our love to nature tells us that we appreciate clean air and environment. It tells us also, that sometimes we need stillness and time for ourselves. The forest is place to calm down, forget the rush and turn off the phones.
I think Finnish nature is very beautiful in every season although we have long and dark fall and winter.
Finnish food isn´t the most popular or tastiest compared to other countries food, for example there are many jokes about mämmi, the traditional Finnish Easter food. Spices don’t belong to traditional Finnish kitchen. Traditional Finnish Food is simple and flavoured only with salt and pepper.
(mämmi; traditional Finnish Easter food)
I think that long family dinners aren`t so popular on weekdays in Finland. Finnish people eat often only with family members and don`t invite friends and neighbours to dinner. I think that home is place to be oneself for Finns and that`s why dinners with neighbours aren`t so popular.
Home has also to be clean and perfect, if someone is invited to visit. I guess that is very Finnish thought. But if a Finn invite you to dinner or cup of café, there are so many foods and pastries and almost everything has to be eaten.
Safety, nature and shy people are the first three things that come to my mind when I think about Finland and Finnishness. Finland has been listed several times to the top of the safest countries. The terrorism rate is low compared to many other European countries, and you can trust the police since it’s not corrupted. I have always felt really safe in Finland, even when I’m walking alone in the night-time.
Finnish nature is something I really appreciate. I love how we have four different seasons and they all can be really beautiful. Finnish summer is my favourite season even though it’s usually short. You can do a lot of different things during the warm summer, for example, we can enjoy the summer holidays at cottages, swim in pure lakes and can go berry-picking wherever we want to. Some people like to spend their time on terraces and drink beverages and some people like to drive around and explore our beautiful home country. Genuinely the people just seem happier in the summers.
The winter in usually also amazing. I love walking in snowy forests and ice skating on frozen lakes. I think it’s calming to wander in quiet forests and I love the sound when you are walking on the snow. Going to a hot sauna feels lovely after being outside in the cold for the whole day.
Stereotypical Finns can be described as very shy and calm people. We are usually work orientated and honest. Punctuality is also common along Finns and this is also appreciated abroad. Because we don’t like having small talk we can seem a bit anti-social. Finns want to have their own personal space and I personally dislike when people I don’t know come too close to me. For example when I was studying in France I never got used to the cheek kisses: I always felt awkward and didn’t know how to react. Finns are also known to be quiet and a bit shy.
I have never felt more Finnish than when I was living in Sweden a few years back. Even though the Swedish and Finnish cultures don’t differ that much from each other I was really aware of my Finnish background. Sometimes it can be hard to be the awkward and quiet Finn, but I’m always proud to say my home country is Finland.
What are my experiences of Finnishness?
Nature and cleanliness
We have a beautiful nature and cleanliness makes it more beautiful. Finnish people do care of their environment and you can see it. We like to be in nature because it is so peaceful place with nature’s fresh air.
I lived in shared flat with African and her mother mentioned that it’s so clean here and we also have great trees. Cleanliness and for example green trees are sometimes taken for granted in here.
I appreciate our nature and I’m very grateful that Finland is my home country. There are countries in the world where the air is so dirty and unhealthy that you can´t always go out.
I have these words: summer cottage, sauna, lake, good food and friends. These are things that everyone Finn knows. You can imagine the moment when you´re in summer cottage with your friends, beside of you is a beautiful lake and you’re going to swim after sauna.
Midsummer is the time when I also see my relatives. We come together to my grandparents’ summer cottage. We eat, talk, swim and go to sauna. It is a multiyear tradition although I wasn´t there in this year. The picture on the left has taken from the same lake (like the other picture on top) where the cottage is located. It has become so important place to me!
I already miss Elovena porridge, cottage cheese, rye bread and Finnish berries! Like nature, food is also very clean and fresh here in Finland. You don’t need to buy all berries or mushrooms from grocery when you can pick these delicacies up from forest at autumn. But now I must admit I don’t pick them up from forest. It’s easier to buy Finnish blueberries from grocery…
After years of travelling around the globe and exploring different cultures few thoughts have come to my mind. There are many things that I would like to change about Finnish culture, but also many that I am truly grateful and proud of.
I love our nature. Me and my friends have often joked about how most of Finland is only forest, but I grew up in a small town and my house was in the middle of forest and I have to say that some of my best memories growing up was playing with my friends in the forest making tree houses. We have many beautiful lakes, and during summer the colors are amazing. There is nothing better to do during summer than to go to a cabin in the lakeside and just relax and enjoy the calm environment. The Finnish nature is also one of the most recognizable and curious part of Finland for foreigners. Whenever I am abroad and tell someone that I am from Finland, they point out the beautiful nature.
I also appreciate our healthcare. As someone with a disease that will last a lifetime, I am truly grateful of the medical care and reduced medicine costs I can get here. I often wonder how I would survive living abroad where the medical costs can be very high. Here in Finland we get good care, and everyone has access to it.
Today’s world is full of conflicts and war, so I would also have to point out how great it is that it is so safe here in Finland. We don’t have any big natural disasters such as hurricanes or earthquakes, and crime rate is relatively low, and you can usually trust people. For example, in many other European countries, you couldn’t leave your bag unattended without someone stealing something. Security is very important to people’s wellbeing, and you can really feel that in Finland.
Something more carefree I also love about Finland is ice hockey. It is the only sport I understand and love to watch, maybe that is because it is one of the few sports that Finland is actually good at. When Finland is playing, almost the whole country goes insane with nothing but hockey in mind.
Part of Finnish culture that I don’t like is our eating and drinking culture. In Finland we eat dinner rather early in the day, around four or five, and we eat pretty quickly and then carry out with our day. In many other European cultures they eat dinner late, with whole family or with friends and spend time together. It would be nice to apply this more in Finland as well. I think Finnish drinking culture is a bit too much, as here many people drink just with the purpose of getting drunk, which is very unhealthy and bad habit.
After visiting about 25 different countries and living in different ones like UK, US.
I can say Finland is one of the best places to be. Finland is a different world of its own with unique people, In general Finns are smart, intelligent, independent, trustworthy.
In my opinion, the quality of life in Finland is one of the best.
In terms of education, compared to all other places that I have had the privilege to study, Finland remains on top.
photo credit: internations_expat_survey.jpg
In my on words, i’ll describe Finnishness as strong, loyal , patriotic, peaceful, advanced, resilient, free and blessed with nature.
Finland is a beautiful country with a rich historical background, with Tampere as my base, I love my city. I cannot talk about Finland without talking about the Finnish winter ( It is a special experience). You want to experience it at least once in a life time. Make sure you visit Lapland in during Christmas period.
Photo credit: Online source
What are we like here in Finland? I guess the first things that come to mind are that we are a bit anti-social at times, we like our personal space, nature, our summer cottages and saunas. We are a very punctual nation and if we promise to do something, it most certainly will get done. We complain about the never-ending bureaucracy in our systems, but also expect everything to go by the book. I suppose these are all somewhat stereotypical ideas, but they do have quite a bit of truth behind them as well. Although, there are big regional differences as well – we are not the same in the south and up in the north.
As the world changes, it will also probably affect us as a people as well. We are more and more influenced by other cultures through the internet, tv, social media, work and studies, and that’s bound to change our behavior in some ways. We travel abroad and get familiar with new ways of doing things and people traveling here or moving to Finland will bring some of their traditions and behavior patterns with them. We can already see young people become more open and social, getting a bit unfamiliar with nature and for example having favorite foods like sushi or pizza.
I do hope, that this new global world will make us more open to new possibilities in our behavior. But I also believe, that it is important for a nation to hold on to some of their own wacky, stereotypical ways of living – after all, that’s what makes us Finnish.
For me what I find most beautiful about Finland is the nature and the constantly changing seasons. I think it’s awesome to live in country with full four seasons and see the changes the seasons have in the nature. As a Finn I live constantly seeing the seasons change and how the season effect the nature. I think it’s nice that so many cities in Finland have threes in the city. It’s nice because then you can easier follow the change of the seasons.
Because it’s spring right now I think it just right to start with admiring how beautiful spring is in Finland. Spring starts with a little bit of bad weather but I’m always clad that the snow melts away. It’s always lovely to see the plants start to thrive and we can finally start to leave our winter clothes to the closet. We celebrate Easter in spring. I personally think that Finnish Easter celebration is fun for children. When spring is coming to an end the threes are full of green leaves and we are finally ready for the summer and summer vacations.
Finnish summer might not be the warmest but that doesn’t stop us from enjoying the summer. Even when our summer might me little too cold and rainy we still enjoy it. In Finland many families have summer cottages near a lake. If a family doesn’t have their own cottage they might rent one for brief time because it’s part of Finnish summer. It is almost a tradition to go to a summer cottage for Juhannus. The other Juhannus tradition is to go to a music festival. Music festivals are also a big part of our summer. There is so many that I think almost every music genre has their own music festival in Finland. Finnish summer is not about the warmest weather it’s about the ability to enjoy the even a slightly warmer weather. And of course, the lovely colorful nature.
When you get bored of the warm and sunny weather finally comes the fall. Leaves start to fall and it’s starting to get colder and it’s going to rain but not too much. When all the leaves have fallen you just know or hope that it’s going to start snowing soon. I think the fall weather is the best weather for jogging and running. It is not too hot and not too cold. During fall you are just waiting for winter.
Even though winter is cold in summer. Everyone waits for it. Almost everyone has that one winter sport they do. During winter there is so many different sports you can do. For children I think winter is a wonderful time of the year because it’s so fun to play in the snow. Not everyone likes winter but everyone wants to have snow during Christmas. When we don’t have snow during Christmas that doesn’t stop us from having a great Christmas. I love to spend Christmas with my family and it’s our tradition to spend our Christmas with family. I think this is almost every family’s tradition in Finland.
At the end of winter everybody is already waiting for spring and summer. But when summer end everybody is already waiting for winter and Christmas. I think this is the most beautiful part in Finland, the four seasons and how our lives revolve around the four seasons. I don’t think I could live in a country where there is constantly warm. I want to experience all the four seasons and admire their beauty and in Finland I can do that.
I have lived my whole life in Finland. And even though I like to travel a lot, it’s always great to come back home to Finland. I think that Finland is a great country to live in because we have such great health-care systems and high-quality education. Also, we have a possibility to get financial support from the government which makes living easier. Of course, there are always budget cuts and people complain about them a lot, but things could be worse and basically, we are really lucky to be living in Finland.
I have been told a lot that I am “a typical Finn”. That’s mostly because I have blond hair and blue eyes and I am quite tall. I am also very shy at first, like most Finns, and honesty is really important to me. And I love sauna. I think living here in Finland has made me who I am and Finnishness will always be an important part of me. I am really proud to be a Finn and I think that most people see that in me. Still there are parts of me that I would like to change and which came with my Finnish heritage. For example, I don’t like that I am so shy. But luckily that’s a thing I can change about myself and I have been trying to do that. I think this time abroad will increase my social skills even more and I am really excited to become a more open and courageous person. However, I am glad that I have been so shy because it has taught me to be cautious and really listen to others which have helped me to get this far.
I think it’s funny how Finnish people avoid strangers in public. Everyone wants to mind their own business and don’t want to interact with others. For example, in bus stops people who are waiting for the bus always keep their distance (usually at least two meters) and never even smile at each other. I have noticed that people will think that your weird if you just smile to strangers (this is extremely annoying because I like to smile a lot). And when people finally get to the bus, they don’t want to sit next to anyone. If you have to sit next to someone you might get a very angry look and a deep sigh from the other passenger. I think this is because personal space is very important to Finnish people. But even though we value privacy and personal space a lot, we tend to value friendship even more. I think that friendships mean a lot to Finnish people and we appreciate our friends. Because when we bother to open up to someone and let them close, the friendship lasts for life.
In my opinion the best thing about Finland is nature. I love the fact that we have all four seasons here: winter, spring, summer and autumn (you can see all of them in the pictures). Winters are the most beautiful on sunny days when there is a lot of snow. And you might also see Northern lights, which is an amazing phenomenon, especially in Lapland. In the winter, it’s also really cold here, sometimes even over -20 degrees, but I think it’s worth it. In the autumn you can see the forests change color and that’s also really beautiful. Summers here are not quite hot, but they are warm enough. I don’t know a better feeling than hanging out with my friends on a beautiful summer day in a park and eating ice-cream.
Hello everybody! My name is Miia and I am doing an internship at Hokkaido University for three months.
Finnishness. What does it really mean? Some people might think that Finnish people are shy and don’t talk a lot. Some think that we drink a lot. Well, all those things are partly true. Even the Finnish people think that. But why it is only partly true is because there is so much more in Finnishness. The concrete things that you might think about Finland are sauna, nature, alcohol and the crazy people.
But what is Finnishness really? For me, one example is when you have the long silence with your friend. You can be with someone without talking for a long time and still feel comfortable. I love it. There is no need to fill the silence. It doesn’t mean that we are shy if don’t talk a lot, sometimes the words are not needed just the company of a friend.
Another example is the punctuality of Finnish people. Most of the time Finnish people are on time or even early. Also if you are making plans with a Finnish person the plans are not vague. There are not maybe plans with my friend circle. If something is agreed it is actually going to happen. I don’t like to inquire about the plans. I want to know and with Finnish people you know exactly where and when and usually what is the plan for the meeting.
One thing that I love very much is the Finnish nature. I love the four seasons. The nature is so special for me. I love to see when everything comes to life in the spring and summer. I also love the winter when it is so cold that it literally takes the breath away. I love being in the forests. The plants and the animals and the water make me calm and relieve the stress. The best part is that you don’t have to go far from your home to find nature, wherever in Finland you live.
I guess the most popular thing in Finland that Finns are very proud of is the sauna. People used to give birth there. It is a place to wash away the dirt and the worries. It is a place to relax. It is a place where all the best ideas come to mind. It is a place where you can spend time with your family and friends. For me, it is more
like an event than just a place to go get cleaned. In summertime at my family’s summer cottage, I like to have sauna marathon. I like to go to sauna and then to swim in the lake and then have something to drink and then repeat that for several hours. The summer holiday at the cottage includes great food and great memories.
I guess I am very proud to be from Finland. I think that Finland is the greatest place to live in. I love traveling and seeing foreign places but I also love to return home. That is why Finland is the only place I call home.