Tag Archives: Finnish stereotypes

Life as a Finn

Finnish people are pretty individual. We might have a close relationship with our family and friends, but otherwise we might be circumspect and distant. We like to keep our own space and not to come too close to other people.

Finns are really exact. If we agree to do something on a certain date, we will do that. And we like to be on time, rather 5 or 10 minutes early, and we don’t like if someone else is late from an agreed time.

 

We are effective and we don’t like to keep our customers waiting. That’s why you can assume fast service almost everywhere you go.

Finns do not like to talk about money or politics.

There’s no small talk, and it doesn’t represent rudeness or a lack of interest.

There are no hierarchies. Everyone is equal and deserves the same amount of respect.

 You can buy wine only from Alko, which is a State Alcohol Company. We don’t tend to drink wine often, for example with a dinner. Alcohol itself is served more like on special occasions.

In Finland there’s no big income or social differences. A plumber and a lawyer can be great friends and no one thinks it’s shameful or weird.

 

Fun fact: In Finland there’s a verb called ”kursailla” and it means that when a host asks you to sit on to the table to drink coffee and eat, no one will do that. Usually the atmosphere is also really tense. I think it’s because everyone wants to show as much hospitality as possible, and we think it’s rude to be the first one drinking and eating.

Pictures attached are taken from Finland, Tampere and Nokia. They represent very well Finland’s different seasons.

Top 3 things to do when trying to be Finnish!

For reasons unknown to me, there seems to be a growing need for people to find fact based and proven methods to achieve a certain state of “Finnishness!”. To meet this need head-on I have compiled a list of undisputable facts about what you need to be doing in order to achieve this elusive goal.

  1. Become one with the Rye Bread

Like with many other cultures, the way to start on the path that is knowing real Finnishness is to fall in love with its cuisine.  Often times the food stuffs consumed inside certain cultures are a great way to get glimpse inside the mind-set of a nationality.

In Finland’s case, that glimpse requires the consumption of some stone-hard, teeth-breaking, soul-draining and man-kneeling Rye Bread. This thing is hard as life. There is no place for egos here and humility is paramount when partaking in chewing of this life altering substance. It has kept the bowels of many generations of Finns clean as a whistle through centuries.

It truly is the perfect metaphor for the Finnish understanding of itself and its position in the world, which is to be humble and hardworking over everything else.

If you are successfully able to chew through a packet of “Jälkiuunileipä” you truly are one great step closer towards finding real Finnishness!

 

  1. Practice the art of intense listening

Second skill to acquire when aiming for that sweet, sweet title of a “Finn” is quietness. Silence. The art of no-talk-and-have-the-expression-of-deep-thought.

This skill involves the usage of many facial muscles: Squinting of your eyes to add some gravitas and give the impression of focus, tightening of lips to make sure you don’t give out your position on the matter that’s been discussed too early, slowly nodding maybe for approval or maybe because he arrived to a conclusion of some sort, who knows?

The point is, just be quiet and keep your distance. It will make you seem a lot smarter than you probably are and it will cut down the time required to spend on these annoying social-interaction situations (which, by the way are hated by all Finns).

 

  1. Sauna: institutionalized nudism

Last thing you got to learn, in order to receive your congratulatory, Finnish government mandated Waist Pack, is to embrace yourself, without any clothes, in a hot and steamy room with complete strangers, while whipping everyone inside that steamy and hot room with tree branches.

While doing this holy ritual, it will dawn upon you that everything you read on this list of must-dos is a fallacy. While inside that hallowed space of a sauna, sitting butt-cheek against a butt-cheek with strangers, all the things you got told about Finns wash away. Suddenly closeness isn’t a problem and a non-stop conversation, with some dry jokes, becomes the standard. Life doesn’t appear as hard anymore and inside that dark, steamy room you can finally see that those weird Finns with their weird tribal customs aren’t really that weird or different after all.

Sami Juntunen