When I think what “finnishness” is and what it means to me, the first things that come to my mind are nature, weather, ice hockey and the level of education. When I have been travelling abroad this subject come up every time I tell people that I am from Finland.
Nature and weather
Finnish nature itself is unique. When you show pictures of Helsinki in the summer and then you show pictures of Lapland in the winter people get confused. People from other countries can’t believe that that is same country. Four different seasons also bring their own variation. In the winter the record can be -37 degrees and in the summer it can be +35 degrees. Fluctuations above 60 degrees are not possible in many other countries. Also the amount of snow amazes many people “how can there be that much?”. In Finland we have large areas made up of only forest. Forest and conservation are important topics for finnish people. In Finland you find very little bit garbage on the streets if you compare to many other countries.
Finnish education and the discussion around it surface often, when I mention I am from Finland. Often the first note or comment is that “in Finland you have good education!”. According to research and also my own experience Finland really has good and versatile education. In Finland everyone has an equal opportunity and obligation to go to school. Primary schools are totally free for students and that is uncommon around the globe. Schools take longer time but in return they offer a too level of education opportunity. Finnish education makes it easy to get job around the world. Employers appreciate finnish education. Finnish people are often considered highly educated and people want to exploit finnish people’s skills.
Ice hockey is one of the pride topics in Finland. Many countries have their passion for football but instead this in Finland we have a hockey. Ice hockey is big part of finnish culture. Many people connect hockey and snow to Finland. Ice hockey is interesting topic and great experience for people who come from elsewhere. Big part of finnish hockey culture is also the fans. Hockey is big part of fans daily lives. When finnish teams win something big all people live “the dream” together. When Finland won the world championship in 2019 everyone went out to celebrate it. It was big and desired achievement. Foreigners coming to Finland often have hockey game one of their bucket list ideas.