Finnishness from a French point of view.

I have now been leaving in Finland for seven years, can speak Finnish and my companion is also a Fin, so I am also slowly becoming a Fin.

To me, Finnishness is in 2 layers.

  • The first you see is the cold people, reserved, quiet, distant (unless drunk) and enjoying their sauna but always helpful if dare asks for.
  • The second you see is when you start to know them and have friends. And realize how warm, helpful, and accepting they are.

Besides people, Finnishness is also about nature and lakes. Nature is a very important part of Finland. The presence of green areas and parks in cities is huge and the forest or lakes are never far from you even when living in the center of a city.

Finnish people enjoy going out to the forest as it is quiet and clean. Actually, most Fins own a summer cottage/cabin in the middle of nature and nearby a lake. This shows how important relation to nature is in Finland.

Personal space is also an important part of fins. Standing 1 to 2 meters away from each other while queuing is something normal. Even with friends, we do not touch but for the hug to say hello and even this doesn’t apply to all.  All the rules are changes when going to a sauna. Whether you know the people you are going to or not a sauna is always naked and in a small space. No one cares what you look like or even if you know each other.  It can be a common thing to go to the sauna with coworkers for example.

In the end, Finnishness is warm, welcoming, respectful, and close to nature.

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