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Finnishness in me

I have always struggled with the fact that I’m only Finnish and both of my parents are from Finland. I have felt that something is missing in me because I have the passion of different cultures and languages. When I was younger I was little a shamed even of my Finnishness and I thought that I will move out of Finland the minute I turn 18.

Still I stayed here and I have learned to love my Finnishness inside me. I have discovered that I can always learn about new cultures and see the world by traveling. Now days I like to tell the positive aspects of Finland rather than the negative which I did a lot in the past.

I have spend several periods aboard and home is Finland to me. I still want to move somewhere for few years but I want to built my family here in Finland. I think Finland is safe and great place for children and you can always travel to get new experiences. The Finnish weather is unique because we have all the seasons. Summer nights are something that I love and there’s no other than midnight sun that you can’t experience in many countries.

Finnishness

Finnishness means many things to me. The first thing that comes to my mind is the Finnish Independence Day on the 6th of December. All Finns gather to celebrate and honor the independence our grandparents fought for. I believe this day is the heart of all Finnishness.

The nature in Finland is clean and beautiful with its four seasons. I have been living in Northern Finland for my whole childhood before moving to Tampere.  In winter it can get extremely cold and in summer the sun is shining around the clock. Finland is also known for its northern lights, which people around the world come to see.

Finns are described as quiet, calm and humble people, which is often true. At first, Finns are not very open people but when you get to know them better, they can be very friendly and easy going. It can take a little longer to get to know them but the friendships are strong and will most likely last for a lifetime. The easiest way to understand and make friends with Finns is to go to the sauna with them. Most people in Finland have their own sauna and this is a very important tradition for us.

Finland is one of the safest and most equal countries in the whole world. Also, the education and healthcare systems are top-notch. It is great to live in a free country where everyone has the same opportunities. I’m proud to be Finnish.

Trust & Honesty

I have been living in Finland for almost ten years and I learned something very important that changed the way I used to think. As soon as I arrived, I observed that people trust each other more than in other countries I have been living in. And is because trust and honesty are very important in Finnish culture.

An example is the number of lost wallets getting back to their owner. I have experienced it by myself when an unknown person called my boyfriend telling him he had his wallet. That happened during Vappu. He didn’t realize he lost it. The lady called him and meet him in the park to give back the wallet during the night.


Other lost things are also given back to their owners. To do so is the normal behavior in the Finnish culture. In other cultures, as in my background culture, people keep the stuff or they just don’t care if the owner gets it back.


The rules are followed by most of the citizens and are very trustful to each other with no cheating intentions when they could do so. In my background culture, those circumstances where you could take advantage and you don’t do it, you are seen as an idiot. Even worst, people think they are very smart because they were able to cheat.

An example of this is the situation in a supermarket in Spain. If the cashier forgets to pass through the scanner an article, most probably the shopper would not tell anything to the cashier and will leave the place happily with a “present from the shop”. Besides in Finland, people who realize they did not pay an article, will go back to the cashier and inform her/him.


This is a behavior that made me think about Finnish society. In my opinion, compare with other countries, everything works better because everybody (or the majority) is involved in trust and honesty and not only thinking about his/her short-term Benefit. In the long term, everybody wins when we care about the whole system.

Finnishness

Hello. I’ve been given a task to write something on the topic of Finnishness, a task given to all students going on exchange. I think this task is a total waste of time, completely irrelevant and I haven’t got a clue why I’m supposed to do this while I could be spending this time learning the language of my destination country to learn more while I’m away on exchange. Well anyway…

I’m not Finnish, I came from abroad to study here and my observations of Finnishness will always be just observations. I don’t know what it means to be Finnish.

  1. Finnish people are quiet. They seem calm and collected. Until they start drinking that is… All hell breaks loose then 🙂 They almost can appear distant or not fond of speaking. But if you start conversing, it seems they are pretty down to earth, simple people. Maybe they just like to be alone and undisturbed.
  2. They don’t like foreigners. I’m not sure what’s up with that, but this is for sure. If you don’t know the language and if you don’t look like a finnish person, well, tough sh*te mate. I’m not saying the whole country is like this. I’m simply saying, don’t be surprised if you’re treated like an inferior. Because it seems like you are, in a lot of places I’ve been. Just saying what I’ve experienced.
  3. A lot of them are somehow… I don’t even know how to describe. Well, for example my buddy lost his wallet twice. One time he had a grand in cash in the wallet. Both times the wallet was returned to him either by police or by the person who found it himself. Untouched. Another example is that you can leave your bicycle unattended and not lock it, and chances are( if its not a super expensive one) you can come back after a week and it will be there still. There are sh*tty people all around the world, but it seems in Finland you can trust more people than in other places. Don’t take this for advice though…
  4. And lastly, I was left with an impression of tidiness. A lot of places I’ve been, things are orderly. A lot of people recycle, they don’t throw garbage all over the streets, the busses normally come on time to the bus stops, everyone tries to do their jobs properly, it all looks like an orderly society. At least it seemed so.

 

Well there you go.

Finnishness

Finland is the happiest country in the world for four years in a row by the United Nations World Happiness Report. We often hear foreigners as well as Finns being surprised by that. However happiness is not measured by how much people smile at stangers or make small talk with them. Happiness in Finland means having close friends and family and spending time with them. Happiness for us is having fresh water, free education and good healthcare system.

 

Finns are often described as shy and grave but we actually are nothing but. Sure, we usually aren´t that talkative with people we don’t know but when hanging out with close friends it´s a whole other situation. When travelling abroad it´s easy to get to know people but they rarely become your true friends. Whereas in Finland you really have to make an effort to make friends but when you do, the friendship is for life and they would even take a bullet for you. 

Many people mention the nature when speaking of Finland and it was the first thing that came to my mind also. Finns love to spend time at their cottage in the lap of nature but they often also love to go to festivals and spend time among other people. In my hometown Helsinki and in my study town Tampere the restaurants and terraces are always full of people. Helsinki and Tampere are lively cities that have a lot to offer.

The most Finnish sentence by a survey made by Menaiset.fi is ”Ei minua varten tarvii keittää” which means ”No need to make (coffee) just for me” and that summarizes Finnishness perfectly. In that sentence come up Finns´ love for coffee and their modesty. Finns don’t know how to receive compliments or certainly not how to compliment theirselves. Finns´ greatest trait is definitely their honesty. Finns often take honesty for granted and are surprised when people abroad don’t always mean what they say. Finns´ honesty reflects also on the trust and respect in the authority. Especially during corona it´s became clear that Finns follow the rules even tho its not mandatory. 

Finns are proud of their origin and get very excited when Finland is mentioned abroad. We are proud of our little Northern country with language like no other. We enjoy the little things like good weather and company of friends. We love to travel around the world but are always happy to return home. All in all Finns should acknowledge that the Happiest country in the world -title is right and be really proud of it.

Sources:

https://www.is.fi/hyvaolo/art-2000006220523.html

https://www.visitfinland.com/fcb/news/finland-named-the-happiest-country/

https://www.facebook.com/finnishnightmares/

Nation with silence

Finland, country far away from everything. Minus thirty degrees cold, Santa Claus riding with reindeers and of course polar bears on the streets. Those are the things what I often hear when people talk about Finland. Now I will tell you few things about real Finland and Finnishness.

Lets talk about Finnish people first. Most of us are humble, quiet and pretty calm persons. We like to give space for each others and if you are thinking small talk with Fins, forget it! Example if you go in bus somewhere in Central Europe, you probably say hi or do little chat with the driver and to the person you are sitting next to. In Finland most of people say hi for the driver, but if you say everything more than that you are going to get weird eyes. And I think we should open little more. Take chat with people we don`t know and share some smiles. Other thing is own space. The rest of the world learned safety distance in about one and half year ago, but in here its old thing.  Example in bus stop or markets cash desk you never go one or two meters closer for another person.

Should I tell something about Finnish culture? Well no problem, sauna, viina ja kirves. I think we have good taste humor about the dark sides of Finnishness, because pretty many things are stigmatizing. Like so many people in Finland think we have a big alcohol problem. I see it this way that we drink lot when we drink, but we spend less in overall picture. In Central Europe people take beer or wine almost everyday with dinner and lunch. In Finnish culture have of course own delicious tradition foods, like karelian pies and rye bread. At first time most of these foods are weird for foreign people, but everybody gonna love those after one taste!

After all Finland and Finnishness is a thing that you have experience and learn. Its unique, beautiful and little weird.

Finnishness

Things which comes to my mind first when thinking of Finnishness are sauna, nature, four seasons, coffee, strange sports and activities, cottage, lakes, northern lights, salt licorice, rye bread… I could just go on and on but instead of continuing I want to tell you interesting facts about some of these things.

Sauna. Sauna is definitely Finnish thing. We love saunas and almost everyone has sauna in their house. It’s a place where you can relax, have a couple of beer and talk about the purpose of life. There are also public saunas in Finland where people visit and spend time with friends.

Nature. Finland is known as the country of thousands lakes but that’s nowhere near the truth. Finland has more than 180 000 lakes, more than in any other country.

Four seasons. Finland has beautiful nature with its four seasons. We have 4 different seasons; summer, fall, winter and spring. When summer comes Finland offers round-the-clock sunshine.

     

Coffee. Finns drinks too much coffee. We drink approximately 10 kilograms coffee per person per year. It’s the most than anywhere else.

Different type of sports and activities. Finns have invented many strange and exotic sports. I think the most strange and funniest is Eukonkannon world championship. It is a sport that aims to carry a woman through an obstacle course as quickly as possible. There is also some other exotic world championship species such as mosquito hunting, boot throwing, air guitar playing and swamp football.

However, Finnishness means much more to me than the things mentioned above. I have lived in Finland my whole life and I love my country. There are many things we should be proud and thankful for. Things like safety, honesty, freedom and peace. There are times when it’s good to stop to think about things you value and are grateful for.

Finnishness

As a  born and raised Finn the first things that come to mind about Finland are the Saunas, mökki life, drinking, forests, and the shy/reserved nature of the typical Finnish person. These things are amazing and I cherish them dearly and I would not swap my quiet summer mökki evenings for anything but on the other hand, there are those cold dark winter nights that just seem to suck the life out of me, this plays into the idea of Finland being the land of extremes.

The extremes

Finland is the land of extremity, I feel that there is rarely any middle ground:

  • With the beautiful warm summer comes the cold dark winter
  • A quiet and  Finn with a bit of alcohol can turn into the most outgoing person in the world
  • From the sauna which temperature is close to boiling, we like to jump into the frozen lake
  • In a nation that is so into peace and quiet is remarkable how many heavy metal bands we produce.

Many people have already explained how amazing Finland is in its extremes and beautiful this country truly is which I wholeheartedly agree with, but I want to take this opportunity to explore the negatives that this extremity can bring.

As a half Malaysian- Indian I do not look like the typical Finn having been born here and lived here my entire life my personality at least can be considered very Finnish. Being the way I look I have also experienced extremity in the way I’ve been treated, racism is still a major issue here and I don’t know how but something needs to be done about that, but on the good side, people are more often than not very understanding and extremely kind here in Finland.  The extremity can also be felt politically Finns haven’t been this divided politically for a while, this is evident when you hear how people talk about other people with opposing ideologies e.g calling each other terrible names.

There is always good and bad in almost everything and Finland is one of those things our extremity that we experience in this country can bear fruit to the most beautiful things in the world like the sauna and the Finnish summer and the worst part of every year winter.. This is of course how I see it and it is subjective, things that I perceive as good might be the opposite to someone else, hell maybe both sides of the coin are amazing but how I see it Finland is a land of extremes and I cherish it.

Finnishness for me

This blog has presented so many different sides of Finnishness. I would like to focus on Finnish values from another perspective. Sure, we love sauna, frozen lakes and beer but I think there is so much more to mention.

Finns are very humble on everyday life. Don’t mind me -attitude is very common and it is always just easier to eat the wrong meal at a restaurant than to mention it was not what you ordered. Despite this attitude, we are very proud of anything that has made Finland knownto the whole world. Leijonat have won the ice hockey world championships three times already, Lordi won the Eurovision song contest 2006 and Sanna Marin was mentioned in Time magazine among the next 100 most influential people as a rising leader.

We have a beautiful country to live in, and at least once a year we remind ourselves how we got there.  Every 6th of January we watch Tuntematon Sotilas and Linnanjuhlat on TV, eat well and have a drink to Finland and to all who fought for our independence. Finland is a free country where the state takes care of everyone, offers free health care and considers making new laws when 50 000 people agree on something.

So, among our war veterans we have many national heroes in addition. Finns have succeeded in many fields, and we take pride in all of them.

Like many of the Nordic countries, Finland has made huge progress in people’s equality and human rights issues. Gender equality has been improving fast. Finns have had many fighters for women’s rights and big steps have been took. Having female prime minister or female president has been normalized. Same sex marriages have been legal since 2017. The list goes on and the work for equality continues.

To me Finnishness is represented by sauna, sisu, the most wonderful coast, nature and lakes and always respecting social distance. As much as Finnishness is all these things, it is also safety, equality for everyone, freedom of speech and desire to go forward. For all these things, I am proud to be Finnish.

Finnish forests and nature

Nature and specifically forests are the first thing that comes to my mind from the word Finnishness. When I was a little my dad often took me to roam in the forests and taught me things about plants. Also, I used to go to pick up mushrooms with my grandmother. Later in life I’ve spend a lot of time in the forests playing with our family dogs. And even nowadays I sometimes enjoy a long walk in the forest. It truly calms me and nurtures my mind.

Finnish forests are amazing. We have A LOT ofthem. What’s great about them is that they’re very safe. We have very few forest animals that are dangerous, and they naturally avoid humans. The forest provides us with foods like many different varieties of berries and mushrooms. It also gives us wood, that is widely used material in Finland. In Finland we have this right called “jokamiehenoikeus” which freedom to roam in any forest and enjoy nature if you don’t harm it.

Many Finnish people learn no to love our nature and forest from very young age. Schools arrange field trips to forests where children can get to explore the nature by collecting plants and picking up berries and mushrooms. Many families have summer cottages outside of cities close to nature where people spend time during their summer holidays.