Tag Archives: lapland

Finns are special. Or are they?

“Finnish culture is so unique!” Why is it always the Finn who brings this fact up and not the foreigner? Also, why Finns do not like to talk about themselves and are generally quite reserved, but when the conversations’ focus shifts from individual people to one’s culture, the quiet Finn rises from the corner table and talks hours on end about our sisu, sauna and Koskenkorva? This picture sums up my thoughts quite well. Our culture is not in the minds of foreigners even though we believe so.


In regular conversations about Finland, the most common topic Finns bring up is how Finnish language is among the hardest for foreigners to learn, as if it would be some kind of trophy to be proud of. The funny thing is that this notion among Finns is not even true. Recent study has shown that Finnish is not considerably harder to learn than other languages. The misconception of “Finnish being hard” in itself causes the language to become hard to learn for some because it discourages them to even begin. While it is true that a new language completely different to your own might be difficult to learn, it is far from impossible like some Finns boast.

This is not to say that our nation wouldn’t be unique from the rest. The sheer fact that our country is over one thousand kilometres long guarantees that there’s bound to be many distinct sub-cultures which makes our culture as a whole very diverse. There are many things in the Finnish culture none other culture has, but in all honesty, which culture is not like that? All cultures are unique in some way, Finns just seem to make a big deal about it.

Also, Finns laugh at foreigners for believing that there would be polar bears here. In fact, there are at least two, in Ranua zoo. Who’s laughing now, Finland?


Finnish responsibility

I’m originally from Estonia so finnish culture was something new for me. Estonian culture is mostly borrowed from Russia etc. Finland, on the other handhas culture mostly of it’s ownWhen I tell foreigners about Finland I  begin with our education system and our healthcareThose are the things I’m most  proud of as a finn because our healthcare and education system are better than in most countries. 

As others have writtennature is important to us. We are proud of our forests and lakesThe best way to enjoy our nature is to spend time at the cottage in the woodsnear to a lakeThat’s where townspeople and hard workers relaxAlso we have many nature parks  near to big cities and the cities itself have lots of vegetation. Our nature changes with the  seasons and every season has it’s beauty. Finlands speciality is Laplandwhere the winter  is longest and snowiestSummers in Lapland are magicalThere you can experience the  green mountainsthe quiet deserts and the nightless nightsThe northern lights are a  must see!


Because nature and climate are so important to us, we carry a huge responsibility for themSometimes it can be overwhelming when we  make not-so-good environmental decisions. Like when we buy plane tickets to somewhere warm and sunny in the middle of depressing winter or when we choose spanish cucumber instead of finnish because the taste is betterBut we compensate our bad choices with many good choicesFor exampleour recycling  system is very advanced and most finns utilize it. Our grocery store are full of greener and organic alternatives and finns prefer domestic products. Also the popularity of finnish  recycled crafts and design is on the riseNot forgetting our comprehensive and functional public transportationwhich  reduces private car useFinnishness is love and great responsibility towards our nature. 

My Finnishness – nature and behavior

If you want to get the best expierence of Finnishness, you should visit for example the nature of Finland in Lapland. I find the nature of Lapland very beautiful during winter but also during summer. You have to go skiing and downhill skiing if you are visiting Lapland.



You can get very beautiful pictures of the nature of Finland, but the nature can be pretty harsh sometimes. Especially in Lapland winter can be long, cold and dark. Everyone may be exhausted during winter beacause you don’t get to see and feel the sun often enough. As a result, the arrival of spring and summer always feels so comforting and pleasant. In summer, the Finns truly come out of their caves after the long and cold winter. Many Finns always have big plans for the summer because many Finns have their longest vacation during summer. Majority of Finns for example visit music festivals, attend different open air dancing events and go to their own summer cottage to rest. In addition, we celebrate Midsummer Day, which takes place in the middle of the summer. Traditionally we spend the day with out friends and family at a cottage and enjoy the nature of Finland in the middle of trees and lakes.



Nevertheless, it is also true that the Finns like to have their own personal space. We need to have our own space and our surroundings under control. You can witness this while waiting the bus or being in crowded place in public. If you sit next to someone you don’t know and there are free seats available on the bus, Some Finns may find that distressing or strange. Also, you are supposed to stand approximately one meter away from that person you don’t know, for example while waiting the bus. The Finns may seem angry and severe at first, but we are just shy at first. When you get to know someone, for example in school or work, we Finns are whole different persons after a couple of conversations. After breaking that shy ice, we Finns are social, kind and friendly.

All in all, Finland is very safe and wonderful place to live even though the darkness during winter may feel depressing sometimes, but you can always warm yourself in a sauna. The Finnish people may behave their own way at first, but just be patient and give it time. Over time the Finns are really talkative and energetic. You just have to get to know them at first.




Finnishness – Finnish Nature


Me as a child. Photo: Family album.

I was born in a small town called Vaasa. When I was a child, we used to spend summers with my family at our cottage by the lake Lappajärvi 120 km from Vaasa. It was the place I learned to swim. I think I was spending most of my time in the lake. It was so much fun to play in the water. My mom has told that I was very interested in nature. I was always searching the ground. In school years I was a scout girl and enjoyed to spent time hiking in the forest.


Lake Lappajärvi. Photo: Minna Annola

My definition of Finnishness is Finnish nature. If I stay for a long time abroad nature is that thing what I miss from Finland. I have visited 48 countries around the world. For foreigners who like to experience the Finnish nature, I recommend a hike in Lapland or a cottage vacation by the lake.


Urho Kekkonen National Park. Photo: Minna Annola.

I have been hiking in Lapland several times. There is something magical in nature, in the sound of silence and the freshwater what you can drink straight from the stream. Landscapes are amazing with mountains, streams, and reindeer. I recommend a hike in the middle of August when there are fewer mosquitos, but still quite warm. You can sleep in a tent or book a cottage. There is also an opportunity to sleep in cottages which are free for anyone to spend night example in Urho Kekkonen National Park.


Lake Lappajärvi. Photo: Minna Annola.

Currently, we have a new cottage located in the countryside middle of the fields, by the lake Lappajärvi. It’s my place to relax and get new energy. It’s the place where I forget daily life’s stressful challenges. There I just am. There I used to meet my family, fish, paint, cook or read a book. Fields are long, the ground is quite flat, there are not many hills and no high buildings, you can see the whole sky above you. You can see nature speaks to you.

Lappajärvi. Photo: Minna Annola.

From warm south to the beautiful northern lights

One of my favorite experience of finnishness is definitely when i see the aurora borealis  or so called northern lights for the first time. I was only 6 year old then and now i am 29 year old, so 23 year later i still can remember how amazing it was! Several different colors and bright lights fill up the whole sky and the moment was breathtaking.


When i was a child, i thought that every human knows what are those wonderful northern lights. Of course i also believed that Santa is real, but that is a different story 😉 Later on i noticed that those magically lights are pretty rare and some people even travel and pay a lot of money to see them.

A few while ago i heard that Asian people think if you want to have a baby boy, you just have to see northern lights. That sounds quite easy to having boy, right? When a couple wants to have a boy for a child, their have to travel here in Finland and their need to book a nice Hotel with a good view. Second thing to do their have to make sure when and where you can see it. Luckily, many Finnish Travel and Tourism agency sells different packages concerning travelling and northern light around Lapland. Having a good hotel with a great view should not be a problem.


When those lights appear on the sky, hotel agent have to inform the couple and some case their need to wake up the in the middle of the night. Can you guess what happens next? Yes, their must make love at the same time when the sky is full of northern lights! Sounds very romantic. Chinese people are very superstitious, but i believe that in this connection they are right, cause the Travel and Tourism of Finland is rising up thanks to northern lights.

In my opinion everyone can believe in anything they want and I also imagine everyone want to make love under the beautiful sky (superstitious or not) <3

And if you believe enough, you might also see something else in the sky 😉

Greetings from sunny Tampere,



The best things of Finland

I think Finland is a very beautiful and great country. I’m proud of my Finnishness and I like to live in Finland. We can seem quite silence and sensitive people but I think it’s only when we don’t know other people. With family and friends that’s not happening. We can have fun and enjoy of the company!


The best thing of the nature of Finland is cleanness. The forests are healthy and the lakes and sea are mostly clean. That makes everything so beautiful! I love being in nature. I can just go to walk to the forest and watch and listen things around me. In Finland you can collect berries and mushrooms where ever you want and also eat those as much as you like.


In Lapland the nature is quite different. There are plenty of mountains and in winter time lot of snow. That is also very beautiful sight and you can enjoy of that for example by doing downhill skiing.



Finns love sauna and I do that also. We use sauna around the year. Many people have a summer cottage and there is always a sauna. So in summertime we go to the cottage and use sauna and swim in a lake or sea. That gets you a very relaxed feeling!

After summer when it gets colder we use sauna at home. Many people do that on weekends on Friday or Saturday. After the working week people relax by using sauna and maybe drinking couple of beers with it.

When we are talking about sauna I must mention also that in Finland it is completely normal to go to sauna with all your family and relative and many times you don’t need any swimsuit! Of course some people have ”women turn” and ”men turn” but not always at all.


Holidays and celebrations

In Finland we have many holidays around the year but the longest and best ones are in summer and at the Christmas time. Those are the holidays when you can really forget the school and works and enjoy of the free time.

The high point of the summer is Midsummer. That is a feast when most of people go to some summer cottage and have fun with relative or friends. Midsummer includes sauna and swimming, good food and drinks, bonfire and maybe Midsummer dances. Midsummer is also the time when the Sun is up longest time in the year so the night is very light.


The Christmas holiday is of course because of the Christmas. That is maybe the biggest feast of the year and Finns are spending it with family and relative. At the Christmas time all stores are closed and everyone is at home. We eat lot of good food, listen to the Christmas songs, give presents and just relax. In families with little children Santa Claus comes to give the presents and that is the high point of the evening. Christmas is very peaceful and I love it!


The Christmas holiday is often still going on at the time of the New Year. That is a feast when we have lot of fireworks and we are celebrating the coming year with the friends.


Emma Itäranta

Girl from the North

As a Finn and a Laplander the most important thing for me is the North and its nature.

I lived my younger years (21 of then to be exact) in Rovaniemi that is situated right on the Arctic Circle. My home city has been a cradle for Finnish tourism for centuries due to its unique location, the breathtaking nature surrounding it and the astonishing flow of the four seasons that cannot be found anywhere else in this country of ours.

In my youth I did not know what I had in terms on the luck to be living in a place like that. I got used to the flashing Northern lights that people fly all the way from Asia to stare at. Always having a skiing route, untouched forest, ice skating ring, slopes or a lake to fish in a few kilometers radius was an everyday thing for me. The winters where always white and so was the snow. I took these things for granted until I moved to the Southern part on the country. My conception on Finland and Finnishess quickly turned upside down.




After spending a whole year in Tampere, the things that I had built my identity upon and held the most Finnish of all did not exist partly or at all.

The summer was sweet and hotter than ever but then again, the winter months where darker and wetter than ever and the ground was grey. The snow hardly came at all and quickly melt and froze again. The slippery ice covered the ground and black trees bent in the cold wind. Deep green spruce woods had to be traveled to and fort the first time I realized how differently people in various parts on Finland speak. When I talked about my family and our ways of life, it sounded somewhat exotic at times. The difference between the folks from the South vs North and occasional lack of knowledge was surprising.

I realized how privileged I was to had been to grow in such a place. I felt home sickness, not because of the people (since 99% of the friends I grew up with had already raised the switch to say and moved before me) but the surroundings, snow, silence, nature, the trees!




Luckily quickly came the Christmas Holidays, it was time to head back to up North again. When I hopped out of the car and breathed the crisp wintery air, my laughs almost ached. ( I had gotten soft in the South…) But damn it felt good! I new I was home.

The pics are from my mothers place in Vuotso. It is another 300 km more North from Rovaniemi, which basically makes me a Southerner in their eyes 😀 As a teenager my mum could not get me there on weekends neither by force or bribe. Now, 10 years later (and as much wiser) I would kill for a day in the cabin. The distance made me realize the awesomeness of the Northern wilderness.

Its a way for me to reset myself and get in touch with my roots. My way endorsing my Finnishess.

– Milla Kuoksa / 14IBA