20 Awesome Things You Do Not Know About Finland

Hugs? Nope, not in Finland. Not kosher. But a bunch of nude men wrestling in the mud or relaxing together in the sauna? Perfectly normal. Welcome to Finland! 😀 The only Nordic nation on the continent that is not part of Scandinavia. Did you know that? That one was free — below are 20 more things you do not know about Finland. (After the video.)

When I first stepped off the plane into a snowy Helsinki wearing a short-sleeve shirt, the thought occurred to me that maybe I was not prepared for this. Maybe I would not like Finland. Spent the better part of the last decade traveling tropical countries. Surely I did not know what I was getting myself into. Little did I know that I would fall in love in Finland. And learn a lot of cool (and so cool) things while exploring this Nordic country.

20 Things You Do Not Know About Finland:

1)   Finland is the most honest country in the world.   The entire nation runs on the honesty system. Helsinki was named the World’s Most Honest City.

2)   Finnish people love the cold.   They embrace it. Swimming in a frozen lake when it’s -30° is just an ordinary day.

3)   But hate the lack of light.   It’s not the frozen weather that gets to you during the winter, it’s the four hours of daylight.

9am in Northern Finland. No sign of the sun yet. This is called a “blue morning”

4)   Finnish people love coffee.   What I have not yet been able ascertain is whether its the taste or the warmth that keeps them coming back for more.

5)   And alcohol.   Saunas. Skiing. Coffee. Everything is better with booze!

6)   And losers.   The Day For Failure takes place every October in Helsinki.

7)   And nature.   With 187,888 lakes and 179,888 islands, wouldn’t you?

8)   And saunas.   The Finnish word sauna means the same thing in every language — except Swedish.

9)   But not hugging.   Finns definitely prefer their personal space. No qualms over nudity though.


10)   Finland was formally part of Sweden.   Yup, back in the 16th and 17th centuries.

11)   And Russia.   Spoils of the Great Northern War (1700–1721).

Did you know Santa does not live in the North Pole, he lives in Northern Finland? Yup, just one of the many things you do not know about Finland.
Did you know Santa does not live in the North Pole, he lives in Northern Finland? Yup, just one of the many things you do not know about Finland.

12)   Finland is home to Santa.   More than 500,000 people a year visit Santa’s Village in Rovaniemi.

13)   And Nokia.   Founded in 1865 but best known for their phones.

14)   And the Angry Birds.   They joined us at NBE Finland.

Angry Birds at NBE Finland 2017 in Helsinki. This is the Angry Birds' home -- just one of the many things you do not know about Finland.
Look! It’s @mshelsinki and the Angry Birds!

15)   And the world’s best pizza.   Yup, Finland even beat Italy. And you can try the winning pizza, “The Berlusconi”, at any Kotipizza in the country.

16)   And the world’s craziest competitions,   including the World Cell Phone Throwing Championship, Mosquito Swatting Championship, Ant Nest Sitting Competition, Air Guitar World Championship, and of course the most famous of them all, Wife Carrying Championship. (Which if you read 22 Things You Don’t Know About Estonia then you’ll already know that Estonians are quite good at wife-carrying.)

17)   And the second-largest lake of all the Nordic countries. At 4,400 sq kilometres (1,700 sq mi) Lake Saimaa is one of the largest lakes in the world, and it is gorgeous.

Lake Saimaa, the largest lake in Finland and one of the largest lakes in the world
Lake Saimaa, the largest lake in Finland and one of the largest lakes in the world

18)   And some of the world’s most expensive speeding tickets.   Fines are based off income so if you are wealthy, better cough it up. $103,000 is the Finnish record.


19)   Finland believes in “freedom to roam”   Every person has basics rights to public land. This includes camping, foraging and fishing.

20)   Oh and by the way, Finland is not a real country.   It’s all part of a global conspiracy perpetrated by the Russians and Japanese for fish. Or so the story goes. Entertaining stuff. Vice even did a follow-up on it a couple months ago. Here’s what the region really looks like: 😉

Finland does not exist -- here is a map of what the region really looks like. Crazy, huh? Just one of the many things you do not know about Finland.
Finland is really “fin land”

My favorite part of The Finland Conspiracy is this:

What about Finnish people? Are they all in on the conspiracy?   No. People from Finland genuinely believe they’re from Finland. In reality they are from small towns on either the Eastern part of Sweden, the Western part of Russia, or the Northern part of Estonia.  

Planning a trip to Finland?

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See More     Things You Do Not Know About EstoniaThings You Do Not Know About Sri Lanka

What else do you (not) know about Finland?

About Derek Freal

"Some people eat, others try therapy. I travel."   Cultural enthusiast. Adrenaline junkie. Eater of strange foods. Chasing unique and offbeat adventures around the world since 2008. Derek loves going to new destinations where he does not speak a word of the local language and must communicate with hand gestures, or places where he is forced to squat awkwardly to poo -- supposedly its healthier and more efficient. For more information (about Derek, not squat pooing) including popular posts and videos, check out his bio.

20 thoughts on “20 Awesome Things You Do Not Know About Finland”

  1. Nothing breaks down barriers/inhibitions/BS like a naked sauna with business colleagues and potential customers followed by good beer and food before resuming business discussions – “Hail, Sauna!” (forget Caesar!)!

  2. Ho! Ho! Ho! ‘Love it! I knew about Santa and Nokia, but I didn’t know that Angry Birds came from Finland. Hence, the no huggig I guess! 😉

    As for the sauna culture, honestly, it’s not only the Finns, it’s all of the Nordic region and parts of Eastern Europe too. Even Germany has it going on! And quite frankly, as a prudish British person, I really can’t cope, so when I was invited to join a group of friends on a nudist beach. I not only turned up as the only person “dressed”, but in a yellow bikini that could be seen from miles around too! 😀

    • Lol not even skin tone? Should have at least gone out and gotten a special suit for the occasion lol 😉

      Want to know something embarrassing? Not only did I not realize that Angry Birds were from Finland but I didn’t even know those were the Angry Birds. I asked someone next to me: “Are they Pokemon?” Hahaha yeah sometimes I’m as in touch as an 80-yr-old lol. Even so I still remember my sixth grade biology teacher saying something to the effect of, what’s the big deal with nudity everyone has the same thing just one of two sets. Plus alcohol and peer pressure always help in awkward situations lol. My logic is at least I’m not going to be the only one embarrassing myself.

  3. Tell me about it!

    Yep! A yellow bikini on brown skin dazzles. In every way! ‘Remember how I said that I had been to Estonia & Finland. And used the sauna. I kept asking if it was in your birthday suit, and they all thought it was funny.
    It really wasn’t. I was petrified. And in some places, they use birches too! I opted for booking private time instead. My German husband says it’s empowering.

    I don’t think so lol! 😀

    • Lol. Hmmm looking back, never really thought about liking or hating hugging, however I guess even as kids us guys would always do the one-handshake-hug-combo greeting. And of course you tend to do it a lot of when traveling, all those ritual goodbye hugs to fellow travelers who have just been your best friend for the last week on the road but all too often never encounter again, or in those countries where hugs transcend the language barrier. Or drunken nights. Guess I never really noticed it before visiting Finland…….and never really thought about it that deeply until now

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