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. Perhaps I would not like Finland. After all, I had spent the better part of the last decade traveling almost exclusively through 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 nation.
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.
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).
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.
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.
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: 😉
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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22 thoughts on “20 Awesome Things You Do Not Know About Finland”
No hugs! I’ve gone right off the country now. What about sneeking in a discrete one during some naked mud wrestling?
As long as you are naked while doing it, I do believe you can get away with anything in Finland
I’ll be on the next flight
Hey! Iceland isn’t a Scandinavian country either but does belong to the Nordics ????
You’re right Inga whoops guess I should have specified “continental Europe” didn’t think about Iceland, my mistake
You’re good. Still like you ????
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!)!
Couldn’t agree more Bruce, hail sauna!
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.
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! 😀
Hahaha that is awesome. And yes, I remember. Can see how some people see it as empowering but my choice of words would be liberating 😉
Great facts about Finland, but honestly I knew about half of them before reading. Never been in this amazing country but want to visit it.
The mud wrestling looks like something I’d love to give a go one day! Awesome write up of Finland Derek!
Thanks Mike. Finland is an awesome country so I had to write an awesome (and hopefully entertaining) post to do the country justice 😉 Highly recommend it if you have not been already.
Haha, yeah it’s a great post. If I visit, I’d need some competition for the mud wrestling… up for it!?
Sure why not Mike, always down to get dirty lol I’m like a big kid still ????
All my finnish friends like hugging 🙂
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