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.
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!
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?
Proper clothing and gear is essential for all the outdoor activities here. From wool socks and thermal underwear to trekking poles, waterproof backpacks, survival gear and more. You never know what Mother Nature can through at you, especially if you are an adventure traveler. To be better prepared for all your outdoor adventures — not just here but around the world — check out Best Survival.