Things to know about Finland

 

Finland may have very different habits and surroundings in contrast to your home country. Here are listed a few of the most important things.

The famous silence

Sometimes, getting to know Finns can be quite challenging, but don’t give up. Finns are generally very nice people, and surely you’ll find some awesome friends among them. In Finland you don’t speak to people you don’t know, unless you need to ask for directions or something similar. If you sit next to a stranger in a bus and strike up a conversation, they’ll probably think you’re drunk, trying to hit on them or otherwise dangerous.

You might find Finns not very talkative at first, but it’s just the way they are, they enjoy the talk as much as the silence. Long gaps in conversations are pretty normal in Finland. On the other hand, Finns have the advantage of speaking very good English, even though they sometimes don’t dare to speak English. You could say that they are perfectionists (“If you don’t truly master the language, why use it at all and risk sounding like a fool?”).

Where is a good place to meet Finns?

Guilds’ and international associations’ events are obviously the best place to meet international-minded Finns who will be glad to share their experiences with you. A good place to start a conversation with a Finn is in the sauna, everybody becomes surprisingly talkative in there. The sauna is a very important part of Finnish tradition, and many parties are followed by an after-party, which includes a sauna.

Get outside!

Nature has an essential place in Finland, and most of the space is taken by it. Considering the area of the country (338 424 km2) and the number of inhabitants (5,4 million), you have a lot of space to be by yourself in the nature. The Finnish “everyman’s right” states that you are allowed to walk freely in the countryside with some exceptions like gardens, near people’s homes, in fields etc, and are allowed to pick wild berries and mushrooms from the woods, as long as they are not protected species.

Climate

The Finnish climate is quite tough during the winter, and you’d better be ready for that. Meaning that if you have good, warm clothes everything should be fine. The temperature can be around -20°C, so the best thing to do is to use the “onion technique”: wear several layers of clothes so that you can remove some when you are in a building (buildings have very efficient heating systems).

Something which might be a bit more difficult to overcome during the winter is the darkness. Starting from November, days are pretty short and dark, and it’s not always easy to cope with it, but when the snow arrives, it makes the days lighter and the winter more beautiful. Snow usually fully disappears in March or April, but the temperature stays quite chilly until May. During the summer, the days are very long. They last more than 20 hours in the Helsinki region around the 21st of June, and the temperature can be up to 25°C.