Last week was Finland’s 101st anniversary of independence. The capital celebrated by gifting it’s citizens a brand new state of the art library and I decided to reflect on the things I love about my adopted home. I also asked some of my Finnish friends what they loved about their country. Here are some of their thoughts and some of my favourite things.
I love the nature and the way the seasons change, I think all seasons have their moments: the light in summer, the way the leaves sound when you walk through a pile of them in autumn, the snow in winter and the sound of melting ice and the first flowers in the spring.
I love that we value honesty and modesty, as well as that when someone asks you how you are doing you are expected and allowed to answer honestly. And sauna in all seasons of course! ~ Nicole
I love the vast, untouched and unique nature of Finland with all it’s four varying seasons and seasonal celebrations, thousands of lakes, forests in South and wilderness in Lapland. I love the great transport opportunities to get out there, as well as the whole welfare state taking care of everyone. It feels secure and privileged to live in Finland.
My favorite place is our summer cottage on a warm evening at sunset, with a pink and blue sky, calm lake, nothing other than bird sounds and the relaxed feeling after sauna. ~Sara
I love how much nature there is in Finland, even in cities like Helsinki. And the fact that you can walk, pitch a tent, and pick berries and mushrooms for free due to Everyman’s Rights. And I love snow, the extremely beautiful and light evenings in the summer, and sauna! And of course the free education.
I absolutely love cross-country skiing and going to a wood burning sauna after that. In the summertime going to a summer cottage by a lake and swimming and rowing there is the best. ~ Oona
I love the nature, especially the awesome rock climbing at Kustavi in the Archipelago. Warm and light summer nights, and sauna followed by swimming in clear lakes. ~ Suvi
I love the nature! Forests, lakes, summer cottage and the archipelago. Sailing, camping, cross country skiing and the clean air and water.
I love that Finnish people are renowned for their honesty, trust, reliability, modesty and sisu- a determination to overcome adversity. Everything in the country works so well, and our social service system looks after us. ~ Jade
A few of my favourite things
Tradition: Midsummer bonfires during Juhannus
Food: Karelian pie- traditional pastries made with rice pudding
Drink: Finnish gin (of which there are many delicious varieties) and glögi- Finnish mulled wine
Cafe: Art Cafe Taideterassi overlooking Töölönlahti
Bar: Ateljee Bar- amazing views over the city
Activity: cross country skiing- I tried this for the first time when I visited Lapland and fell in love with it!
Past-time: Sauna! It didn’t take me long to see why Fins are crazy about sauna. It’s such a relaxing activity, that I now try and enjoy one a few times a week.
Natural aspect: lakes surrounded by thick wild forests. When it comes to bodies of water I’m normally an ocean person, but there’s something about lakes in Finland that is enchanting.
City aspect: the stunning architecture in Helsinki. I adore the variety of colours, detailed designs and turrets embellishing many city buildings.
Daily life: the public transport network in Helsinki astounds me. It. is. So. Good. And cheap. In winter I use a combination of buses, trams, trains and metro, and in summer the city is smaller enough and flat enough to bike or walk.
Practicality as a tourist: As mentioned above- Helsinki is very walk-able so you can see a lot of the city in a short time. Also, pretty much EVERYONE in Helsinki speaks near perfect English.
Finnish personality trait: Sisu. This video perfectly explains the concept. “Life is hard, but so am I.”
Museum: Amos Rex. Mind-blowingly beautiful.
Time of year: Christmas- the country lights up with festive flair.
Public holiday: Vappu- what’s not to love about donning white caps and bizzare overalls and getting pissing in the park?