When thinking about another country to visit one that probably won’t rank very highly on your list is Finland.
But it may surprise you to learn the country is actually rather interesting. Their laws, customs, quirks and history make them stand out from the rest of the pack.
Here are ten interesting things you might not know about Finland:
If I asked you to list the best countries at producing innovative technology, I bet Finland is nowhere to be found.
Finland has actually contributed numerous inventions that are used all over the world and have changed our daily lives, such as the heart rate monitor, the sauna and ice skates amongst many others. They’re also the country that gave us Angry Birds, but we’ll forgive them for that one.
While the rest of the world is obsessed with sports like football, basketball and tennis, Finns tends to do things a little differently.
In Finland, you’d come across such gems as mosquito hunting, wife carrying and the air guitar world championships. Yes, you read that right.
Finland has an unusual relationship with the sun.
Because of where the country is situated geographically, in many parts of Finland (mostly the north) you’d struggle to find somewhere to escape the light during the summer as the sun often never fully disappears before it begins to rise again.
If you’re one of those people that needs complete darkness in order to sleep, I’d suggest investing in a good sleeping mask!
Day of Failure
The majority of major global powers aren’t keen on highlighting their personal setbacks. But the Finnish have a much more relaxed relationship with their shortcomings.
Every year on October 13th Finland celebrates the national Day of Failure; a day where all Finnish people can look back and laugh at their own misfortune, no matter how big or small the debacle.
Perhaps we can learn something here!
Are you sick and tired of the insidious back-and-forth of modern-day politicians?
Well, in Finland you might be able to breathe a little easier as an international study in 2012 concluded that Finland was “the least corrupt and most democratic country in the world.”
Since then the Finnish have continued to make political and democratic strides, placing joint first alongside Denmark in the same study conducted last year.
Traditional music is one of the few things that seems to have taken a back seat in recent years in Finland as the country has adopted a new musical identity:
The home of Heavy Metal.
In fact, Finland is home to the largest number of heavy metal bands in relation to the overall population.
Having produced such popular heavy metal artists as Nightwish and Eurovision Song Contest winners Lordi who can really blame them for taking advantage?
The land of a thousand lakes
If you’re planning on heading to Finland soon, if you don’t already it might be a good idea to learn how to swim.
Finland is home to over 187,000 recognised lakes, more than any other country on earth, leading to the affectionate title ‘The Land of a Thousand Lakes.’
Obviously, the title isn’t fully accurate but it rolls a little better off the tongue than the actual number.
Along with this, Finland is also home to a similar number of islands scattered all around its coast offering endless exploration opportunities.
Freedom to roam
In many countries, it can be difficult to recognise the legal boundaries when it comes to exploration.
But in Finland, their laws are much more lenient on the population.
You are allowed to pitch a tent, forage and fish virtually wherever you like as long as the land you are occupying is not private property.
In fact, this rule is the same for several other Nordic countries and is generally recognised as an important human right.
A word of warning: If you are planning on driving during your stay you’d better stick to the speed limit.
In Finland if you are caught speeding the fine you are presented with is based on your level of wealth and income rather than being a set fine.
Which, as you can imagine, makes it especially worrying for the wealthier side of the population.
One unfortunate soul was once fined 200,000 Euros… Ouch.
You’d imagine that with the amount of Starbucks floating around that Americans would be the world’s largest coffee consumers. Or perhaps Italians with quality coffee being so cemented in their culture.
You’d be wrong both times.
It is, in fact, the Finns who are the world largest consumers of the highly popular caffeinated beverage. Around twelve kilograms per year, per person on average.
If weights aren’t your strong suit let me save you the trouble, that’s A LOT of coffee!