Finland is a Nordic country in Northern Europe. It is bordered by the Baltic Sea, Gulf of Finland, and Gulf of Bothnia with Sweden to the west and Russia to the east. The country was part of the Sweden kingdom for a long time before it was captured by Russia. The country got its independence in 1917.
With its numerous lakes, rivers, and marshlands, Finland from the air looks like an intricate green and blue jigsaw puzzle. Let’s solve this puzzle and know a little more about this country:
Interesting Facts about Republic of Finland
1. You might know this already that Finland is the happiest country in the world. It bagged first position on the latest World Happiness Report. It is also one of the least corrupt countries in the world. Sounds like the perfect country to live in.
2. You need to think a lot before you speed on the roads here as speeding fines can be very expensive in Finland. The fine is calculated on the violator’s total income. In 2002 a man was fined 116,000EUR. His annual income was 7 million.
3. They have some unique and weird sports. One of the most famous is the Wife Carrying World Championship where men have to carry their wives and race through a special obstacle track. Hey, there is a Bollywood movie based on this sport! The race happens in July and couples from all over the world travel to Finland to take part in it. The winner receives a prize of beer worth the weight of his wife.
Some of the other strange sports include mosquito hunting, swamp football, rubber boot throwing, mobile phone throwing and the Air Guitar World Championship.
4. “Haar ke jeetne wale ko Baazigar kehte hain” Finland took this dialog so seriously that they started celebrating a day for failure. It was first held in 2010 by some university students and soon became popular throughout the country. Since then it is being celebrated every year on 13th October. It gives people a chance to open up about their problems, discuss their mistakes and gather encouragement from society.
The country also has a ‘National Sleepy Head Day’ where the last person in a family to wake up is thrown into a lake or the sea by the rest of the family. I know my parents would happily do this to me every day .
5. Finland is referred to as “Land of a Thousand Lakes”. That’s an inaccurate name as the country has 187,888 lakes; a lot more than thousand. In total, fresh water covers 10% of the country’s total land mass. The Finnish Lakeland (region to the north of the capital Helsinki) is Europe’s largest lake district.
6. The Finns love their coffee. It is quite evident from the fact that Finland ranks number one on the list of the world’s top coffee consuming nations.. The average Finn consumes 12 kilos of coffee annually!
Finland also has the world’s highest annual consumption of milk per capita. Hey, I see Dalgona coffee in the making!
7. Sauna is part of the Finnish culture. It’s the norm to have a sauna in your home and share it with both family and friends. Almost everyone takes a sauna at least once a week. There are over 2 million saunas for the country’s 5 million inhabitants. Fun fact, a Burger King in Helsinki has a Sauna.
8. Finland is the number one Heavy Metal band country in Europe. In fact, there are more Heavy Metal bands per capita here than anywhere else in the world. Few of the famous Finnish Heavy metal bands and artists are Lordi , Nightwish, Apocalyptica, Ensiferum, HIM, Amorphis and Children of Bodom.
9. Finland’s education system ranks as one of the world’s best, even though children don’t go to school until they are seven and it’s not mandatory to give them grades until the eighth grade.
The country has free education even at the university level which is not a common practice worldwide. Now you see why the people are happy here.
10. Finland has one of the strongest passports in the world. It ranks fourth, just shortly behind Japan, Singapore, Germany and South Korea (it’s a tie between the last two). You know what does that mean? If you have a Finnish passport then you can visit most of the countries in the world without getting a visa. You can be spontaneous and book a ticket to any country in the world without thinking twice.
11. This is the land of northern lights and midnight sun. World famous Aurora Borealis (Northern Lights) can be seen during the winter months. There is no sunlight in winters which is compensated with the sun in the summer months when it never drops below the horizon.
12. Finland has always been one of the most gender equal countries in the world. It has the third smallest gender gap in the world.
In 1906, it was the first country in Europe to provide equal voting rights to women. And even though New Zealand and Australia were a little ahead of Finland in allowing the women to vote, it was Finland which became the first country in the world to also grant women the right to stand for parliament. The current prime minister of Finland is a woman – Sanna Marin.
13. You can visit Santa Claus village when in the country and meet the real Santa. Rovaniemi, the capital of Lapland is the official hometown of Santa Claus. The place looks magical during Christmas.
14. Fun fact, the Longest Palindromic Word Comes from the Finnish Language. It is a 19-lettered word “saippuakivikauppias”, which means a lye (caustic soda) dealer.
15. We have discussed how Finland is the perfect place to live, but there is one thing that sets it back. Finland is known as the Prison break capital of Europe. The country has “open-prison” system in which inmates aren’t kept locked up or watched over by guards 24 hours a day. Instead they work in the community for minimum wage, are free to walk around and shop in the local town, and even get short holidays and time at home with family. Now, that sounds great but it also makes it easy for prisoners to escape. Finland’s prisoners have an escape rate of 1,084 per 10,000 inmates, which is the highest in Europe.
16. The Päijänne Water Tunnel is a 120 km long tunnel in Southern Finland. It is world’s second longest tunnel, after the Delaware Aqueduct in the United States.
17. Nokia, the telecommunication company is Finnish. Interestingly, the country has no payphones.
18. The world’s first graphical web browser was developed and released by four Finnish students in 1992. It was known as Erwise. The browser got a lot of praise, but it could not become popular due to lack of funding.
Hey, did you know that Angry Birds was created in Finland?
Trip leader Sakshi’s Recommendations if you are visiting Republic of Finland:
Rovaniemi: You cannot get so close to the Arctic Circle and not visit Santa’s town. Lapland is also one of the best places to see northern lights! Check out the polar bears in the Ranua wildlife park. And go on a husky sleigh ride in this magical place.
Read more about it here.
Lake Saimaa: Have you ever thought of living in a cabin by a lakeside? A place where you could go for a dive few moments before sunset when the lake is painted orange and everything’s so serene. Then you should visit Lake Saimaa, the biggest lake in Finland. It made the Wall Street Journal list of the five most beautiful lakes in the world in 2014. The scenery Finland has to offer is at its best in the Saimaa region.
Lake Saimaa has the world’s longest lake coastline, 14,500 km long, and is also home to some 14,000 islands. In fact, there are so many islands, that Lake Saimaa doesn’t look like one body of water, rather a series of lakes.
The endangered Saimaa ringed seal is also a resident of the lake. This is one of the rarest seals in the world, with only around 360 of them surviving today. If you are lucky, you can encounter the gentle ringed seal on your travels, while in the Saimaa area.
The lake remains frozen during winters and is famous for skiing and ice fishing.
Suomenlinna: This UNESCO World Heritage site is one of world’s largest sea fortresses. It was built in 1847 by the Swedes to scare off the Russians. Well, they weren’t sacred and later captured Finland. You can visit as a day trip from Helsinki, explore the vast complex and learn more about the rich history of Finland.