Finland, just like any other country, has a culture of it's own. Many Finnish people tend to be proud of being a Finn. In this blog post I will write about my own experiences of Finnishness and what it means to me.
I hail from the small, but colourful country of the Netherlands, maybe you've heard of it. I have lived in Finland for over 5 years, half a year of it in 2017 and 4.5 years now since 2019. As such, I think I can contribute my two cents about Finnishness, but from a more Dutch perspective.
In Finland, silence is not necessarily uncomfortable; it can be a sign of comfort and respect toward others' time. Finnish small talk is a doorway to the genuine and authentic people.
I recently came to think that I know rather little about my country despite my curiosity that has taken me to many places around the world. This summer I visited the northmost part of Finland and it was a very eye-opening experience to me as I had only ever been to the southern Lapland before. Neither have I really seen the eastern parts of my country. The Sámi culture, the Karelian and the Roma culture are all very unknown to me, to name a few. I might say the same about rural areas and their lifestyles and livelihoods. How could I say I know my own country?
I have travelled quite a bit and lived and worked abroad before. I can make myself home anywhere, but I still strongly identify as a Finn. Finnish nature, culture, food and language are important to me.
The relationship that Finns have with nature is a close one and as such is reflected in their culture and lifestyle. Finland is known for its stunning natural beauty, with many forests, lakes, rivers and protected wilderness areas, making nature for many Finns a place of tranquillity and peace, where nationals can escape the stresses of urban life and connect with their natural surroundings.
In this blog post I ponder Finnishness from the perspective of its social dynamics and the contrast between its modesty and appeal. I address the question of why Finns keep coming back to Finland from travelling or living abroad.