Finland - the land of thousands of lakes, where praise is uncomfortable and the honesty of the sauna people looks you straight in the eye, whether you ask for it or not

There are certainly many ways of presenting Finland and its traits. In a nutshell, Finnishness is above all intertwined with abundant and internationally renowned nature, the unwavering honesty of the people and a well-functioning and stable social security and education system.

Finland’s magnificent nature is like a grand stage, where the four seasons are each presented in their own colours. Winter landscapes shimmer in the enchanting glow of the snow, spring brings nature to life, summer offers all-embracing greenery and nightless nights, and autumn paints the landscape in red and yellow. Finns have a deep relationship with nature, which is reflected in their everyday life and culture. Forest walks, berry picking and mushroom picking are part of the Finnish identity, rooted in a strong connection with nature throughout generations. Indeed, nature is certainly one of the key reasons why Finland is the happiest country in the world for the sixth year in a row.

Whatever the season, Finns take a sauna. Sauna, the sacred place where the Finnish soul and body are purified. Sauna is not just a place for steaming hot baths, it is also a social event where life’s joys and sorrows are shared. A Finn can just as easily take a sauna alone in a group or with strangers.

Another cornerstone of Finnishness is honesty. A value that runs through society regardless of age. Through honesty, Finns are also known for their honesty, whether it’s in dealing with a neighbour or in international business relationships. Honesty is not just a way of behaving, it is part of the Finnish DNA, reflected in a strong climate of trust in society.

Honesty is well illustrated by the fact that in few countries, for example, will a lost wallet and its contents ever find its rightful owner again – in Finland this is almost without exception a matter of course. On the other hand, when asked a question, sometimes even without asking, a Finn gives an honest answer or opinion without embellishing it any further. However, Finns find it particularly difficult and inconvenient to receive compliments, so they prefer to change the subject as soon as possible or to pass the credit on to someone else.

The third element of Finnishness is the social and educational system. Finland is renowned for its world-class education system, which gives everyone an equal opportunity to learn, develop and grow into the person they want to be. Education is a guarantee of equality, which is one of the reasons why Finland excels in so many international benchmarks. In addition to education, part of the Finnish safety net is the social security system, which provides a wide range of protection for its citizens at different stages of their lives. It lays the foundations for social peace and gives individuals the courage to pursue their dreams.

Built in to help Finns overcome difficulties and rise from adversity is Finnish sisu. sisu is persistent, unrelenting willpower, perseverance and indomitability – a key part of Finnish national identity. It is a heritage and a resource that springs from deep within, has been and continues to be shared by Finns throughout the generations.

Finnishness is thus a multidimensional whole, weaving together the beauty of nature, the strength of honesty and the structure of a society that works for all citizens. It is a story told in the humming of forests, the sloshing of lakes on shores and the warmth of saunas. Finnishness is a larger-than-life experience that is sure to leave a mark on anyone who gets to experience it, or even taste it.


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