What being Finnish means
Finland has been an independent country for 105 years. Being Finnish is something that (almost) everyone in this country is proud of. After all, Finland is the happiest country in the world for the fifth year in a row, now with an increasingly clear gap to the others.
The first thing that comes to my mind when thinking about Finnishness is the clean, beautiful nature and the four seasons. These things are riches that can’t be found everywhere and they mean a lot to me. Forests cover more than 75% of Finland’s land area. In relative terms, Finland is the most forested country in Europe.
The next thing that comes to mind is the proud fact that we are world leaders in education and health. Finland has a free education system and free health care for which we can be grateful. Of course, some people think we have to pay a lot in taxes, but that also makes things possible.
Finnish way of life and habits
Finns have ways of life and habits that cause wonder in people from other countries. I’m going to list a few things that I myself have taken for granted, but have been amazed by my foreign friends. For Finns, they are taken for granted and are part of the Finnish way of life. Some habits may amuse foreigners.
In many countries, it is customary to keep your shoes on inside or to change into indoor shoes when you come home. In Finland, on the other hand, shoes are dutifully removed in the hallway ─ often even when it’s a celebration at home, such as a confession or graduation party.
The usual Christmas movie story is Santa Claus climbing down the chimney to put presents under the tree as if in secret on Christmas Eve. But not in Finland, here children get presents from Santa hand in hand on Christmas Eve! And Santa Claus can be a complete stranger who has been ordered for money from an online platform, for example.
Last but not least, Finnish babies sleep outside in a pushchair all year round, even in sub-zero temperatures. In Finland, children also play outside in all weathers, whereas in many countries, when it rains, they play indoors without exception.