Quick Facts about Finland
Finland is a Northern European country that sits next to the Baltic Sea. Its surrounding countries include Norway, Sweden, and Russia. There are over 5 ½ million people living in Finland. The capital city which is also it’s most densely populated is Helsinki. Beautiful Helsinki has a total population of over 500,000 citizens, and it stands as Finland’s economic, scientific, and cultural center.
The country’s official languages include Finnish and Swedish, with English being a popular secondary language.
All these facts are common knowledge. Below are 6 interesting facts about Finland that most people do not know about.
1. Happiest Country in the World
According to the 2019 World Happiest Report, Finland ranks number one on the list of the happiest countries in the world. It beats out its close rivals like Denmark, Norway, Iceland, and the Netherlands. As for the United States, it ranks number 19 on the list.
People attribute the happiness of the Finnish people to the social services they’re offered, such as low crime, government pension plan, affordable health care, and free education. Quality Of Life In Helsinki Vs Quality Of Life Elsewhere
2. Free College for Anyone in the European Union
Free college education in Finland is not reserved for Finnish students only. Anyone who is a citizen of a nation that is part of the European Union can study abroad in Finland without having to pay any money. Citizens of Switzerland and nations of the European Economic Area can also study for free as well.
3. Speeding Fines Are Based on the Daily Income of the Offender
In western countries, driving over the speed limit will usually result in the offender having to pay a fixed fee or fine. But Finland does things a little bit differently where speeding fines are concerned. Instead of imposing a fixed fine for a speeding violation, they impose fines based on how much daily disposable income the offender has.
A speeding fine is basically calculated by taking the offender’s daily income and dividing it by two. The number of days in which they’ll have to pay this fine depends on how many kilometers over the speed limit they went.
4. There Are Close to 180,000 Islands and Lakes in Finland
On a world map, Finland looks like a peninsula surrounded by water on most of its sides. What you might not realize is that roughly 180,000 lakes exist within the borders of Finland. Not only that, but it also has over 75,000 islands within half a square kilometer of the country and a total of over 178,000 islands around and within the country. Approximately 549 of the islands without a road to the mainland are inhabited.
5. Finnish People Love Some Very Unusual Types of Sports
Sports in most western countries consist of football, basketball, baseball, soccer, or some variation of them. In Finland, the official sport is Ice Hockey, and some of the best ice hockey players are from Finland.
Besides Ice Hockey, Finland has other official sports too. The five most popular Finnish sports are swamp football, mobile phone throwing, mosquito hunting, wife-carrying, and air guitaring. What in the world is air guitaring?
6. Finnish People Love to Drink Coffee and Milk
The people of Helsinki love to drink milk, and will often choose it over water. The average Finnish person will drink approximately 12 kilograms of coffee every year. Finnish people also consume milk at a rapid rate, and not always with their coffee either. According to statistics, Finland consumes more milk per capita each year than any other country. Helsinkians love to drink coffee and do so several times throughout the day. Cafes selling hot coffee and pastries are very common.
7. Vegan’s Paradise
Helsinki is a veritable vegan’s paradise. A vast portion of the city’s population is either vegan or vegetarian; virtually every restaurant has at least one vegan option on the menu. In Helsinki, you will find everything from vegan ice cream to vegan burgers.
8. Healthy Living People
The people of Helsinki are some of the healthiest on the continent. They love to walk and bike everywhere. In fact, many people dress comfortably because as soon as they leave work, they practice some form of athletic activity.
9. Nature-loving People
Helsinki is a city that is surrounded by nature. No matter where in the city you find yourself, if you look around, you will catch sight of nature. There are countless parks, wooded trails, lakeside walkways. Few cities in Europe have air as clean as Helsinki’s. Finns love and feel safe in the forest, hence their desire to preserve nature.
10. Most organized people
Finns are the most organized people on the planet. And this is not an exaggeration. They have an organized code of conduct and strictly adhere to it. For example, the city of Helsinki doesn’t do turnstiles. People will queue up in an orderly manner to enter the subway or tram without any control systems — which is a completely different scenario in other developed countries.
11. Good Manners and decorum
If you are invited into the house of a Finnish person, you are expected to take off your shoes and leave them by the door. It is frowned upon to bring your “outside” shoes indoors. Some Finnish people might even take offense if you do, since you will be bringing in dirt from outside. This tradition is particularly important during the winter months since there is so much snow and mud around.
12. Pet owners are few
Not many people in Helsinki keep pets. In fact, Finland, in general, is not a pet-loving country. Only about 30% of households have pets. To put that in perspective, in the United States, close to 70% of households have a pet.
13. Polite people
Big cities have a reputation for fostering rudeness in their citizens. But not Helsinki. This European capital city has some of the most polite and humble citizens in the world.
14. Most difficult language to learn
The official language of Helsinki is Finnish, which is one of the world’s most difficult languages to learn. However, until the late 1800s, the people of Helsinki spoke more Swedish than Finnish. Presently, close to 6% of the population speaks Swedish as their primary tongue. 15% of the population speaks a language other than Finnish or Swedish.