Learn some fun facts about Finland! Finland is known for its excellent education system, socially awkward people, and magnificent nature. On top of that, Finland is a country with a rich (and occasionally rambunctious) history, great culture, and funny people.
Want to know more? This article gives you a comprehensive list of fun facts about Finland!
Fun culture facts about Finland
1. Finnish people don’t kiss each other on the cheek or hug when they greet someone
Strangers don’t kiss each other on the cheek or hug. If you wish to greet someone in Finland, a simple nod of the head will do. However, on more formal occasions, people might shake hands.
2. Finns bring their own booze to parties
Even though many Finns are socially awkward and inhibited, they still love to party. When you’re going to a Finn’s party, you should always bring your own booze. This is common everywhere in Finland, and there’s even a saying for it: “oma pullo mukaan”, which means “bring your own bottle.”
3. Finns love the word “sisu”
Finnish people’s favorite word is “sisu”, which roughly translated means determination, grit, and bravery. To Finns, sisu is more than just a synonym for determination or persistence, it’s the very essence of the Finnish spirit. Sisu is deeply ingrained in Finnish culture and history, and define how Finns view themselves.
4. The most significant work in Finnish literature inspired J. R. R. Tolkien
Kalevala is the most famous Finnish work of literature. It’s an old work of epic poetry, which tells the story of the creation of the Earth, and it’s based on legendary Finnish folklore and old mythology. The epic work of Kalevala acted as a source of inspiration for J. R. R. Tolkien when he created his masterwork Middle Earth.
5. Female power in an equal society
Women run Finland. Sanna Marin became prime minister in 2019, and the Finnish cabinet features a majority of women, most of whom are under 35!
Fun history facts about Finland
6. Finland once had a king
Even though Finland is a Republic, it once had a king. Finland became an independent country in 1917, but in 1918, the Finnish government chose the German prince Frederick Charles Louis Constantine, the brother-in-law of German Emperor Wilhelm II, as king.
He never actually became king, though. When he was preparing to travel to Finland to take the throne, the first world war ended, and the German emperor abdicated, leaving the German prince no other choice but to renounce the throne.
7. Finland has been part of both Russia and Sweden
Finland is a young country and it declared its dependence in 1917. But during the course of history, Finland was part of the Russian empire for 108 years, and part of Sweden for over 600 years before that. That’s why a minority of the Finnish population today has Swedish as their mother tongue.
8. Finns invented the SMS
Finns invented the SMS. Engineers at Nokia, the phone company known for their ridiculously sturdy phone, invented the text message. The idea of texting had been around for a while, but it had never been popularized.
9. Finland was one of the world’s first countries to give women the right to vote
In 1906, Finland became one of the first countries in the world to give women the right to vote and to be elected, and the following year, the people elected the world’s first female members of parliament.
10. Finland is home of Santa Claus
Finland is home of Santa Claus. According to early folklore in Lapland, which was inspired by Norse mythology, there were Santa-like creatures who allegedly delivered gifts on Midwinter’s night. Even though Turkey is the home of St. Nicholas, the Finnish folklore and the idea of St. Nicholas were combined in the 1500s, and became the Santa we have today.
Fun food facts about Finland
11. The Karelian pie is the most famous Finnish pastries
A holy pastry in Finland is “karjalanpiirakka”, which originates from the province of Karelia. The crust is usually made with rye flour, and the filling usually consists of rice. Finns love to spread egg butter on top, which melts from the heat of the newly baked karjalanpiirakka.
12. Finnish people are pie-crazy!
Finnish people love pies. Why? Because of the multitude of berries, of course! During summer and fall, Finnish people pick a ton of berries, and they love to use these berries to make sweet and tasty pies. The blueberry pie is a clear favorite, but rhubarb or strawberry pies are also popular.
13. On Thursdays, we eat pea soup
On Thursdays, many people across the country eat pea soup and pancakes. Historians are unsure of where this strange tradition comes from. Finnish people like to eat rye bread with the soup, and often top the soup with mustard.
14. Finns drink the most coffee in the world
Finland has the highest coffee consumption per capita in the world. Most Finns drink at least three cups of coffee a day, but a majority of Finns drink much more than that. The average yearly coffee consumption for a typical Finnish person is 12 kilograms.
15. Finns eat weird squeaky cheese
Finns love “leipäjuusto.” Leipäjuusto, which in English is “Finnish squeaky cheese”, is a mild cheese made from cow’s milk (or sometimes goat’s milk).
Why do people call it “squeaky”? Well, because it really does squeak when you chew it, and it’s also a golden rule (quite literally) to eat leipäjuusto together with cloudberry jam.
Fun geography facts about Finland
16. Finland has a Swedish-speaking minority
About 5% of the population in Finland speaks Swedish. Finland has two official languages, Finnish and Swedish, and thus the Swedish-speaking minority has a constitutional right to receive information and services from the Finnish government in Swedish.
17. The highest peak in Finland is Halti
Finland is a very flat country, and the highest point is called Halti, which is a fell located in the northernmost part of Finland at the border between Finland and Norway. The peak of the fell is called Ráisduattarháldi and has an elevation of 1365 meters.
18. The sun never sets in summer
During the winter, which lasts from November to March, the days are dark and cold, and weeks can pass without the sky showing any sign of the sun.
However, in summer, it’s quite the opposite. In Finland, summer nights go on forever because the sun doesn’t go down. If you go outside during a summer night at 3 am, it would still be bright outside.
19. Finland is the land of a thousand lakes
Finland is known as the country of a thousand lakes, but in actually has Finland 188,000 lakes, and over 70% of the country is covered by forest.
Fun facts about Helsinki
20. Helsinki has a population of 1.3 million
The urban area of Helsinki has a population of 1.3 million, which means that around 26% of the total Finnish population lives there.
21. A Swedish king founded Helsinki
King Gustav I of Sweden founded Helsinki in 1550, when Finland belonged to Sweden.
22. The most famous buildings in Helsinki were designed by a German architect
Carl Ludvig Engel was a German architect who helped rebuild Helsinki after a large part of the city burned down. He designed the most famous and prestigious buildings in Helsinki, such as the main building of the University of Helsinki, the Lutheran Cathedral, Helsinki City Hall, and the Government palace.
23. The president of Finland lives in Helsinki
The president of Finland lives in Helsinki, in the Presidential Palace at the Market Square (“Kauppatori” in Finnish).
Fun facts about Finland for kids
24. Finland is home of the Moomins
Finland is home of the Moomins. The entire Finnish nation, no matter what language they speak or where they live, adores Moomin. Tove Jansson created the Moomin characters, and ever since they have been part of the Finnish culture.
25. Conan O’Brien has a Finnish doppelgänger
In 2006, Conan O’Brien chose to visit Finland for a very peculiar reason: because he looks very much like the then-president Tarja Halonen. He joked that he had found his doppelgänger, and traveled to Finland to meet with Tarja Halonen.
26. One of the world’s best snipers was a Finn
One of the world’s most famous snipers was Finnish. Simo Häyhä was a Finnish sniper who is estimated to have killed 542 Soviet citizens, which earned him the nickname “White Death.”
27. Finns are crazy about ice hockey
Finns love ice hockey! Over the years, Finland has produced some impressive ice hockey legends, such as Teemu Selänne, who scored 684 goals during his NHL career.
28. Finnish people like to drive fast
Finns also like to drive fast. In fact, one of the world’s best racing drivers is from Finland: Kimi Räikkönen. Valtteri Bottas, who is currently competing in Formula One, is also Finnish. Räikkönen and Bottas are two of the most famous Finnish people in the racing world.
29. Several Hollywood stars have Finnish heritage
Pamela Andersson, Matt Damon, and one of the founding fathers, John Morton, all have Finnish heritage.
Fun facts about living in Finland
30. All expectant mothers receive a baby box from
The maternity baby box: expectant mothers receive a maternity package (simply called baby box in Finland), free from the government. The box contains the most necessary things for newborn babies, such as indoor and outdoor clothes, sheets, covers, and other baby products.
31. Paid maternity leave for four months
All mothers get paid maternity leave for four months. Paternity leave is 54 days.
After maternity leave, the mother (or the father) can choose to stay home with their child for six months. Companies must grant their employees maternity/paternity leave and find a replacement for the time that the mother or father is at home.
32. Everyone can roam around freely in nature
The concept of “everyman’s right” is uniquely Finnish. The Finnish government created the concept because it wanted people to be able to enjoy the magnificent and rich forests and lakes. “Everyman’s right” allows people to be out in nature, eat whatever berries or mushrooms they may find, camp wherever they want, as long as they don’t cause the landowner any damage. This is one of the least known facts about Finland.
33. Finland has an amazing education system
Finland has one of the best education systems in the world, and it’s completely free. The Finnish government pays you to study! Students receive both student aid and housing benefits.
34. Finland is one of the safest countries in the world
Finnish people trust each other. People don’t hesitate to leave their bags at the library, and if you lose your wallet, a kind stranger is most likely going to return it to you.
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