5 Facts You Should Know About Finland

If you’re planning to study in Finland in the future, then these quick facts about Finland might be interesting for you. Here are 5 quick facts about Finland!

1. National Animal

Many countries have an animal or a bird as a national animal. So what is it for Finland?

The Finns have seven national nature symbols, which received their status through public polls in the 1980s and 1990s. The reason that Finland has so many national natural symbols is because nature is very dear to the Finns. The national nature symbols are interlinked with Finnish mythology, traditions and popular culture. Many have been featured on postage stamps, logos and on pre-euro Finnish banknotes and coins.

Brown bear is the national animal of Finland. They feature noticeably in Finnish mythology, including the national folklore epic Kalevala. The Kalevala is a 19th-century work of epic poetry compiled by Elias Lönnrot from Karelian. The Kalevala played an instrumental role in the development of the Finnish national identity.

2. Finland has more saunas than cars

There are more saunas than cars in Finland; there are 2 million saunas in Finland for a population of only 5 million. The Finns consider their saunas as a necessity, right up there with rye bread and vodka. There is this famous Finnish saying that goes “Build the sauna, then the house.” Even a Burger King located in Helsinki has the world’s first in-store sauna and spa, and you can order in food.

Sauna in Finland

3. Official Languages

The two main official languages of Finland are Finnish and Swedish. Finnish is naturally the language of the majority, 91% of the population speaks Finnish as their first language, while 5.4% has Swedish as their first language.

However, you don’t need to speak Finnish or Swedish to enjoy your expat life in Finland, the only language you’ll need is English. Finland is placed among the top four countries in the world when it comes to the fluency of English, based on the EF English Proficiency Index.

4. Personal Space

Every country has its own cultural habits; certain things you do at one place and it is totally fine and understood. You do the same thing at another place and it might be totally misunderstood.

For instance, Finns respect the personal space of each other a lot. Someone said that the comfortable personal space between strangers is approximately 1,5 meters. So if you are standing too close to someone while talking you will notice that Finn would try to get a bit further from you. Also touching strangers while talking to them might turn into an awkward situation. In more Southern cultures, for example, it is acceptable for someone to tap on someone’s shoulder or hold his/her arm for a second as a sign of sympathy.

 

Personal space in Finland. It’s a fact.

 

5. “Weird” Championships

Let’s end this facts list with a special one. Finland hosts annual “weird” world championships. Just to mention one, Finland is the host of world championship in air guitar annually. Air guitar is a form of dance and movement in which the performer pretends to play an electric guitar. It usually consists of strumming and picking motions and is often coupled with lip-synching or loud screaming.

It’s not what you play, it’s how you play it”. Every year, air guitarists from all around the world buy their tickets to Oulu in Finland. However, not every guitarist can just enter his name and attend the world championship competition. They have to be tested first and are national champions.

Air guitar championship

 

Want to know more facts about Finland? Read our bucket list for Finland or see our top 5 weird-looking Finnish foods. Interested in learning some Finnish? Check out our post on the Finnish language!

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