What is Finland all about?

Facts about Finland

5 minute read

Credits: Eeva Mäkinen

About Finland

Finland is a Nordic welfare state that aims to be carbon neutral by 2035. It’s also the happiest country in the world. Around 75% of its surface is covered with forests, and it has the world’s biggest archipelago, as well as Europe’s largest lake district and last untamed wilderness, Lapland. Finland’s capital, Helsinki, is known for design and architecture. Finland is also a safe travel destination – 11 out of 12 lost wallets are returned to their owners.

A (very) brief history

Finland’s first known inhabitants wandered over some 10,000 years ago. Many centuries later, the area that comprises current day Finland would conquered by the predecessors of today’s Swedes and Russians. In 1809, Finland became an autonomous part of the Russian Empire, but it gained full independence in 1917. Finland was also the first European country to allow women to vote in 1906. During World War II, Finland retained its independence, and it has taken a neutral stance in geopolitics ever since. Today, Finland is part of the European Union, or EU. Visit the Finnish National Museum in Helsinki to learn more about Finland’s history. 

About the Finns

Finns generally aren’t big on small talk, and quiet moments in conversations aren’t considered awkward. Finns tend to mean what they say – if someone asks you to get together for lunch sometime soon, expect to get a text, e-mail or phone call. Finally, Finns are known for their modesty and self-deprecating sense of humour.

For more truths (and some half-truths) about Finns, read this.

Credits : Mikko Huotari
Credits: Harri Tarvainen

Culture and traditions

Finnish winters are long, cold and dark, making them ideal for winter activities like skiing, skating and, in Lapland, spotting the Northern Lights. Winter also provides the perfect excuse to get together to celebrate and enjoy Finnish traditions, such as parties before Christmas or bobsledding and eating buns. Long winters also mean Finns enjoy every second of summer and its white nights. Sauna is a major component of Finnish culture, and it’s part of everyday life in Finland. Read this for more on Finnish festivities and traditions.

Design and architecture

A huge part of what makes Finland special is the way Finns integrate harmony and design into aspects of everyday life. It’s no wonder, then, that Finland is an intriguing architecture and design destination that’s home to iconic brands like Marimekko, Iittala and Artek. Across Finland, you’ll find interesting architecture of many styles – from wooden churches to modern masterpieces. Many Finnish architects choose to highlight the interplay between Finland’s ever-changing light and stunning nature, something that’s best experienced in person.

Finnish moments of happiness

Finland is known as the happiest place in the world. But what is happiness? Many would say it’s a simple, fleeting moment of being fully present in your surroundings. Here are a few of those special Finnish moments.

See also

Places to go

Discover Finland's unique characteristics and dist...