Finland the land of the thousand lakes

Yes. It is true the fins are the happiest people on the planet. The latest UN report stated that Finland is now the happiest country in the world. The Nordic countries are in general always at the top, but Finland made a big climb this year from number 5 to number 1.

Finland has been making it on the world’s happiest report since its inception. Probably it has to do a lot with the fact that it is clean, safe and full of friendly people.  The ladder is no doubt tied to the wickedly awesome statistic that there are only five and a half million people living in the country, and more than three million saunas. That’s roughly half a sauna per person. Actually there are more saunas than cars in Finland. Finnish sauna tradition is common to probably all the Nordic peoples. In Helsinki, even a Burger King has its own sauna.

IT CAN BE VERY EXPENSIVE TO DRIVE FASTER THAN THE SPEED LIMIT.
The Speeding fines in Finland are calculated on the violator’s total income. This means that millionaires can face fines of up to 100 000 when driving faster than the speed limit.
Fair and square isn’t it?

WELCOME TO SANTA CLAUS VILLAGE IN ROVANIEMI.
You are also very welcome to visit and meet Santa Claus and cross the magical Arctic Circle every day at the Santa Claus Village in Rovaniemi in Lapland, Finland.
Santa Claus spends his time at the Santa Claus Village every day of the year to take care of his mission in life; to enhance the well-being of children and the kindness of grown-ups, as well as spreading the message of love and goodwill and the Christmas Spirit across the globe.
Has anyone seen Rudolf with the red nose?!?! He is in trouble again, isn’t he?

A MOOSE ON THE LOOSE.
Finland’s vast forests are home to around 100,000 moose (also known in Europe as elks). … They are quite unmistakable, since they are much larger than the semi-domesticated reindeer that roam Northern Finlandor the white-tailed deer and roe deer that live in the woodlands of Central and Southern Finland.
Other species, except of the famous Finnish Elk, that we can meet there are of course the Finnish reindeer, bear and wolf. Yes these are all animals that we can meet in a lot of anecdotes around the world. But it is widely considered that it is a great treat of diversity, if we can find all large, medium and small carnivores and herbivores.

FINLAND ALSO HAS THE WORLD’S HIGHEST ANNUAL CONSUMPTION OF MILK PER CAPITA.
The Finns also drink a lot of milk. In fact, they have the world’s highest annual consumption of milk per capita!

THE AVERAGE FINN CONSUMES 12 KILOS OF COFFEE EACH YEAR.
The Nordic countries are famous for being heavy coffee-drinkers and the Finns are not an exception. How many cups per year is hard to estimate, but the average Finn will consume as much as 12 kilos of coffee annually!

FINNISH IS NOT SIMILAR TO THE SCANDINAVIAN LANGUAGES
Danish, Norwegian and Swedish is quite similar and when making a small effort it’s not hard to understand the 3 of those languages, even though they are not exactly the same.
Finnish however, is something completely else. The Finnish language is part of the Finno-Ugric language group and is way more similar to Estonian than the Scandinavian languages, even though it neighbors the Scandinavian countries.
It’s not even an Indo-European language, it belongs to the Uralic language family, which makes it quite unique and cool since most European languages are a part of the Indo-European language tree!

FINLAND HAS FREE EDUCATION, EVEN AT THE UNIVERSITY LEVEL.
One of the things Finns should really pride themselves with is the fact that they offer free education for students, even at university level. This also applies to international students from EU/EES.
Non-EU-nationals can also enjoy free tuition fees if the classes taken are taught in Finnish or Swedish, or doctoral studies in any language.

FINLAND WAS THE FIRST COUNTRY IN EUROPE TO GIVE ALL WOMEN THE RIGHT TO VOTE!
As one of the most gender equal countries in the world nowadays this fact might not come as a huge surprise, but at the time they allowed women to vote back in 1906, this was definitely something special.
New Zealand and Australia did allow women to vote a couple of years before, but it was here in Finland that all women no matter social status could fully vote, and also stand for parliament.

FREEDOM TO ROAM – THE RIGHT TO PUBLIC ACCESS.
Just like the neighboring Scandinavian countries, you can enjoy the freedom to roam and have the right to public access. This basically means that you can forage mushrooms, berries and flowers, camp, walk and enjoy nature as long as you don’t litter.
Poaching raises a question here, but we will leave that to the good-intended and well-mannered population.

As we should know there is a huge amount of trust on the side of the government towards the people in the Nordic countries. We all heard about the low- security prisons, apprehensive drug abuse treatments and re-socializing programs. Basically these people are known for not threating their most vulnerable social groups as animals, carnivores or herbivores for that matter.
Let’s face the old maxima here, stating that, trust is the hardest thing to earn, and the easiest thing to lose in this world … So, thank you Nordic civilizations, for all your benevolent intents and purposes.

Talking about socialism? – Here is an overwhelming example of how where there is low corruption, and good intended politics, this political model can bring really high standards of life for everybody. In the EU context we often speak about copying and repeating the good practices, so maybe it would be a good idea to ask of our political representatives to take a deeper look into the Nordic governments and their policies.

THE FINNISH PASSPORT IS ONE OF THE BEST
Finns can pride themselves on having the third best passport in the world, just shortly behind Germany, Singapore, and Japan. This means that they can visit the most of the countries in the world without getting a visa.

HEAVY METAL IS HUGE IN FINLAND.
In fact, there are more Heavy Metal bands per capita here than anywhere else in the world. In 2006, the Finnish Heavy-metal band Lordi took over the Eurovision Song contest when they won the competition with their song “Hardrock Halleluja”.
Some other notable Finnish Heavy metal bands and artists are Nightwish, Apocalyptica, Ensiferum, HIM, Amorphis and Children of Bodom.

LET’S MENTION SOME UNIQUE FINNISH SPORTS.
Heard about any of these sports? In Finland, they are totally legitimate sports like:
– Wife-carrying championship (The prize of which is the wife’s weight in beer!!! Whoa!)
– Mosquito hunting competition
– Mobile phone throwing
– Swamp Football
– Air Guitar 🙂

NORTHERN LIGHTS, MIDNIGHT SUN & POLAR NIGHT.
These spectacular events can all be experienced here. During the winter, you can see the Northern Lights, and also experience the Polar night in the Northern parts of the country. It’s the darkest months of the year and for several weeks the sun won’t rise. And the opposite occurs during summer when the sun never sets, also known as the midnight sun.

OF COURSE WE’RE TALKING NORDIC COUNTRIES HERE.
So it would be wise to mention the cold weather. If you travel here during the winter months, make sure that you bring a warm jacket. While you probably won’t have to face the record low temperature, the average temperature in Helsinki during the winter months is still -5 degrees Celsius.
The coldest temperature measured in the country was back in 1999 in Kittilä where the temperature went all the way down to -51.5 degrees Celsius (−60.7 °F).

HERE ARE THE COLD FACTS ABOUT THIS JOYFUL COUNTRY.
It may be interesting and useful for you to know, that there are 187,888 lakes within Finnish territory.
That’s a lot of lakes, so no wonder that the country is sometimes referred to as “the land of
thousands of lakes”. Below are the official statistics:
Total Population: 5.4 million
Capital: Helsinki
Life expectancy: Men 78 years, women 83 years
Highest Mountain: Halti – 1,324 m above the sea
Land area: 338,424 km2
Largest Lake: Suur-Saimaa (4400 km2)
National Day: 6 December (Independence Day).
Government: Republic, parliamentary democracy
Currency: Euro
Official language: Official languages are Finnish (spoken by 88.9%) and Swedish (5.3%). Sami is also recognized as a regional language.
Official Website: Finland.fi
Member of EU: Yes.
Member of NATO: No
National song: “Maamme”
|Time zone: EET (UTC+2) Summe (DST) – EEST (UTC+3)
Country Code: FI

And there it is, we tried to gather some of the more outstanding facts about this cold and beautiful land of wonders that is Finland. If reading and researching didn’t answer our question, about why it is the happiest country in the world, the next best option is probably to include it in our traveling list and visit it ourselves and collect some personal impressions.
As the old Scandinavian saying goes, if you meet a Viking (in the more southern reaches of Europe) – do not run, because all that you will achieve is to die tired. Ha-ha just joking. As we already established, the Nordic people, not to speak about Finns in particular are one of the most well-mannered and polite people to communicate with.
Still we wouldn’t try to make them angry though, maybe the battle berserk still remains in their genome. We mentioned gathering mushrooms earlier, some researchers suggested that berserkers used to eat the so- called “magic mushrooms” before battle, and this is what used to bring them to this legendary, blind battle rage, which helped them to conquer, raid and pillage some considerably big parts of Europe. But anyways, this was not our point here.
Till Valhalla my friends!!!
Written and summarized by: Velin Nedkov