The Republic of Finland is one of the Nordic countries and is located in northern Europe. It is bordered by Russia to the east and is regarded as the symbolic border between east and west Europe.
Let’s have a look at the top 10 most interesting facts about Finland.
1. National Sleepy Head Day is celebrated in Finland.
The Finns have some very unusual customs. On July 27 each year, they celebrate Unikeonpäivä or “National Sleepy Head Day.” The last person to wake up in each family is thrown into a lake or woken up with a bucket of cold water, a fun fact about Finland. In the city of Naantali, a celebrity is publicly thrown into the ocean. The holiday has its roots in the legend of the Seven Sleepers of Ephesus, which tells of seven young Christians persecuted for their faith under the reign of Emperor Decius. They escaped to a cave in Ephesus, where they fell asleep for 180 years.
2. Finland may be the happiest country in the world.
An interesting fact about Finland is that it scored first in the 2019 World Happiness Survey and has consistently ranked near the top. The World Happiness Report is produced by the United Nations Sustainable Development Solutions Network in partnership with the Ernesto Illy Foundation. It ranks countries based on the respondent’s perceptions of various life factors. The study showed that Finns are happy with their wealth and feel supported by those around them.
3. In Finland, carrying your wife is a sport.
The Finnish town of Sonkaj ä rvi started a rather strange new sport in 1992 – wife-carrying. Nowadays, couples from all over the world come to compete in the annual wife-carrying competition held there. Husbands have to carry their wives over an 820ft track through various obstacles, including a swimming pool. The idea for the sport comes from the legend of a Finnish gangster from the 1800s, “Ronkainen the Robber.” Ronkainen and his gang would loot Finnish villages, stealing goods and women. New gang recruits had to practice running with heavy sacks over their shoulders to prove their readiness to participate in raids.
4. Finland is nicknamed “the land of a thousand lakes.”
Finland is referred to as “the land of a thousand lakes,” but there is a total of 188,000 lakes in the country, an interesting Finland fact. The lakes cover 10% of Finland’s area and were carved out by ice in the last Ice Age. Lakeland in Eastern Finland is the largest lake district in Europe. The biggest lake in the country, Saimaa, can be found there. It is home to one of the most endangered animals in the world; the Saimaa ringed seal.
5. There is a Burger King with a sauna in Finland.
It is estimated there are over two million saunas in Finland, enough to house the 5.4 million population all at once. Sauna is the only Finnish word to be adopted internationally by other languages, and it is synonymous with Finnish culture. Infants are introduced to the sauna at just a few months, and many older Finns were born in unheated saunas because there was a ready source of hot water. It is common for strangers and business colleagues to sauna together completely naked. There is a sauna in the Finnish parliament in Helsinki, and you can even book a sauna at the Helsinki Burger King online.
6. Higher education is free in Finland.
Finnish education ranks amongst the best in the world. This is attributed to a publicly funded school system that doesn’t distinguish between students in any way during the first nine years of primary education. Even special education is free, and where students live far from schools, they are provided with transport. At 16 years of age, students decide whether to pursue an academic or vocational stream. Up until 2017, Finnish public universities were free even for international students. But now, students from outside the European Union have to pay tuition fees.
7. It was the first country in Europe to allow women to vote.
Finnish women were the first in Europe to be given the vote in 1906, a fun Finland fact. Their legal emancipation began much earlier, though, in the 1860s. Single women reached majority at 25 years of age and could freely dispose of their assets even earlier. They had the right to study at universities from 1871, and from 1878, inheritance laws were amended to grant them parity with men. The pattern continued in the 20th century. In 1990, Elisabeth Rehn became the first woman minister of defense in the world. In 2000, Tarja Halonen became the first female president of Finland, and in 2006, she was re-elected.
8. There is “freedom to roam” in Finland.
Finland’s “Everyman’s Rights” or Jokamiehen Oikeudet, gives everyone in Finland respectful access to all land no matter who owns it. This applies to non-Finns too, but it doesn’t do away with visa requirements to enter the country. You can sleep, walk, bike, swim or ski wherever you want. You can also forage berries and mushrooms, and even sell your excess. You’re also permitted to fish as long as it’s just with a rod.
9. Finland is one of the most fluent English-speaking countries in the world.
Finnish and Swedish are the two official languages of Finland, but Finnish children are taught English from a young age. The EF English Proficiency Index ranks the proficiency of English in 100 countries where English is not the mother-tongue. In the 2019 report, Finland came 7th.
10. The coldest temperature recorded in Finland is -60.7 °F.
Because of Finland’s northern latitude, its longest season is winter. Northern parts of the country experience snow for seven months of the year. In the southern regions, it is three to four months. An interesting fact about Finland is that the lowest temperature ever recorded was −60.7 °F in Kittilä, January 28, 1999. The following year, the highest ever was recorded in Liperi, July 29, 2010, where it reached 99.0 °F.
Finland is a unique country in terms of culture and climate. I hope that this article on Finland facts was helpful. If you are interested, visit the Country Facts Page!