61 Interesting Facts About Finland

The Nordic country of Finland is one of the world’s northernmost countries. This “Land of the Midnight Sun” offers visitors beautiful scenery, wonderful outdoor adventures, delicious cuisine and some interesting annual contests and customs. Read on to discover 61 interesting facts about Finland.

Geographical facts

Fact 1. The first inhabitants of Finland were the Sami (Lapp) people who were there when the first Finnish speakers migrated in during the first millennium B.C. The Lapps moved north into the section that is today known as Lapland.

Fact 2. Today the Republic of Finland is located on a peninsula geographically within the region of Scandinavia, but Finland is actually part of Fenland instead.

Fact 3. There are exactly 179,584 islands in and around Finland, a world record. Off the southwest coast are the Âland Islands, which are populated by the Swedish and have been autonomous since 1921.

Fact 4. Finland is the eighth largest country in Europe yet it is the European Union’s most sparsely populated country.

Fact 5. There are 187,888 lakes (larger than 500 m²) within the boundaries of Finland. This also is a world record. Saimaa, Finland’s largest lake, is Europe’s fourth largest lake. The lake is also home to the rarest fresh water seal in the world – “The Saimaa”. Approximately 310 of these are left in the lake.

Fact 6. The eroding effects of heavy ice age glaciers left the Finnish landscape mostly flat with few hills or mountains.

Fact 7. The terrain today is risings steadily due to post-glacial rebound (about one cm (0.4 in) annually). Finland is literally rising from the sea as it expands, and by approximately seven square km (2.7 sq mi) per year.

Fact 8. Finland’s capital Helsinki lies higher north in the world than almost any other capital city, second only to Sweden’s Reykjavik.

Fact 9. With its numerous lakes, rivers, and marshlands plus its 78 percent of the country in forestland, Finland from the air looks like an intricate green and blue jigsaw puzzle.

Fact 10. Finland has a cold temperate climate, potentially subarctic but actually comparatively mild due to the moderating influence of the North Atlantic Gulf Stream current and the nation’s multitude of lakes.

Finnish steam train from old days
Finnish steam train brought out of retirement for two days to run a special service from Kouvola to the meripäivät (festival of the sea) in Kotka. Image by – Dave S

About culture and people

Fact 11. Finland is an egalitarian society, uses gender-neutral words in their language, and has a tradition of sexual equality. In 1906, it was the first country to provide equal voting rights to women.

Fact 12. Finland installed its first female prime minister in April 2003, making it the only country in Europe with both a female president and prime minister.

Fact 13. Finnish (89 percent) and Swedish (5 percent) are the official languages of Finland. The Sami language is the indigenous language. English is spoken by 63 percent of the population. Russian is also spoken by a percentage of the population.

Fact 14. Finland’s population is predominantly an urban one (84 percent). Finland is also known as “Suomi” (common, Finnish).

Fact 15. Finland’s education system ranks as one of the world’s best, even though children don’t go to school until they are seven and it’s not mandatory to give them grades until the eighth grade.

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Fact 16. The Finnish people are modest, courteous, and value speaking plainly and openly. They believe their word is their bond and verbal commitments are considered agreements.

Fact 17. Finland has the world’s highest annual consumption of milk per capita. That’s approximately one quart per person per day. And surprisingly, 17% of the Finns are lactose intolerant.

Fact 18. The Finns also love their coffee. The average Finn consumes 12 kg of coffee yearly, the highest in the world. That’s twice as much as Italians drink and three times as much as Americans consume.

Fact 19. The Finns regard their country as the home of Santa Claus, or Saint Nicholas, and he lives in the northern region of Lapland.

Finland facts - Santa Claus Village in Rovaniemi, Lapland, Finland
Santa Claus Village in Rovaniemi, Lapland, Finland. Image by – Timo Newton-Syms

Fact 20. Finnish athletes have won more Summer Olympic medals per capita than any other nation in the world. Finland is second only to Norway in the number of Winter Olympic medals per capita.

About saunas

Fact 21. The sauna has a special place in the Finnish lifestyle. It’s the norm to have a sauna in your home and share it with both family and friends. Almost everyone takes a sauna at least once a week.

Fact 22. There are approximately 2.2 million saunas in Finland. That’s one sauna for every two and a half people. There are more saunas than there are cars in Finland, even one in a Burger King!

Fact 23. Important business meetings may be followed by a sauna, during which the business conversation is continued on a more informal basis.

About finnish food

Fact 24. Traditional breads like ruisleip (a flat, crispy sour rye bread) are part of every meal. Karelian pastry is a traditional Finnish dish made from a rye crust filled with rice.

Fact 25. Fish (salmon, whitefish and herring) and meat (pork, beef, and reindeer) are also staples. Reindeer is a particularly lean, healthy meat. Kraftskiva or crayfish season runs from July 21 to early fall.

Fact 26. Silla ja Vudet Perunat is a dish of new potatoes with herring. Potatoes are the favorite side dish at many meals.

Fact 27. A bread pastry filled with different meats or fish called Kalakukko is a popular “packed lunch”.

Fact 28. Fruit dishes with indigenous fruits like bilberries, lingon berries and cloud berries are popular.

Tractor in Finland
Looks like an old days tractor, isn’t it. As seen at a tractor enthusiasts’ meeting in Ruotsinkylä, Finland. Image by – Dave S

Interesting and Weird Facts

Fact 29. Due to its commitment to equal rights and emphasis on transparency, Finland’s press has been rated the freest one in the world. Transparency International, based in Berlin, has rated Finland since 1998 as the world’s least corrupt country.

Fact 30. Finland has been a member of the European Union since 1995 and it’s the only Nordic state to join the euro single currency at its original launch in 1999.

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Fact 31. Finland’s 120 km Päijänne Water Tunnel is the longest tunnel in Europe and the second longest tunnel in the world.

Fact 32. With a quarter of the country in the Arctic Circle, Finland’s Lapland and other northern sections are the “Land of the Midnight Sun”. The sun doesn’t set for 73 consecutive summer days annually while it doesn’t rise at all for 51 days during the winter (known as polar night).

Fact 33. The Aurora Borealis (Northern Lights) are seen regularly in every season but summer in Lapland and other parts of Finland. You can even spend the night in an glass igloo to enjoy watching them.

Aurora Borealis, Finland.
Interesting facts about Finland:- Aurora Borealis – the greatest natural light show on Earth. Image by – Juho Holmi

Fact 34. The telecommunications company Nokia is Finnish and is one of the world’s largest manufacturers of mobile phones. By the way, Mobile Phone Throwing is an official sport in Finland. And there are absolutely NO pay phones anywhere in Finland.

Fact 35. Other strange sports include mosquito hunting, swamp football, rubber boot throwing, and the Air Guitar World Championship. Contestants from around the world come to compete in the Wife Carrying World Championship. First prize is your wife’s weight in beer.

Fact 36. Finland is the uncontested world home of heavy metal. It has the most heavy metal bands per capita in the world.

Fact 37. Finland’s Rovio Entertainment is the creator of the phone app Angry Birds. Other inventions include the heart-rate monitor, rescue toboggan, Linux OS, salty liquorice (Salmiakki), ice skates and the Molotov cocktail. Sauna is the Finnish word most used outside the motherland.

Fact 38. Many claim to have invented the Internet, but Finland was the first nation to make Internet access a legal right for their citizens.

Fact 39. It’s expensive to speed in Finland. Your ticket fine is figured on your annual income. One rich driver was once fined more than $200,000 for a single speeding offense. And keep your headlights on. Day or night, winter or summer, it’s the law to do so in Finland.

Fact 40. In Finland they celebrate annual day for failure. It is a day dedicated to failures that people have one through and the purpose is to understand the fact that success and failure go hand in hand. There is a whole website dedicated to this, which you can visit here. 

Fact 41. The world’s first graphical web browser was developed by four Finnish students in Helsinki in 1991. It was known as Erwise.

Fact 42. In Finland, almost 100% of the bottles are recycled while almost 90% of them are returned for recycling after use.

Fact 43. In 2010, Finland became the first country in the world to make broadband access a legal right for every citizen.

Fact 44. Finland is also known as the Prison break capital of Europe. In 2013, 1084 escapes were recorder for every 10,000 prisoners in Finland. This might possibly due to the fact that Finland has open prisons where prisoners can roam freely, and work and shop among the locals.

Fact 45. If you have a Finnish or British or Swedish passport, you can access more country without the need of visa than any other country in the world.

Fact 46. Finish people love their phones and are less talkative in public places. They like to stay quite and not indulge in talk with strangers.

Fact 47. Smoking is common in Finland and what’s more common is that the smokers throw cigarette trash anywhere they like.

Fact 48. If you are visiting a Finnish friend in their home country for the first time, remember to remove your footwear outside their home. Unlike Colombia, where people take footwear in side their home, Finland is a different place in this regards.

Fact 49. TV tax is a compulsion in Finland irrespective of your ownership of TV set. They also have candy tax, water tax but no cookie tax. Strange, isn’t it!

Fact 50. They also celebrate Restaurant Day. On this day, people in the country are allowed to open  a restaurant of their choice any where in the country. Literally anywhere. In the parks, on the road side or any place of your choice.

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Fact 51. Finnish people are also very honest. Reader Digest once conducted an honesty test in Finland and placed some 12 wallets in public places. They researchers were surprised when they received back 11 of those. Truly, honesty is a best policy!

Fact 52. Since 1938, the government is providing expectant mothers with clothes, sheets, nappies and a mattress for the yet-to-be-born baby.

Fact 53. Finland was a part of Sweden for almost 600 years.

Fact 54. Linus Benedict Torvalds, the creator and principal developer, of the Linux kernel (it is the basis for operating systems such as the Linux operating system, Android and Chrome OS) was born on December 28, 1969, Helsinki, Finland.

Fact 55. Finland, by far, has won 18 Gold Medals in Olympics, which makes it the most successful country in Olympics history with 18.39 medals per million people.

Fact 56. There are no toll roads in Finland. Driving licenses from the European Union and Switzerland are valid in Finland and the roads are in good condition, mostly empty. Traffic jams are rare in the country.

Finland on map with other countries
Finland on map with other countries.

About tourism in Finland 

Fact 57. From the middle ages up until 1809, Finland was part of Sweden. in 1809, Finland became part of Russia until gaining its independence during the Russian Revolution in 1917. The country celebrates their 100th year with events throughout the country and around the world in 2017.

Fact 58. Centenary events include concerts, sauna evenings, promotions of 100 nationally significant national wonders, and the opening of the country’s 40th National Park in the Hossa area, which was key in developing Finnish independence.

Fact 59. Outdoor activities in Finland include skiing, fishing, lake cruises, hiking, golf, husky and reindeer safaris, and elk hunting. Finland has excellent “Freedom to Roam” opportunities.

Fact 60. Commercial cruises between major coastal cities play a key role in the local tourism industry. There’s even a cruise ship between Stockholm, Sweden and Helsinki, Finland just to purchase cheap alcohol.

Fact 61. Kerri’s Snow Hotel is a world-famous luxury destination annually. Built every year entirely of snow and ice, it includes a snow castle, snow hotel, snow restaurant, and snow chapel.

Flag of Finland
Flag of Finland. The blue represents the thousands of lakes scattered across the country, while the white is for the snow that covers the land in winter.

Finland offers many fascinating things to see and do as well as landscapes to explore. Go online and make a list of your own 44 interesting facts about Finland as you plan your dream vacation there.

Quick facts about Finland

Capital CityHelsinki
60°10′N 024°56′E
Largest cityHelsinki
60°10′N 024°56′E
Total area338,145 sq km
Population5,498,211 (July 2016 est.)
ContinentEurope
Independence6 December 1917 (from Russia)
National anthem"Maamme" (Our Land)
National symbollion
National colorsblue, white
Official LanguagesFinnish and Swedish
Government typeparliamentary republic
BordersSweden, Norway and Russia
ReligionLutheran 73.8%, Orthodox 1.1%, other or none 25.1% (2014 est.)
Life expectancy80.9 Years (2016)
Industriesmetals and metal products, electronics, machinery and scientific instruments, shipbuilding, pulp and paper, foodstuffs, chemicals, textiles, clothing
Exportselectrical and optical equipment, machinery, transport equipment, paper and pulp, chemicals, basic metals; timber
Importsfoodstuffs, petroleum and petroleum products, chemicals, transport equipment, iron and steel, machinery, computers, electronic industry products, textile yarn and fabrics, grains
GDP - per capita (PPP)$41,800 (2016 est.)
Climatecold temperate; potentially subarctic but comparatively mild because of moderating influence of the North Atlantic Current, Baltic Sea, and more than 60,000 lakes
Terrainmostly low, flat to rolling plains interspersed with lakes and low hills
Natural resourcestimber, iron ore, copper, lead, zinc, chromite, nickel, gold, silver, limestone
Agricultural land7.5%
Birth rate10.7 births/1,000 population (2016 est.)
Death rate9.9 deaths/1,000 population (2016 est.)
Sex ratio1.05 male(s)/female
Time ZoneEET (UTC+2)
Internet country code.fi
CurrencyEuro (€) (EUR)
Calling Code+358
Drives on theRight

References:

  • https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Finland
  • https://www.cia.gov/library/publications/the-world-factbook/
  • https://finland.fi/category/life-society/
  • http://www.visitfinland.com/article/why-come-to-finland-in-2017/
  • https://finland.fi/facts-stats-and-info/finland-in-facts-2/
  • http://www.infoplease.com/country/finland.html?pageno=1
  • https://www.britannica.com/place/Finland
  • https://www.lonelyplanet.com/finland
  • http://www.planetware.com/tourist-attractions/finland-sf.htm
  • http://www.eupedia.com/finland/trivia.shtml
  • http://www.momondo.com/inspiration/facts-about-finland/
  • http://www.finnbay.com/media/homebred/10-amazing-facts-about-finland/
  • http://www.factslides.com/s-Finland
  • http://www.sciencekids.co.nz/sciencefacts/countries/finland.html
  • https://www.hotels.com/articles/ar015484/15-fun-facts-about-finland/
  • http://www.everyculture.com/Cr-Ga/Finland.html
  • http://www.visitfinland.com/article/iconic-finnish-foods-of-all-time/
  • http://www.commisceo-global.com/country-guides/finland-guide

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