Reporting from:


All posts from Finland

Across the Finnish Gulf

Helsinki, FI (View on map)
Posted 15 Sep 2007:

As you can notice from the flag in the upper right corner of the website, I am done with Estonia and have moved on to country number 5. Lithuanians and Latvians told me that Estonia was much like Finland. The ferry trip from Tallinn to Helsinki is therefore a perfect setting for an investigation into the differences and similarities between the Finnish and the Estionian, and into what they think of each other.... Read more

Knowledge economy

Helsinki, FI (View on map)
Posted 16 Sep 2007:

Finnish is a very difficult language for outsiders, and maybe that is exactly why they are all so good at English. If you can speak Finnish, you can learn to speak any language. So that`s what the Fins do. Most of them speak English fluently. They all get at least three years of education in Swedish, which is the second official language in Finland. Apart from that and depending on their own preferences, you may also hear many speak Russian, German or to a lesser extent French and Spanish. But the skills of the Finnish people are not limited to languages alone.... Read more

Aux armes citoyens!

Jyv?skyl?, FI (View on map)
Posted 17 Sep 2007:

Unlike the Baltics, Finland managed quite well in preserving its own territory during World War II. Fierce forest fights against Russia helped Finland largely maintain its easterly frontier. Over 10 000 man died on the Finnish side, while more than 100 000 Russian soldiers did not survive the battle for Finland. Although Finland has faced no forreign threat to its nation after the Second World War ended, it still requires its male citizens to serve up to twelve months in the army. The two only alternatives are to find a 13-month civil service placement, or to spend 6 months in jail.... Read more

Getting (un)dressed

Jyv?skyl?, FI (View on map)
Posted 18 Sep 2007:

Summer has not yet ended officially, but the changing colours of the Finnish trees show that colder seasons are on their way. Temperatures are on their way down, heading for levels close to minus 30 in wintertime. Finland is covered in snow a good part of the year, giving the country an entirely different face. People change as well, but the impact on daily life is fairly limited. Here`s an overview of Finnish tactics to stay warm. ... Read more

Zig-zag Baseball

Jyv?skyl?, FI (View on map)
Posted 19 Sep 2007:

The streets of Helsinki and Jyv?skyl? are full of joggers, Nordic walkers and cyclists. This may have something to do with the fact that both cities have lots of students, but the trend seems more general than that. Today`s questions are organised around sports an outdoor activities.... Read more

Coming to Finland

Kuopio, FI (View on map)
Posted 20 Sep 2007:

Since World War II, Finland has been able to develop itself into a stable country with equal opportunities for everybody. The welfare system is well-developed, barriers to enter higher educations are virtually inexistant and charity organisations can count on broad support and generosity. It would make perfect sense for people from more troubled countries to all set course to Finland. However, you will only find very few recognisable foreigners in the streets of Finnish cities. I am on a mission today to find some and ask them how they ended up in Finland.... Read more

Finnish food

Kuopio, FI (View on map)
Posted 21 Sep 2007:

When talking about gastronomy, Finland is not the first country that comes to mind. They may not have the most distinctive kitchen culture of all of Europe, but they do have dishes that you will not easily find in other European countries. Most of what is cooked is linked to locally grown crops, although foreign influences are gaining ground. What does the Finnish diet look like and how do they think about food?... Read more

Things natural

Kajaani, FI (View on map)
Posted 22 Sep 2007:

While moving along the Eastern border of the EU, environmental awareness increases as you go north. Finland serves as a good example for its southern neighbours. Estonia is the best pupil in class so far. Latvia and Lithuania are slowly beginning to implement environmentally friendly measures, oftentimes with Finnish support.... Read more

TV Classics and Media

Kajaani, FI (View on map)
Posted 23 Sep 2007:

It may have been a coincidence but hardly any of the people I met in Finland so far are fanatic TV-watchers. That hasn`t kept me from trying to find out which programs are popular, and what kind of TV programs people used to watch as a child, or what other media they have access to. ... Read more

Sharing the country

Rovaniemi, FI (View on map)
Posted 24 Sep 2007:

Nature-loving Finns say that Rovaniemi, the city I am currently visiting, is only a transition area towards the `real Lappland`. Although Rovaniemi is the capital of the administrative region of Lappland, their ideas about Lappland are quite different from the city of Rovaniemi. Who only gets to visit Rovaniemi misses out on Finland`s northernmost forests, tundras, waterfalls and the homeland of the indigenous population: the Saami. Ever since its independence, Finland has shared its territory with the Saami in the North, the Swedish in the South-west, Russians in the East and religious communities spread over the country. Here`s a short overview of the positions they currently hold in the Finnish society.... Read more

Stick to the rules

Rovaniemi, FI (View on map)
Posted 25 Sep 2007:

If there is one thing that makes Finland stand out from its Central European siblings, it`s their tendency to always stick to the rules. It has helped Finland the least corrupted country in the world, while neighbouring some countries where corruption is more of a norm than an exception. I am trying to learn more about this whole rule-idea today, finding out where it could possibly have come from and which rules are more important than others.... Read more

Canadian in Lappland

Torvinen, FI (View on map)
Posted 27 Sep 2007:

If you have had enough of everybody around you, try Finnish Lappland. You will meet some people during the day, I would estimate as many in a day as you see in the main street of Helsinki in half a minute. Feeling like there is no-one else around has certain advantages, but it doesn`t make it easier to stick to my self-imposed deadline of writing an article every day and trying to speak to a few people to collect their views. As an alternative, I am interviewing Philippe today since he`s the one to blame for the fact that I even got here in the first place. He invited two other Couch Surfers to his house near Sodankyl? (Lappland) and introduced us to the Finnish forest and its free hospitality cabins: fires, sausages and wood chopping included.... Read more

Finnish for beginners

Vaasa, FI (View on map)
Posted 28 Sep 2007:

Finnish language doesn`t only look like one big mystery to outsiders, it actually is a maze of complicated constructions. Words can take 16 different endings, depending on their location in the sentence and the preposition that would have preceded them in English. `House` translates as `Talo`, 'in the house' makes `Talossa`, `(away) from the house` becomes `Talosta`, and 13 more of those. I am on a mission today to find out some more features of the Finnish language.... Read more

Finnish passion

Vaasa, FI (View on map)
Posted 29 Sep 2007:

On my last entire day in Finland, I am trying to solve one question that has gradually been building up during the past few days. If Finns are always organised and honest, not very fond of giving or compliments, used to seeing people naked, then how do they think about love and passion?... Read more

View all posts