I am certainly no expert on Finland, but after spending a few days there I realized how little I knew about the Finns and uncovered these fun facts:
#1 Finland Fun Fact: saunas are really important to Finns
There are approximately 2.2 billion of them in Finland. They are so popular in fact that there is even a sauna inside a Burger King in Helsinki. Not sure how I feel about this… As the sauna experience is such a pivotal part of their lives, they even allow prisoners to use the sauna once a week. Sounds insane right? Well, not so much when you consider that some of the prisons in Finland have an open prison system, which means no gates, no uniformed guards and no locks. This is probably the most jaw-dropping of the Finland facts
#2: Most food allergy-friendly place I’ve ever visited
I have a gluten allergy which can make it difficult to find gluten-free food when traveling, but it was incredibly easy in Finland. Many menus indicated which items were gluten-free, lactose-free and vegetarian, including the restaurant at Helsinki Airport!
All of the restaurants we visited including Sokeri-Jussin Kievari served me gluten-free bread. This is often not the case in most restaurants in other places in the world (especially in Germany). Plus it was really good gluten-free bread, which is a rarity. This is probably one of the more useful facts about Finland.
#3 The Finns are the biggest coffee drinkers in the world
While we are on the subject of food, an average person in Finland can drink up to 12kg of coffee a year. That’s double what Italians drink. I suppose it makes sense since Finland is one of the coldest places in Europe and there’s nothing like a cup of coffee to warm you up, well besides hot chocolate.
#4: Karaoke is very popular in Finland
I discovered this while staying at Hotel Iso-Syöte. We headed to the hotel’s karaoke bar after dinner. It turns out karaoke is very popular and karaoke bars are everywhere, so if you want to become a Finn for a day, karaoke should be on your list. I think this is one of the more unexpected facts about Finland
Related Reading: 7 Things To Do In Finland: Summer Activities For Everyone
#4: Finns Love Black Licorice
This was a pleasant surprise as I love black licorice and it’s really hard to find in Germany. An assortment of black licorice candy is readily found and it even shows up in Salmiakki, a Finnish drink that tastes like salty black licorice. Think Sambuca, but stronger. Don’t forget licorice ice cream too!
#5: Oulu and Iso-Syöte are great places for adventure holidays in Finland
Before my trip to Finland, I had never heard of Oulu or Iso-Syöte, but they are great places for an adventure or outdoor holiday. I did everything from dog sledding to snowmobiling, to snowshoeing to ice fishing. In summer canoeing, kayaking and hiking are popular activities. GoArctic! can arrange these activities for you. There are also multiple flights a day from Helsinki to Oulu making it very accessible and affordable.
#6 The Finns love odd sports
If you visit Finland you will probably hear about some very odd sports. These include cell phone throwing, mosquito hunting, swamp football, and my personal favorite, Wife carrying. Wife carrying is so popular that people come from all over the world for the wife-carrying world championship. It seems like the Finns can find something fun to do no matter what.
Related Reading: 7 Must-See Sites on the Iron Curtain Trail in Finland
#7 Finland has many world records
Finland has a whopping 179 584 islands and 187 888 lakes. They hold the world record for the most islands and lakes in the world. The biggest lake in Finland is lake Saimaa which I traveled to in order to spot the endangered Saimaa ringed seal. Unfortunately, I didn’t get to see them but they are really elusive and most people living there haven’t seen one either. It’s a small consolation.
#8 Finns have interesting cooking styles
While I was in Finland I visited a reindeer farmer where I saw the most interesting cooking style. For one what I thought was an odd-looking windchime turned out to be dried reindeer hearts. Reindeer hearts are left outside to dry and are supposed to be very nutritious and tasty, something similar to beef jerky. I took their word for it.
Another very interesting cooking method I saw was an old Finnish way of making buttermilk with a frog. Yes, you read that right. They place the frog into a big bucket of milk and let it paddle away. The poor frog has to keep kicking his legs in order not to drown and this is turn churns the milk into buttermilk. Don’t worry, the frog survives and is set free.
Related Reading: Why Today is the Best Time to See a Saimaa Ringed Seal
#9 The Finns are gender progressive
The Finns are very unaware of gender strifes. That isn’t because of ignorance, quite the opposite in fact. They are probably the most forward-thinking country on earth. For one they do not have gender-specific pronouns in the language. Everything is gender-neutral, there is no his and hers in a matter of speaking.
They were the first country in Europe to allow women to work and the first to have a female prime minister and president at the same time. In Finland, it is even common for men to spend more time with children than women.
You tell me. I’ll select the best Finland Fun Fact and add your fun fact here along with a link back to your blog. Leave your comment below.