Fun Facts About Finland You Never Learned in School
Whether you have a serious case of wanderlust and want to travel everywhere or are simply looking for the next place to visit on holiday, you’ll want to give some serious consideration to humble Finland. While other nations in the area, such as Russia, get all the global attention, the fact is that Finland is one of the great hidden gems of Northern Europe.
Being linguistically and culturally linked to the Baltic States while simultaneously being situated between Russia and the Nordic Countries, Finland occupies a unique place in the European family.
That unique situation shines through in many fun facts about Finland, including the following:
Fun Facts About Finland #1
Finland Is The Happiest Country In The World
Feeling down in the dumps? Too stressed out at work? Wish something would brighten your life?
Well, a trip to Finland might be in order. According to the World Happiness Index, Finland is (with apologies to Disneyland) the Happiest Place on Earth. The Nordic Countries typically rank near the top, and Norway and Denmark are right there as well, but as of 2019, it’s the people of Finland who’s snagged the top spot.
Fun Facts Finland #2
Finland Has A Fantastic Educational System
Where else is Finland #1? Education.
When it comes to learning, Finland is second to none in terms of educational prowess.
The Finnish education system is lauded, admired, and envied by educators all over the world. It is widely seen as one of, if not, the best systems in the world, helping Finland to rank at or near the top of ranking systems such as the UN Human Development Index, the Programme for International Student Assessment, and World Economic Forum.
Finland’s educational system features, among other things:
- Full meal subsidies for students
- High pay and a great deal of social respect for teachers, who in turn must possess Master’s Degrees or better
- Ensuring high standards of quality in every school
- Encouraging students to teach and assist one another whenever possible
- A strong emphasis on early education
- Small class sizes
- An enormous degree of state funding, topping 12 billion Euros in 2016
- Free university education for its citizens and EU nationals, with that privilege extended to non-EU citizens, provided they gain admission and are prepared to take their courses in Finnish
Interesting Finland Facts #3
It’s A Hockey Powerhouse
The Nordic Countries are among the best nations in the world at hockey. Norway’s the outlier here, lagging far behind the likes of Finland and Sweden, both of whom regularly play for medals in both the Men’s and Women’s competitions in the Winter Games.
Moreover, Finland has given the NHL some of its greatest stars over the past few decades. Fans of the Edmonton Oilers will remember the great Finnish defensemen Jari Kurri on their dynasty teams of the 1980s, while the Koivu Brothers, Saku, and Mikko, have captained the Montreal Canadiens and Minnesota Wild, respectively, with Saku retiring tied with the great Jean Beliveau as Les Habitants’ longest-tenured captain at 10 seasons.
Of course, any discussion of Finnish hockey players has to feature the greatest of them all, none other than “The Finnish Flash,” Teemu Selanne. Renowned for his speed and goal-scoring prowess, Selanne set the NHL record for goals by a rookie with 76 for the Winnipeg Jets during the 1992 to 1993 season before being traded to the Mighty Ducks of Anaheim a couple of years later. Along with Wayne Gretzky’s trade to the Los Angeles Kings, Selanne’s stardom and production for Anaheim was a huge factor in helping transform Southern California into an unlikely hockey hotbed. Selanne would go on to raise the Stanley Cup with the Anaheim Ducks in 2007, making them the first California team to do so, and himself the second Finn after Kurri to have his name etched for all time onto the Cup.
The greatest Finnish goal scorer of all time, Selanne remains beloved in Anaheim and Winnipeg, while “The Finnish Flash” has become a true Finnish icon back home.
Finland Fun Facts #4
Finnish Sports Are Quite Funny
While Finland imported hockey, it has a litany of its own games which are unique, to say the least.
For example, can we interest you in a round of Wife Carrying? This wild sport is just what it sounds like, a race which involves husbands carrying their wives as they race (as best as they can) towards the finish line. First prize? The wife’s weight in beer – which isn’t a bad couple’s prize at all, is it?
In addition to that, you’ll find everything from Swamp Football to Mobile Phone Throwing among Finland’s many quirky homegrown sports.
Fun Facts Finland #5
Finns Love Coffee
Americans may think that they love coffee, but they’re nothing compared to their Finnish counterparts. The average Finn consumes as much as 12 kilos of coffee per year. That being said, they don’t necessarily drink it on its own – Finland is also the world’s largest consumer of milk.
Finland Funny Facts #6
It’s The Land of Many Lakes
Finland is also home to an extraordinary amount of lakes – 187,888, to be precise. Whether you’re a regular lake lover or are looking to get away from the desert or city and enjoy a change of pace, Finland and its many lakes make for a natural travel destination.
Finnish Lakeland is one of the reasons tourist visit this beautiful county.
Funny Finland Facts #7
Finland’s Nature Is Breathtaking
Due to Finland being located so close to the North Pole, you can witness quite a few special natural spectacles if you visit at the right time. For example, Finland is one of the best places in the world to catch the Northern Lights. You’ll also be able to see the Midnight Sun and a Polar Night, depending on the time of year. The former is, just as the name would imply, a phenomenon where days last so long that the sun is visible even at midnight, while the latter is the reverse, 24 hours or more without the sun dipping below the horizon.
Fun Facts of Finland #8
Sauna Originates From Finland
Finish sauna is famous all over the world. The first sauna was probably built in Northern Europe in 7,000 BC!
Nowadays, if you want to do the sauna right, you need to get naked and then cool your body off in the snow or cold water.
Fun Facts On Finland
The Finnish Language Is Pretty Unique
Even though Finland’s neighbors are Sweden and Russia, the Finnish language is similar neither to Russian nor to Swedish. It actually sounds like…Hungarian, even though Hungary is located hundreds of kilometers away from Finland.
Full of natural beauty, an admirable passion for and dedication to education, and an unashamed sense of quirkiness, Finland is one of those places you really have to see yourself.