Every country has a lot of stereotypes. Some of them more or less confirm them, some countries will make you feel different after visiting them. Finland is a fun combination of both. I knew about all the Finnish stereotype. After a few days in the country, I stand by the fact that it is ok and maybe even fun to stand by the stereotypes.
Brace your self, Finnish stereotype is coming
I’m usually very good at switching flight, but this time I had some issues. I woke up at 4 am to manage to catch my flight. Switching flight and some Finnish packaging made me very confused and so I almost bought a bottle of vodka, instead just water. However, the sales assistant just politely nod and said: “Here in Finland, it almost doesn’t matter.” Which very much made me feel that I was right about the classic Finnish stereotype for a man. Drunk and silent. Maybe eating fish.
The arrival was quite fun. I’m used to traveling into southern countries. In the south, you have people constantly screaming their offer of taxi and tours and other things. Well, Finland also has a people who will offer you shuttle. However, they will not scream at you, or even wave. They will stand silently at the doors, they won’t look at you and will very much mind their own business.
I found out that I can take this shuttle when I went to the bathroom and saw the back of their uniform, where it said “Airport shuttle”.
Everything from that point was very funny. The driver of the shuttle listened to Finnish metal, the receptionist showed me the way to the sauna before even mentioning my room… And despite the fact that it was -14 outside, people were lining up for ice cream. Which sort of responding to all the Finnish stereotypes I have heard about.
Finland, you didn’t disappoint me.
Of Finns and nature
Nature is a big thing in Finland. And no wonder why, after all, they have massive forest and thousands of lakes. One of the most Finnish thing that I have heard was when I was visiting a farm. The main guy keeps telling me, that they used to haven’t had a lot of doctors in Lapland, or that medical care was rare. So apparently the healing power was to hug trees: “Because there isn’t that many people and reindeers are to fast, so can’t hug them.”
When it comes to the animal, they are used to treat them roughly, as nature up in the north is. So Huskies are used to -20 degrees. And both for Finns and Huskies it is too hot when the temperature reaches about -4 degrees. Almost summer, I guess.
The Finns that I met were generally very surprised that in Iceland people eat sheep. Like a lot of sheep. I was surprised, how much reindeer they would eat in Finland. When I went to a Turkish place for a kebab as dinner, they offered me a kebab from reindeer. They also had a burger from reindeer and in special restaurants, you could order a tongue from reindeer. I guess that is why reindeers keep their mouth shut most of the time.
One of the things that you wouldn’t think about as a Finnish stereotype is a fact, that especially in the north, you just eat what you can. And I mean literally everything that is possible to eat. It is not just reindeer. I found a place where they were selling meat from a bear in the can. The can was next to another can with meat from a moose. And a funny thing – the mozzarella cheese is now really popular in Finland. But if you ask for what is the mozzarella from, they would joke with you, that it is obviously meat from Moomin.
The silent friend
When you look at popular comics Scandinavia and the world, you can see that Finns are usually quiet friends, that rarely ever say something. I felt the same way. Normally I met a lot of people from Finland in my hostel. They were quiet, rarely speak, and if Nokia would be still a thing, I believe they would stare to the display and play their Angry Birds.
This change a lot when you go to the sauna. Sauna is a big thing in Finland. And here I have to agree with one of the classical Finnish stereotypes. Finns usually don’t speak. Unless they are in the sauna. On the first day in Finland, I went to the sauna at my hostel. There were only Chinese girls, sitting quietly and sweating in their bikini. On the next day, I met there four Finnish women. All naked, talking and laughing to everything. Since I had the experience from the day before, I decided to keep my bikini too. They looked at me and said: “Where are you from?” And of course. If I would be Finnish, I would be naked as well. They spend the next 20 sweating minutes explaining everything about their sauna culture.
There is one thing that I noticed. Finnish stereotype says that Finns usually don’t speak too much. They are the silent friend to all Scandinavian countries. But if they do speak, it sounds super badass. Even the sweetest looking blond girl in her leggings, holding chivava sound like she just said: “Pay the money by Wednesday”, once she started her Finnish.
All in all, I really enjoy my time in Finland and I hope to come back, maybe to the south of Finland. I find these stereotypes quite fun, as I can see that a lot of Czech or danish stereotypes are also very accurate.