14 Facts About Life in Finland That Will Probably Revolutionize Your View of This Country

The number of inhabitants, territorial surface, neighboring countries, government system, and some other geographical characteristics is what we usually learn about a country when we study it at school or do a quick search in an encyclopedia. However, behind those numbers lies something that makes each and every country fascinating: its very own culture, habits, and customs. These are often very different from ours, which is why we’re so amazed when reading stories from thousands of kilometers away.

1. Finns love saunas.

14 Facts About Life in Finland That Will Probably Revolutionize Your View of This Country

In homes, in businesses, in diplomatic buildings, and even strapped to a car, the Finns see saunas as an extremely beneficial habit, and they build them in the most unlikely places. There are more than 3 million saunas throughout the country — considering that Finland’s population is only about 5.5 million, this is a significant number.

More than an activity, the sauna is a ritual that is thousands of years old and deeply rooted in Finnish culture. Couples go before their wedding to purify their souls and women go there to give birth. Today it is estimated that around 90 percent of Finns go to a sauna at least once a week. It is undoubtedly a habit that has become part of everyday life.

2. Expectant mothers receive a gift from the Finnish state.

The Finnish social security system provides expectant mothers with a maternity box. It is a kit containing 64 items with everything necessary for the mother and newborn baby, like infant clothes, bedding, diapers, gauze, a parenting guide, childcare products, and even a space for the baby to sleep during their first months.

To receive this kit, which has been offered in the country for more than 50 years, parents must sign up for a health check-up before the fifth month of pregnancy. They can also opt to receive the cash, although most choose the box.

3. They have their own fairytale character.

14 Facts About Life in Finland That Will Probably Revolutionize Your View of This Country

Like many other Nordic countries, Finland also has its own fairytale character. The Belgians have Tintin, the Danes have The Little Mermaid, and the Finns have The Moomins. Written and drawn by a Finn, these mythical creatures inhabit a wooded place known as Moominvalley.

Their main character is Moomintroll, a white, furry creature that’s a lot like a hippopotamus. In Finnish homes, it is not unusual to see the entrance guarded by a snow Moomin, or to find on the table a steaming cup of coffee decorated with his friendly likeness.