Finding out about Finland

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This topic contains 24 replies, has 23 voices, and was last updated by  Beth 4 years, 10 months ago.

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  • #204

    Leila K.
    Member

    What images do people of various backgrounds have of Finland? What do they know about my country?

    User Detail :  

    Name : Leila K., Gender : F, Sexual Orientation : Straight, Race : White/Caucasian, Religion : Lutheran, Age : 18, City : Rauma, State : n/ Country : Finland, Occupation : student, Education level : High School Diploma, Social class : Middle class, 
    #28162

    David-S
    Participant

    I have been to Helsinki twice and found it to be an extraordinary blend of old and new. The architecture has the Russian influence, but Nokia has shown that the Finns can lead in technology. I also love the Finnish sense of design and handicrafts as evidenced by Marimekko, Fiskars, aarika and Arabia.

    User Detail :  

    Name : David-S, Gender : M, Race : Asian, Religion : Episcopalian, Age : 45, City : San Antonio, State : TX Country : United States, Occupation : Private Investor, Education level : Over 4 Years of College, Social class : Middle class, 
    #22604

    Shari28088
    Participant

    I think many Americans have the idea that Finland (if they even know where it is) is like Canada – snow-covered year-round (which is, of course, wrong about both countries). I am part Finnish, and while I have never been there, my parents have done genealogy research there, and I have e-mailed a distant cousin in Tuusula. I know you have lots of mosquitoes in the summer (at least where my cousin lives), and that your summers are not as long or as warm as ours. In school, Finland was not a country that we learned about or heard much about. (That is rather interesting, since I live in Michigan. The Upper Peninsula is full of Finns). It’s not a place that many people here dream of visiting, unless we’re part Finn. People just think ‘Scandinavia’ and imagine snow and reindeer. That may be true for a part of Finland, but certainly not the whole country.

    User Detail :  

    Name : Shari28088, Gender : F, Race : White/Caucasian, Religion : Lutheran, Age : 29, City : Canton, State : MI Country : United States, Education level : Over 4 Years of College, Social class : Middle class, 
    #32866

    Steve27691
    Participant

    I never think about Finland, and I have even been their once. Little internal news about Finland ever hits the U.S. media. The only time Finland gets any press is during the Winter Olympics when they win a few medals in oddball sports like Biathalon and speed skating. I think the common impression of Finland in the United States is of a small (population) country with lots of snow and reindeer. From a U.S. Government standpoint, Finland was mildly interesting as a bulwark against the Soviet Union during the Cold War, but even that fame is now over. I don’t mean to be crass or arrogant, but you asked.

    User Detail :  

    Name : Steve27691, Gender : M, Race : White/Caucasian, Age : 44, City : Houston, State : TX Country : United States, Occupation : Corporate Cubicle Kind of Guy, Education level : Over 4 Years of College, Social class : Upper middle class, 
    #38216

    Thomas
    Member

    My images of Finland: Very cold land close to the North pole; extraordinarily long days in summer and similarly long nights in winter; the former could confuse the brain’s timing mechanism, and the latter, depressing; relatively high suicide rate (one wonders if this is true). Finns are close to nature (‘if you can’t beat it, join it’), and enjoy skating, hiking, skiing and ice-fishing; many fjords; sailing is a popular pastime in summer; soccer (football) is probably a popular sport, especially among women; has produced legendary long distance runners (research topic: what’s common to Finland, Ethiopia, Kenya and New Zealand?) and ice skaters; the summer Olympics have been held in Helsinki some decades ago. One of the smaller countries of Europe, population around 15(?) million; high standard of living; per capita GDP close to that of the United States; high tax rates, but also many government services, especially in health care and family support. Everyone knows English; awash in cell phones, thanks to Nokia; well-developed fishing industry, possibly also wood, furniture, pulp and paper; starkly modern furniture and area rugs come to mind. High percentage of blond(e)s (would Finns stop and stare unabashedly at my straight, black-and-silver hair and brown skin?); love of saunas (hot rocks, steam and leafy birch twigs may play a part) and natural treatments (herbs, mudpacks). Closest to Russia, many tours of Russia start in Finland; possibly share a love of colorless liquor with the Russians; but young people would rather be in Greece and Italy in summer (especially on the beaches of Mykonos) than in Russia. Casual, informal lifestyle; taciturn, not given to passionate expression (not a fully deserved reputation?); highly homogeneous society; hardly any segregation by socioeconomic class (are the two related?); large percentage of Lutherans, but smaller than in Norway, and not many have emmigrated to Minnesota or Wisconsin. Many of these images may be incorrect (but you asked for them), and you are welcome to correct them. By the way, I did not look up any reference book or internet source. Finally, two important questions for you: 1. Has any American fast-food restaurant with a Scottish name arrived in Helsinki yet? 2. What kind of food do you eat when you want to be adventurous? Note: the two questions are unrelated.

    User Detail :  

    Name : Thomas, Gender : M, Sexual Orientation : Straight, Race : Indian (of India), Religion : Agnostic/Atheist, City : Arlington, State : TX Country : United States, Occupation : Operations Research, Education level : Over 4 Years of College, Social class : Upper middle class, 
    #47593

    Beth
    Member

    I’ve met a few Finns – high school foreign exchange students mostly (plus a pen pal). My general impression is that Finland is a highly educated and technological society, but somewhat insular. The other biggest cultural thing I’ve noticed was an attitude about the Soviet Union (now Russia) which, considering border problems over the past few centuries, is quite understandable. I’ve also discovered Finns have a hard time with Kansas’ 100-plus degree heat. I think the biggest image most Americans have of Finland, though, would be reindeer.

    User Detail :  

    Name : Beth, Gender : F, Age : 45, City : Wamego, State : KS Country : United States, 
    #31746

    Matthew
    Member

    I have several Finnish friends here in London, and the impression I get from them is that either Finland is full of R’n’R-loving, lovely, gorgeous, enormously-fun-to-be-with people (but my God, do they drink and pop pills!), or anybody like that has to leave Finland for some reason and come to London. Finland is getting quite a bit of media coverage in Europe these days because of the success of Nokia (which many people think is a Japanese company because of the sound of it), so it could well soon become as trendy as Iceland (yes, Iceland is trendy in England. Don’t ask.)

    User Detail :  

    Name : Matthew, Gender : M, Race : English/French, Religion : Atheist, Age : 29, City : London, State : NA Country : United Kingdom, Education level : 2 Years of College, 
    #15613

    I think Finns are sort of ‘on/off’ people: funny and great company, or gloomy and depressed; totally drunk, or absolutely sober. The nature of a Finn is a cocktail of Nordic and Russian elements; does thiks then make us so popular nowadays?

    User Detail :  

    Name : Marko Pajunen, Gender : M, City : Helsinki, State : NA Country : Finland, 
    #16842

    Nelson A.
    Participant

    Finland, to most people here in Venezuela (and I’m sure in Latin America) means Mika Hakkinnen, your flag (thanks to the Formula 1 fans), a lot of snow and a vodka called ‘Finlandia’ (Finland in Spanish). Most people, though, make the mistake of thinking you are Viking-type Norsemen (along with the people of Sweden, Denmark, etc). I recently heard you are not the same people and that your ethnic mix extends very far back to the slavs, far-wandering Mongols and others (I haven’t checked that yet, though).

    User Detail :  

    Name : Nelson A., Gender : M, Race : White/Caucasian, Religion : Catholic, Age : 30, City : Caracas, State : NA Country : Venezuela, Occupation : Lawyer/Business, Education level : Over 4 Years of College, Social class : Middle class, 
    #22584

    N.J. Smith
    Participant

    My impression of Finland is one of snow; I think of cold and dark.

    User Detail :  

    Name : N.J. Smith, Gender : F, Sexual Orientation : Lesbian, Race : White/Caucasian, Religion : Agnostic, Age : 45, City : Butler, State : PA Country : United States, Occupation : Laborer, Education level : High School Diploma, Social class : Lower middle class, 
    #30364

    Kris26229
    Participant

    Incidentally, Britain is by far the most popular destination for Finnish students heading abroad, including myself, which is why there’s quite a strong presence of us in blighty. But the reason we’re being covered in the media is largely due to misconceptions. Statistics and Nokia’s success inspire magazines like Newsweek to write articles on the alleged technological revolution in Finland, and now some people think we operate vending machines through our mobile phones. The rest of the world is interested only in the curiosities of our country, like sauna bathing and the wife-carrying competition (which is a yahoo event even by our standards). The image is doubtless a tad distorted.

    Apart from peculiarities, however, there seems to be an interest in the slightly alternative European nations these days. This, I guess, is why Iceland and Finland are suddenly popular. Both have been cut off for a long time purely out of geographical reasons, and the mentality of both societies and its individuals have been kept relatively intact. ‘You’re really weird’ is what a 13-year-old lassie from Yorkshire once told me. ‘Weird’ or ‘different’ spells ‘interesting.’

    And yes, we like our booze, but I don’t know where you got the pill-popping from. Maybe your Finnish friends are people who desperately need to boogie out metropolitan style.

    User Detail :  

    Name : Kris26229, Gender : M, Race : White/Caucasian, Age : 21, City : Helsinki, State : NA Country : Finland, Occupation : Student, Education level : 2 Years of College, Social class : Lower middle class, 
    #32541

    Anna23837
    Participant

    It´s nice to read how much you know about us Finns. One thing, though: there are only six million of us, so the population of our country is much smaller than you guessed.

    User Detail :  

    Name : Anna23837, Gender : F, City : Helsinki, State : NA Country : Finland, 
    #34689

    Jenni T.
    Member

    It is true that Finns are not that open about their emotions compared to Americans, for example. In our opinion, Americans talk a lot and don´t mean what they say. It´s mostly that Finns don´t talk that much, but they definitely mean what they´re saying. And often everything is said shortly, leaving out what we feel is needless – extra words. I, and lots of people I know, feel that foreigners (OK, mostly Americans) talk so much and mean so little, i.e. they ask ‘How are you’ but don´t care to listen to what your answer is. ‘How are you’ seems to be like ‘Hi!’ and you´re supposed to say ‘fine,’ no matter the truth. We do say ‘I love you’ more than once in a lifetime, especially younger people, who might say it daily. I suppose we have high rates of suicides, but so do other northern countries, meaning countries with the same kind of climate and long, depressive winters: Sweden, Norway, Russia… Talking loud is all right, especially here in the capital. Old people are more quiet and conservative, but as this generation ages… I saw a documentary about about Finnish ‘dances,’ too, and it was ridiculous. It was like 30, 40 years ago! Nowdays they might keep them sometimes for historical value, but not like monthly and everywhere … I´ve never been in ‘dances’. Yes, we have reindeer up north, but I, for example, have never seen one, except on TV. They don´t walk around in the streets, and that goes for icebears, too. Finland does not have icebears, except in the zoo.

    User Detail :  

    Name : Jenni T., Gender : F, Race : White/Caucasian, Age : 21, City : Helsinki, State : NA Country : Finland, 
    #38973

    Kim26375
    Participant

    I have always associated Finns with the outdoors, music and design. I knew Finns who loved camping, no matter what time of year. I know that in Finland, people have summer cottages they love to go to on weekends. Finland has some very famous choirs and conductors, and, of course, Finlandia records. I have Swedish friends and family who think Finns drink too much, but that opinion is not shared by Canadians. There is a great short story by Canadian author Jack Hodgins in which the main character, an adolescent male, wants to be a Finn.

    User Detail :  

    Name : Kim26375, Gender : F, Race : White/Caucasian, Age : 40, City : Vancouver, British Columbia, State : NA Country : Canada, Occupation : Telecommunications, Education level : 2 Years of College, Social class : Middle class, 
    #39364

    CP19182
    Participant

    I know very little about Finland. The images that come to mind are: cold, reindeer, saunas, Lapps.

    User Detail :  

    Name : CP19182, Gender : F, Age : 22, City : Montreal, Quebec, State : NA Country : Canada, 
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