Jaaa, Skandinavien würd ich auch noch mal "beruflich" gerne unter die Räder nehmen, favorisiert im Winter -- blieb/bleibt mir allerdings bislang leider vorenthalten 😂
Bleibt halt nur hier im Süden weiterhin von da droben träumen 😉
Finland is among the northern-most countries on the planet. Anyone who wants to see the northern lights in all their glory should definitely plan a trip to this country in northern Europe. And anyone who wants to understand the Finns has to go to the sauna with them. Apparently, there are more saunas than cars in Finland. The country's most well-known export perfectly embodies the country: going to the sauna is more than just having a wash. It's about cleansing the body, mind and soul; it's about meeting on equal grounds, being free of constraints and rules; it's about being close to nature.
The far north is truly impressive: vast and varied landscapes, coastal areas (with more than 73,000 islands in the skerries) and the biggest area of lakes in European mainland (with more than 40,000 lakes there in comparison with Finland's total count of over 180,000 lakes). Meanwhile, the hilly lands of the east and Lapland in the north are home to more than 42,000 different animal, plant and mushroom species. Among the fauna are seals, elks, brown bears, lynxes and wolves. More than 86 percent of Finland is covered by forests, while innumerable moors and lakes also shape its landscape.
The country makes use of the so-called “everyman's right”, which means that everyone is free to roam in nature and, if necessary, to collect berries and mushrooms, to hunt or to fish. But beware: in national parks – of which there are currently 40 – these rights are severely restricted.
Finland's nature has also shaped its economic situation for a long time. The agricultural and forestry sectors dominate the economy. Over centuries, it was seen as simple, rural and behind the times.
But today, the country with the lowest population density in all of the European Union (16 inhabitants per square metre; by way of comparison, Germany has 231) is one of the most affluent states in Europe.
The economic boom is closely connected with the enormous investments made in schools and universities, as well as in high-tech industries and the micro-electronics sector over the past decades. Finland has since become one of the most modern information societies in the world and is seen by many other countries as a role model.
When Finns aren't keeping quiet and spending time in the sauna, they enjoy reading. Libraries are free-of-charge in large towns – perfect for the literature enthusiasts that the Finns are. In a ranking of different nations, the Finnish occupy first place with their extremely high level of literary education. The average Finn borrows 13 books from the library annually (in Germany, the average is three books).
But Finland isn't just about their national treasure Kalevala – a collection of Nordic heroic myths and legends – nor is it only about the cute little Mumins. Much more than that, there's also a good deal of Finnish popular culture: metal-rock from Finland (Lordi, The Rasmus) or Finnish cult films like “Leningrad Cowboys go America” from Aki Kaurismäki even have big fan bases abroad too.
Like in all Scandinavian cultures, sport plays a major role in life. One particularly legendary sports personality was the “Flying Finn” Paavo Nurmi, one of the most successful athletes of all times.
And besides wintersports, ice hockey also occupies a dominant role in Finland. Their national team has already won the world championships twice. Plus, motorsports also enjoy particularly big audiences. The country has regularly put forward brilliant speedway, rally and Formula 1 drivers like Rosberg, Häkkinen or Räikkönen.
Hardly surprising when you think that the Finn's have a total road network of around 78,000 km available to them of which only 65 percent is paved.
On out-of-town roads, it's also not uncommon to come across an imposing peculiarity of Finnish roads: XXL trucks with a total length of up to 35 metres!
Photos: Eero Liimatainen, Sebastian
Header picture 03: © Mikhail Markovskiy / Fotolia