Cool, calm and unique – discover Finnish culture
Despite of our cool climate, Finnish people are warm, open and honest – even though they might tell you the exact opposite. Dry humor is in our nature.
Finnish people are most characterized by their love and close relationship to nature. It has traditionally been the source of livelihood but most importantly is it the place where we retreat to from the hussle and bustle of the modern world. Nature makes us happy, one of the happiest nations in the world. It has also been the source of inspiration for artists for centuries. Iconic landscapes, like Koli in Lakeland and Lake Tuusula near Helsinki, have given us some of the most meaningful pieces of art in Finnish history. Modern art and design also derive inspiration from nature, like some of the most iconic new architecture in Finland. Made of wood – naturally.
Sauna is also another unique feature of Finnish culture. Plain and simple: Finns love sauna. And you will find a sauna in every corner of the country, even in libraries and museums.
The best way to experience Finnish culture is to become a part of it. Here, you won’t just stand and watch – you’re invited to join in!
If you’ve ever met a Finn, chances are they’ve mentioned the reserved nature of their countrymen. Be not afraid – we’re not taciturn brutes. Finns are talkative and hospitable, but the myth of the withdrawn Finn is still alive and well inside Finland. And Finns, with their self-deprecating wit, will be the first to let foreigners in on it. An example of a traditional Finnish joke: “An introverted Finn looks at his shoes when talking to you; an extroverted Finn looks at your shoes”.
In certain ways, Finns are a pretty peculiar people and we secretly enjoy conveying that image of ourselves, even if it weren’t always true. A Finn will tell tall tales with a straight face, giggle internally and go on until stories just get too much for anyone to believe. Joking with someone (or even at someone’s cost!) is a Finnish way of saying “I like you”. Finns are sociable and warm, but have a mischievous way of showing it. But once you get to know a Finn, you’ll be friends for life.
Finnish art, design and architecture
Art, design and architecture from Finland are making waves internationally. Old masters, like our most famous architect Alvar Aalto, and new trailblazers from fashion to furniture design are putting Finland on the map. However, our culture scene is still a hidden gem. But there’s no need to hide. Finland has over 300 museums, some of the most interesting new architecture in Northern Europe and festivals from cool to quirky.
Helsinki is one of the most interesting Nordic architectural capitals at the moment with a boom of wooden architecture. The city’s newest icons, like the Oodi Library and the sauna Löyly, have been featured in publications the world over. You can find interesting wooden architecture elsewhere in the country as well, such as the historical wooden towns of the Coast and Archipelago.
Finland’s cultural landscape characterized by the long summer nights and dark winter days is a wonderful breeding ground for unique art. Enjoying art and culture in Finland means taking a trip deep into the folklore of our past, and forward into the country’s vision of a sustainable future. And beneath it all lies that most valuable of Finnish cultural treasures: peace and quiet.
Events in Finland
Finland is known for having some of the most unique – some might even say the craziest – events in the world. Our country is home to the world championships of wife-carrying and air guitar that draw participants and crowds from all over the world.
But crazy isn’t all we do. We also have many international music festivals from Helsinki’s hipster favorite Flow to the chamber music festival in northeastern Kuhmo, jazz in Pori and semiacoustic music in a fell in Lapland’s Pyhä. Not to mention classical music. Finnish conductors lead some of the world’s most famous symphony orchestras, often featuring melodies from the famed Finnish composer Jean Sibelius. While in Finland, go for a concert in the famous Finlandia Hall, Helsinki Music Centre or Sibelius Hall in Lahti. Or go for modern dance at Kuopio International Dance Festival, opera at Savonlinna Opera Festival, heavy metal music at Tuska Festival in Helsinki or Sámi culture at Ijahis idja in Lapland.
Did we mention Finland is truly a land of contrasts?
Tours and routes
Here are suggestions of culture-themed routes in Finland
Here’s some of our favorite content about culture in Finland
Plan your stay
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