Finland celebrates 100 years of independence in 2017. The Finns achieved independence on December 6, 1917. The nation celebrates its 100th year with numerous events in Finland and all around the world.
18 Awesome Things You Probably Do Not Know About Finland
1. It used to be Russian
Finland has a complex history, and a lot of it has involved belligerent men from other areas telling it how to run its business, moustaches a-bristling. Between 1809 and 1917, for example, it was the “Grand Duchy of Finland” – an “autonomous” entity within the Russian Empire. So “autonomous”, in fact, that its head of state was the Tsar. This epoch ended on December 6 1917 – 99 years ago today – when, as a rising tide of nationalism broke, the Finnish parliament declared independence, taking advantage of the power vacuum which had emerged over the border in the wake of the October Revolution. The new Bolshevik Russia took its time, then recognised Finnish freedom on January 4 1918.
2. And it used to be Swedish as well
If it wasn’t the jokers to the right, it was the clowns to the left, so to speak. Finland spent much of the Middle Ages under the thumb of the Swedish crown – perhaps from as early a moment as 1150, and certainly from 1249 onwards, when Sweden began a crusade of conquest, before hanging around for almost six centuries (until the Russian takeover in 1809). Remnants of this era are visible in Turku – which is probably Finland’s oldest city, and is home to a castle that was constructed by the incoming neighbours in around 1280.
3. In 2013 Finland was named the most honest country in the world. The entire nation runs on the honesty system. Helsinki was named the World’s Most Honest City.
4. Finnish people love the cold. They embrace it. Swimming in a frozen lake when it’s -30° is just an ordinary day.
5. Finland is home to Santa(Father Christmas). More than 500,000 people a year visit Santa’s Village in Rovaniemi.
6. April 2017, Finland was named the safest country in the world for tourism according to World Economic Forum
7. Finland ranked third least most corrupted countries in the world according to Transparency International August edition
8. Finland is among the top 10 countries with the highest standard of living
9. Finland owns Nokia. It was founded in 1865, best known for their phones.
10. Kotipizza became the world’s best pizza at some point. Yup, Finland even beat Italy. And you can try the winning pizza, “The Berlusconi”, at any Kotipizza in the country.
11. The air in Finland is the third cleanest in the world, according to a recent study by WHO,. Did you know that Helsinki has some of the cleanest tap water of all big cities in the world even the president drinks from the tap and that Kilpisjärvi in Lapland has the cleanest air in Europe?
12. You may have heard that Finland is the “Land of a Thousand Lakes”. Well, it is also a land of thousands of forests. Over 70 % of Finland is taken over by beautiful forest – more than any other European country and an area larger than UK or Italy!
13. The 188 000 lakes of Finland, on the other hand, are so vast that Finland has most water in relation to land mass of all the countries in the world. This water is also some of the cleanest.
14. Finnish people consume more coffee per person than does any other nation in the world. Maybe because of the winter! This obviously means that there are quite many amazing coffee shops and cafes around the country!
15. THE BEST PLACE TO BE A MOTHER – OR A CHILD
Did you know that many Finnish newborns sleep in cardboard boxes? Since 1938 Finnish state has provided all expectant mothers with a beautiful, durable box with clothes, sheets, nappies, toys and a mattress – making it an excellent bed for a tiny newcomer. All mothers get to stay at home with their baby for almost a year with full salary or excellent benefits. When a parent with a child in a buggy uses public transport, they travel free of charge in most cities.
16. THE LARGEST ARCHIPELAGO
Finland’s coast boasts the world’s largest archipelago. It is difficult to get an exact number, but there are at least 70,000 islands, with over 20,000 of those being large enough for a small cabin or summer house. On some, you can also find beautiful old lighthouses, converted into tiny hotels.
17. Finland is the global leader in heavy metal bands
Remember Eurovision Song Contest winners Lordi? Yes, they’re scary, and yes, they’re Finnish.
18. The Finns are always time concious. There is nothing like African time in Finland. They arrive to a meeting 10-15 minutes before the scheduled time