So, I’ve heard a rumor that folks from Finland have fins like some kind of amphibious whale—pretty wild, right? Turns out, that’s just a tall tale, probably cooked up by someone who couldn’t come up with a snappier opener for this week’s roundup of cool tidbits about Finland. Yep, we’re talking about the home of Finns without any actual fins.
Putting the whole mermaid-man fantasy to rest, Finland is still super intriguing. It’s famous for its gazillion lakes, love for heavy metal music, and those lengthy words that are a mouthful. Oh, and let’s not forget the beer, which is worth mentioning.
1. They Can See Into The Future
Most governments seem to be busy pointing fingers at the Russians or giving their citizens a hard time, but the Finns? They’re playing a different game. Over in Finland, they’ve got this rule that says the government has to whip up an official peek into the future every time they have a parliamentary term. Plus, they were trailblazers in offering studies about the future at the university level. Some might joke that the Finns have the 411 on when we’ll all be zipping around in flying cars, but in reality, those savvy folks used their crystal ball vibes to transform Finland from a struggling European country to a total success story.
Aleksi Neuvonen, the research boss over at Demos Helsinki, put it like this: “The heart of our future-smarts is all about getting the big players and interested parties to join forces and create together.” Nowadays, this forward-thinking attitude is one of Finland’s hottest exports. The creativity and know-how of the Finns are seen as a kind of gentle power at home, helping them tackle tough issues and do some good for the world. Pretty cool, huh? 
2. Glow-In-The-Dark Reindeer
Looks like Rudolph’s red nose isn’t cutting it anymore, not with the Finns stepping up their game with some high-tech reflective spray paint. The deal is that they’re trying to cut down on the number of reindeer—about 4,000 of them—that get hit by cars on Finnish roads every year. So, the Reindeer Herder’s Association in Lapland is testing out this shiny paint on the reindeer’s antlers. Anne Ollila, who’s in charge there, mentioned, “We’re really aiming to dodge those road mishaps. We’re giving the spray a go on their fur, but slapping it on their antlers might just do the trick since it lights up all over the place.”
Now, whether this beats sticking bright-red blinkers on their noses or going sci-fi and making a bunch of Rudolph clones, well, that’s not something the Association is spilling the beans on, probably for good reason. But hey, even if they’re not all-in on turning Lapland into a winter wonderland, they’re still keen on getting those antlers to glow. And with a whopping 200,000 reindeer roaming around Lapland, they’ll need a lot of that paint.
3. Just Box Up The Baby; It’s A Gift
Despite the wild stories that paint socialists as some kind of villainous, baby-snatching creatures, Finland has been doing something pretty sweet since the 1930s. They hand out a welcome kit to new moms, packed in a simple cardboard box. This box is filled with goodies like cozy clothes for the little ones to brave the winter. The whole idea started to help bring down the number of babies dying too young, and guess what? It worked like a charm.
Back in the day, Finland had a sad stat where 65 out of every 1,000 newborns didn’t make it. But with this nifty box program, which also nudged moms-to-be to check in with their doctors, the rate plummeted to just 1.7 by 2015. And here’s the adorable twist: in Finland, the very box that delivers all those baby essentials turns into the baby’s first bed. That’s right, even before your kiddo starts ignoring fancy toys for the box they came in, they’ll be catching z’s in one.
4. Most Metal Country Of All
Some folks reckon that Finland is the one place on earth where heavy metal isn’t just for the underground—it’s what everyone jams to. That might be a bit of a surprise for those decked out in corpse paint, roaming the Swedish woods, and getting up to no good with churches. Tough break, but you’re not the norm. Over in Finland, metal is for everyone. Even the little ones are rocking out to a dino-themed band that belts tunes about hardcore stuff like munching on cookies and guzzling milk.
With a whopping 53.2 metal bands for every 100,000 people, it’s like each band should have around 1,879.6 fans headbanging along—if every single person in Finland, from the tiniest tot to the oldest rocker, cranked up the metal as the dark lord of music would want. Now, that’s setting the bar sky-high. So, if you’re a Finnish metal band and your fan count dips below 1879.6, you’re not making the cut by the power of rock. And hey, remember Lordi? Those monster-costumed rockers who took home the Eurovision trophy in 2006 with their wicked guitar riffs? Totally epic.
5. Lose All Your Beer If You Give Your Wife The Right To Vote
Maybe giving everyone the vote wasn’t such a hot idea, or at least that’s what some Finnish dudes might have thought between 1919 and 1932. That was when Finland decided booze was a no-go, which, considering how bone-chillingly cold their winters are, probably made those years feel like an absolute eternity of misery.
So, what’s voting got to do with the dry spell? Here’s the scoop: Finland was way ahead of the curve, letting women cast ballots before the rest of Europe. And one of the first things these ladies did was push for laws to keep their menfolk on the straight and narrow, away from the bottle. Enter kieltolaki, the “ban law,” which pretty much kicked off a golden age for moonshiners, spiked teas, and underground speakeasies. Believe it or not, a wild 85 percent of all crimes back then were just folks rebelling against the no-liquor law. The takeaway? Guys will find a way to get their drink on, so you might as well roll with it.
6. Carry Your Wife And You Win Her Weight In Beer
The quirky sport of Wife-Carrying doesn’t even need you to tote your actual spouse—or have one, for that matter. It’s a nod to the good old days in Finland when snagging a bride meant scooping her up from the next village over, with no swiping right required. Keeping the tradition alive and kicking, the Finns throw a yearly bash called the Wife-Carrying World Championship.
Lately, the Estonians have been snagging the top spots, which has got to sting for the Finns, who came up with the whole thing. But the home team has its own hall-of-fame, like Taisto Miettinen and Kristiina Haapanen. These two blitzed through the 253-meter (830 ft) obstacle course—hurdles, water pool, and all—in just one hot minute back in 2012, keeping their championship crown firmly on their heads. The secret sauce? A dude who’s quick and strong, paired with a partner whose weight is just right for the race, all for the glory and a tasty prize of boozy goodness.
7. A National Day Of Failure
Realizing you’re not exactly nailing the whole adulting thing, and you’re on a fast track to becoming a booze-loving, rapidly aging scribe for Listverse—that’s a tough one to come to terms with. Not everyone can laugh that off. Spotting this struggle, some Finnish college kids kicked off the first Day for Failure back in 2010. Now it’s an annual shindig where folks who’ve made it big hijack the fest to spill the beans about their own flops and faceplants on their way to cashing fat checks and living large.
Kinda weird for a bunch of people raised in harsh conditions and a culture that’s not too keen on flunking, but the Finns are pretty into the idea of poking fun at their own blunders. The event planners say it’s all about pushing people to give tough or new stuff a whirl without fretting over what might go wrong. It’s all about getting that boost to step outside your comfort zone and have a blast trying something different.
8. The Largest Archipelago In The World
If you grab a blue sheet and scatter some crumbled-up dry bread or maybe some old toast, you’ve got a decent makeshift map of the Finnish archipelago. This cluster of islands fans out from Finland towards Sweden, and there are so many of them that even the locals can’t settle on an exact count. The ballpark figure? Over 40,000.
Most of these spots are just tiny bits of land poking out of the water, and if you’re thinking about checking them out, you’d better have a boat and dress like you mean it—because it’s chilly out there. Just a short drive from Turku, which used to be Finland’s capital, there’s this small village called Herrankukkaro. It’s where most folks set off for adventures to the west. You’ll find a bunch of little communities making their living off tourists and fishing on the bigger islands, where only the toughest people live, reachable solely by sea. And hey, if zombies ever take over, remember this place as a top-notch spot to lay low.
9. The Land Of Far More Than A Few Lakes
At some point, the Finns got really good at playing it cool or showed the world they’re not so hot with numbers. They call their country the “Land of a Thousand Lakes,” but come on, Finland, you’re selling yourself short. There’s a lake for every 26 folks in Finland, which adds up to 187,000 lakes! That’s about ten percent of the whole country.
These watery spots came about when massive glaciers during the Ice Age decided to give the Earth a good pounding with all that icy power. Then, thanks to this wild thing called “melting,” those glaciers up and vanished, leaving behind a bunch of holes that filled up with water—and voilà, Finland is lake central. With all that water around, the middle of Finland is great for farming, there are mining opportunities under those waves, and tourists just can’t get enough of the place.
10. Finnish Has The Longest Palindromic Word
Guinness World Records has this rule that palindromes—the words that read the same forwards as they do backward—have to be ones people actually use to make the cut. Now, I’m not too sure about the number of soapstone sellers kicking around in Finland, but those cheerful saippuakivikauppias types are common enough to snag the record.
There’s chatter about saippuakippokukkakivikakkukoppikauppias being an even longer palindrome, and yeah, it’s legit. But Guinness isn’t convinced that a “seller of stones for lye flower cakes” is something folks say much, or ever, really. What would you even do with a stone for a lye flower cake? Anyway, one thing’s clear: if you love tying your tongue in knots or you’re all about that ‘K’ life, Finland’s got you covered.
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