Finland!

According to The Official Travel Guide of Finland:

The white summer nights are perhaps Finland’s most iconic phenomena. The nighttime sun is at its strongest during the months of June and July but the further north you go, the longer and higher the sun stays above the horizon. In the very northernmost parts you can experience a full Midnight Sun from May to August.

In the northernmost parts of Finnish Lapland, the sun stays above the horizon for over 70 consecutive days.

One of the most remarkable features of Finland is light. When the endless sunshine of summer gives way to dark winter, the Northern Lights appear like magic and lighten up the sky.

The further north you go, the greater the chances of spotting the Aurora Borealis – in Finnish Lapland they can appear on 200 nights a year. In Helsinki and the south, the Aurorae can be seen on roughly 20 nights a winter, away from city lights.

Snowland Rovaniemi

According to Wikipedia, Finland’s population is 5.5 million (2017), and the majority of the population is concentrated in the southern region. 88.7% of the population is Finnish and speaks Finnish, a Uralic language unrelated to the Scandinavian languages; next come the Finland-Swedes (5.3%). Finland is the eighth-largest country in Europe and the most sparsely populated country in the European Union.

It is a parliamentary republic with a central government based in the capital city of Helsinki, local governments in 311 municipalities, and one autonomous region, the Åland Islands. Over 1.4 million people live in the Greater Helsinki metropolitan area, which produces one-third of the country’s GDP.

Located on the shore of the Gulf of Finland, Helsinki is the seat of the region of Uusimaa in southern Finland, and has a population of 642,045. The city’s urban area has a population of 1,231,595, making it by far the most populous urban area in Finland as well as the country’s most important center for politics, education, finance, culture, and research. Helsinki is located 50 miles north of Tallinn, Estonia, 250 miles east of Stockholm, Sweden, and 240 miles west of Saint Petersburg, Russia. It has close historical ties with these three cities.

Helsinki has one of the highest urban standards of living in the world. In 2011, the British magazine Monocle ranked Helsinki the world’s most liveable city in its liveable cities index. In the Economist Intelligence Unit’s 2016 liveability survey, Helsinki was ranked ninth among 140 cities.

Scenic summer panorama of the Market Square (Kauppatori) at the Old Town pier in Helsinki, Finland

To put things into perspective, the distance from Helsinki to Saint Petersburg Russia is less than the distance from Detroit to Chicago, and a little more than the distance from New York to Washington DC. The population of Finland is about the same as the population of Minnesota, but it is about the size of New Mexico. Latitudinally speaking, Finland is about the same as Alaska.

Sights of Helsinki:

A Facebook friend says that if you visit Finland, get used to eating cabbage at every meal. Also herring. Vodka is popular there too. Her comments:

Helsinki delights: Biggest medical center because Russians use it. Completely incomprehensible language. Best shopping is in tunnels underground. Cute little opera house…with program notes in Finnish (you better know that opera). Cute little art museum with scenes of the Arctic. Did I mention cabbage for breakfast?

Cabbage in broth, and booze in your tea.

Yep! Potatoes, cabbage, vodka and herring!

I was there in January. We drove through snow tunnels on the sides of roads. Some were 30 feet high!

Our President arrived in Helsinki about an hour ago (3 pm EDT).

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8 Responses to Finland!

  1. auscitizenmom says:

    Thx for the tour, Stella. 😀

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Thanks for sharing all this interesting info about Finland. For years I thought I was Finnish (1/2) before being informed that my mom was adopted. My grandparents were both children of Finnish immigrants & both grew up in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula, him in Newberry & her in Ishpeming &/or Negaunee. My grandpa’s mother & step-mother (after his mom died) were both mail order brides from back in the old country. My grandparents spoke an antiquated form of Finnish that set the hearer to chuckling whenever they visited Finland.

    These Finnish grandparents had a couple of cottages, one in the UP that was the summer vacation destination of my mother’s childhood, & one an hour North of Detroit, that became their retirement home. Both cottages were equipped with a traditional Finnish sauna (pronounced SOW-nuh!), which we regularly partook of on Sunday visits. This lakefront cottage supplied water drawn in buckets from the lake for use in the sauna. Grandpa would chop two holes in the ice in the winter, one just off the shoreline near the sauna to draw the water for the steam-bath’s usage & the other about 15 feet from shore, in the swimming area, for the adventurous steam-bather to plunge through after a winter sauna, which I did on numerous occasions (including a college break with a couple of international friends from Jamaica & Aruba whom I convinced to jump through the hole in the ice with me, which got my grandpa to say that I had “Sisu”!). I can still see my dad & grandpa sitting on the sauna’s porch on a winter’s day with steam pouring off their bodies in clouds.

    These Finnish grandparents were very proud of their Finnish heritage, though also very thankful to be Americans. They entertained guests, including the occasional Finn with whom they would converse in the old language. Grandpa liked to tell tales of the Finnish people’s guerrilla resistance to Russian oppression surrounding the WWII era, skiing & shooting, etc. They were both incredibly industrious people, both had grown up on farms. They had a large garden so always had fresh produce, grandma often canning some of this bounty. They kept a compost pile well before it was “fashionable” & always had a scrap bucket under the sink for that purpose. My grandpa worked for many years maintaining the mile long gravel road they lived on, working 10-12 hour days in his retirement with a wheelbarrow, shovel, & pickax (he apparently used to sling railroad ties when a youth to raise the funds to put himself through college). They used to make “cherry herring” or “kiyafa” (sp?), a Finnish wine at home.

    Our lives were much enriched by this warm & generous couple, who took in a baby from an unwed mother, my grandma faking a pregnancy, to spare this daughter the cruel treatment their son, adopted from grandpa’s alcoholic sister, had experienced amidst a cruel & insular community who knew he was a “bastard” & called him such to his face…

    Reading what you shared about Finland it’s easy to see why so many Finns settled in America’s Northern climes. Perhaps the hearty winters of the UP were no big deal to people who were used to Finland’s own land of the midnight sun!.

    Liked by 2 people

  3. Reblogged this on Special Connections and commented:
    Here’s my comment to Stella’s informative & interesting post:

    Valerie Curren says:
    July 15, 2018 at 5:30 pm
    Thanks for sharing all this interesting info about Finland. For years I thought I was Finnish (1/2) before being informed that my mom was adopted. My grandparents were both children of Finnish immigrants & both grew up in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula, him in Newberry & her in Ishpeming &/or Negaunee. My grandpa’s mother & step-mother (after his mom died) were both mail order brides from back in the old country. My grandparents spoke an antiquated form of Finnish that set the hearer to chuckling whenever they visited Finland.

    These Finnish grandparents had a couple of cottages, one in the UP that was the summer vacation destination of my mother’s childhood, & one an hour North of Detroit, that became their retirement home. Both cottages were equipped with a traditional Finnish sauna (pronounced SOW-nuh!), which we regularly partook of on Sunday visits. This lakefront cottage supplied water drawn in buckets from the lake for use in the sauna. Grandpa would chop two holes in the ice in the winter, one just off the shoreline near the sauna to draw the water for the steam-bath’s usage & the other about 15 feet from shore, in the swimming area, for the adventurous steam-bather to plunge through after a winter sauna, which I did on numerous occasions (including a college break with a couple of international friends from Jamaica & Aruba whom I convinced to jump through the hole in the ice with me, which got my grandpa to say that I had “Sisu”!). I can still see my dad & grandpa sitting on the sauna’s porch on a winter’s day with steam pouring off their bodies in clouds.

    These Finnish grandparents were very proud of their Finnish heritage, though also very thankful to be Americans. They entertained guests, including the occasional Finn with whom they would converse in the old language. Grandpa liked to tell tales of the Finnish people’s guerrilla resistance to Russian oppression surrounding the WWII era, skiing & shooting, etc. They were both incredibly industrious people, both had grown up on farms. They had a large garden so always had fresh produce, grandma often canning some of this bounty. They kept a compost pile well before it was “fashionable” & always had a scrap bucket under the sink for that purpose. My grandpa worked for many years maintaining the mile long gravel road they lived on, working 10-12 hour days in his retirement with a wheelbarrow, shovel, & pickax (he apparently used to sling railroad ties when a youth to raise the funds to put himself through college). They used to make “cherry herring” or “kiyafa” (sp?), a Finnish wine at home.

    Our lives were much enriched by this warm & generous couple, who took in a baby from an unwed mother, my grandma faking a pregnancy, to spare this daughter the cruel treatment their son, adopted from grandpa’s alcoholic sister, had experienced amidst a cruel & insular community who knew he was a “bastard” & called him such to his face…

    Reading what you shared about Finland it’s easy to see why so many Finns settled in America’s Northern climes. Perhaps the hearty winters of the UP were no big deal to people who were used to Finland’s own land of the midnight sun!.

    Like

  4. auscitizenmom says:

    I have a question. Are those big office looking buildings government buildings or apt. buildings? There seem to be so many of them.

    Like

  5. czarowniczy says:

    What puts this into sort of a context for me is a US-Russian summit being held in Finland.
    Between 1917 and 1944 Finland was invaded by Russia FOUR times. Between 1941 and 1944 Finland was aided in its fight against Russia – enemy of mine enemy and all that.
    To this day Finland’s main battle long arms are chambered for Russian ammunition and use Russian magazines so that they can use the mags/ammo they capture from the Russians were the Russians to invade again.
    Finland will join NATO in 2025 and will have to adopt all NATO standard ammunition and feed mechanisms bybthen. It already has some like pistols and some sniper systems but it will be a gradual transition elsewise. Putin has already told the Fins that if they do join NATO he’ll move even more troops to the Russo-Finnish border, an open threat, but here we are – the Finns bringing the US (NATO’s big stick) and Russia (NATO’s now unstated target) into a conference in Finland.

    Liked by 1 person

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