Finland, situated in North-Eastern Europe, is one of the three countries that share the Scandinavian Peninsula. Its longest border is the one with Russia, it further borders with Sweden, Norway and Estonia. This country is enclosed with sea (Baltic Sea, Gulf of Bothnia and Gulf of Finland). On the interface of the Gulf of Bothnia and Baltic Sea lie the Åland Islands, that are autonomous.
- 338,145 square kilometres, of which 10% is water and 69% forest;
- 187,888 lakes, 5,100 rapids and 179,584 islands;
- Europe’s largest archipelago, including the semi-autonomous province of Åland
Finland is the seventh largest country in Europe, one third of the country try lies beyond the Arctic Circle.
Finland is also known as the land of a thousand lakes – that’s where the name Suomi comes from. Forests cover two thirds of the country, mainly pine-trees, spruces and birches. Usual fauna are elks, brown bears and wolves. Lapland and Sami people keep large droves of reindeer for their meat. Finland is a real heaven for ornithologists. Finland can be rightly proud of in total 30 national parks.
1,160 km north to south, 540 km west to east
Finland’s land border with Russia (1,269 km) is the eastern border of the European Union.
The climate of Finland is marked by cold winters and fairly warm summers. In the far north of the country the sun does not set for about 73 days, producing the white nights of summer. In winter the sun remains below the horizon for 51 days in the far north.
In summer the temperature quite often rises to +20 Celsius or more and occasionally goes close to +30 in southern and eastern parts of the country, in recent years occasional heat waves have taken this above +30. In winter, temperatures of -20 Celsius are not uncommon in many areas. Finnish Lapland invariably has the lowest winter temperatures. The mean temperature in Helsinki in July is +17 Celsius and in February -5.7 Celsius.
Out of the population (app. 5.3 million) 67% of the population lives in cities, 33% live in the countryside. 91,3% of the population are Finnish, out of which 5,4% have Swedish as first language, 0,5% have Russian and 0,03% form the Lapland minority (app. 6500 people).
- Principal cities: Helsinki (568,000), Espoo (238,000), Tampere (207,000), Vantaa (192,000), Turku (175,000) and Oulu (131,000)
- About 1.25 million people live in the Helsinki metropolitan area
- Finland has a Sami (Lapp) population of 6,500.
- The density of the population is 16/km2.
- Currency: Euro (since 2002)
- Time zone: GMT + 2:00
The GDP per capita (purchasing power parity) is 33,500 USD. From the point of view of economical performance, Finland belongs to the most successful countries of the European Union. A fast GDP growth, which has still continued in 2006, slowed down in 2007 and according to the newest information of the Finnish Ministry of Finance and the data of the Statistics Agency has reached 4,4 % in 2007.
The main export goods are currently machinery and equipment, chemicals, metals, timber, paper and pulp. The main export partners are Germany (11, 3%), Sweden (10,5%), Russia (10,1%), UK (6,5%), USA (6,5%) and Netherlands (5,1%).
Mains import goods are currently foodstuffs, petroleum and petroleum products, chemicals, transport equipment, iron and steel, machinery, textile, yarn and fabrics and grains. The main import partners are Germany (15,6%), Russia (14%), Sweden (13,7%), Netherlands (6,6%), the People’s Republic of China (5,4%), UK (4,7%) and Denmark (4,5%).
The unemployment rate fell December 2007 by 0,4 percentage points compared to the year before and was 6,0%. The employment rate increased during last year at average to 69,9%. There were 158,000 unemployed by the end of last year. The employment rate has improved especially in the private sector, i.e. in food and building industries.
Inflation was 2,9 % in December 2007 and was averagely at 2,5% during the whole of year 2007. The inflation increase at the end of the year was mainly influenced by living costs, i.e. the prices of real property. Even though inflation increases now on average faster than before, according to the united index of consumer prices Finland still remains lower than the EU average.
Basic macroeconomic indicators
|GDP in market prices in mil. EUR||145.938||152.345||157.162||167.911||178.800|
|GDP per capita in EUR||27.995||29.144||29.997||31.719||33.803|
|GDP change in %||1,8||3,7||2,8||4,9||4,4|
|Consumer price index – change in %||0,9||0,2||0,9||1,6||2,5|
|Unemployment rate (in%)||9,0||8,8||8,4||7,7||6,9|
|Employment rate (in %)||67,3||67,2||68,0||68,8||69,9|
|Nokia’s head office in Keilaniemi- source|
Finland is a member of the following organizations:
AfDB, AsDB, Australia Group, BIS, CBSS, CE, CERN, EAPC, EBRD, EIB, EMU, ESA, EU, FAO, G- 9, IADB, IAEA, IBRD, ICAO, ICC, ICCt, ICFTU, ICRM, IDA, IEA, IFAD, IFC, IFRCS, IHO, ILO, IMF, IMO, Interpol, IOC, IOM, ISO, ITU, MIGA, NAM (host), NC, NEA, NIB, NSG, OAS (observer), OECD, OPCW, OSCE, Paris Club, PCA, PFP, UN, UNCTAD, UNESCO, UNFICYP, UNHCR, UNIDO, UNMEE, UNMIK, UNMIL, UNMOGIP, UNTSO, UPU, WCO, WEU (observer), WFTU, WHO, WIPO, WMO, WTO, ZC
The state system of Finland is a republic. The President is Tarja Halonen (since 1 March 2000). She was re-elected into her second presidential term 1 March, 2006.The Head of Goverment (State Minister)is Matti Vanhanen.
The government coalition is at the moment formed by the Central Party (8 seats), National Coalition Party (8 seats), the Green Party (2 seats) and Swedish People’s Party (2 seats). The opposition is formed by the Social Democracy, Left Alliance, Christian Democrats and Real Finnish. The coalition partners have a comfortable majority in the parliament – 125 representatives out of 200.
Last national elections: 2007
Last European Parliament election June 2009
|Finnish Parliament building - source|
The central authorities of the public administration are the Office of the Prime and 12 ministries. The parliament is consisted of one chamber and 200 members. Its president is at the moment Sauli Niinistö (since 24 April, 2007). The representatives have a four-year mandate. The last parliamentary elections took place on 18 March, 2007 and the next will take place in March 2011.
January 2008 the Ministry of Industry and Trade merged with the Labour Ministry and Ministry of Labour and Economy has been created. But two ministers remain active.
Finnish history has been written since the 12th century, when in 1155 it has come to the first expedition of Swedish into the area of what is Finland today. The Southern and Western regions were consequently added to the Swedish Kingdom.
The Eastern borders of the country have expanded during the expansion of Sweden as a military force during the 17th and 18th century, which has ended in the expansion of Finland as well. But there was no united Finnish nation during this time.
After Sweden lost against Russia in 1809 Finland has been added to the Russian empire as the autonomous territory Finnish archduchy. Swedish stayed the official language, but Finnish has subsequently been born. In 1812 the capital moved from Turku to Helsinki. The end of the 19th century Finnish has been adopted as the official language beside Swedish.
In 1906 the existing assembly has been replaced by a new four-chamber legal authority. At the same moment, Finnish women received the right to vote, as the first women in Europe.
December 6, 1917 the parliament passed the declaration of independence elaborated by the senate under the leadership of Pehr Evind Svinhufvud. Under the weight of the Russian events a rupture between the rights and the lefts took place that ended in civil war. It was a bloody battle between the whites and the reds, too bloody for Finnish relations. The civil war ended May 1919 with the victory of government (white) troops under the lead of General Carl Gustaf Mannerheim. The Republic of Finland has been declared one year later.
|White Guard in Nummi - source|
During WWII Finland fought two wars against the Soviet Union. The first one – the Winter War (Finnish: Talvisota) – which took place November 1939 to March 1940 ended with a peace from Moscow, on whose basis Finland had to renounce the South-Eastern areas on behalf of the Soviet Union. After the attack of Germany on the Soviet Union in 1941, Finland has become a German ally. The second one – the Continuation War (Finnish: Jatkosota) – which ended with a peace treaty in 1944. The Petsama region was added to the regions lost during the Winter War. The conditions of the peace treaty were ratified by the Paris Peace Treaty in 1947.
In the following years the position of the country on the international field improved drastically. In 1952 the Summer Olympics took place in Helsinki, in 1955 Finland entered the UN and the Nordic Council. Since the inauguration of Urho Kekkonen, Finnish President since 1956, the chapter of active and rigorous policy of the country’s neutrality was established. This has helped to widen the possibilities of activities in international relationships.
|Winter War - source|
Finland and the city of Helsinki were the organizers of the European Conference on Safety and Cooperation. The signature of the Final Act on 1 August, 1975 between 33 representatives of European countries, USA and Canada laid down the principles of mutual cooperation between Europe and North America. During the 70s and 80s the left was at force, with communists and social democrats forming the government. 1982 Urho Kekkonen (leading the country for more that 25 years) resigned and was replaced by Mauno Koivisto. During the time he was in office the country became a full member of the EFTA (European Free Trade Association).
Spring 1987 it has come to a significant turnover in the existing political distribution of strength, the conservative National Coalition Party and Social Democrats form a majority government that stayed in force until 1991. In 1989 Finland finally joins the European Council. The fall of the Socialistic block, the collapse of the communist system meant a significant relief and freedom in foreign policy. In 1990 the government released a declaration, where it stated that the limitation of the Finish sovereignty resulting from the Paris Agreement (1947) concerning the army and equipment has become obsolete. The split-up of the Soviet Union has also hindered the pressure on Finland which have prolonged the Agreement on Friendship, Cooperation and Mutual Assistance.
After the general election in 1991 social democrats joined the opposition and the government of the Conservatives and the Central Party (former Agrarian Party) – led by Esko Aho – were in force till spring 1995. Finland accepted Russia as a successor of the Soviet Union and an agreement on mutual good relations has been signed between the two sides January 2002. No articles concerning military questions have been included in this document.
May 1992 the agreement on the European economic space was signed between EFTA and the EC. This agreement guaranteed the EFTA countries larger access on the inner market of the EC. The participation of Finland in this agreement was initially considered as the final aim of the integration into European structures. In a consultative referendum the Finnish have decided in 1994 to join the European Union with the majority 57:43.
In 1994 the first direct presidential elections took place. Since former president Koivisto was not a candidate the chances of Martti Ahtisaari and Elisabeth Rehn were rather equal. A second round has brought a tight decision on the win of Ahtisaari, formerly the Assistant Secretary of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
Citizens of Finland are very religious – up to 84,1% of the population endorse one the churches: 81,8% Lutheran, 1,1% orthodox and 1,2% Catholics (or other allowed and statistically observed churches). 15,9% of the population is without religion.
Source: Statistics Finland
For a country with a relatively small population, Finland has made an impressive mark on the world. Finns have excelled – and continue to excel - on the international fields of sports, music, architecture, design, literature and industry. Much credit for the success of Nokia, for instance, goes to the management in recent years of CEO Jorma Ollila, while Linus Torvalds is the pioneer of the Linux computer operating system. On a broader stage, Finland’s Presidents are respected for their diplomatic roles in world affairs. President Tarja Halonen is regarded with affection at home and abroad, while her predecessor Martti Ahtisaari played an important role in recent Indonesian peace talks, for example.
Finns are an especially creative nation. Their contribution to the music of the world, for example, is both prolific and diverse. The most famous of them all, of course, was composer Jean Sibelius (1865-1957), whose stirring yet melancholy music serves as a rallying cry for the collective Finnish soul. Pianist Ralf Gothoni, singers Monica Groop, Karita Mattila and Matti Salminen, and conductor Esa-Pekka Salonen are representative of a vast pool of classical talent, while rock and dance bands HIM, The Rasmus, Darude and Nightwish are well known names across Europe and beyond. Traditional musical elements are given a contemporary edge by the female harmonies of Värttinä. Finland were the proud winners of the Eurovision song concert in 2006 with the group Lordi and the song ’Hard Rock Hallelujah".
|Jean Sibelius - source|
As for art, the paintings of Helene Schjerfbeck (1862-1946) have attracted high prices at international auctions. Architecture has a prominent tradition here as well, with modern architects such as Juha Leiviskä and Pekka Helin following in the tradition of masters such as Juhani Pallasmaa and Alvar Aalto (1898-1976). Aalto’s Finlandia Hall in Helsinki is a landmark and a magnet for students of architectural design from all over the world.
|Helsinki University of Technology, designed by Alvar Aalto - source|
Aalto and his wife Aino were also trend-setting designers, and their enduring work joins that of Tapio Wirkkala, Timo Sarpaneva, Vuokko Nurmesniemi and Maija Isola in the distinguished catalogue of Finnish design artists. Nurmesniemi and Isola are names closely associated with the fashionable, bold and distinctive Marimekko textile motifs. In other visual arts, Hollywood action-movie director Renny Harlin hails from Finland, as does the more offbeat art film director Aki Kaurismäki.
Sport is something of a Finnish addiction, encouraged by a host of international stars and champions. Finnish athletics rose to prominence at the 1924 Paris Olympics when Paavo Nurmi (1897-1973) won five gold medals in just six days, and Lasse Viren kept the tradition alive in the 1970s and 1980s. In other sports, Mika Häkkinen and Kimi Räikkönen have taken the lead in Formula One while Finland produces an endless procession of rally drivers, including World Champion Marcus Grönholm. Footballers Jari Litmanen, Sami Hyypiä, Teemu Tainio and Mikael Forsell have emerged as stars at their respective European clubs.
More about winter sports:
Traditional skiing: Cross-country skiing in Finland is very popular.
The Finns used to say of themselves that they were born on skis, and the world outside believed them. There has been many world champions in cross-country skiing, for example:
- Veikko Hakulinen, Olympic and world champion of the 1950s.
- Marja-Liisa Kirvesniemi (Hämäläinen) in the 1980s and 1990s
- Harri Kirvesniemi in the 1980s and 1990s
- Juha Mieto in the 1980s
- Marjo Matikainen-Kallström,
MEP, winner of 4 Olympic
medals and 7 world
championship medals in the 1980s.
- Mika Myllylä, world champion skier of the new millennium
- Virpi Kuitunen in the 2000s
|Salpausselkä ski jumps, Lahti - source|
Finnish ski jumpers have great history of success. Matti Nykänen in the 1980s has been the most successful ski jumper in the world. After that Toni Nieminen, Jani Soininen and Ari-Pekka Nikkola followed with several gold medals in the 1990s. In the 2000s the most famous ski-jumper has been Janne Ahonen who has won The Four Hills Tournament (in German:Vierschanzentournee) 5 times and has several silver and gold medals from the world championships.
From winter sports ice-hockey is also very popular and in the 2000s Finnish ice-hockey team has played many times among the top 4 countries of world championships. There are many Finns who are playing as professionals in the NHL league (among others: Teemu Selänne, Saku Koivu, Olli Jokinen, Tuomo Ruutu, Sami Kapanen, Teppo Numminen, Petteri Nummelin and Niklas Bäckström).
Last but not least, the new Queen of alpine skiing is Tanja Poutiainen. Also snow boarding is becoming popular sport and young professionals are at the beginning of their careers: Antti Autti, Heikki Sorsa, Risto Mattila for example.
Looked at from the heart of continental Europe, Finland is rather remote. Despite this, the Finns have been in touch with the Baltic area and European culture for thousands of years. Influences have usually come from the west, but some have come from the east, too. Many aspects of our cultural heritage have been better preserved in the outlying parts of Finland than in their areas of origin. The wealth of Finnish folk poetry is a good example of this.
National awareness was kindled in Finland in the last century. The ’building blocks’ of the Finnish national identity were sought from many sources, with folklore being one of the foremost. In those days, folk poetry was still a living tradition in the areas along Finland’s eastern border; old people would chant runo poems about the birth of fire and the world . Finns may have been singing those very verses even before the birth of Christ. The Viking Age introduced heroic figures such as Väinämöinen and Ilmarinen into the Finnish epic tradition.
|Väinämöinen with a sword - source|
In a spirit of nationalist fervour, people began to collect the old oral traditions, which were then compiled in the Finnish national epic, the Kalevala, published in 1835.
It is now a full hundred years since the last of the Finnish runo singers died, but the tradition lives on in more modern folk songs, proverbs, riddles and stories, many of them representatives of an international tradition. Nursery rhymes for babies, for instance, may follow the Swedish pattern of "pata-cake" or the Russian pattern of "the magpie making porridge".
Yet folklore is more than old poetry. It is a combination of all the phenomena in life which are transferred from one generation to the next. During the last century, it was generally felt, all in the spirit of National Romanticism, that rural life had most accurately preserved folk traditions dating back to ancient times. Although this was only partly true, it was supported by the fact that Finland, which up to the late 19th century had been almost completely agrarian, was now shaken by what were probably the most decisive changes in its history. As a result, preserving the oral tradition was no longer enough; people turned their attention to other old and disappearing things as well, to everything from wedding customs to tools, and from costumes to buildings.
From the 18th century onwards, women wore bright striped skirts and red or blue jackets. Men wore waistcoats with red stripes and yellow chamois trousers This traditional dress fell into disuse in the 19th century, but it lives on in the Finnish national costume, which is still worn, particularly at festivities in the summer.
The old rural traditions have also attained a new lease of life in textiles and festive foods not to mention souvenirs.
The question of what is distinctive and particularly Finnish about our folklore has often been raised. There are many possible answers, such as the unique treasures of folk poetry, the five string kantele, the smoke sauna, the brown malted porridge mämmi eaten at Easter, birchbark shoes and rucksacks. Such specialities helped create the national identity, and are still considered romantic or even exotic by Finns today. Yet the truly unique character of our heritage is not apparent from isolated phenomena or curiosities, but is to be found in the way the old, local traditions have found their place among a constant stream of international innovations.
Remarkable features of Finland plus some common misconceptions
Finns tend to behave more quietly, more efficiently than many other nationalities. The internet, mobile phones, and satellite navigation are used by Finns on an everyday basis. Valuable from the business point of view, there is a high degree of integrity – you see what you get, and get what you see.
Finland is a country where considerable weight is attached to the spoken word – words are chosen carefully and for the purpose of delivering a message. Finns place great value on words, which is reflected in the tendency to say little and avoid ’unnecessary’ small talk.
Finns are very straightforward; if they don’t know the answer to something, they will say so. "Take a bull by its horns and a man by his word" is an old Finnish saying. A Finn’s ’yes’ is a ’yes’ and a ’no’ is never a ’perhaps’. Finnish frankness may seem a bit indelicate but the way of communicating is upfront and uncomplicated, which is rather refreshing.
Finns are somewhat formal but business etiquette clearly shows that with their liberal attitudes they belong to the western European family. Finns shake hands briefly and firmly and no supporting gestures such as touching the shoulder are involved. Embracing or kissing when greeting is rare and usually reserved for family members or close friends.
On business hours
- Office hours are 08.00 – 16.00.
- Lunch is eaten between 11.00 and 13.00 and lasts one hour.
- Dinner in restaurants is usually started around 19.00-20.00.
On business meetings
Business meetings are often set up by e-mail, even by SMS-messages. Be on time and wear business clothes. Meetings tend to be brief and to the point. Coffee, tea, soft drinks and biscuits are usually served. The Finns are a nation of devoted coffee drinkers, consuming 10 kg of ground coffee per person a year, often said to be the highest per capita consumption in the world.
On the sauna - a reward not a punishment
Invited to a sauna? Relax. It is customary for a business meeting to progress from formal to informal, often leading to a session in the sauna. Sauna bathing is considered to be a way to relax and the sauna is one of the few places where Finns forget about work and talk about something else. It is here – if not before – you get on first name terms with your host.
Any questions you might have about the sauna will be well received. You are well advised to comment on the sauna experience to the host. A sauna is a subject that Finns never tire of talking about. If you are uncomfortable with the idea of going into the sauna – just say so. In Finland frankness is appreciated and well understood.
On business lunches and dinners in a restaurant
Be on time. This goes for both lunch and dinner. At lunch, what might strike you is that the business talk seems to go on. Finns love to do business and during business hours there’s no time for "small talk". At dinner, dress formally if no other dress code is given. Seated at table, if you are the guest of honour, seated to the right of the host or hostess, you are expected to say a few words of thanks for the dinner at dessert time. These few unobtrusive words of appreciation are expected of you but are not compulsory.
On the menu
What are you going to be served? The comments and jokes about Finnish cuisine come from people who envy our fresh delicacies. There is a wide array of berries and mushrooms, fresh fish from our rivers, lakes and seas and caviar especially in the wintertime. Poultry, game and meat dishes are also an excellent choice.
Invited to a Finnish home?
Again – wear a suit and don’t be late. If unavoidable, a fifteen minute delay is accepted. If there is a hostess, do bring her flowers. .And as a guest of honour, seated on her right hand side, say a few words of appreciation at dessert time.
Tip for avoiding wet feet in winter
For ladies: take two sets of footwear. It is normal practice for ladies to change their comfortable outdoor footwear to more elegant shoes when inside.
Finns are very punctual and expect the same of foreigners. Traffic is usually rather dependable, so you can’t use that as an excuse for being late. In case you are late (for a very good reason), call or send an SMS apologizing and giving the time when you’ll be there.
Office hours are between 09.00-16.00 and all appointments made in between are ok.
In offices people have lunch at different times between 11.00-13.00. In some places a one-hour lunch break is the norm, but in offices it is much shorter.
There are very short introductions (just a few sentences at most) with a cup of coffee and then straight down to business. If a meeting is scheduled for one hour, it usually ends after one hour as someone says that he/she has to go to another meeting or somewhere else. There is no ritual like a handshake to formally end a meeting, but sometimes hands are shaken when foreigners are present or deals are made.
Finland’s regular working week is 37,5 hours long. Workers in Finland cannot be required to work overtime without their consent.
Employees earn the minimum of two days of annual vacation for each month after having been employed for at least 14 working days. The actual vacation period is from May to September, but also other points in time are usually possible. Perhaps the most popular time to start the summer vacation is after Midsummer holidays (about one week before the end of June).
There are several official holidays in Finland. Some of them are Christian, some not. Annual official holidays in Finland are the following: New Year’s Day (January 1), Epiphany (January 6), Good Friday, Easter Sunday, Easter Monday, May Day (May 1), Ascension Day (in May), Midsummer Eve & Day (at the end of June), All Saints’ Day (at the beginning of November), Independence Day (December 6), Christmas Eve (December 24), Christmas Day (December 25), Boxing Day (December 26) and all Sundays.
Concerning communication cultures Finland belongs to the eastern so-called listening cultures, which means that Finns are good listeners: they concentrate on listening, interrupt very seldom and think what the speaker says.
Finns are very minimalistic in giving compliments. After some time, a foreigner gets a feeling that compliments are almost non-existent. On getting compliments, Finns just thank and don’t dwell on it. But then in organizational surveys Finns always complain that they get so little feedback. Compliments are viewed with suspicion if they suspect that it is too sweet or flattering and has no basis in reality.
The Finns are generally quite tolerant of newcomers to their country.
Finns are private people who tend to avoid public displays of emotion. Unlike neighbouring Russians, Finns are not very touchy, especially the men. Backslapping is rarely seen in Finland and is perceived as very patronising.
When talking to a Finn, remember not to group Finns together with citizens of other Nordic countries, particularly not Sweden. Good topics for small talk are for instance the weather, sports, family life, work and sights.
Many foreigners find the Finns’ tolerance of silence strange.
Finns never interrupt when someone is speaking and tend to distrust those who talk too much. SOURCE
First Name or Title?
Finns usually use first names, unless there are big differences in age or rank or it is a very formal setting. Titles such as "Doctor" are not used in speech very much nowadays.
Finns have been using the "sinä" form of familiar and informal address for the last 40 years (corresponds to "Du" in German or "Tu" in French). This is what you would hear in shops, on buses and on the street. But recently there is a trend to move back to a politer form ("Te" corresponds to "Sie" in German or "Vous" in French).
Unlike the Americans, Finns don’t repeat first names when meeting. SOURCE
What you should know before negotiating
The working style is individualistic, and people are used to working alone and hard. Team working is becoming more common, though, and interest in social and communication skills is growing.
Finns believe in a meritocratic system, but connections are important and they can open doors.
Business cards can be printed in English alone, but also in English and in Finnish on the reverse. Business people are expected to distribute business cards as a means of ensuring their name title are remembered. There are no special rituals related to exchanging business cards in Finland. For a visitor, receiving a business card provides a convenient opportunity to ask how a name is pronounced.
Nowadays, it is common practice to have lawyers go over all business contracts. Finnish lawyers are experienced in dealing with foreigners and fluent in English.
Finns believe in continuous learning and work very hard to upgrade their skills continuously. Usually Finns are rather pragmatic and not very conservative when it comes to new ideas as long as the ideas make sense.
Meetings are usually matter of fact where everyone who wants to speak should present their case factually. In Finnish meetings, people state facts, even unpleasant ones, rather bluntly without any softening or beating about the bush.
Brochures and promotional materials are usually printed in Finnish, but solely English language materials are also frequently used .
Presentations in Finland typically consist of Power Point recitals with facts presented in bullet points and the presenter talking. The other people in the meetings listen quietly while taking notes and interrupt only occasionally. The silence indicates they are thinking about what you have said. Questions and comments are left for the session after the presentation when there is discussion.
The typical pace of business in Finland is rather brisk with things happening in clearly visible phases. Finns at work are thorough and sincere. A saying that gives a good picture is "Everything that is worth doing, is worth doing well".
An agreement is considered final when a paper contract is signed. The country has an independent and well functioning judiciary to take care of contract disputes.
Finns are typically analytical thinkers and tend to focus more on technical facts rather than emotional appeal.
Company policy is followed rather strictly and exceptions are not made easily. When there is overwhelming evidence that the policy has to be changed, it is changed. This change is transparent and publicly visible. SOURCE
The rules for greeting strangers or introducing yourself are very similar to northern European practice, though Finns are more restrained and don’t show much emotion.
Men and women shake hands quite comfortably.
Shouting loudly, making a scene or drawing too much attention to oneself are considered rude.
Finns maintain eye contact when talking with others and this is considered important as they think that people who do not maintain eye contact are hiding something or are dishonest.
The Finnish Sauna
For the Finns, the sauna is more than just a place to wash themselves. It is a complex of many traditional customs and beliefs. Whereas still in the beginning of the 1900´s almost all saunas were traditional smoke saunas, today the electric stove has almost completely taken over. The sauna is no place for anyone in a hurry.
Because of its naturalness, the Finnish way of sauna bathing comes in many forms — no Finn could ever say to another about sauna bathing that "you are doing it wrong". No clothes or swimming suits are used in the sauna. SOURCE
more about sauna:
- Yleisradio Oy (YLE) - public, operates several channels in Finnish and Swedish LINK
- MTV3 – private LINK
- Nelonen (Channel 4) – private LINK
- Sub TV (http://www.sub.fi/)
- satellite channels
- Yleisradio Oy (YLE) - public, operates several channels in Finnish, Swedish and Sa’mi (Lappish) and external service Radio Finland LINK
- The Voice – private LINK
- Classic Radio – private LINK
- Radio Nova - national, private LINK
- NRJ – private LINK
Internet in in Finland
Virtual Finland – Picture book LINK
Google image search LINK
Flickr image search LINK
Where to change your money, where to buy your maps, when the shops are open (and closed), how much you should expect to pay for a taxi, restaurant opening times, what clothes to wear at different times of the year: a wealth of practical information for day-to-day survival in Finland. LINK
Finnish Tourist Board: LINK
Nature and wild life: LINK
Summer in Finland - Refreshingly Different
Summer in Finland: long, warm, days of sunshine shimmering across harbours, lakes and waterfronts. The beautiful weather invites everyone to make the most of the wonderful outdoors. There is activity everywhere, with festivals of song and dance staged across the country that make the most of the long light evenings…
|Lake Kermajärvi in Heinävesi - source|
A summer visit to Finland brings a new meaning to a holiday. Surround yourself with nature at its purest, cleanest, most vibrant and spectacular. Relax on the deck of your country cottage, right by the water’s edge. The sauna beckons after a quiet day with rowing boat and fishing rod. There’s cold beer to sip and fresh fish to grill for supper. The sun sinks low but barely sets, giving you the perfect excuse to sit and enjoy the long, warm and peaceful evenings.
Ski Centres in Finland: from the Alpine ski slopes of Arctic Lapland to the well-marked cross country tracks in every part of the country, from the reindeer and snowmobile safari adventures to snowboarding and ice hotels, when it comes to snow, Finland is as cool as it gets.
Finland has two official languages: Finnish and Swedish.
Finnish, a Finno-Ugric language, is spoken by 91,2% and Swedish by 5,4% of the population. Sami (Lappish) is the mother tongue of about 1,700 people.
The standard of spoken English in Finland is universally good. English is the major business language, having long ago replaced German in that role. Russian and French are not widely spoken or understood.