Full country name: Republic of Finland
Area: 338,424 sq km
Capital City: Helsinki
Language: Finnish, Swedish
Religion: 79,7% Evangelical Lutheran, 17,8% non-religious, 1,2% Orthodox, 1,3% other
Government: Parliamentary republic
Time Zone: EET (UTC+2); Summer – (DST) EEST (UTC+3)
Dialing Code: 358
Electricity: 230V, 50Hz
Weights & measures: Metric
Currency: Euro (EUR)
Money & Costs:
Average Yearly Salary: $34,900
Budget: 4-8 EUR
Mid-range: 10-17 EUR
High: 18+ EUR
Budget: 20-50 EUR
Mid-range: 65-90 EUR
High: 140+ EUR
Geography: Finland, the northernmost country of the European continent, is located by the Baltic Sea, bordering Sweden, Norway and Russia. The country is heavily forested, has numerous lakes, rivers and extensive areas of marshland. Upland Finland extends beyond the Arctic Circle. The extreme north of this region is known as Lapland.
Climate: The climate of Finland is a mixture of both – maritime and continental climates, that are characterized as having extremely cold winters and contrasting warm summers. In this northern land the average temperatures of about 20 C (68 F) prevail in summer. In the southern part of the country summertime can even bring 30 C (86 F). If you are afraid of the cold, don’t go to Finland in winter, because winter weather here is not so kind. The average temperature in winter months can be as low as -20 C (-4 F) and it can also remain dark for weeks.
Food: The cuisine of Finland is popular for its combination of traditional country food with the elaborate ‘haute’ cuisine of contemporary style cooking. Fish and meat are the most important foods of traditional Finnish dishes, while the dishes from the eastern part, various vegetables and mushrooms, also play a prominent role. Finnish foods often use wholemeal products, such as barley, oats or rye, and berries, gathered in the forests of Finland. Milk and its products are widely used in various recipes. Turnips were also very popular in Finnish cuisine, but they were replaced by potatoes in the 18th century.
Drink: Thanks to thousands of lakes, Finland’s tap water is always potable and the country has plenty of water supplies. The most popular brands of soft drinks are, of course, available, but you should look for the locally favorite berry juices, known as marjamehu. Pommac is another unusual soda made from mixed fruits, which you’ll either love or hate. Since Finland is fighting against heavy drinking (alcohol became a sad statistic of becoming the number 1 cause of death for men and women in Finland), alcohol became very expensive compared to other countries. Beer and cider are available in any supermarket or convenience store, but if you wish anything stronger, you will have to find the statet monopoly ‘Alko’ (open until 9 PM).
Health: There are no special requirements of immunization or medications when entering Finland.
Recommended clothing: Even in summer the weather in Finland can be quite cool, therefore be sure to pack something warmer for the evenings and a waterproof jacket, as it rains throughout the year. Long trousers and long sleeved T-shirts are recommended all year round, as the weather can change quite quickly. Extra warmer layers (including jumpers and fleeces) are good to pack for the winter season. You should also take long thermal underwear or even s skiing jacket for outdoor sightseeing in winter. If you are in Finland on business meeting, dress conservative business suit.
Social conventions: Shaking hands is the customary form of greeting. Guests are expected to take off their shoes when invited to someone’s home. You should also refrain from drinking alcohol, until the host/hostess toasts with kippis or skol (cheers). Finns dress regularly casual, however, many youngsters rebel against this social norm through dressing in Gothic style, listening to heavy music or body piercing. At first sight, Finns can appear to be rather reserved, so don’t be surprised if the conversation starts slowly.
1 Jan New Year’s Day
6 Jan Epiphany
2 Apr – 5 Apr Easter
1 May May Day
13 May Ascension
23 May Whit Sunday
26 Jun Midsummer
6 Nov All Saints’ Day
6 Dec Independence Day
25 Dec Christmas Day
26 Dec St Stephen’s Day (Tapaninpäivä)
Disclaimer: The above information is for reference purposes only. The content of this page is not intended to substitute for advice given by the user’s own government travel departments or a licensed travel health advisor. The viewer/user of this web page should always contact the user’s own government representatives in that area for the most up-to-date information at that time, before making a final decision to travel to that country or destination.