Exploring Finnish Culture: Resources and Perspectives

Published on Aug 19 2023

The rich tapestry of Finnish culture is a captivating blend of history, folklore, and contemporary perspectives. Whether you're an expatriate seeking to understand your new surroundings or a curious traveler, delving into Finnish culture offers a rewarding journey. This article presents a selection of resources and insights that unveil the essence of Finland's unique culture.

Finnish Traditions and Cultural Insights

Finnish culture is a tapestry woven with values that mirror the nation's spirit. From equality and trust to the reverence for nature, the Finnish way of life is a reflection of these core principles. This narrative unveils the heart of Finnish customs, offering a unique glimpse into the values that shape the Finnish identity.

Unveiling Finnish Values

Equality, Trust, Honesty, and Nature are not just words in Finland; they are the pillars upon which the nation stands. The canvas of Finnish culture is painted with these values, giving rise to a distinct way of life. Let's embark on a journey to explore the core values and customs that define Finland.

Embarking on a Finnish Journey

Equality: A cornerstone of Finnish society, equality means treating every individual with fairness and respect. Finnish law ensures that women and men share equal rights, promoting gender balance in various spheres of life. In Finland, parenthood is a shared responsibility, and both genders contribute to caregiving and home management.

Trust: The Finnish landscape is dotted with trust, as the people believe in each other and in the authorities. Democracy and freedom of speech hold significant positions, reflecting a society where active participation is encouraged and voices are heard.

Individualism: Finland celebrates individualism, fostering a culture where personal freedom is highly valued. This sentiment echoes in the Finnish legislation, honoring the rights and autonomy of each individual.

Privacy and Own Space: Finns treasure their personal space and privacy. Encouraging young people to embrace independence by having their own homes, Finnish culture champions the value of personal boundaries.

Honesty and Punctuality: Honesty is a prized virtue in Finland. Keeping one's promises and being truthful are non-negotiable values. Punctuality is a mark of respect, emphasizing the importance of arriving on time for meetings and appointments.

Modesty: The Finnish art of humility shines through as individuals blend into group dynamics, avoiding self-promotion. Modesty manifests in respectful listening, a practice that reflects Finnish manners. Diligence and hard work are also greatly esteemed.

Nature: The Finnish love for nature is imprinted in their DNA. From camping to berry picking, the allure of the outdoors beckons. "Everyman's rights" embrace this connection, granting access to nature's bounty without landowner permissions.

Navigating Social Interactions

Greeting: In formal settings, a firm handshake bridges greetings, transcending gender boundaries. Eye contact signifies honesty and genuineness in conversation. Casual conversations in Finnish often involve addressing one another by first names, reflecting the egalitarian spirit.

Direct Communication: Finnish conversations are characterized by a straightforward approach, embracing honesty in dialogue. Silence isn't a void; it's a natural pause in Finnish conversations.

Emotion and Interaction: Finns display emotions discreetly, rarely in public. Loud speech and emotional outbursts are considered impolite. The Finnish culture fosters respectful, uninterrupted conversations, with each party waiting for their turn to speak.

Culinary Traditions in Finland

Food Culture: Finnish cuisine weaves a blend of European flavors, embracing meat, fish, and staple ingredients like potatoes and rice. As vegetarian options gain popularity, Finnish meals often feature two warm courses daily – lunch and dinner.

Healthiness: Rye bread and porridges hold prominence in Finnish culinary heritage, reflecting the emphasis on wholesome nutrition. Regional variations in Finnish cuisine, such as reindeer meat in Lapland or abundant fish on the coast, paint a diverse gastronomic picture.

Sauna: A Finnish Ritual

Sauna: Beyond mere tradition, sauna is a sacred space in Finnish culture. This sanctuary offers both cleanliness and relaxation, emphasizing tranquility. Sauna sessions, a cherished weekly ritual, are often shared with family, friends, and colleagues, where unwinding takes center stage.

Respecting Finnish Homes

Guest Etiquette: In Finland, respecting privacy is paramount. Visits should be arranged in advance, even among close friends. The practice of removing shoes before entering a home is polite, reflecting consideration for the homeowner's space.

Finnish culture isn't just about customs; it's a way of life reflecting values that nurture society. From equality and honesty to the sauna's tranquil embrace, Finland's unique tapestry of culture and traditions invites you to explore its depths and discover its heart.

Exploring Finnish Culture Resources

1. This is Finland: The Culture, the People

  • A window into Finnish culture, offering insights into various aspects of the nation's identity.
  • Website: thisisfinland.fi

2. Finns and Finnish Culture: Customs

  • An engaging source that provides a snapshot of Finnish culture, customs, and lifestyle.
  • Website: Finnish Customs

3. Finterest: Cultural Events & Activities

  • Navigate through a trove of cultural events, activities, and historical landmarks in Finland.
  • Website: Finterest

4. InfoFinland - Information Bank

  • A comprehensive repository of information for immigrants, offering insights into society and opportunities in Finland.
  • Website: infofinland.fi

5. Museums in Finland

6. Public Libraries in Finland

  • Embrace the Finnish love for reading and learning through the nation's expansive library network.
  • Website: libraries.fi

7. Books from Finland

  • Immerse yourself in Finnish literature, exploring works from classic to contemporary.
  • Website: booksfromfinland.fi

8. Caisa: International Cultural Centre Helsinki

  • Engage with multicultural experiences and events at the heart of Helsinki.
  • Website: caisa.fi

9. Finnish Culture & Cross-culture

The Kalevala: The Heart of Finnish Culture

At the core of Finnish cultural identity lies "The Kalevala," an epic narrative that draws upon oral traditions, folklore, and mythology. Published in 1835, "The Kalevala" is Finland's national epic, woven together by physician and philologist Elias Lönnrot. Through this mythical tapestry, the ancient history of the Finns comes to life, fueling the imagination and sense of national pride.

The narrative is a journey through magic and heroism, populated by characters such as the wise shaman Väinämöinen, the skilled smith Ilmarinen, and the audacious adventurer Lemminkäinen. Louhi, the Mistress of the North, and Marjatta, the virgin of Kalevala, play pivotal roles in the story. As their interactions unfold across fifty 'songs,' a world of enchantment emerges.

Contemporary Insights into Finnish Culture

Understanding Finland's modern culture requires a direct experience. While first impressions might appear reserved, Finns are known for their honesty, responsibility, and practicality. The Finnish directness may surprise some, but over time, it becomes a hallmark of their culture. Living in Finland provides an opportunity to appreciate the no-nonsense approach and values that shape society.


Embarking on a journey through Finnish culture reveals a captivating tapestry of history, values, and perspectives. The resources and insights provided here serve as portals into the heart of Finland's identity. "The Kalevala" stands as a testament to the nation's rich heritage, while personal accounts, libraries, music, literature, and cultural centers offer contemporary glimpses into Finnish life. Whether you're an expatriate, a traveler, or simply curious, embracing Finnish culture opens doors to a world of enchantment and discovery.