Finns. Mostly blond, mostly blue eyed people. Not really fans of small talk. Polite until the end. A multilingual community, almost everyone an English native level speaker. Used to the cold, they have 3 saunas every 5 citizens. The only country were people wait for the green light to cross the street, they love their nature and countryside.
The majority of those things are known by most people without even visiting Finland. But there are some specifics that not everyone might know. I’m not claiming that after a couple of months I’m an expert in Finnish culture, but I have noticed a couple of things. In this text I’ll go through some of them.
People from Finland don’t like small talk. That doesn’t mean they are rude or they won’t answer you back. They just don’t see a point in talking to a stranger about the weather. They are ok with silence. After all, isn’t it a bit weird how we talk to anyone about how it’s raining? I mean, it’s a bus. The other guy can see it too. He is soaked in water.
Being quiet doesn’t mean not helping or interacting with other people. This very week, while watching a hockey game, the Finn sitting next to me translated everything the speaker said, and even gave some background for the players. If you ask someone for help they will deliver, they just wait until you ask.
So, they are polite. And they usually speak 2 or 3 languages (at the least). I know a couple of Finns that speak over 4. Quite fluently. What’s more, Finnish is VERY complicated, with over 10 cases and very loooong words. Here is the weird thing. There is no word for please per se.
Text & photo: Pablo de Andrés