Weirdly wonderful: 5 Finnish habits that no else does

Finns are a unique breed of people with a unique set of habits and routines. From summer cottages to steaming coffee to a weird and wonderful love of buckets, Finnish culture may not be one you understand at first glance, but is certainly one you'll love at the second. 

Here are five funky habits that make the Finnish so fabulous.

1. Is Midsummer coming? Get out of town!

Almost every Finn feels obliged to go somewhere for Midsummer. Midsummer to Finns is like Hanukkah to the Jews- a sacred holiday. And there's no better place to go than the mökki (summer cottage). If Finns don't have their own mökki, they tag along with friends who do. If that fails, they find friends of friends with a mökki and spend three glorious June days with them.  

2. Don't talk to the neighbours

Despite loving friends of friends at Midsummer, Finns remain shy and reserved at all other times of the year. So, If you want to be polite to a Finnish neighbour, just say "Moi!" That's all! Say anything more than that, you're being nosy and impolite.

3. No coffee is too much

Finns love coffee. In fact, they are the world's biggest coffee drinkers. Take that, Italy! Indeed, twelve mugs of coffee a day are no big deal for an average Finn. Shaky hands and darting eyes are a small price to pay for feeling warm and energised throughout long, snowy and dark winters.

4. Quiet in person, talkative on the phone

Finnish people know a thing or two about mobile phones. They are from the land of Nokia after all. They're also ahead of the curve with phone accessories such as flip cases, where they keep all their cash and credit cards. Now that's what I call flipping fabulous!

5. Stand in line for a bucket? I'm in!

The happiest people on the planet don't let factors such as wealth and excellent living standards prevent them from standing in line for a new bucket. The practise has become so well known that many stores give away buckets as a promotional gift on opening day. So next time you see a long line of happy people and plastic buckets, you’ll know that a new store has come to town.

The world's happiest people are a lovely and weird breed. Perhaps it's this quirky national character that makes life in Finland such an incredible adventure.


  • Midsummer for many Finns is just a time to get wasted. Booze + ten thousand lakes = many drowning victims. Afterwards newspapers announce the death toll as if it’s a natural disaster of some sort.

  • Hi Alan,

    I’ve been living with Finnish culture for only 25 years and fully confirm your experience. My spouse got a degree in German and still confuses her and him. I like it though


    Haiko Pohl
  • Interesting that Finns object to this kind of ribbing. My Finnish wife will have none of it. She ironically slaughters Britishness and I just laugh it off. Having lived with Finnish culture for 50 years find many of the ‘Finnish Problems’ very familiar. Particularly the language eccentricities. Having stood at a stall in -20deg which only sold coffee , I asked for one KARRVEE. I was looked upon with incredulity. Yes my pronunciation was poor but what else could i be wanting. I then told her in English with a few expletives added in my Brummie accent and guess what? She understood. That is just bloody minded like no -one can possibly speak a language which has the sound and finesse of Apache slightly wrong. The listener refuses to extend the slightest effort to encourage the Foreign speaker. My wife even with a Degree gained in England mixes her he’s and she’s. Does anyone bother to correct her ? What do you think

    Alan Watton

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