Finnish happiness: How to make a Finn grin

Finland has been officially named the world’s happiest country and incredible 6 years running, but what is the secret to Finnish happiness and what can you do to make a Finn grin? Finns are a friendly people who grab life with both hands and know how to throw a great party, especially when they win the world ice hockey championship. However, they're also famed for displaying as many feelings as an introverted Buddhist monk. This sometimes makes it hard for visitors to know what makes them happy. With this in mind, we’ve put together 12 foolproof ways to make a Finnish person wild with glee. So, prepare yourself for a laugh, grab a cup of coffee, and let's dive into the Finnish psyche!

1. Sauna: The Hotter, The Better

Finns take their saunas very seriously. If you want to win their hearts, learn to bask in a 100°C sauna while calmly discussing the weather. Remember, sweating is a sign of happiness! So strip down, and fearlessly share a sauna with complete strangers. Just remember, it's all about relaxation, not ogling!

Interesting Fact: Finland has approximately 2 million saunas for its 5.5 million inhabitants, which means there's roughly one sauna for every three Finns!

2. Swede Roasting: A Nordic Pastime

When the Finns aren't roasting coffee beans, they are roasting their next-door neighbours, the Swedish. The friendly rivalry between these Nordic neighbours is centuries old and is often made apparent in hilarious joke-telling sessions. The next time you spend time with a Finn, remember to join in the fun by making cracking jokes such as, “What's the difference between Swedes and mosquitoes? Mosquitoes are only annoying in the summer.” Comedy gold like this will gain you the love and respect of the whole Finnish nation.

Interesting Fact: The rivalry between Finland and Sweden dates back to the Swedish rule over Finland, which lasted from the 12th century until 1809.

3. Java Jive: Uniting Finns One Cup at a Time

Finland's love for coffee runs deep, and sharing a cup with a Finn is like a secret handshake. Be prepared to down more cups of coffee than you ever thought humanly possible while discussing the peculiarities of Finnish small talk (or the lack thereof). Finns are coffee connoisseurs, so brew a cup strong enough to melt an icicle, and you'll have a friend for life. Pro tip: Pair it with a korvapuusti (cinnamon roll), and they might even name their firstborn after you.

Interesting Fact: Finns consume an average of 12 kg of coffee per person annually, making them the world's top coffee drinkers per capita.

4. Serene Nature: Finland's True Love

Finns adore their pristine forests and lakes. To spark joy, suggest a hike, and watch their eyes light up like the Northern Lights. Just remember to maintain a 5-meter distance while trekking—you wouldn't want to encroach on their personal space!

Interesting Fact: Finland is known as "the land of a thousand lakes," but it actually has around 188,000 lakes, making it one of the most lake-dense countries in the world.

5. Ice Hockey: More Than a Game

Ice hockey is to Finns what football is to the British. If you want to see a Finn jump for joy, mention a Finnish victory over the Swedes in ice hockey. Just don't ask about their favourite team—you might spark a heated debate!

Interesting Fact: Finland has won the IIHF World Championship four times (in 1995, 2011, 2019 and 2022) and has consistently been a top contender in international ice hockey competitions.

6. Salmiakki: A Love-Hate Relationship

This salty licorice treat can make Finns giddy or wince. Offer some salmiakki and watch their reaction. You'll either bond over the taste or share a laugh about how awful it is (while secretly enjoying it).

Interesting Fact: Salmiakki's distinctive flavour comes from ammonium chloride, which gives the treat its salty, somewhat bitter taste.

7. Midsummer Madness: When the Sun Never Sets

On Juhannus (Midsummer), the sun barely sets, and Finns unleash their inner party animals. Join them in dancing around the bonfire and watch even the most stoic Finn let loose (but still maintain a comfortable distance from others).

Interesting Fact: Due to Finland's position near the Arctic Circle, during Midsummer, the sun doesn't set for up to 73 continuous hours in the northernmost parts of the country.

8. Winter Wonderland: When Darkness Becomes Fun

Finns are experts at embracing winter. Want to win them over? Suggest a skiing trip, ice-skating adventure, or a Northern Lights hunt. Just make sure you're dressed for the occasion—Finns don't take kindly to frostbitten foreigners.

Interesting Fact: In the Finnish Lapland, the polar night, or "kaamos," can last for up to 50 days, during which the sun never rises above the horizon.

9. Silence: The Unspoken Finnish Love Language

Finns value their silence. Don't mistake it for shyness or awkwardness; it's simply their way of showing they're comfortable with you. If you want to impress a Finn, embrace the silence and let your eyes do the talking.

Interesting Fact: Finland ranks among the top countries for press freedom and is known for its respect for individual privacy and personal space.

10. Mölkky Mania: Finland's Answer to Lawn Games

Mölkky, a Finnish lawn game similar to bowling and pétanque, is a beloved pastime during warmer months. Challenge a Finn to a Mölkky match and watch their competitive spirit come alive. Win or lose, you'll bond over your shared love (or frustration) for this deceptively simple game.

Interesting Fact: Mölkky was invented in 1996, and since then, it has gained popularity not only in Finland but also throughout Europe, with world championships being held annually.

11. Summer Cottage: Finland's Escape to Paradise

For many Finns, a summer cottage is their personal haven, a place to relax and unwind with friends and family. If you're invited to a mökki, take it as a compliment and seize the opportunity to fish, swim, and sauna like a true Finn. Remember, it's a privilege to be included in this intimate setting, so leave your city worries behind and fully immerse yourself in the Finnish cottage experience.

Interesting Fact: There are over 500,000 summer cottages in Finland, each offering a tranquil retreat from the hustle and bustle of urban life.

12. Cross-Country Skiing: Embracing the Snowy Terrain

Finns have a love affair with cross-country skiing, and many consider it the national winter sport. Glide through the snow-covered forests with a Finn, and you'll quickly understand the thrill of this peaceful yet invigorating activity. Be prepared to laugh together as you inevitably faceplant into a snowdrift or two!

Interesting Fact: Finland has produced numerous Olympic and World Championship cross-country skiing medalists, making it one of the most successful countries in the sport.

So there you have it! Twelve hysterically Finnish ways to make a Finn grin. Embrace these peculiarities, and you'll not only unlock the Finnish spirit but also create memories that last a lifetime. And if you're a Finn reading this, let us know if we've nailed it or if we've missed any crucially hilarious aspects of your happiness.


  • I think me and Finland would get along just fine. Love reading this blog.

  • After reading this beautiful post i just want to say one thing.
    2 minutes of silence for this


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