In this blog, I will talk about the Finns and how they relate with themselves and foreigners. From my experience, it has been refreshing to engage with a few Finnish people and getting to know Finns better. Anyone who comes to Finland will straightaway notice the below characteristics about the Finns. In my opinion, these characteristics will help familiarise yourself even more with the Finns.
Characteristics of Finnish people
- Very honest/ polite: Finns are one of the most honest people I have ever come across. They will tell you what they know and tell you what they also do not know if they do not know about it. When a Finn makes any promise to you, they keep it. Their word is like a bond. I was once offered a job without an offer letter. This was more like a transfer of work and I really needed proof or some written agreement just to be sure. But I didn’t really need it eventually because the transfer came to pass.
Also, even though there is no official word for the word “please” in Finnish language? Most of their request would usually start with a question, making the request conditional. For example, in many requests, you will hear words like “saanko, voitko, tuletko” which are usually used to make request and considered as polite.
- Very punctual: One of the first things I learned as soon as I moved to Finland was about keeping to time. Where I come from, People disregard time a lot and are usually late for certain occasions and events without any valid excuse or reason. In Finland however, the reverse is the case. If a Finn says 4pm, then 4pm it is. Sometimes they even arrive a few minutes earlier to give some room to settle in. If you however, show up late, it is important to put a message before that you will be running late.
- Distant / shy: Getting to know a Finn could be a bit slow process. At first, many Finns could seem a bit distant and shy. The shyness is actually a stereotypical definition for Finns. But Usually a Finn will open up to you with time. A Finnish YouTube content creator called Alexi himself once referred to it as a coconut breaking process. That the outside seems hard but when you break in, it becomes softer. So are the Finns, it may take a while to get to know a Finn but once you get to know, they are very open and warm.
- Very clean: Another thing I immediately noticed when I arrived was how Clean Finland is. The Finns are very clean people. The air is clean, the streets and surroundings are also very clean. They have a cleaning tradition that goes with the seasons. Summer cleaning, spring cleaning, Christmas cleaning and so on. It is also common tradition to take shoes off before entering into any Finnish home. This is because, they do not want the dirt from outside to come indoors. It is also considered rude to litter the streets or one’s environment with dirt.
- Modesty and Simplicity: Generally, Finns are known for their modest appearances and designs. The spaces are very functional-decorative design style with a sense of simplicity, minimalistic and aesthetic. They fancy more of durability and functionality. Goods made in Finland are also known to be very durable and functional even though might come across as a bit expensive. Finnish homes for example are usually very simple and practical. They do not necessarily like to show off, brag or wear flashy apparels and except maybe on very special occasions. Popular Finnish brands like Nokia, Fiskars and Iittala are good examples. Finns are also known to always patronise their own.
- Very Knowledgeable / Educated / Literate: Because of the free education system in Finland and since it is compulsory for every child to attend school, everybody has basic education and can read and write. Everybody seems informed about the latest news and happenings around the country. Finns also keep up with current affairs and know what is also happening globally. They are good with maps, places and are familiar with locations and geography of popular places around the world.
- Well-Travelled: The Finnish passport is known as one of the strongest passports in the world which automatically allows you to travel to many countries without a visa. The Finns have however taken advantage of this as they are known for travelling and exploring different parts of the world. They also have a good work holiday system that enables them take holidays in winter and mostly in the summer.
- Finns Like to know more about themselves: Finns are very happy to hear feedback about themselves and their personalities. They read and watch videos about what other people have to say about them and happy to contribute and give feedback depending on the topic. Fortunately, they also agree with what most foreigners have to say about them.