Home » 10 things to know about everyday life in Finland / What Life is like Every day in Finland

10 things to know about everyday life in Finland / What Life is like Every day in Finland

 

This is an article about every day life in Finland. Some of these aspects of life may come across as cultural shocks to some people especially people migrating from another far end part of the world.In other words, these are some of the aspects of the every day Finnish life that you will come across with in your day to day encounters in Finland.

 

  1. Wave at a bus to stop: In Finland, you have to wave at a bus before it stops for you. If you do not wave, it might not stop. There might also be people standing by at the bus stop, but that does not mean that the bus will stop. Unless there are intending passengers alighting at that bus stop. You also have to press the stop button on a bus to come down at a particular bus stop.

 

  1. Early Lunch & Dinner: Early meals like Lunch and Dinner are a thing in Finland and it is part of everyday life. Lunch is usually served as buffet in most restaurants and the Finns love to eat out. Lunch usually starts at about 10.30am in the morning and ends at about 12 noon or 12.30. Anything after that can be considered as late lunch. Dinner is also usually between 4.pm to 6om in the evening and then there is what is called evening snack before bed time known in Finnish as “Iltapala”.
  2. Drinking from the Tap: Tap water is considered generally clean and healthy in Finland and everybody drinks directly from the tap. Water Is also free in restaurants as it comes straight from the tap into a jug. Bottled water business is not a big business even though bottled water is sold in some stores and available for purchase if the need arises. It is also said that water from all taps in Finland are considered safe and clean regardless of where the tap is located.
  3. No Bank Notifications: If you are from a country that Banks send notifications based on every transaction, do not expect same from Finland. The banks in my opinion do not seem competitive and do not send any notification for any transaction. However, there are mobile applications that allows attachment to bank accounts which could send notifications on certain transactions.
  4. Sunday is quite day: Sunday is generally considered as a quiet day for relaxing and spending time with family at home. Shops and malls usually close at 6pm and after that, might be difficult to find conventional stores open apart from grocery stores. Sunday workers are also compensated double for working on Sunday so this might be a reason as not many employers might be able to afford extensive working hours on a Sunday.
  5. Wide roads lanes for bike: The roads in Finland are very wide which allows for multiple lanes like bike lanes and walking lane for pedestrians. This encourages walking long distances and biking safely in Finland. Skaters can also be seen on the bike lanes especially during the summer time as a lot of Finns like to either use their bike, skate or walk of not using the bus or driving their cars. It is also normal to skate or use bike as a normal means of commute to work places or schools.
  6. No traffic. Easy commute: Commuting to work or preferred destinations is usually fast, predictable and easy in Finland. There are usually no Traffic delays as buses are usually on time, wide roads and predictable traffic. There could be minor exceptions during rush hours for example 8 to 9am in the morning or 4 to 5pm in the evening in big cities like Helsinki. If at all, maximum of five minute delays or less. This makes life easy, predictable and efficient. If a commute time says the duration of a journey would last for 10 minutes, then ten minutes it would be. Expect to be there on the dot.
  7. Holidays are quiet: Holidays are also quiet days in Finland and shops are also usually closed or closing early. Finland is also known for celebrating certain religious holidays like ascension Thursday, feast of Epiphany, ma day (vappu), Midsummer and so on. Holiday workers are also compensated for working on Holidays.
  8. There is no word for “Please” in Finnish language: The Finnish language officially has no word for “please”. Instead of Please, a question is seen as a polite and conditional way of making a request with a “Thank you” at the end. For example; “can I have a glass of water? Thank you”
  9. No noise from 10pm: Noise after 10pm is usually not tolerated by neighbours in Finland and it is ok to come knocking at your door or call the police. The police in Finland are also very efficient and will appear to rescue the situation within a short amount of time.
  10. No shoes indoors: Wearing shoes inside a Finnish home is considered rude and usually is not allowed. There are also door brushes for shoes and shoe racks by the doors in Finnish homes. This is understandable as shoes bring in a lot of dirt like sand, leaves and snow that will eventually melt and turn to water. Finnish people are generally clean and leaving shoes by the door also maintains / keep the homes clean.
  11. Bags at grocery stores: In Finland, plastic bags in grocery stores are not free. You will have to buy your own plastic bag or bring your own if you have made some purchase from the store. This might be to discourage the use of plastic as we can all agree that plastics are bad for the environment. The plastic bags are however very cheap and always available for purchase at any grocery store.
  12. Don’t know your neigbour: It is normal not to know your neigbour or greet your neigbour in Finland. Finns are also fond of avoiding their neigbour as there is also a popular joke about this. Unlike African countries where is it normal to knock on your neighbor’s door just because you are a new tenant or you tried a new recipe would be absolutely ridiculous in Finland. Absolute night mare would also be to be stuck with a neigbour in an elevator. Each neigbour is most likely to face the wall or engage in a very awkward “small talk” before they finally run out of breath.
  13. Ceiling fans: If you are coming from a warm country or are used to the idea of a ceiling fan blowing over your head, then sorry, you would not find that in Finland. I have never seen a ceiling fan in Finland in my 5 years of living here. It gets a hot sometimes in the summers, indoors and this is a time most Finns will bring out their standing fans from the basement or storage. But you would never see a ceiling fan because the buildings are not built or constructed to carry ceiling fans. There is also not general construction for air conditioning except in some detached or terrace houses built and designed specifically for the purpose in mind.
  14. No smoking indoors: In Finland, it is not allowed to smoke indoors. Either in the apartment buildings, restaurants, bars, hotels or any place of public gathering. Also, more and more landlords are prohibiting smoking in the balconies of apartments. This is obviously to discourage not just first party smoking, but second party and third party smoking. Most apartment building have a smoking area or certain meters away from the building for smoking. Smoking is also discouraged in many work places. Many accommodation companies and landlords are also including it as a prerequisite for rent. This makes smoking very inconvenient especially during cold winters.

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