The Spaniards are great lovers and excellent Flamenco dancers, the English are chivalrous and always carry an umbrella, the French drink a lot of wine and eat croissants. We all hold innumerable myths, misconceptions and stereotypes about other nations – most of them deliciously amusing.
Ever since I moved to this not very well known country, I`ve had the pleasure of being overwhelmed by a rather hilarious wave of ignorance about Finland. So I`ve decided to put all these myths to good use and compile them into a mock encyclopedia article on this country.
I cannot credit every source. Some come from friends from abroad, some from comedy or non-comedy TV shows, and some from randomers who felt they had something to say when they heard I lived in Finland.
Ladies and gentlemen, I bring you The Ignorant`s Guide to Finland.
Geography and Climate: Finland stretches from the Baltic Sea to the North Pole. The coastal line meanders with fjords. There are two seasons in Finland: winter and not-quite-winter,
when patches of grass may be seen here and there. For six months the entire country is pitch black. Most Finns survive
by spending hours on end in immense halls under powerful solar lamps.
Flora: Consists mainly of coniferous forests and lichens.
Fauna: Polar bears and penguins freely roam the land.
History: Historically speaking, the Finns were mostly conquered by the Swedes and then took it out on the Russians during the Winter War. The legacy of that conflict is the biathlon event at the Winter Olympics.
Population & Society: Finns are on average over
1,8 m tall, blond and blue eyed. They are very quiet and communicate mostly via text message. Favourite Finnish past times include expertly driving cars at very high speeds on endless, narrow, meandering country roads, in dreadful weather conditions. That is why so many Finns end up being F1 champions. Also, every Finn spends on average an hour a day in a sauna which has been heated to 100 degrees. The Finns also spend vast amounts of time being paired up in mutual suicide watches.
Culture & Cuisine: 50 % of Finns listen to Heavy or Death Metal. The other 50 % are in a Heavy or Death Metal band. Finnish cuisine is mainly moose based – as that is what the Americans call a reindeer: sauna smoked moose, cured moose, or raw moose which is a form of Finnish sushi. Also, Finns know 132 ways to pickle herring.
Politics: Finland is run by a Conan O`Brien look-alike. In fact, O`Brien`s endorsement is the main reason why President Tarja Halonen, who is more commonly known in Finland as ”the woman who looks like Conan O`Brien”, was reelected.
The writer is a Romanian degree student who loves reading politics as much as she loves reading Harry Potter.