What is the most interesting place you've ever been? If you didn't answer "Finland" then we can only assume it's because you haven't had the pleasure of visiting this gem of the Nordics just yet.
Finland is a vibrant and unique country and, not surprisingly, is chock full of Finns, who are a wonderfully quirky people.
Here are a few things that you may be interested in knowing about Finland:
The tango capital of the North
When thinking tango, the first thing that comes to mind is probably going to be Argentina, or somewhere similarly exotic and Latin and spicy. But the next time you think of the tango, you should think Finland, too.
The tango is so popular in Finland that the country has its own internationally recognized genre of the dance — a take on the Argentine tango performed to a ballroom tango music performed primarily in minor chords.
Finns even established what is now the world's oldest tango festival, still happening every July in the town of Seinajöki.
Finnish: the loneliest language in the Nordic region?
Poor Finnish. While Iceland, Norway, Sweden and Denmark get to chatter away in their similarly Scandinavian (or North Germanic, if you prefer) tongues, Finland is out in the cold speaking Finnish, which is part of the Finnic language group and is similar only to Estonian and a dialect spoken in an area of Russia bordering Finland.
So how different is Finnish from the other Nordic languages... here's how you'd greet people throughout the Nordic countries:
- Iceland: Goðan dag
- Denmark: God dag
- Norway: God dag
- Sweden: Gott dag
- Finland: Hyvää päivää
One of these things is not like the other...
Learning Finnish is no walk in the park. The language inflects and modifies nouns, adjectives, pronouns, numbers and verbs, depending on the sentence and their role therein. Oh, and it has 15 cases. Fun!
For a notoriously quiet bunch, Finns may surprise you with their love of karaoke. In fact, you'll be hard pressed to find a town in Finland without at least one karaoke venue. And it's a good thing that Finns have ample opportunity to exercise their vocal chords — the country organises the World Karaoke Championships every year, which now travels the globe and attracts karaoke enthusiasts from more than 40 countries.
Be sure to practice your karaoke prowess before even landing on Finnish soil by picking up a mic on board one of the ferries between Stockholm and Helsinki. You won't be the only one belting out the tunes!
Santa Claus is Finnish
Ask any Finn where Santa Claus hails from and you'll get a very definitive response: Finland. It's not up for discussion. It's a hard fact. And he lives in Rovaniemi, a Finnish town just north of the Arctic Circle. A couple of folks from Nordic Visitor even got to meet the big guy in person and you can, too.
Thinking of traveling to Finland? Let Nordic Visitor help you get there. And if you've traveled with us to Finland, why not post some pics from your tour online with #NordicVisitor so we can share in the adventure!