Exploring the Culture of Finland

Nearly 200,000 lakes, saunas, and art festivals make up the unique culture of Finland, one of Europe’s most magical countries. Its landscapes are diverse, ranging from coastal plains to inland rivers, lakes, and hills. Daily life in Finland includes skiing, hiking, sailing, and a balanced mix of small-town life with modern cities. The Finnish values common sense, education, honesty, and equality. Finland is a country that celebrates summers of seemingly endless sun and finds light in the near total darkness of winter!

Study abroad in Finland Host a Finnish student in the U.S.


Finnish People and Community

A family in Finland

Finns view themselves as egalitarian people whose culture is based on democratic principles of respect and interdependence. They like people for who they are and not for what they do for a living, their professional accomplishments, or how much money they earn. They pride themselves on being honest and sincere in their personal relationships. In Finland, gender equality is very important in most families. it’s common for both parents to cook dinner or clean the house.

Finns are generally kind and open-minded, even though they can be a bit shy at first. Families are usually small, with only one or two children. In the culture of Finland, people appreciate punctuality, good manners, and practicality. Finns love outdoor activities and public access rights “Everyman’s rights” grant access to nature for all inhabitants.

Language and Communication Styles

A street in Finland

Finnish is the main language of Finland. Swedish is also an official language, and both are spoken in bilingual areas.

Food in Finland

A food called makkara (sausage), which is roasted over a fire

While it has been said of the French that they live to eat, it has been said that Finns eat to live. Everyday food tends to be simple but nutritious and mealtimes less formal than in some other countries.

During the week, Finnish families may prepare and eat food on their own. On weekends, many families dine together and catch up on their activities that week. Meals tend to be simple but nutritious, including meat, fish, potatoes, pasta, bread and dairy products. As can be expected in a country of over 187,000 lakes, there is an abundance of different kinds of fish available, especially along the coast. Coffee is a favorite beverage, even among teenagers, often with a sweet wheat bread called pulla.

Finland has its own version of a smörgåsbord, called the voileipäpöytä. At a voileipäpöytä, there’s fish, potatoes, berries, and dairy products, along with rye bread. Another common Finnish dish is makkara (sausage), which is roasted over a fire and eaten with sinappi (mustard). However, Finland’s most unique delicacy is reindeer! The Finns eat reindeer stew, steak, cutlets, meatballs, and even tartare.

Explore the Programs Available in Finland