Simply Suomi: 5 everyday delights that make Finland fantastic


We all know that Finland is very high on the list in the international rankings on education, freedom of press, equality and social security. For example, according to the 2016 World Happiness Report, Finland is the 6th happiest country in the world, and Helsinki ranks 3rd on the 2016 Metropolis Magazine most liveable cities list. We live in a wonderful place. Let’s embrace it!

Lists and rankings are a great thing, but what about personal experience? My expat years made me think about my Finnish happiness from a different, everyday-life perspective. There are four things that make life in Finland better than anywhere else: simplicity, design, functionality and access to nature. To understand what I mean, here is a list of five everyday things I really missed while living away from home.

1. Oras Taps

It should be illegal to produce taps where you regulate water temperature with two separate handles, one for hot and one for cold. The user experience is absolutely crap: a lot of effort that always leads to unwanted end results. If everyone had a Finnish Oras mixer tap, they would never burn their hands again!

Oras tap

Finland’s gift to the world: Oras taps.

2. IDO Toilets

IDO still manufactures its clear-lined and simple porcelain products in Finland. Not only are the toilets beautiful, but they work. They flush. And don’t we all want our toilets to flush? A toilet that does not flush can hardly be called a toilet. Most models also have double flush function to save water, so they are ecological as well.

Ido toilet

Look at this beauty!


3. Abloy Locks

It is a standardised system. They always open the same way: turn and push just a little. When you leave the house, you don’t need to lock the door, but it locks itself when you close the door (I know, it can create issues for the first-time user, but in the long run it just makes sense). If you can open one door, you can open all of them. In the current world of millions of incompatible systems, this is pure gold.

abloy lock

Older version of the famous Abloy lock. Photo credit: Blondinrikard Fröberg


4. Indoor Warmth

Many non-Finns often wonder how we Finns make it through the Finnish winter because it is so cold. Yes, it can be cold… outside. Finnish houses are well insulated and it’s always warm–or even a little too hot–inside. Still, after several years in Central Europe, I could not get over the idea that enduring cold, windy temperatures and wearing extra layers are concepts for going out, not entering your apartment.

warm inside

Cold outside, warm inside! Photo credit: Kristian Dye


5. Access to Nature

As a whole, Finland is one big deserted national park. It is the beauty and curse of this country. For the same reason – I believe – Helsinki is one of the most beautiful capitals of Europe. From all parts of this small but vibrant city you can easily get to forests, parks, the sea and islands. And as research shows, this adds tons to the quality of life and happiness levels.


Grab a fishing rod and walk to the nearest shore to catch some fish! Photo credit: Giuseppe Milo

These are only five of the simple things that make life better in Finland – there are plenty more that can be added to the list. Have an opinion? Share it in the comments below!

15 replies

  1. How about astiankuivauskaappi a.k.a. dish draining closet? Just put the dishes there without manual drying, it also helps to keep them in order at the same time.

    • I guess very much depends on where the sink is. At least the Americans have their sink in front of a window. And nowadays machines make the draining closet unnecessary.

    • Yes, my cousin pointed that out to me when we visited in July, very efficient. I am going to redesign my kitchen to accommodate one.

    • When we was buying an apartment in Copenhagen, and i pointed out on every apartment we visited that there is no ‘kuivauskaappi’ and I told how useful and smart it would be to have one, the realtors were all fascinated about the concept and wanted to know more! 🙂

  2. Hot water on demand full stop!! In Ireland I had to use an electric water heater (the dreaded immersion) every day or use the gas central heating system to heat up the water. If you forget to turn either off you end up with a lovely chunky heating or electricity bill on your doorstep at the end of the month. The houses and tanks are so badly insulated that it’ll go cold again in a matter of hours. In Finland if I want to have a shower at three am or a shave at five in the evening I just turn on a tap and HEY PRESTO! we have hot water!

  3. Indoor warmth–my first visit there in February left me wishing I had brought t-shirts and tank tops for indoor wear instead of turtlenecks and sweaters!

  4. So very true! About every time going abroad for a holiday, I mostly end up missing the sensible plumbing I’m used to back home in Finland.

  5. Then there’s the super cheap mobile broadband without stupid data caps (unless you use TeliaSonera lol). You can even get uncapped prepaid plans from at least Elisa.

  6. I wonder if the writer of this article has ever been to one of the following countries: Sweden, Norway, Denmark, Germany, the Netherlands, Austria, France, Belgium, Luxembourg etc etc. I mean, seriously, apart from the nature part (which can also to be found in several other countries anyway), what is all so special about this list? Sure, those double taps can be encountered in the UK for example, but that’s because those houses have been there for ages, it’s history. The majority of the houses in the Helsinki area have only been built after the 30s and many others only after the 60/70s so no wonder it has modern amenities. But sure, go ahead and hold on to your own make-believe about your precious Finland. But sometimes it is also good to open your eyes and see the world for what it really is 🙂

    • Indoor warmth, proper toilets and access to nature are some of the things that I’ve really learned to appreciate about Finland, during my time living in… Denmark.

  7. I’d like to add that these things in the list is all thanks to our passion for safety regulations and love for beauty of simplesity. But looking from the side of loose/free spirited people there are lots of rules that may be too strict. For example dogowners can’t keep their dogs free on walks. Even in the forests. There is always (at least)that one neighbour who is afraid of dogs. In 90’s our german sheperd used to hangout with its doggygang formed from the neighbourhoods dogs. They took long walks by themselves. And people just enjoeyd watching them afar. Nobody complained, even when they walked in the park of a mentalhospital. In the begining of the new century dogs could go free if owner was closeby. Nowadays they have to be all times leashed. And I’m talking about friendly dogs and dogs that don’t attack on people or other dogs. In the past our German Sheperd roamed free when folks where still home minding their own business and now our little Bolonka (size of a quineapig) has to be in leash when taking it to a little strol to the woods.

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