Very Finnish Problems Episode 2: When the summer cottage is more labour camp than holiday camp

Old Finnish Summer Cottage

Are Finnish summer cottages more labour camp than holiday camp? Very Finnish Problems creator, and Helsinki resident Joel Willans, discusses Finns love of forest work with Ink Tank writer Thomas Nybergh. It’s revealed that Joel doesn’t get to play with the chainsaw and that Thomas hasn’t caught a fish in his entire life.

Contact: veryfinnishproblems@inktank.fi

Produced by Thomas Nybergh / Ink Tank Media

 

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About the show

What’s so weird and wonderful about Finland? British-born Joel Willans, creator of Very Finnish Problems, discusses, with a variety of fascinating guests, what he’s learnt after 15 years living in his much-loved, adopted country.

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Title photo by Kallu

More than sauna: The 6 most Finnish things to do in your 20s

The general interests of 20-somethings seem somewhat universal. Depending on location, though, the expression of these preferences often vary.

Finland is a small country and has a challenging climate (unless you’re very much into skiing), so young people have gotten creative. From adventurous spots for lovemaking to becoming an internet sensation overnight, here are ideas how to spend your 20s the Finnish way.
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Northern lights in Helsinki

Pet peeves: 10 things Finns love to hate

Northern lights in Helsinki

Due to long winters and rainy summers, it’s not unusual for someone with the warm, yet reserved Finnish mentality to spend a lot of time being annoyed about things. If you sit down and listen to Finns you’ll probably come across more than a few pet peeves.

To help you prepare, we’ve collected a list of common gripes. If you’re hanging out with Finns, you could do worse than to make bingo cards with these.

 

 

1. The weather

What’s there to like about Finnish weather, most of the time? It keeps you from enjoying the gorgeous surroundings.

 

2. Sweden

Our western neighbor is seen as some kind of annoying big brother figure. Then there is the Swedish national hockey team, which deserves a special level of loathing.

 

3. Russia

For obvious reasons, Finland has a complicated relationship with the great oligarchy of the East. Most annoying: that grumpy bear is a vital trading partner. Infuriating.

 

4. Smalltalk and unsolicited sociability

It’s not uncommon for Finns to hurry into their flats in apartment blocks as to not have to make the choice of whether to greet a neighbor or not.

 

 

5. Wolves

Many “suburban” Finns live in what’s essentially utter wilderness. Still, they remain shocked and appalled by the occasional wolf. If a wolf is spotted, panic and hunting mania ensues.

 

6. Themselves

Let’s face it: if most people suck, you probably suck.  A popular source of communal self-loathing (‘myötähäpeä‘) is the English language. Finnish, as fascinating as it is, is a weird affair, and Finnish speakers tend to default to a slightly quirky pronunciation of English. Despite great passive language skills and vocabulary, thanks to subtitled tv, Finns tend to think they’re the only ones who default to speaking English with a distinct accent.

 

7. Sobriety

This is one of those cases where young people these days are way saner than even gen X:ers. However, you can still run into situations in Finland where people consider you a buzzkill if you don’t drink. In some circles, even vegans aren’t seen as equally annoying as non-drinkers. Doesn’t matter if you’ve discovered that you tend to ruin your life if you touch alcohol, you’ll find out who your true friends are after you decide it’s time to dry up.

 

8. Neighbors

The typical Finnish agricultural landscape of disparate homesteads, rather than villages, is due to a relatively recent land reform. However, many Finns remember their roots in these landscapes and have taken to heart an attitude of Finns just being unable to bear too many people. This makes the idealized version of Finnish life a bizarre version of suburbia, highways and strip malls in the wilderness.

 


 

9. Politicians

If you’re popular for some reason, for example through some general purpose celebrity, don’t make the mistake of turning to politics. People will loathe you and move on to idealizing the police and military.

 


 

10. Being successful

The law of Jante has to be one of the most dreadful properties of small Nordic societies – don’t think you’re special or better than us. Or rather, don’t make us think you think you’re better than us. If you have ambitions, leave for whatever passes as cities in Finland.

 

Now, here’s the thing: if you’re a Finn, our list probably left out some vital object of your annoyance and hate. To tell us just how much you loathe us for missing these important facts, let your rage flow into the comment section below.

 

Title photo by Title credits.

 

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Ghastly picnic destinations: 5 places in Finland let down by their names

Picture of Finnish forest

All around the world, our forefathers in charge of naming places have on occasion let their morbid sense of humour flourish (or alternatively the job just really gets to you after a while, go figure).

Finland, of course, is no exception. Hell and murder appear to have been especially attractive and marketable concepts in ye olde days, examining the naming of certain places.

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