16 photos that show just how much Helsinki has changed in the last 100 years

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You only have to wander around Helsinki on a summer’s day to see why it’s regularly listed as one of the world’s most livable cities. But it hasn’t always been that way. When King Gustavus Vasa of Sweden founded it in 1550 it was so unpopular he had to order the burghers of Rauma, Ulvila, Porvoo and Tammisaari to move there. The city didn’t grow much for the next few hundred years either. Even when it was finally declared the capital in 1812 the population was still less than 5000. At the same time, London was home to 1.2 million people. So, it’s really only since the start of the 20th century that Helsinki has become the city we all know and love. To celebrate this magnificent transformation, and to enjoy the fact we live in the Helsinki of the future, let’s take a peak at Helsinki of the past, courtesy of some marvellous pictures by photographers such as Ismo Hölttö and Jouko Leskinen.  Read more

Christina Macfarlane of CNN trying ice dipping in Finland

Crazy winter pastime: CNN reporter tries Finnish-style ice dipping, a super shortcut to a “runner’s high”

Christina Macfarlane of CNN trying ice dipping in Finland

If you’re in some weird country with weird traditions, why not try them out? That must have been the idea of a CNN Sports anchor Christina Macfarlane…. or her producers.

Macfarlene was shooting a couple of episodes of the popular show Alpine Edge at World Cup Levi last week, far north at a ski resort in Finnish Lapland. Somehow, she ended up trying the good old dip in a lake from a hole in the ice, assisted by an experienced enthusiast.

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Nordic exotica: 7 great books about Finland written by foreigners

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Finland’s long been something of an exotic destination for adventurers, both those who arrive in person and those who voyage here via their imaginations. Focusing on the latter category, we’ve collected a shortlist of some the finest books you can read about Finland written from a non-Finnish perspective. This shortlist contains everything from Cold War spy novels, adolescent coming of age drama to aching love stories. So, sit tight, and prepare to voyage, from the comfort of your couch, to the far north.

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Battledragon's Youtube cover of Bomfunk MC's Freestyler 1999 hit. Location: Hakaniemi Metro station.

Finnish Power Metal band recreates Bomfunk MC’s Freestyler music video, including remote control shenanigans

Battledragon's Youtube cover of Bomfunk MC's Freestyler 1999 hit. Location: Hakaniemi Metro station.
 

Here it is: Finland lacks an internationally known music scene compared to, say, Sweden which has produced hit phenomena ever since the days of ABBA.

A specific genre is something of an exception: Finland is estimated to have more metal bands per capita than any other country. Some of these bands are wildly successful within their genre.

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Teemu Keisteri as Windows95man DJ on a plane, where he played Darude's Sandstorm

Darude on a plane and beyond: The silly art of Finnish Windows95man DJ Teemu Keisteri

Teemu Keisteri as Windows95man DJ on a plane, where he played Darude's Sandstorm
 

Considered by some as an alternate Finnish national anthem of sorts, producer Darude’s international smash hit Sandstorm has a special place in the Finnish millennial psyche. The song, released back in 2000, connects us back to a time when it could heard as old-school ringtones on Nokia phones or admired as a music video on MTV featuring a chase through a sunny Helsinki.

Having recently returned as something of a retro phenomenon, one person took it upon himself to play the Sandstorm as part of a private DJ set on on airplane, at the request of logistics tech provider Relex.

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8 Very Finnish Problems that show how much Finns love sauna

Think of Finland and it’s likely one of the first things that comes to mind is sauna. Hardly surprising when you consider the country has 3 million of the steamy rooms and that, for centuries, Finns used the sterile environment for everything from personal hygiene and births, to cooking, and of course, relaxation. Now, just when you thought this adoration couldn’t get any more intense along comes Helsinki Sauna Day. This unique event opens the doors to private saunas, citywide, for everyone to enjoy. In homage to an awesome idea, we’ve got together with Finland’s favourite Facebook page, Very Finnish Problems, to showcase exactly why Finns are so set on the delights of sauna.

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Screenshot of CompuCafe Helsinki video, uploaded to Vimeo by Larri Helminen.

1995 video promo for internet cafe puts Finland on the hi-tech map

Screenshot of CompuCafe Helsinki video, uploaded to Vimeo by Larri Helminen.
Recently, the online elite was amazed by a Finnish Internet Café video promo from 1995, which really should open our eyes for how quickly the world has changed. Back then, computers were clunky, fast internet connections were extremely expensive and there was no Wi-Fi.

Since we can assume the charmingly corny video probably didn’t serve its purpose back in the day, as an insert on MTV, we really think you should give the thing four minutes of your time.

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Meet Timo Wilderness: Finland’s favorite swamp wrestling vlogger

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Recognise the face above? If you’re a Finn, with a social media account, the answer is probably a resounding yes! Timo Korpi, perhaps better known as Timo Wilderness, is one of Finland’s most popular vloggers. Browse his YouTube channel and you’ll find an eclectic mix of English-language travel diaries from around the globe, fun bits and skits, and his popular series, WTF – Welcome to Finland, which explores various aspects of Finnish life.

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More kahvi, sir? How Finns became the world’s greatest coffee drinkers

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Think of great coffee drinking nations and you’ll probably think of Italians sipping their cappuccinos or the Spanish enjoying cortados. One nation unlikely to even make your top ten, however, is Finland. You’ll be surprised to hear then that Finns are, in fact, the world’s number one coffee drinkers. Incredibly, your average Finn drinks 12 kilos of the black stuff per year, far ahead of Italy (5.7 kilos per year) and Spain (4.5 kilos per year). So, how did this obsession begin?

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How to talk about work and leisure like a Finn: A step-by-step guide for expats

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It’s a common belief among Finns that it’s not possible to fully relax and forget about your work if your vacation is shorter than the famous four weeks. The most usual and traditional summer holiday month is July. Nothing moves in July. Even if you work in July, you cannot get anything done, because except for you, there is nobody around. Little birds have told me a great strategy to have an eight-week holiday: keep on working in July (read: pretend) and take your four-week holiday in August. Feeling relaxed? Yes! And a little guilty? Of course not! Somebody has to work in July to answer e-mails and calls to say there is nobody working at the moment and you can’t really do anything about anything. You have sacrificed yourself for the good of the community.

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