Game start screen for the Finnish My Summer Car driving simulator.

My Summer Car: the insane, annoying and awesome Finnish car simulator that’s taking the world by storm

Game start screen for the Finnish My Summer Car driving simulator.
 

Right now, one of the oddest computer games ever is hitting the charts straight from the early access program of Steam, the venerable online market place for PC games.

We’re of course referring to My Summer Car, which has sold over 1.5 million euros worth of copies to this date. And the weirdfest part isn’t that the game is sold as a work in progress for fifteen Euros. It’s pretty odd even in the company of other Finnish video games.

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This guy may be overdoing it a bit

Getting down with start-ups: 11 signs you’re taking Slush a bit too seriously

This guy might be overdoing it
The way the Slush startup conference brings capital and mindshare to the Helsinki tech startup scene is well established and undisputable. As someone who works for Finnish tech companies, I have nothing but praise for how Slush mixes geeks with business people in different stages of their careers. If you’re into business, you should attend and just feel the magic of Finnish people turning talkative and creative.

At Ink Tank, we’re strictly anti Jante law, which is to say we don’t subscribe to the old Nordic small-town norm that believing in yourself is next to a deadly sin. However, at some point, everything becomes a cliche. For the past couple of years, the media circus around Slush has turned annoying enough to warrant a friendly slap every now and then.

So, we’ll help you navigate the awesomeness of Slush with a guide that points out just how to know you’ve been slurping a bit too much of that sweet, refreshing tech buzz Kool-Aid.
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Kippis! The strange history of Finland’s love affair with alcohol

Finlandia Vodka, photo by Vicente Villamón

 

Finns have always had an unusual relationship with alcohol. As far back as the 18th century, the French enlightenment philosopher Montesquieu referred to Finns as heavy drinkers. Doubtlessly, this contributed to prohibition introduced by Sweden in 1756. Prohibition ended under Russian Imperial rule, but it was still against the law to make moonshine at home. However, lobbying for complete prohibition remained popular among all kinds of busybodies.

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

colour-photos-of-helsinki-in-the-1950s-60s-12

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

best-finnish-books

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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