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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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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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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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6 sports popular in Finland that hardly anyone else plays

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Finland is a country that likes to celebrate its uniqueness. Whether in its language or its culture, it doesn’t take much to find things that make it different from every other country on earth. Consequently, it should come as no surprise to discover that Finland likes to tread its own path in the field of sport too. Whether sports Finns have invented or sports that Finns love to play, there are plenty of examples of activities that are uniquely Nordic in nature. Here are six of the best.

1. Wife-carrying

Wife-carrying (Finnish: Eukonkanto) is a contest where male competitors race while carrying a female teammate. Legend has it the sport originated with Herkko Rosvo-Ronkainen, a notorious robber of the late 1800s. Rosvo-Ronkainen and his gang of thieves were accused of stealing food and women from villages where he lived by running away with them as fast as possible. In the modern version, the man has to carry the woman through different obstacles, and the fastest man wins. The Wife-Carrying World Championships have been held annually in Sonkajärvi, Finland since 1992. And the first prize for this uber-macho sport? The wife’s weight in beer! We’re sure Rosvo-Ronkainen would have approved.




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2. Pesäpallo

Pesäpallo, also referred to as “Finnish baseball” is a fast moving bat-and-ball sport.  It was created in the 1920s by Lauri “Tahko” Pihkala, a right-wing activist, who supported eugenics as a means to improve the military prowess of the Finnish people. Pesäpallo was a demonstration sport at the 1952 Summer Olympics, held in Helsinki, but has since never featured. Similar to baseball, the point of Pesäpallo is that the offence tries to score by hitting the ball successfully with as much power as possible, and running through bases, while the defense tries to get the runner out.

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3. Ringette

Although originally created in Canada, Finland is one of only four countries that play Ringette. The sport is usually played on an ice rink, mostly by females, and requires the use of ice skates. The sport is similar to ice hockey, but in Ringette the players use straight sticks, and instead of a puck they use a rubber ring. The game was first introduced to Finland in 1979 by Juhani Wahlsten. Wahlsten created teams in Turku and, consequently, Finland’s first ringette club was Ringetteläisiä Turun Siniset.




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4. Wellie Throwing

Wellie throwing (Finnish: saappaanheitto) originated in Upperthong, UK. Now every year the world championships is held in the small Yorkshire village, where it’s said the sport originated after a pint of ale was spilt into a local resident’s welly and someone was challenged to see how far they could throw it. Finland is one of just four countries, the others being Poland, Germany, and New Zealand, that’s taken wellie throwing to heart. The aim of the game is simple. To throw the welly as far as you can.

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5. Sauna bathing

Since we’re talking about Finnish sports, it’s inevitable to mention sauna will get a mention. The World Sauna Championship was held annually in Heinola, Finland from 1999 to 2010. The rules of the contest were straightforward: The winner was the last person to stay in the sauna and walk out without any help. The starting temperature in the sauna was 110 degrees Celsius, and half a liter of water was poured on the stove every 30 seconds. So yes, the competitors definitely risked their health going into the competition. So much so, that in 2010 one finalist sadly died. After this, the organizers announced that the competition would be cancelled indefinitely. Needless to say, don’t try this at home people!




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6. Mölkky

Mölkky is a Finnish throwing game where the players use a wooden pin to try to knock over other wooden pins that are marked with numbers from one to twelve. Invented by Tuoterengas company in 1996, it’s reminiscent of kyykkä, a centuries-old throwing game with Karelian roots. Knocking over a pin scores the amount of points marked on the pin. The first one who reaches exactly 50 points wins the game, and scoring more than that will set the player’s score back by 25 points. Trust us when we say it sounds easier than it is!

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These our super six favourite Finnish sports, but what about yours. Let us know them in the comments below.




15 pictures that tell you all you need to know about Finnish summer

Finnish summer is a thing of wonder. It often arrives late and regularly leaves early, yet in a nation with some of the most extreme temperature differences on the planet everyone tries to enjoy it to the max. However, that’s sometimes easier said than done. To understand why, check out these images, which celebrate the wild and wacky nature of Suomi summer in all its unpredictable glory.

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5 ways Finnish summer cottage life turns you into a hippie

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When Finland is spoiled with beautiful, hot summer days you can guarantee that most Finns do what they love best. They head to the forest and their summer cottages. According to Statistics Finland, there are close to half a million official summer cottages of about 40 square metres or less. Once you include larger leisure homes the figure likely doubles or triples. However, enjoying “mökkielämä” or cottage life comes with certain risks, (or advantages depending upon your point of view). One of these is that it turns everyone into a hippie. Here’s how.

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A love letter to the city: Beautiful new guidebook shows Helsinki through the eyes of its residents

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The pioneering town planner, Patrick Geddes once said, “A city is more than a place in space, it is a drama in time”. If this is indeed the case, then what better way to get to know a city than to follow the stories of its inhabitants? It’s this idea that’s behind a beautiful new Helsinki guidebook, Helsinki – People Make the City, by New Zealand writer Melanie Dower and Helsinki native, photographer and Creating Helsinki Editor, Laura Iisalo.

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