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13 Habits of People From Finland That Seem Unusual for Other People

Hygge, endless snowy forests, long nights — we thought we knew everything about Finland. But this northern country has its own secrets that only people who have been there or lived in the country know about. Did you know that they don’t use sponges to do the dishes, they wash their carpets in rivers, and they can be fined for taking out someone else’s trash?

Bright Side decided to check the forums about this country and we found out how people live in one of the happiest countries in the world.

1. The Finns don’t wipe their dishes dry.

In Finland, there is just no need to do this because they have special cabinets where dishes are dried. They look exactly like regular cabinets but they are missing the bottom. It’s right above the sink. The water spills right into the sink.

  • As a Finn, I can confirm this. However, they are not open like in the photograph but always covered — they appear like any other cabinet. They are found in 100% of our kitchens and generally enjoyed as a timesaver. Whenever I am abroad, I wonder how people manage without them. © perrylight / reddit

2. An age-old family tradition is to clean carpets on the shore of rivers and lakes.

Of course, the Finns have vacuum cleaners but there is a tradition of washing carpets in rivers and lakes. It’s not just for the cleaning but it’s also a way of moral cleansing. This is why in summer, friends, families, and neighbors go to the seashore or riverbank and wash their carpets.

  • This tradition made me have a flashback to my childhood. Mom washing the rugs outside with Mäntysuopa. I can sense the smell of Mäntysuopa right now. Happy memories. © Santafio / reddit

3. They don’t use sponges to do the dishes.

Very often, the Finns don’t use sponges. Instead, they have brushes with long handles used to wash plates, cups, pans, jars, and everything else.

4. Asking people about their income is bad manners, but you can find out the number at the tax office.

In Finland, it is rude to ask friends, colleagues, or other people about how much they earn. People don’t talk about things like this. But still, anyone can call the regional tax office and find out their neighbor’s, relative’s, or anyone else’s income.

5. People don’t get their individual servings of food

You are not likely to see single plates with food being served at a Finnish table. In this country, every adult person decides for themselves how much they want to eat at a certain time. Mostly, there are big dishes that you can take the food from. If it is hard to reach, you can ask someone to help you.

By the way, it is totally okay to take another serving. But be careful: you should try to figure out how much you can eat, because it’s not polite to leave food unfinished. People that do this are believed to not care enough about the environment.

6. People in Finland love life hacks.

The Finns might be the biggest fans of different money and time-saving tricks. There is even a word in Finnish niksi. To find out what it is, go to Instagram, and search using this hashtag.

For example, one of the users found how to use a sausage package to store pens and pencils in it. And if you want to dry forest mushrooms faster, you just need to put a fan next to them!

7. People in Finland love milk and dairy products

The Finns drink more milk than anyone else: on average, every person in the country drinks about 130 liters per year. In the local stores, a liter of milk only costs 60 cents and children are given milk from early childhood. Besides, there are unique dairy products in Finland. With every lunch, people drink a glass of milk.

Another popular drink is viili — it’s something like yogurt. There is even a thing called Leipäjuusto (bread cheese). It’s soft sweet cheese that either goes well with jam, in a salad instead of feta cheese, or some people even add it to their coffee.

  • Well, I don’t have any idea of how cocoa and marshmallows are consumed, but I split the cheese into small cubes like dice. Put a few in the cup and pour hot coffee on it. Let it sit for a few minutes and use a small spoon to eat them straight out of the cup. The cheese is made from cow milk, kinda tasteless, like cottage cheese but fattier. The texture is more elastic, 9/10 plain, 11/10 with coffee. © damagement / reddit

8. Showers without curtains

The Finns are not ashamed of their bodies. If you go to a gym or a swimming pool and see cubicles in the shower room, you are lucky because most gyms don’t have any curtains. People don’t feel uncomfortable washing in front of others.

In this country, people accept the human body, and being naked is not something you should hide. The same is true for medical facilities — there are no separate rooms for changing clothes.

  • A few women here gave an immigrant I know a hard time for wearing her swimsuit in the showers. I think most people don’t mind, but someone will probably say something. © GrumpyFinn / reddit

9. There are tricks to fight the cold for car drivers.

To warm up their cars, people don’t have to spend additional 10-20 minutes. To save their car from the cold, they just need to plug their cars into a power outlet. There are outlets on special pillars in parking lots. Usually, electricity is provided for 2 hours and if necessary, it can be prolonged.

The price of the electricity is included in the price of the parking. There’s special equipment in the engines that warms up the air. Some cars even have a mechanism that warms up the inside of the car.

10. Finns compete in how many mosquitoes they kill.

Everyone has probably heard about the competition involving throwing phones and carrying wives. But there are more unusual competitions in Finland — who can kill the most mosquitoes. The rules are simple: the participants have to kill the most mosquitoes in a certain period of time. These competitions are organized in the summers and they sometimes become international — in 2018, a man from Sweden killed 135 insects in 15 minutes and won in the event.

  • Luckily, our mosquitoes aren’t that hardcore and we don’t have malaria and that stuff here. It’s just that usually there are just a lot of mosquitos in one place and you can’t do anything because you’re too busy slapping them dead. © Arttukaimio / reddit

11. Finland has a National Day of Failure.

It is celebrated every year on October 13th, and it’s more than just a weird holiday. The country has a cult of success and failures are not taken well. The point of this holiday is to explain to the public that failures are perfectly normal and moving forward without them is impossible. Every year, on this day, TV stars, musicians, athletes, and other famous people talk about their failures in public.

12. In Finland, you can’t take out someone else’s trash.

The Finns pay a lot of attention to taking care of the environment, they save water, and sort trash. But if someone decides to clean up the trash in a public place, they might be fined. One person saw trash on the side of the road and wanted to throw it into his dumpster.

There was too much trash, so he asked the authorities where he could bring the rest. It turned out that the road belonged to the government and people can’t just take out the trash on their own. To do that, you have to take a special course and get a license.

13. They love combining things in food most that people can’t imagine together.

In Finnish cuisine, there are meals with seemingly incompatible ingredients. For example, a liver casserole can come with syrup, eggs, onions, and raisins, and served with jam. And people actually add milk to salmon cream soups!

Have you ever been to Finland? Which habits of the local people seemed unusual to you?