Ah, Finland! A land that dances between the charm of endless summer days and the mystical allure of winter’s Northern Lights. If you’re planning a trip to this Nordic haven, you’re in for an adventure that’s as rich in culture as it is in natural beauty. But before you pack your bags and set off to explore the Finnish landscapes, let’s dive into some fascinating facts about this unique country.
1. Glow-In-The-Dark Reindeer
Finnish innovation is giving Rudolph a run for his money with a new reflective spray paint technology. The Reindeer Herder’s Association in Lapland is tackling the issue of reindeer car collisions, which sadly claim about 4,000 reindeer lives annually on Finnish roads, by experimenting with reflective paint on their antlers. Anne Ollila, who leads the Reindeer Herders’ Association, shared, “Our main aim is to reduce traffic accidents. We’re testing the spray on their fur, but it works wonders on the antlers, shining brightly from all angles.”
The Association hasn’t addressed the question of whether this method is better than equipping reindeer with glowing red noses or even creating Rudolph replicas through genetic modification, likely due to ethical reasons. Despite not fully embracing the festive spirit of a Christmas-themed Lapland, the initiative to make reflective antlers a norm is ongoing. Considering there are around 200,000 reindeer just in Lapland, it looks like the Reindeer Herder’s Association might need to start placing some large orders for this special paint.
2. The Land Of Far More Than A Few Lakes
Once upon a time, the Finns might have downplayed their numbers game or just let it slip that counting isn’t their strongest suit. They affectionately call their country the “Land of a Thousand Lakes,” but that’s a bit modest, Finland. In reality, there’s about one lake for every 26 people in Finland, which means they boast nearly 187,000 lakes! These watery wonders account for about 10% percent of Finland’s total area.
These lakes came into being during the Ice Age, thanks to gigantic glaciers that pounded the Earth with an icy force. Then, through the magic of what’s known as “melting,” those glaciers vanished, leaving behind hollows that filled up with water. And voilà, Finland became the lake-rich nation it is today. With so much water around, Finland’s heartland enjoys good irrigation for farming, opportunities for underwater mining, and a thriving tourism scene thanks to all those scenic lakes.
3. The Largest Archipelago In The World
Imagine you’re playing with a blue cloth and some breadcrumbs or maybe some crunchy toast bits. If you scatter them across the cloth, you’d end up with a pretty decent representation of Finland’s archipelago that fans out towards Sweden. There are so many islands in this cluster that even Finns can’t settle on an exact count, but it’s widely accepted that there are over 40,000 of them.
Most of these islands are tiny land spots peeking out just above the waterline—you’ll need a boat and a bundle of warm clothes if you’re up for exploring. Just a short drive, about half an hour from Turku (which used to be Finland’s capital), you’ll find the quaint village of Herrankukkaro. It’s a starting point for adventures heading westward. Several small communities thrive on tourism and fishing in the archipelago, especially on the larger islands where a handful of sturdy folks live, reachable only by sea. You might want to remember this spot as a “Great Place To Lay Low During A Zombie Outbreak.”
4. Carry Your Wife, Win Her Weight In Beer
Believe it or not, the quirky sport of Wife-Carrying doesn’t even require a man to hoist his own spouse on his back, nor does it require being hitched at all. This sport harks back to an old Finnish tradition where men would whisk away a bride from a nearby village. Skipping the modern dating app scene, Finns honour their heritage with a bit of fun by hosting the annual Wife-Carrying World Championship.
Lately, Estonians have been snagging the top spots, much to the mild annoyance of the Finns who came up with the game. However, Finland has its own champions like Taisto Miettinen and Kristiina Haapanen, who in 2012 dashed through the 253-meter (830 ft) obstacle course in just one minute, conquering hurdles and a water trap to keep their champion title. It seems the secret recipe for victory is a blend of the carrier’s speed and strength, paired with choosing a partner of just the right weight, all in pursuit of glory and a tasty prize of drinks.
5. Just Box Up The Baby; It’s A Gift
Socialists in Finland have been gifting new moms a starter box since the 1930s, filled with baby clothes and more, to combat infant mortality. Initiating visits to doctors for expectant mothers, this program has slashed the death rate from 65 per 1,000 infants to just 1.7 by 2015. The box also doubles as the baby’s first crib, ensuring that Finnish newborns start life with a cozy nap in a box.
FAQs About Traveling to Finland
What is the best time of year to visit Finland?
The best time to visit Finland depends on what you want to experience. For winter sports and the chance to see the Northern Lights, visit between December and March. If you prefer milder weather and endless daylight, opt for June through August.
Do I need a visa to travel to Finland?
Citizens of EU countries do not require a visa to enter Finland. For non-EU residents, it depends on your home country. Many countries have visa exemption agreements with Finland for short stays. Always check the latest visa requirements from the official Finnish Immigration Service or your local Finnish embassy before planning your trip.
Can I buy a lottery ticket when visiting Finland?
Yes, you can buy a lottery ticket while visiting Finland. The country offers various national lottery games that visitors can participate in. If you are interested in another Lotto, like Irelands, then it’s also possible. Any adult can buy tickets for the Irish lottery abroad using an online provider, such as Lottoland.