Finland

Finland has many other activities for you to do besides sipping a vodka or two near the fire on a cold winter night. Tour companies send out small groups on snow-scooters racing across frozen lakes and vast forests to reindeer and husky farms. Visit Santa Claus where he lives in Rovanimi or take an icebreakers cruise further up north. When all this gets a bit too much for you enjoy a relaxing moment in a hot, steaming sauna.

Human settlement in Finland dates back more then 10.000 years to the Ice Age. For seven centuries Sweden dominated over Finland but in 1809, after fierce battles, Finland was ruled by Russia. The fall of the Russian tsar and the communist revolution in 1917 made it possible for Finland to declare independence in December of that year. A 3½ months civil war started between nationalists and Russia supporters at big losses on both sides. With independence declared Finland had entered a new era.

Finland officially is a bilingual country (Swedish/Finish) but less then 6% is registered a Swedish originator. The Swedish speaking minority descends from the time Finland was ruled by the Swedish. When children go to school the parents have to choose between placing their child in a Finnish-language or Swedish-language school.

In 1990 Finland became the most expensive country in the world to live in. After a recession hit the currency devalued over 25%. Finland however remains one of the most expensive countries in the world. As a traveller you can save a lot of money by bringing your own tent. It is perfectly legal to set up your tent pretty much everywhere throughout Finland without any costs. In summer the temperature isn’t too bad either with the midnight sun (15-20CN, but can get higher in the south).

If you like trekking through Finish forests wilderness huts can be found in national parks and on specific trails. Most huts are open to anyone passing by and can be used for free on the condition you leave it clean and replace used firewood. The huts are equipped with basic cooking facilities and people often leave dry left-over food.

Besides the regular jazz, rock and folk music festivals Finland has some strange events. In July the Sleepyhead day is held where the laziest person in town is thrown into the sea or the annual wife-carrying championship held in Sonkajärvi.