What’s so great about Finland?

Thanks to facebook, I stumbled across this BuzzFeed article:  12 Surprising Things In Which Finland Is The Best In The World.  I felt the need to share, and comment on parts of the list:

  1. Least corrupt government in the world.  We just got back from a trip to Prague, where we asked one of our tour guides about the Czech Republic getting on the Euro.  Our tour guide told us that Czech Republic is one of the most corrupt countries in the world, with top-down corruption, and until they get it somewhat under control, they won’t be allowed to use the Euro.  I didn’t think much of it at the time, but I find it interesting that Finland is the least corrupt government in the world.  Not surprising, though (see #10 below).
  2. Most heavy metal bands per capita.  Not being a heavy metal fan myself, I could never have name a band (or singer) from Finland.  My husband, however, has been an Apocalyptica fan for years, and we have friends that used to live here who knew (and went to see) a lot more bands.
  3. The best education system in the world.  I think this is well know by now, with so many articles about it lately.  It’s interesting, because the kids seem to have a lot more freedom and spend less time in the classroom.  I’m always seeing 12-year-olds out and about during what I think of as “school hours,” and the high school kids seem to be let go early or allowed to come in late all the time.  But I think part of it is the integrity and honesty that Finns exemplify.  (Again, see #10.)
  4. The country with the heaviest coffee consumption in the world.  Which is kind of funny, considering every non-Finn I talk to says the coffee here sucks.
  5. (skipping – no comment)
  6. Most saunas per capita.  3.3 million saunas for 5.3 million people.  Most apartments, and probably all houses, have a sauna.  Those apartment buildings without private saunas (like mine) have a sauna in the building.  Then there are the saunas at office buildings, hotels, and gyms, plus the public saunas.  Oh, and let’s not forget the saunas at the summer cottages that everyone has!  Stephen went to a coworker’s house one night, and there were two saunas there.  So, yeah, lots of saunas.
  7. Best country in the world to be a mother.  Well, obviously I’m quite glad to hear this one, even though I won’t reap some of the benefits that come along with being a Finnish mother.  Low risk for maternal death, low infant mortality rate, and let’s not forget the lengthy maternity leave (and paternity leave) available.  Kela, the Finnish healthcare, pays a maternity allowance for 105 working days, starting at least 30 days before the delivery date.  Paternity leave is good for up to 54 working days.  Plus, some towns will pay you to have children.
  8. The country drinking the most milk per capita.  Finns often drink a glass of milk with their lunch or dinner.  In fact, the prenatal vitamins here don’t have nearly the amount of calcium in them as vitamins from the US, I think specifically because Finns drink so much more milk.  (The Finnish vitamins I picked up have 300mg Calcium per dose.  I get mine at the healthfood store, and they’re from either the US or the UK, and they have 650mg per dose.)
  9. (Skipping – no comment)
  10. Helsinki is the most honest city in the world.  I can’t comment on Helsinki in particular, but I can comment on Finland, in general.  My friends and I often comment on, when we go to a cafe to eat, how safe we feel about leaving our purse at the table while we go to the register to order.  I try not to let myself get into that mindset and be so lax, but it’s simply safe enough to do so.  One day a few months ago, there were two purses on top of the table about 5 feet from the door, while the owners were about 20 feet away in the other direction, not even looking at them.  It would be so easy for someone to come along, grab the bags, and be long gone before anyone noticed.  But it doesn’t happen here.  The locks on our bikes are ridiculous, but they don’t get stolen.  People leave cars unlocked, strollers outside (heck, they leave babies outside), bags unattended.  I love it here.
  11. (skipping – no comment)
  12. (skipping – no comment)

The article goes on to note other lists in which Finland is high up, but not number 1.  One of the happiest countries in the world.  In top 10 of Candy consumption (ohmygosh, if you could see the candy stalls here – it’s insane!!).  Second best workers in the world (again, I will point you to #10).  Second best in gender equality.

Overall, Finland really is a wonderful country to live in.  I’m so glad we got the opportunity to experience it firsthand!

(Note:  I did not link to or cite any references above, because they’re all referenced in the original BuzzFeed article.  Please go check the article out for yourself to learn more!)

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Categories: Finland | Tags: , , , , , | 4 Comments

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4 thoughts on “What’s so great about Finland?

  1. Very interesting! Does this make you sad to leave at all or do you feel excited to come back to the states in the near(ish) future? I really wish the US had better standards for being a mother/parent. I thought it was awful before becoming a parent and then really hated it when I went back to work 6 weeks postpartum and friends in Europe and Canada had 6 months-1 year to bond with their child.
    Also, love fact #10. I feel safe in our city from being a victim of violent crime, but I do take precautions with protecting belongings.

    • A little of both. I can’t help but want to stay, just because it’s such a great place to raise kids, I think – so safe. But I definitely don’t want to stick around until it really counts, when the baby is 3, 4, 5 years old. That’s just too long to be over here. I’m excited to come back to the States only because I miss being around family and friends – but really, that’s the only reason. Well, plus some of the conveniences. But yeah, I can’t imagine going back to work so soon after the baby. I remember reading your blog at the time, way before I was pregnant, and thinking how awful it sounded, how little Miriam was and going to daycare. I know it’s a fact of life in the US, but I didn’t know how I would manage to do it. Luckily, I don’t have to worry about it now!

  2. Great “thoughts” indeed.

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