No Nutella!

by Veera Nelimarkka, degree student in Media

A student boy sitting on a pier, feet just above the water. The cover of the lake is calm and birches by the lake have turned little bit yellow.

By the lake – one of them!

When Tiarnan O’Doherty, aged 21, was planning to go study abroad, he had two possible destinations to choose from: either Dundee in Scotland or Tampere in Finland. Tiarnan thought Dundee would be a place concentrated mostly on drinking. That is one of the reasons he chose to come to Finland, but little did he know, Finnish people drink a lot, too. Also the fact, that Finland is not an English-speaking country, was attractive to him, so, he packed up his bags and flew to Tampere.

Tampere turned out to be a bigger than Tiarnan had thought. He was also surprised by the infrastructure: there were roads everywhere, the public transport was good and the houses had good heating systems… He faced a lot of nice surprises, but, unfortunately, he also had to deal with some problems. According to Tiarnan, Finnish meat is bad. Everything is quite expensive here, and you can’t seem to find Nutella anywhere!

When asked about his home country Ireland, Tiarnan is happy to admit it’s one of the best countries in the world. According to him, in Ireland, there is something to everyone: history, arts, museums, botanic gardens, castles, monasteries… The capital, Dublin, is multi-cultural and it has a good quality cuisine with wide range of dishes.

Tiarnan stayed in Finland for two semesters, but the Christmas holidays he spent at home. When I asked, what kind of time it was, he told me he had Irish fun. When we are together, he explained, we actually speak.


by Miika Hirvasmaa, degree student in Environmental Engineering

Colourful Music festival bandstand in evening dusk.

Also Ozora festival in Hungary offers suomisaundi stylish music. Photo: Vilma Rimpelä.

To get a full picture of Finnish culture we need to dive really deep into it.

Suomisaundi also known as “suomistyge” or “spugedelic trance”, is a style of freestyle psychedelic trance that originated in Finland around the mid-1990s. “Suomisaundi” literally means “Finnish sound” in Finnish. Music that features many of the characteristics of suomisaundi has gained global popularity. The term “spugedelic” is comically derived from “psychedelic” and “spuge”, meaning “an alcoholic” in Helsinki slang.

Young people in summer clothes walking in a festival area.

Music in the backround, all the time… Photo: Vilma Rimpelä

Suomisaundi isn´t so popular among Finnish people, but it is getting more popular day by day. There are lots of psychedelic music events nowadays, at least in big cities. (Tampere, Helsinki and Turku for example) At summertime there are some psychedelic festivals, and mostly the place is in the forest. (Kosmos festival for example)

If you want to experience something really different, go and check what it is all about!


Link for some original suomisaundi: 

My experiences with Finland: Its culture, its nature, its habits and its people

by Theresa Fein, exchange student from Germany

a map around Baltic Sea and the route from Lahnstein to Tampere

To the other side of Baltic Sea

It all started on a cold and snowy winter day in Germany. Our suitcases (my boyfriend accompanied me the first couple of days) were packed and my tutor was willing to pick us up in the middle of the night, which we highly appreciated! The landing in Helsinki was awful, because of all the wind. I am not a big flyer and the complete airplane shaking did not make it easier! Then finally arrived in Tampere the next shock: what a tiny airport! Only one baggage conveyor belt and one hall for both arrival and departure – it felt kind of homely.

We did not have to wait long for the next surprise. Nearly 2,000 kilometres up north and no snow! We left a snowy country to actually fly to a wintrier one and then this! It was super cold and windy, but no snow! Luckily we did not have to wait long for it. What depressed me most during my whole time now in Finland were the long nights. It got day, but the sky was still grey and rather dark. You feel tired and unmotivated to even leave the house, although my 12m2 room was not a better alternative. Nevertheless were the few sunny days I have had so far the best times I have had here! Due to such cold temperatures, the lake next to my apartment was frozen (which is already fascinating for us, since we have never ever seen such a huge water area frozen!) and we could walk on it, which was a fantastic feeling. The Finns are even crazy enough to put a café right in the middle of it.

A girl and a boy kissing in a sun shine , the sky is clear blue and in the background there are two persons skating.

What a feeling on the ice of Näsijärvi lake!

The next thing that comes to my mind when thinking of Finns is their hobby: Sauna! On one day, when it was minus 23 degrees we did a walk around the lake and saw people coming from the sauna and swimming in the freezing water, just unbelievable for us Germans.

In general I have to say that Finns are very nice and friendly people, although they are rather quiet and shy. Before coming here I had the stereotype in mind, that most people are blond and blue-eyed, which I quickly got rid of!

Furthermore is it very impressive how sportive most of them are. Even on icy and therefore slippery ground they go for a run. In Germany no one would ever think of such life-endangering things!

Another amusing thing is encountered were words like: “kioski”, “posti” or (because we came here when the Film “The Hobbit” started) “Hobitti”. It is easy for us to understand them, because Finns have just added an “i” at the end to the original German word, so that we could understand them. With all of the other words it did not work at all. When we are in France or Spain and are reading street signs, familiar. With Finnish it is impossible! The words are even so long that you cannot properly pronounce them.

Two ice hockey teams standing in lines opposite each others on the ice of an arena.

We spurred a local team Tappara, didn’t we?

When comparing Germany and Finland it is obvious, that all products and especially alcohol (which you can only buy in have to go home – although – sometimes this might be a good thing.

I still remember the first time I visited my tutor at home, he was watching ice hockey – incomprehensibly for me! Who on earth would watch ice hockey, when it is possible to watch football?! Even after seeing one match in a stadium I still do not understand this hype.

When I did a day trip to Helsinki, the first thing I saw was a Muumi. I guess I have seen this gesture before, but honestly it is not very popular in Germany. In Helsinki they have several stores, where they only sell things with Muumis on: papers, cups, plates and even dresses. Also in Tampere they are following me: here is a museum only about Muumis! Quite interesting to see what high status this figure has here.

A Cathedral building in the background after stairs, young foreigners standing in wind in the foreground.

A part of monumental centre of Helsinki : cathedral (1852) by a German architect Carl Ludvig Engel.

And until now my last very surprising fact about Finland or in this case Helsinki: some of the main shopping streets are heated! When I was there in winter I was already wondering, why the streets were dry and no snow hills left in the corners. After a short Google search I figured out that they truly do heat these streets – very impressive, isn’t it?


Pori Jazz – The cornerstone of summer festivals in Finland

by Teemu Heinonen, degree student in Environmental Engineering

A small Pori Jazz bandstand

Music under the summer sky.

Pori Jazz is an international music festival, which is held every year in July in Pori. The festival was started in 1966 and was mainly featuring jazz music. As the years went by other music genres got sucked into it and now it is a meeting place for all kinds of musical people.

The festival takes place in two main areas, Kirjurinluoto-arena and the “Jazz”-street. Kirjurinluoto has all the main artists and bands, thus getting to see them costs, a lot. There are three stages in Kirjurinluoto, two large ones and one small. The two bigger ones feature most famous artists and bands from all kinds of music genres but the smaller one is mainly featuring jazz.

Entering the “Jazz”- street is totally free for everyone. It is near Kirjurinluoto and has all kinds of food stalls and drinking places. Also few Pori jazz merchandise stores are around. There is also a small stage where smaller bands that play jazz music can perform everyday of the festival and it is completely free for everyone to go and listen to them. So grab a few friends with you and take a bus or a train to Pori. And while you’re in there you should go and visit Yyteri, the best beach in whole Finland.

See what the program looks like this year:

A big bandstand in the background, audience enjoying music.

“So I find myself again here among the jazz audience!”




Moomins: colorful and cute part of our lives!

by Kaisa Karimäki, degree student in Environmental EngineeringMuumimuki1.ed

Most of us Finns have grown up with Moomins. They were the popular cartoons that we all watched every night and they still have a big affect in our adult lives. I among many, have a vast Muumimuki2.edcollection of Moomin products.

Moomins were created by Tove Jannson, a very talented Finland-Swedish writer and artist, who was born in Helsinki. She wrote the Moomins originally in Swedish. The Moomins were not originally designed only for children but later on came one of the most popular cartoons for kids.

The Moomins still appear to be a part of many Finnish homes as part of the tableware, cute vases and tin cans or as bed sheets. Most Finns have had their favorite Moomin since they were little; mine was definitely Pikku Myy! Many families still go to visit Muumimaailma (Moomin world) in Naantali.



Large country, small people

by Joonas Sandman, degree student in Environmental Engineering

A stone and ice melting around it.

Believe: There is warmth inside to melt an ice cover!

It’s normal to get an awkward mumble as a response to a hello from a stranger and if you try to strike up a conversation with a fellow bus traveler you often might as well be talking to a brick wall. It’s not that they hate you, necessarily. It’s that Finns need their space.

Finland is a nation of space, after all, and by space I mean surface area. We have a huge amount of square kilometers for each Finn it might as well be a product of good (or bad, depending on situation) luck we see any other person during the day. This abundance of area combined with the cold and somewhat hostile climate has had its effect on the Finnish mind set making us a naturally private people.

This conditioning to guard ourselves against people as if they were the forces of nature does not mean that Finns are an emotionally cold people. On the contrary, Finns care deeply about the quality of their friendships and show seemingly unlimited warmth and good-will to a person they consider a friend. That word is not thrown around lightly. If you succeed in getting through a Finns thick outer shell and into the gooey warm goodness that lies within then you have made a loyal friend, potentially for life.

The thing about Finns is authenticity. The respect of a Finnish person may not be easily claimed with pretending to be happy in the long dark winter and it’s ok not to be. In fact it is a common source of humor, ironically.

Beauties of Lapland

by Sasu Kirvesmäki, degree student in Environmental Engineering

People walking in a queue a fell in the background

Hiking is fun together!

I bet you have already seen lots of beautiful places in Finland: its many lakes, forrests and fields. Maybe some old architecture in our old cities. But you haven’t seen all of the beauty before you visit Lapland!

A streaming brook in Lapland

Refreshment for hikers.

In the summer you can experience nature of the tundra. There are many national parks with marked hiking routes. Along the routes you will find fells, beatiful marshes full of cloud berries, reindeer running freely in the tundra, wonderful lakes, raging rapids and breathtaking views. Everyone is free to wonder in the national parks. Just remember to respect the nature and follow the rules of the specific park. In the autumn the nature blooms in red, orange and yellow. This season is called ’ruska’ in Finnish and it’s especially beatiful in Lapland.

Sunset at a small Lappish lake.

It is time to rest in the evening.

Winters in Lapland are usually cold and snowy. In winter time you can enjoy the ski resorts of the fells. If you want to experience the nature of tundra in winter you can for example go to a snowmobile safari. During winter you might also see northern lights lighting up the skies of Lapland. Winter in Lapland is long and dark. There is a time called ’kaamos’ when the sun doesn’t rise at all in Lapland. But any way there is bright snow there!

If you haven’t been in Lapland yet I highly recommend you to go. It doesn’t matter when you go there, there is always something to do and see!

A bus etiquette in Finland

A drawing with simple signs how to sit in a bus In Finland.

This is the way in Finland…you understand?

by Tero Lahtinen, degree student in Environmental Engineering

In Finland going to a bus is not some messy bazaar where people do whatever they want to. It is a very delicate and sophisticated situation where you have to know what to do. Otherwise you might ruin the day and maybe the whole month of some innocent person.

Two smiling girls sitting in a bus, at a window

Quite fun in a bus anyway! Picture: Heidi Mattila.

In the picture above you can see one person example of non-written areas around this person: a hazardous-, a semi-hazardous-, a danger- and a safe zone. In the hazardous zone awkward level is approximately 75 but if you start to talk to the person awkward level will increase to 100/100 (there is no existing data of entering awkward level 100). So the hazardous zone is a no go zone! In the semi-hazardous (awkward level 50) zone the person in the bus most likely will avoid you in the future thinking ‘’ that’s the person who sat near to me even there was plenty of space in the bus!’’ In danger zone (level 25) you have a fifty-fifty chance that person will not remember you in the future and you will be able to make contacts with him/her (in some other place than a bus!).

Lowering of the hazard-, semi-hazard- and danger zone will occur in case if the bus is so full that you don’t have any other option but to sit in some of these areas (stand to play it for sure). Lowering of the awkward level is always -25 units of awkward level.


Of Finnish food culture

by Jerina Kivistö, degree student in Media

About two dozenz of Karelian pasties both on a plate and on a paper.

Self-made warm Karelian pasties, yum-yum!

Finland has  globally  rather unknown culinary traditions but that of course doesn’t mean such wouldn’t exist. Some say our food tastes bland, others say it looks quite unappetizing. And I can’t argue with that –  some Finnish dishes may look a tad disgusting – I mean, I have never ever heard anyone say how a look of mustamakkara or mämmi makes their mouth water. Needless to say I get the point.

Nonetheless, I still want to defend traditional Finnish food – it is after all what I grew up with and a certain appreciation is expected. Using minimum amount of spices has led us to the point, where the ingredients need to be fresh and tasty on their own without further enhancing. Nothing probably tastes better than wood stove-baked rye bread with salted butter and a tall glass of refreshing full-fat milk. In the traditional Finnish kitchen, the taste comes from the main ingredients itself, not so much from the spices.

Surely, with globalization the Finnish diet might have changed into kebab and pizza but it still doesn’t change the fact how utterly delicious food we have available here. So, the question is, what is your favorite Finnish food?

A recipe for you: Karelian pasties .