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Culture & Identity of Finland

Introduction

Finnish Culture - Sauna
Sauna

Much of Finland's land is sparsely populated as most people live in the southern reaches in or near cities. However, people live throughout this large country and in the north there is a significant Sami population, who lives a fairly rural lifestyle. Despite these many people scattered throughout the country, 85% of the population is urbanized and the daily way of life for most people reflects this urban setting.

Another important factor in determining the way of life in Finland comes in the form of occupation. Over a quarter of the population works in the public services sector, with nearly another quarter working in some form of commerce. Most of these jobs, as well as numerous others, have regular working hours, but there is great variation on this schedule based on the particular position. Some people work nights and weekends, but in generally, the bulk of the working population has a somewhat regular work schedule that runs from about 8:00 am to about 4:00 or 5:00 pm. Likewise, schools also have fairly regular hours with a significant summer vacation.

After school, children rarely have much school work as this is very uncommon in the country. Likewise, many working adults get home and leave work behind as many families spend evenings in the home. Weekends tend to be more varied as everyone in Finland seems to have their own idea of the ideal weekend. In the cities bars, restaurants, and dance clubs are popular, the many lakes in the country offer a great weekend getaway to fish or swim, others get outside to play other sports, and still others find multiple other ways to be entertained, from going to a museum, to relaxing at home. The one consistent is that during the long summer days the Finns are sure to get outside nearly every chance they get and during the long dark winters the indoors are a bit more welcoming.

Identity

Finns identify as Finns and this is defined by a combination of ethnicity, language, and lifestyle. However, some defining characteristic are rarely attached to their identity; religion is not truly an identifying factor for most and local foods, although there are multiple, are being pushed aside for international cuisine so again contribute little to the local Finnish identity. The term is also not often associated with nationality as the country's ethnic minority, the Sami (or Lapps) tend to identify as such, not as Finns. Like the Finns, the Sami tend to define their identity by ethnicity, language, and culture.

This page was last updated: November, 2013