Finland is a country greatly admired by outsiders for its accomplishments in every field, from technology to the arts. But its people and culture can also be viewed as crazy and eccentric. It is the country which enjoys tar-flavored ice cream, has a national day for failure, and broke the world record for skinny dipping, among other strange happenings. These are just some of the weirdest news stories and everyday events which could only happen in Finland.
Wild Moose Running Through Town
Wild animals such as moose, wolves, and bears generally stay away from human habitation, but occasionally you will hear of a confused animal wandering into town. Most of the time they are harmless and will simply head back to where they came from, but occasionally they can be a menace. In 2016, a young moose was found wandering around central Helsinki, but was unfortunately shot after it charged through the streets and smashed the window of a bank.
Queuing For Hours For a Free Bucket
Running Into the President at the Supermarket
Could you imagine running into Donald Trump picking up his weekly groceries? How about Theresa May at the January sales? One bizarre thing about Finland is that the small population causes a degree of informality, even among the most powerful and influential members of society. It’s not unknown for people to run into the President at the grocery store, and former president Tarja Halonen is a big fan of sale shopping. The Archbishop of Turku is reportedly a frequent visitor of the local Indian restaurant, and if you time your visit properly, you might just end up sitting at the next table to him.
Having a Sauna at a Burger King
McDonald’s may have its elusive szechuan sauce, but its rival Burger King has something even rarer—a working sauna in one of its own restaurants. A branch of the chain in central Helsinki has a built-in sauna which customers can rent, intended for business meetings. (Yes, Finnish people have business meetings in saunas.) It is decorated with Burger King’s color scheme and even has branded towels. It just goes to show how important the sauna is in Finland.
Playing Soccer in a Swamp
If someone invites you for a game of soccer in Finland, check first where you will be playing. There is an entire sport based around playing soccer in swamps. It makes sense, as Finland has a lot of swampy ground, plus it adds another level of challenge to the game. While the game can be highly competitive, even the championship teams play mostly for fun and try not to take it too seriously.
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