You'll Only Witness These Wacky Happenings in Finland

Skinny dipping in Finland |© Ville Hyvönen / Flickr
Skinny dipping in Finland |© Ville Hyvönen / Flickr
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.

Moose crossing a road Public domain / WikiCommons

Queuing For Hours For a Free Bucket

Everybody loves freebies, but Finns go a little mad to receive the free gifts given away at the opening of new stores. At the opening of a new Tokmanni general store, over 500 people waited patiently for hours to receive the free gift, which turned out to be a bucket. It’s possible that they were just being economical or were hoping that there would be more free goods inside the bucket, but their conviction is still commendable.

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.

Tarja Halonen © Estonian Foreign Ministry / WikiCommons

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.

Burger King in Helsinki train station © JIP / WikiCommons

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.

Swamp soccer © Guthiwoody / WikiCommons