Despite being the most sparsely populated country in the EU, with only 16 inhabitants per km2, Finland more than makes up for in achievements what it lacks in size. Here’s a selection of some of the things we think the Finn’s do particularly well:
Smashing the finish line
Finland has the most Summer Olympic medals per capita of any country in the World with an average of 55.9 medals per million people, 8.7 of them Gold. They are second in the Winter Olympics standings with 28.8 medals per million people.
Carrying their wives
Not content smashing both Olympics, the Finn’s have created their own sport. The World Wife Carrying Championships see men carrying their female companions through an obstacle course in the fastest time. The winner takes home the weight of his wife in beer.
They also created and host the World Championships for: mobile phone throwing, mosquito catching, swamp soccer and air guitar. Presumably these are self-explanatory and it’s probably important you don’t get any of the competitions mixed up.
Dealing with mail
Royal Mail take note. The Santa Claus Post Office (address: Santa Claus Village, FIN-96930 Arctic Circle) handles 700,000 letters every year. Incidentally Santa Claus is known as Joulupukki in Finland which literally means Yule Goat.
Despite having a small population Finland is always inventing things. Finnish inventions include ice skates, heart-rate monitors, rescue toboggans, Angry Birds, the Molotov cocktail and the sauna. On reflection, probably best we gloss over the Molotov Cocktail. And Angry birds.
Speaking of saunas though, as well as being the most used Finnish word outside Finland, there are more saunas than cars in Finland – one for every 2.5 people.
The majority of Finnish slot machines are run by a not for profit organisation who give the earnings to health and social welfare charities. The organisation also runs the only casino in Finland.
Preventative dental care
We couldn’t write a post about Finland without mentioning their progressive approach to dental healthcare. The Finn’s have been using xylitol since the time we thought it was a musical instrument. It’s part of everyday life and kids and adults all regularly consume xylitol mints and gum between meals. You can read more about the history of xylitol here.