Local traditions and culture in Helsinki

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Most Viewed Local Customs in Helsinki

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    Finnish beer

    by HORSCHECK Updated Apr 12, 2013

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    Finland is not too popular for its beer. The most well known brand is probably Lapin Kulta which is brewed in Lapland and therefore also known as Lapland's Gold.

    One of the oldest breweries in the nordic countries is Sinebrychoff which was established in 1819. Nowadays Sinebrychoff is owned by Carlsberg and their best selling beer is Koff.

    Olvi is the third largest brewery in Finland and it is the only brewery which still remains in Finnish hands.

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    Door locks

    by HORSCHECK Written Jul 18, 2004

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    In Scandinavia door locks or keys often have to be turned contrary to how you are used to turning them to open or close a door.
    For example, in Germany a door with a door handle on the right side is usually locked by turning the key clockwise, whereas in Scandinavia you might have to turn it anti-clockwise.

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    Midsummer pole

    by HORSCHECK Updated Apr 12, 2013

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    The erection of a midsummer pole on midsummer eve (24th of June) is an old Finnish tradition dating back to the late 19th century. The pole is usually raised and decorated by volunteers.

    The decoration consists of juniper, several wild flowers and a rose on top. The midsummer pole of Helsinki is situated right in the middle of the Esplanade Park.

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    Midsummer in Helsinki

    by csordila Updated Jun 25, 2009

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    Midsummer/Juhannus is a really important celebration for the Finns, this is roughly as big a holiday as Christmas is. Helsinki is going to be totally empty, people are at their country cottages and shops, restaurants are closed. So you should provide in time from your food and drink, if you do not want to spend much money.

    A traditional midsummer event is held at the open-air museum of Seurasaari surrounded by rural buildings, cottages and people taking part in this celebration are singing, dancing or playing games together. The highlight of the event is the lighting of a huge bonfire.

    You should postpone your visit, if you are not interested in taking part in this celebrations.
    However the time of the city is right in high summer, when daylight lasts for 20 hours out of 24, when the sidewalk cafes and the waterside markets are full of handsome people and when the pale blue waters of the lakes and the white bark of the birch trees match the national flag.

    An ancient belief says, young girls will meet their future husband jn the ongoing year, if they go and roll naked in a dewy corn field during Midsummer night. It may be true, because anything may occur on this magic night, as it has been written in the Midsummer Night's Dream by Shakespeare!

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    Uspensky Cathedral

    by ATLC Written Jan 20, 2004

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    This is a Greek Orthodox Church, on Katakjanokka street. We were just starting out on our walk and getting used to the slippery snow when we decided to climb the steps towards this church. There was just a baptism going on so we couldn't walk around freely. The warmth and lights in the church were very welcoming and as ever, this kind of church impresses by the many decorations.
    The verger on the photo is just filling the basin where the baby is going to be baptised. Quite funny, he just emptied a white bucket with water into it.

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    Helsinki Day

    by bijo69 Written Jan 5, 2007

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    Helsinki was founded on the 12th of June 1550 by Swedish King Gustavus Vasa and each year on the 12th of June it commemorates that day with lots of concerts and other venues all over town. There's no admission fee to any of these events and entrance to museums are free aswell on this day.

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    Vanha kirk kopuisto

    by ATLC Written Jan 20, 2004

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    In a little park along Lonnrotsg we found this church where someone was opening the doors wide open. Inside a wedding was going on. We just caught a glimpse of the pair and the bridesmaids but unfortunately nobody came outside. Probably because I was standing right in front with my camera poised and ready!

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    Honest Finns

    by travelingdanna Written Nov 10, 2004

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    Finland is the least corrupt country in the world, and has been for several years, according to some survey I can't cite.
    While I'm sure there are individual exceptions, Finns seem to be extremely honest in general. I didn't believe the person who told me this until I witnessed this: My new friend Monica and I were walking on the main street of Helsinki. When we went up to a restaurant window to check out the specials, she dropped her nice, expensive looking coat and didn't notice until later. When we came back an hour later along the same main street, the coat was neatly folded, hanging on the gate in front of the restaurant.
    Also, on public transportation such as the tram, there is quite an honor system - nobody comes around to sell tickets, it is your responsibility to go up to the conductor and pay. And people do. (They say that if they do happen to check you for a ticket and you don't have one, you could be fined for a lot more than the ticket costs.)

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    Language

    by Marpessa Updated Sep 22, 2005

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    Whenever I am in a country where english is not the main language (and since english is the only language I can speak fluently) I try to learn at least two phrases: 'Do you speak english?' and 'thank you'.

    In Suomi these are:
    'Do you speak english?' - 'Puhutko Englantia?'
    'Thank you' - 'Kiitos' (pronounced 'Key toss')
    (Taken from the Lonely Planet Scandinavian guide)

    Also, a casual (informal) way of saying hello is 'moi' and goodbye 'moi moi'.

    You will notice in Finland that Finnish words are usually a lot longer than those in the english vocabulary. For instance I saw a movie poster that said at the bottom "Elokuvateattereissa 29.7", which I'm guessing meant "At cinemas 29.7"

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    Rally schools

    by csordila Updated Jun 26, 2009

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    Finland is well known of its world best rally heroes and of the racy gravel roads. The reason of this is, there are schools not only for people that want to improve their knowledge in handling cars, but for professional drivers and for drivers who want to be professionals as well.

    Finnish drivers have won the World Rally Driving Championship 12 times since the title was instituted in 1979.
    Several top Formula 1 drivers have also come from Finland, most notably Mika Häkkinen who was World Champion in 1998 and 1999 driving a McLaren Mercedes.
    Others include Keke Rosberg (1982 World Champion), J. J. Lehto (second at the 2003 Sebring 12 hour race in an Audi R8), Mika Salo, recent F1 phenom Kimi Raikkonen (2007 World Champion) and Heikki Kovalainen (2008 Hungarian Grand Prix).
    Finnish racing fans often fill a couple dozen charter flights to the F1 races.

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    Those crazy finns....

    by sourbugger Written Dec 6, 2005

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    The English and the Finns seem to share a love of utterly pointless competitions. Finland plays host to the world wife carrying contest and the world 'Air Guitar' champhionship for example.

    The world crazy golf contest will be held in England this year, but there will be no doubt a sizeable contingent of Finns.

    When cycling in from the Airport to the centre of Helsinki we passed through a number of parks. There seemed to be a good number of what we call 'crazy-golf' courses, although they are usually signposted 'Mini-golf'. Talking to the attendant, he claimed it was a very popular pastime in Finland with people taking it quite seriously. I believe there is even one or two indoor place if the weather does become too foul.

    Whatever floats your boat.

    We paid a triffling amount to play , and had a little bet on the outcome. A wasted childhood ensured victory and free beer that evening.

    P.S if JTF is the first visitor here I want him to play a round in the Sibelius park and post a score.

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    if the door wouldn't open

    by sinoda Written Oct 1, 2003

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    This little tip may come handy if you're not accustomed to riding buses in Helsinki. Since bus drivers seem to be always in a hurry you might have difficulties in exiting a bus on stopping at a bus stop.

    This may particularly happen if you are leaving through the door in the back and somebody in front has pushed the stop button. So it often happens that the back door wouldn't open!

    Now what to do? You can try and shout and hope the driver hears it and opens you the door (he won't, he's in such a hurry keeping up with the time table) or you have your finger already on the little red button in its yellow frame on stopping of the bus - so if the door doesn't open you just push the button and voila... sesame open!

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    When in Rome...

    by sourbugger Updated Dec 7, 2005

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    The president of France recently claimed that only only people in Europe had worse food than the Brits...and that was the Finns.

    Most of the Western world may look kindly on Reindeer, give them cute names and even sing songs about them as Christmas approaches..

    In Finland they are more likely to end up on your dinner plate. When I last visited only a few places were serving them as the effect of the Chernobyl explosion was still having an effect. I presume they are more plentiful now. You also see the skins available to buy in shops, and somewhat more bizzarely treats such as Reindeer Salami !

    Tastes all right with chips and lashing of hot elf gravy.

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    Finland's number one company.

    by sourbugger Written Dec 8, 2005

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    Other European countries have stock-market indices, like the FTSE or CAC 40, but in Finland all you need to do is look at now Nokia is doing.

    At one point it accounted for two-thirds of the value of the Finnish stockmarket and was vaued at over 300Billion dollars. Despite the fact that John the Finn says they are 'famously stingy iit is a fact that 35 of the 50 wealiest people in the country made their money from Nokia. In addition 25% plus of the whole R & D budget of the country is their hands.

    All this has led to Finland being one of the most technologically advanced countries in the world with very high levels of Mobile phone ownership and internet access. Nordic efficiency at it's best.

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    Finns and the alcohol

    by csordila Updated Jun 24, 2009

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    Generally known, the northern folk do not despise the alcohol.
    The Finns are also not exception of this rule. Alcohol shopping in Finland is not a simple thing. Its vending is state monopoly: only Alko shops may sell wines and hard liquors.
    In the evening after six, when Alko shops close, it may be quite impossible to get your vodka, leaving the restaurants and pubs out of consideration of course. They however observe strictly the law: "We do not serve alcoholic drink to persons of age less than 18 years".

    The alcohol is for this reason everywhere very expensive, it is not possible to run away through a pint of beer under 3-5 Euros in an average pub. So provide in time from your evening drink, if you do not want to spend to much

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