A Glimpse Into Finland, the Happiest Country in the World

In Finland, personal space is sacred. They prefer handshakes over cheek kissing (hand waves are the ideal), quiet sauna sessions over chatty dinners, and if you’re sitting at a bus stop, you better sit three meters away from the person next to you, or you’ll come off as a creep.

Salted black licorice / A grandma looking out her window / A snowman melting / A woman sitting beside a man.

Source: Getty Images

But they must be doing something right. Because for three consecutive years, Finland has been crowned the country with the jolliest people in the world. Remember all that talk in school about us being social creatures, yada yada yada? After checking out these hilarious (yet true) Finnish memes, you’ll probably think otherwise.

From whacky sun cycles to radical social distancing, here’s Finland.

It Could Be Night, It Could Be Day, Who Knows?

Daylight hours in Finland are absolutely crazy. In the summer, Finland’s northernmost municipality, Utsjoki, gets around 19 hours of sunlight each day. Can you imagine? The reason for that is simple. Around a quarter of Finland (its northern part) is located in the Arctic Circle, a place where the sun doesn’t set during the summer.

Daytime and nighttime look precisely the same in Finland, the sun is always in the sky.

Source: Facebook

How is it even possible to go to sleep when the outside of your window looks exactly the same as it did when you woke up? Finnish people must have some thick, dark curtains covering their windows. Or else we really have no idea how they manage to fall asleep.

A Beautiful Forest Skyline

What do many of the world’s capitals have in common? Apart from being overpriced, overpacked, and crowded with tourists? Normally, they all have a lovely city skyline twinkling with luminous building lights. But Finland’s capital, Helsinki, is uh…different.

Sillohetts of city skylines compared to Helsinki, which is just trees.

Source: Faceook

Don’t get us wrong. It’s one of the most incredible cities on the planet, thanks to its beautiful cathedrals, vintage tram rides, lovely wooden homes, and delicious food. But it’s nothing like your ordinary urban city. Instead of endless rows of tall buildings, Helsinki’s skyline is more like bushy rows of tall trees.

Why Dots Matter in Finnish

When it comes to accent symbols, we English speakers are clueless. We don’t know much about the importance of having little squiggly lines above letters (like the Spanish ñ) or dots in certain parts of a word. And in Finnish, the dots (the umlauts) make all the difference.

Examples of two sentences in Finnish with dots and without showing the big difference they make in meaning.

Source: Twitter

Linguistic errors can be terribly awkward. As you can see, these two sentences look alike, but they sound completely different, and they mean entirely different things. So dot correctly, friends! I’m sure none of us want to find ourselves in a position where we need to explain our views on incest.

One Slice of Moomin Meat Please

Ahhh… mouthwatering mozzarella cheese. It’s the perfect topping for our pizzas, toasts, and salads. It’s a bundle of creamy goodness that goes great with sliced tomatoes and a sprinkle of roughly chopped basil leaves. But if you’re in the mood for this cheese in Finland, you’re going to have to call it a different name.

A tweet is explaining the dual meaning of ‘Moomin Meat’.

Source: Twitter

In Finnish, it’s called Moomin Meat. For those who don’t know the story, Moomin is a children’s book series about these mythical creatures (called Moomin). While we get why these white hippos remind the Finnish of cheese, it’s still pretty creepy. Can you guess what they call cottage cheese? Ground Moomin.

Live Granny Cam

Instead of investing millions of dollars on expensive, high-tech surveillance cameras, Finland has its own unique way to ensure everything is in order. They take their laws very seriously, as you can tell by this grandma’s stern look. To be honest, she’s way more intimidating than any camera we’ve seen before.

A grandma looking out her window suspiciously

Photo by sturti/Getty Images

We’re not sure how common this is (memes tend to exaggerate everything). However, it’s still funny to imagine all the grandmas of Sodanklä creeping from their windows and keeping a watchful eye on the action happening below. Hostile granny surveillance cams should be a must in every country.

The Ideal Finnish Home

We each have our own vision of a dream house. Surely some of us dream of a fairytale-like castle, while others picture a modern Manhattan loft with massive windows and an incredible view. But what do the Finnish desire? Something green and secluded.

A large British castle / A small shack in Finland.

Source: Pinterest / Photo by Hans Keusen, RDB, ullstein bild, Getty Images

The ideal home in Finland is a remote cabin surrounded by chirping birds and croaking frogs. Oh, and a graceful, sparkling waterfall would be nice too. But no humans, please. In Finland, social distancing is no joke. It’s not out of hatred or anger. They just respect each other’s space that’s all.

Forget About Tans

Finland is famous for many things. It’s impressively well-organized, clean, has a great education system, and is considered the happiest country in the world. Clearly, the Finnish know how to live. But there’s one thing they haven’t fully nailed.

A outstretched arm appears to be tanned, but the photo on the other side shows the natural color of the arm once the sunglasses have been removed.

Source: Facebook

Tanning. Which is weird, right? You would think that with almost 20 hours of sunlight all through the summer, the Finnish would be these sun-kissed, bronze babes. But they’re far from that. They have a super light skin complexion that burns easily.

Loska Is Everywhere in the Winter

What’s incredible about languages is that every country has developed its own unique vocabulary corresponding to its specific needs. For example, Finland, as well as Sweden and Norway, have over 300 snow and ice-related words! An essential Finnish snowy word is – Loska.

 A photo of the gross dirty slushie snow that is called Loska in Finnish.

Source: Twitter

If you want to tell your friend that there’s slushy, wet, dirty snow outside, then just tell them “loska.” That five-letter word packs within it all the slushiness and dirt that the snow has accumulated. Apparently, the loska in this picture is nowhere near the real, dirty, Helsinki loska.

Even Finnish Cats Appreciate Personal Space

You know how pets and their owners begin to look alike at one point? So, in Finland, stray cats and citizens start to take after each other. We’re not sure who started this social distancing craze because cats are notoriously snobbish in every country. But it looks like in Finland, they’re especially withdrawn.

Four black cats are sitting on four separate benches in a park.

Source: Pinterest

Each cat has its very own bench to rest on. Incredible, right? So many countries are flooded with people, cars, animals, garbage, yet in Finland, these cats are chilling like villains. We bet they’re the happiest cats on the whole planet.

A Finnish Way of Thinking

It seems like the Finns have dramatically different body temperatures than the rest of us. For those of you who don’t measure temperature in Celsius, 25°C is about 77°F, and as you can see in this hilarious meme, 77°F means the Finns are drowning in their own pool of sweat.

A photo of people hiding from the sun by coving themselves with towels over a photo of two men in a sauna looking rather uncomfortable.

Source: Facebook

But strangely, if it’s around 176°F in a sauna, they’ll sit with their bare butts and complain that it’s not hot enough. Huh? We have to admit, as non-Finns, we struggle to understand this. If any of you readers have an explanation for this odd phenomenon, we’re all ears!

No Can-Do Honey Boo

When you’re in love, you’re willing to do almost anything to please your significant other. You’re willing to try out their hobbies, cook for them, and spend the evening listening to every trivial thing that happened to them that day. But if you’re dating a foreigner, the ultimate romantic gesture would be to learn their language.

A meme about needing to learn Finnish and how hard it is.

Source: Twitter

Unless they’re Finnish. In that case, you have a pass. Because honestly, if you want to take up the Finnish language, you have to be willing to dedicate every second of your life to the task. Good luck, buddy…

Let’s Drink to That

Our “comfortably cold” is Finland’s “scorching hot.” If you happen to be in Finland in the summer, you’ll probably feel a bit chilly. But still, don’t forget to drink your water! Surely, all the Finns around you will be gulping down water to replenish the fluids they lost through sweating.

A meme about needing to drink a lot while being in Finland.

Source: Facebook

If you get sick of water at one point, try sipping on Salmari instead. This popular Finnish liquor is sure to make your troubles go away (at least for a few hours). Let’s raise a toast to Finland’s “blazing hot” summer. Cheers, or kippis!

Meanwhile in Finland…

Hmmm… we wonder what the U.S., Mexico, and the U.K. all have in common here. Could it be the tight clothes and exposed skin? Probably. In any case, Finland’s weather reporting looks a bit different. In Lord Eddard Stark’s words – winter is coming.

A meme showing the different weather girls worldwide compared to the weather reporter from Finland looks like a character from the show ‘Game of Thrones’.

Source: Facebook

Instead of vibrant, fun, sun-kissed weather reporters (we all know why they were chosen for the job), Finland takes its weather seriously. This funny meme shows Ned Stark delivering a serious-toned report on the insane blizzard that is yet to come.

Just a Regular Wednesday

In the U.S., snow days are the ultimate treat. With school canceled, it’s the perfect opportunity to roll around in your pjs all day like a lazy bum without feeling guilty about it. But, in Finland, people are less spoiled than that. Blizzards are part of the norm.

A meme showing heavy snowfall around the world, but in Finland, it’s just a regular Wednesday.

Source: Facebook

There’s really no reason for you to stay in. Snow is snow, and you got to live with it. Put on your thickest coat, some fuzzy mittens, and off to work it is! In other European countries, snow calls for a celebration. But, in Finland, it’s just called Wednesday.

Who Stole the Sun?

Year after year, Finland suffers from a sneaky thief that comes sometime around November to steal their sunlight. Oh wait, that’s just their winter. Can you imagine having only six short hours of sunlight every day for months on end?

Photos of a man appearing to grab the sun and put it into his car.

Source: Twitter

That means going to work when it’s still dark outside and returning home, once again, in the pitch black. How does anyone get any work done? Well, good thing they have their long (never-ending) summer days to brighten up their spirits again.

Scary Christmas Carols

Christmas is a magical, magical time. It’s when a big-bearded chap slides down our chimneys and showers us with gifts. In return, we give him cookies. Sounds like a fair exchange. Anyways, in Finland, Christmas tales and fun carols are…ominous.

A list of English vs. Finnish Christmas songs.

Source: Facebook

In Finland, Elf struggles to fall asleep, grandma is left to celebrate on her own, and baby Jesus suffocates under the thick snow. Wonderful! The reason Finns can enjoy Christmas despite their creepy carols is because they never forget the dreadful truth that we’re all going to die. We might as well make the most of it while we can, right?

MAA, MAA and More MAA

The English language has so many words to describe the surrounding terrain. Land, soil, ground, world, country, area, dirt etc. In Finnish, it’s all summed up by one word – maa. You would expect that a language with specific terms like “loska” (slushy, dirty snow) would be a bit more generous.

A list of all the different words to describe ground in English vs. the same word to describe all of those same words in Finnish

Source: Twitter

But, nope. The Finns see no reason to add any more words to describe the dry land. So “maa” is basically a magical word that fits into so many situations. Maa is country, earth, soil, and world. Who knew that three simple letters could mean so much?

Good Luck Learning a New Word

As an adult, picking up a new language is a challenge. But learning Finnish is just… a gradual decline into a gloomy vortex of despair. It starts out well enough, giving you the illusion that you’ve got this. All you need is Duolingo, a few episodes of a Finnish drama, and some native songs, right? Wrong.

 A complicated graph is showing the way to learn a new word in Finnish.

Source: Facebook

This isn’t to say that English is the easiest language out there. But Finnish takes the cake when it comes to complexity with its exhausting grammatical rules and challenging pronunciations. We asked Google how long it takes on average to learn Finnish. The answer is 88 weeks. We highly doubt it.

Are the Finns Really the Happiest People on Earth?

Incredibly, Finland has been on the top of the happy list for three consecutive years. How, in a country with such out of whack sun cycles, do the people manage to be cheerful and jolly and serene. Here are a few reasons: low levels of corruption, flourishing healthcare, and a proper work-life balance.

Two side-by-side photos of Finnish men with blank expressions on their faces.

Source: Twitter

Just look at the happy fellows above: the sparkle in their eyes, their playful grin. They’re dying to roll around in the snow and create majestic icy angels. Jokes aside, these guys might not look too happy, but, in their defense, the Finns don’t like to wear their emotions on their sleeves.

April Fools Is Real, Guys

The changing of the seasons never ceases to surprise us. Year after year, we get excited over the first rain, the first snow, first blossom, and our first day back at the beach. But the Finns have an actual reason to be surprised. Their weather is terribly unpredictable.

A humorous list of the seasons in Finland

Source: Facebook

The Finnish enjoy what they call a “fool’s spring.” Apparently, springtime likes to play tricks on them. It sort of arrives, but then not really. It blossoms, but then a full-on blizzard storms in and tears the petals apart.

Shush! No Complaining

Most countries can say that their winter lasts between three to four months, but, in Finland, we’re talking six to eight (depending on where you live). We can only imagine how grateful they must feel when the first rays of the sun appear and warm them up.

A meme of Batman slapping Robin as he complains about it being hot outside after eight months of Finnish winter.

Source: Twitter

Oh, wait, they don’t like the heat? Let’s see. According to our quick Google search, the hottest it gets in Finland is usually around 80°, which is a comfortable level of heat. So, we really don’t know what they’re complaining about.

I Don’t Want Black Licorice

If you’re a ‘90s kid, you probably remember that Nickelodeon used to have this creepy Halloween game that involved little kids turning into demons after getting black licorice instead of real candy. Well, looks like every kid’s nightmare is Finland’s choice of candy.

Salted black licorice.

Source: Pinterest

Even weirder is the fact that they dunk their black candy in salt. How anyone would get excited over this bitter candy is beyond me. It reeks with anise and fennel, and it tastes like medicine. But I guess that one man’s meat is another man’s poison, right?

This Cat Gets It

Remembering new words is only half of the journey when it comes to learning a new language. The other half is pronouncing them. Here’s a lesson in Finnish pronunciation. In Finnish, y sounds a bit like ü in German.

A meme of a cat making a funny expression.

Source: Twitter

I’m not Finnish, so I hope I’m not misleading any of you. But from what I’ve read, the key to pronouncing a proper y is by rounding your lips as if you’re saying “oo.” Just don’t make the same mistake as this gagging cat and keep your tongue inside your mouth.

Keep It Cool, Even on New Year’s Eve

New Year’s celebration is normally a grandiose fiesta featuring a blaring countdown and thundering fireworks. But Finland plays by its own rules. According to this meme, the folks there are happy, but they’re not roaring with excitement like the rest of us.

A meme of an old painting of a man smiling only briefly as the clock strikes midnight on New Years Eve.

Source: Facebook

3.. 2.. 1.. Happy New Year’s! Small grin, and it’s over. Make sure you don’t blink, or else you risk missing out on one of the few times the Finnish express their emotions. If there are any Finns reading this article, don’t take us personally! We’re obviously joking.

Caffeine Junkies

It seems like we’re all super hooked on coffee. How can you not be? An aromatic cup of joe is all you really need to lift your spirits. Two in the morning, one right after lunch, one in the afternoon…and if we didn’t have to sleep, we would probably be sipping it right before bed as well.

A tweet about how the Finns are the world's biggest coffee drinkers.

Source: Twitter

But as much as you think you love your coffee, there’s surely a Finnish person out there who loves his more. Hard to compete with someone who lives in a country with only 17.5 hours of sunshine a month! The Finns are hands down the biggest coffee drinkers in the world.

Just Your Ordinary Finnish Logic

In Finland, November marks the start of winter, and April is its end (unless it’s spring’s fool). So it makes sense to catch people wearing sweaters in November and tank tops in April. Oh, wait, but this meme shows the exact same temperature.

A drawing of a doodle man covered in winter clothing in November during 5 degrees weather vs. the same man in April in summer clothing, but the temperature has not changed.

Source: Facebook

Well, I guess it’s just one of those things only Finnish people are able to understand. Maybe they’re hoping spring will actually stick around if they strip off their bundle of layers. We hope they don’t catch a cold! 5°c is way too chilly for short sleeves.

Don’t Take It Personally

If this doormat isn’t enough to convince you of how much the Finns like their personal space, we don’t know what will. According to this hilarious meme, this is the country’s best-selling doormat. Doormats usually have snowflakes, plants, cool patterns, or even a nice saying like “Welcome Home.” But not in Finland.

A doorman that says, “You read my doormat, that’s enough interaction for one day”.

Source: Twitter

When you first look at it, it might come off as rude. But this is actually way less mean than many other social interactions out there, like someone cutting us off in line or yelling at us for accidentally pushing them. The Finns are polite, honest, and like their privacy. Nothing wrong with that!

Yet Another Brilliant Example

Following from the previous picture, here’s another accurate example of just how private these people are. If talking to your neighbor is part of your daily routine, the Finn’s social habits might come off as seriously sad. But don’t feel bad for them.

A meme of a woman meeting her neighbor and looking rather uncomfortable.

Source: Twitter

Let us remind you that Finland is the happiest country in the world. There must be something about their politeness and mutual respect that really makes a difference in their well-being. Can you imagine a spunky, loud Italian next to a reserved Finnish guy? Hard to believe we all belong to the same species!

Spot the Finnish Guy

Let’s play a game of Where’s Waldo. Can you spot the Finnish guy on the ride? Try looking for someone pale and reserved. Someone serene, peaceful, unmoved. Someone in a state of complete equanimity as if he were sitting right under the bodhi tree.

A meme of people riding a rollercoaster looking scared while the one Finnish guy looks like he could not care less.

Source: Twitter

Okay, we admit. This is definitely a first-page level of Where’s Waldo. Because, seriously, you would have to be blind not to notice him right away. Unless you were actually blinded by his complexion (again, Finns, don’t take it personally).

Katos Katos Katos

This is pretty funny. Katos in Finnish means see, disappear and canopy. Why? No clue. But if you want to show your friend a disappearing canopy, all you got to do is shout “katos katos katos!” Hopefully, this meme is true and we’re not just making this up.

A drawing of a Bunny next to a canopy vs. a drawing of that same bunny without a canopy.

Source: Twitter

Okay, quick google check. “See” in Finnish is actually “katso,” and disappear is “katoavat.” So we’re not sure how accurate this meme is. But, then again, relying on Google translate is sometimes (who am I kidding, most of the time) a complete disaster. If any Finns are reading this, please speak up in the comments!

Okay Now We’re Really Confused

After going through a lot of memes, we have one thing to say about the weather in Finland: It’s confusing. Like its complicated language, weather in Finland is a mystery. Doesn’t this picture look like a real-life expression of the 5°C meme from before?

A woman sitting in the shade in full winter clothing with snow on the ground while he husband sits beside her in the sun in summer clothing, and the snow has melted away.

Source: Facebook

For real, what’s going on in this picture? On the left, we have a guy practically choking on fabric (thank god he has eyes, or else that part would also be covered), and, on the right, we have some dude tanning in short sleeves. Calling this picture confusing would be an understatement.

The One Reason Finns Smile

Fear, happiness, sorrow, delight – all of these emotions are unique and have their very own facial expression. Well, unless you’re Finnish. In that case, you have one neutral expression that covers the whole spectrum and one thrilled face that you flaunt if you win a game of ice hockey.

Emojies showing the same blank expression for different emotions along with a man freaking out after winning a hockey game

Source: Facebook

The Finnish people take their ice hockey seriously. Their country is considered part of “the big six” along with Canada, the U.S., the Czech Republic, Russia, and Sweden. And they won the cup a total of three times! In 1999, 2011, and most recently in 2019.

Saunas Galore!

Right we talked about Finland being the happiest country in the world because of its great public healthcare service? Well, forget that. We found the real reason why the Finnish are delighted and joyous all the time. It all comes down to their steamy saunas.

Thousands of Pins covering the map of Finland showing the placement of all the saunas they have.

Source: Facebook

Their millions of steamy saunas, to be exact. Finland has a population of about 5.5 million people and around 2 million saunas covering the land. That means that if everyone were to enter the saunas all at once, there would be 2 people and a disembodied half in every warm lodge.

The Spring of Deception

Okay, for the final time, here’s another joke about Finland’s unpredictable spring. These pictures were taken only 95 minutes apart, and it’s as if they were taken in a completely different season! Imagine putting on a coat, a hat, a scarf, thick socks, and waterproof boots, only to have to remove them all the second you step out of the door!

A snow-covered view at 11:13 AM vs. that same view looking like blooming spring at 12:48 PM.

Source: Twitter

Instead of snowy, frosty trees (like you saw when you looked out your window), you now have a luscious, green forest full of chirping birds and happy deer prancing around the area. Dammit spring! You got us again.

Finn Style Elevators

Elevators are uncomfortably intimate. You’re pretty much crammed in a tight place with another stranger whom you really don’t want to look at. Usually, the two of you end up staring at the floor for most of the ride, which for some reason is taking forever to end even though you’re only going up one floor.

Basic drawings of how people stand in elevators in the USA and Europe vs. how people stand in an elevator in Finland, that is when all the passengers face the walls.

Source: Facebook

Can you imagine how awkward it must get for the Finnish people? This meme clarifies exactly how they survive the dreadful ride. The solution is simple – they turn their backs on each other. That way, each one stares at the elevator décor instead of risking (god forbid!) a chance of making eye contact.

Knock-Knock, Anyone Home?

Finland took the “knock-knock, who’s there?” joke and turned it into a full-blown horror story. They also made regular sayings sound like phrases only the devil would dare to say. Since when is “Can I Sit Here?” a scary sentence? (unless the whole world is suffering from an epidemic…)

A list of 4-word Finnish Horror stories.

Source: Facebook

Our favorite one has got to be “Moomin’s a pink hippo.” We understand why that terrifies the Finns. Imagine having pink mozzarella all over your pizza. The combination with the red salsa would be absolutely horrifying. In any case, calling Moomin pink hippo is totally disrespectful!

The Terror of Loksa

Finland has a really chilly summer, a sunless winter, two fake springs, autumn, and, finally, a mud season! It’s that time of the year when the dreadful loska takes over the land and threatens to stain their clothes with muddy, grimy, slushy snow.

A snowman appears to be melting into the gross dirty snow left on the ground.

Source: Pinterest

Loska doesn’t only ruin your clothes, but it also devours all the snowmen you so carefully crafted. All that love and dedication you put into rolling the perfect balls…taken from you. All at once. So long Frosty…so long Olaf…

You Better Listen to Leo

Six months sounds like a reasonable amount of time to get the hang of a language. But that’s only if you spend every single day practicing. And that’s only if you’re learning any other language in the world but Finnish. Because Finnish might take you six years, not six months.

A meme making fun of people who think they can learn Finnish in just six months.

Source: Facebook

DiCaprio agrees with us. Don’t get us wrong, it’s cute when people have high ambitions. But it’s downright funny when they have practically impossible ones. But, anyways, don’t let us kill your buzz. You do you! (or go for Spanish instead…)

Finnish Bread

Bread is usually warm, toasty, buttery, soft, and goes well with everything. It’s the one thing that is absolutely delicious regardless of the country that makes it. In France, it’s a crispy baguette. In Italy, it’s a delicious ciabatta, and in the U.S., it’s a highly processed delicacy.

A meme showing delicious-looking French, English, and Italian bread vs. Finnish bread that will break a knife in half.

Source: Twitter

But in Finland, it’s a rock-hard rye bread called ruisleipä. While it probably comes out of the oven toasty and soft, the second it meets the frosty, cold air, that’s it. It’s a goner. If any of you have tried ruisleipä, please let us know what you think.