We already know how awesome Finland is: one of world’s best education systems, clean air and nature, one of safest and least corrupt places on earth, and so on. With so many good things it is no wonder that these celebrities fell in love with the country!
“I love Finland, I love people and their energy” exclaimed the US rapper for Rumba. Snoop Dogg has performed in Finland multiple times. In Tampere Blockfest, probably the country’s most popular hip hop festival, he was even wearing the local ice hockey team Ilves’ jersey!
Scorpions guitarist Rudolf Schenker loves the “crazy” Finnish fans, and especially the lakes: “I love the Finnish lakes! Instead of a dinner after a gig, I ask the driver to get me to a nearby lake. After this I just dive to the cooling and refreshing water, and simply enjoy myself”, he told to Iltamakasiini.
Ashton Kutcher is not only renowned as an actor, but after becoming a father of two, he has contributed greatly to the social welfare. Especially children are close to his heart. Accordingly, no one should have been surprised when he shared in Facebook an article about the state supported baby starter kits, that all the parents receive when getting a baby. Even the caption for the post was enthusiastic: “Finland, you’re awesome!”
This is not the only time he praised Finland. In a Facebook video he recently shared, it was all about how the children in Finland receive free lunches at playgrounds during the summer. At all other times, free meals are offered at the schools, not to mention that they are prepared from scratch. The caption on the post suggested everyone to take example of the Finnishes practices.
“Innovation: production or adoption, assimilation, and exploitation of a value-added novelty in economic and social spheres; renewal and enlargement of products, services, and markets; development of new methods of production; and establishment of new management systems. It is both a process and an outcome.”
Finland is included in the top 10 innovative countries in the world in Global Innovation Index (GII). The GII 2016 is calculated as the average of two sub-indices: input index and output index. These are formed from five and two pillars, consecutively.
But what does this mean in real life? Let’s have a look what is behind the famous buzzword!
Institutional framework enables the innovation process. In Finland, political, regulatory, and business environments are supporting innovations and therefore are strengths of the country. Political situation is stable and the risk of terrorism is low, not to mention that the quality of public and civil services is high. Laws are set and followed conscientiously, and starting and running a business is effortless.
Real life example:
Imagine you want to start a business. The atmosphere is peaceful and you can trust that there isn’t any interruptions in the society. You can register you company online, fill in the tax for online, and rely on the support services that government is offering.
The second pillar consist of Education and Research and Development. In this pillar, Finland is the number one in the world, which is not a surprise. The quality of Finnish education is high all way from primary school to the tertiary level. Pupils are succeeding in PISA tests and most citizens receive education for years. With educated people, it is possible to create value and develop new. Research and development is supported, and there is a great number of researchers in the country. Beneficial for innovations for sure!
Real life example:
As a Finn, you will start your school career at the age of seven and in most cases, continue all way through tertiary level programs. The government supports your path and education is free of charge for Finnish citizens. If you feel that you did not get enough with books, you can continue your career as a researcher after university.
The third pillar measures information and communication technologies (ICTs), general infrastructure, and ecological sustainability. Finnish government online services and online e-participation are top class, not to mention the good results in environmental performance.
Real life example:
The Government’s website is comprehensive and information is publicly available. You can do nearly all announcements and applications for the government online. No need for queues – you can take care of paper work comfortably wherever you feel like it. This reduces also paper waste. In Finland, environment is present in everyday business to ensure sustainable future. You better put the banana peel to the bio waste at the office.
The Market sophistication pillar describes the state of market conditions and the total level of transactions. This pillar is not Finland’s strongest one, but the tiny country performs well in worldwide comparison. There is still room for improvement.
This pillar is measuring firms’ input in innovation activity. It consists of knowledge workers, innovation linkages and knowledge absorption. Finland is performing well with high employment in knowledge-intensive services and high collaboration between firms and research.
Real life example:
You have positive prospectives when you want to be employed in a professional role. In optimal situation, you utilize the latest research to stay up-to-date on future trends and current findings.
The post is based on Global Innovation Index -report.
Who doesn’t want to travel more, but don’t really have the money to make it all happen. So here are some tips on saving money while traveling; all will help you get the most out of your next adventure.
You can narrow down your preferences to flights departing from certain countries, and they will notify you when a deal pops up
Also known as “shoulder periods”. When kids go back to school in September, after New Year’s, and just after the Spring Break in April, airlines and hotels often provide discounts on flights and hotel rooms during these times.
Especially during long flights, snacks are needed. Buying snacks at the airport is probably not the best thing to do when you’re trying to be on a budget. Food prices can even double there.
So avoid eating near tourist spots, and start eating where the locals eat. Follow the locals to the places where they eat, they know where to grab some tastier and cheaper food.
You can even ask the hotel staff for the prices, just don’t overpay for things.
Do as the locals do. Crappy and packed trains, tuk-tuks, mini vans, buses… you get the idea.
Sometimes you’re just too lazy or tired to use the public transport, in this case you can use applications like Uber and GrabTaxi to save you from overpriced taxi rides. However, GrabTaxi is only available in selected countries: Malaysia, Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, Vietnam, and Indonesia.a
When traveling you should always arrange your own tickets or visa. Third-party agencies would charge you an additional fee, which makes it more expensive.
Avoid booking in advance. You can score major discounts with last-minute deals and more importantly, the more flexible your plans, the more fun you’ll have.
Connecting flights are cheaper than non-stops. Airlines know that non-stops are more popular than connecting flights; this is why non-stops are also more expensive.
Many attractions have discounts for students. If you’re traveling remember to take your student card with you.
The infamously long, dark, and cold winter is finally over in Finland. The whole country seems to come alive in the summer time, and what would be a better way to celebrate this than going to a festival! Finland hosts numerous festivals, ranging from quirky film festivals under the midnight sun to celebrations of thousands of hard core metal fans. Check out the best five festivals in Finland that you should experience at least once in your life!
8th-16th July 2017
Jazz, funk, soul, hip hop, blues, Afro-Cuban, pop
One of the biggest and oldest jazz festivals in Europe, Pori Jazz was found already in 1966. Although the festival started with a duration of just two days with only 1 500 visitors, the event has grown exponentially and has been extended to last for nine days and hosts 120 000 to 160 000 jazz lovers every year. The festival has become one of the most beloved ones, and no wonder: it has hosted international big names such as Betty Carter, Alicia Keys, Earth, Wind & Fire, Phil Collins, Chuck Berry, and The Roots. This year’s main artists include future funk act Jamiroquai, Grace Jones, and Brian Wilson Presents Pet Sounds.
7th-9th July 2017
rock, hip hop, pop, electronic music, alternative
The second oldest festival still running in Europe, Ruisrock was started in 1970 and has hosted many remarkable artists including Bon Jovi, Nirvana, Uriah Heep, and Bob Dylan. Even though Ruisrock’s roots are deep in the rock genre, the contemporary festival has expanded its offerings. This year’s line-up features the Norwegian DJ producer Kygo, rapper Travis Scott , singer-songwriter Charli XCX, as well as many popular and rising Finnish artists!
TOP TIP: Take your grandma and grandpa with you! All 70+ year olds have free admission for one day, and ride the waterbus from Turku city centre to the festival site and back for free.
30th June -2nd July 2017
hard rock, metal
The hard-core rock festival gathering metal heads from all corners of the world turns 20 years this summer! Having hosted legends like Alice Cooper, Lamb of God, Anthrax, and Megadeth, Tuska is among the most respected metal festivals in the world. Nicknamed “The promised land of metal”, Finland takes pride in . Many big names in the genre, such as Nightwish, Children of Bodom, and Apocalyptica are hailing from Finland. This year, one of the iconic Finnish bands, H.I.M., will climb up on the stage as one of the festival’s main performers along Sabaton and Mastodon.
TOP TIP: H.I.M. is disbanding and is on their final tour! It is now or never, take the chance and go see the magnificent band rocking the stage.
14th-18th June 2017
Indie and Alternative
In the middle of Finnish Lapland, north of the arctic circle where the midnight sun burns as brightly in the night as it does during the day, lies the small village of Sodankylä. During the nightless nights the village comes vividly animated with people when everyone with love for cinema gathers together. The sense of time disappears when films are played through day and night, that merge into one under the never-setting sun.
During the festival that was found by the filmmaker Kaurismäki brothers in 1986, altogether over 100 films are played on 120 screens. The programme includes both Finnish and international films, classics and contemporary pieces. Some films to definitely look forward to are the American thriller The China Syndrome (1979), the exotic Finnish-Bulgarian document The Good Postman (2016), and the sensational Finland100 film Tom of Finland (2017).
TOP TIP: In some screenings, leading film critics will provide insight into the master pieces and help to understand the delicate undertones and symbolism used in the art of cinema.
11th-13th August 2017
urban, hip hop, alternative, pop, art
The contemporary festival combines music and arts, and the programme includes everything from gigs to film screenings and talks as well as food and drinks. Taking place at a defunct power plat and its industrial surroundings, Flow Festival showcases not only the most notable artists of the moment, but also lets the most promising emerging artists to take over the stage. Previous names include the revolutionary South-African zef-act Die Antwoord, US rapper Kanye West, the politically aware M.I.A., and the Icelandic sensation Björk. This August, the capital of Finland has the honour to welcome guests like the ever-so-iconic diva Lana del Rey, the ethereal US ensemble The XX, rock cult favourite Ryan Adams, and a broad representation of the new generation of US rappers including Frank Ocean, Young Thug, Princess Nokia, and Vince Staples . Remember to keep an eye open for the new and upcoming artists too; it would not be the first time when the conquest of the international music world has started from the stage of the Flow Festival.
Midsummer festival, Juhannus, is a celebration of light and summer. It’s one of the most expected holidays in Finland. After the long and dark winter, it is time to relax and get together with friends and family. Midsummer starts the holiday season in Finland and there is even a public holiday to allow everyone to have a long weekend.
Festivities takes place the weekend after the summer solstice, around the third weekend of June. People escape to their summer cottages, and cities are ghostly quiet. Yet, cottage districts and camping areas are completely the opposite. People enjoy the nightless night together and do not hesitate to express the joy loudly. Drinking beer, listening to Finnish hits, and cooking outdoors are common midsummer activities. Grill sausage is a must and you can find first-harvest potatoes and herring on your plate for sure.
Sauna is a crucial part of Finnish midsummer celebrations. Nearly every summer cottage has a sauna and while bathing, it’s common to clean your skin with vihta, a birch whisk. It will renew your skin and improve blood circulation. May sound weird, but it makes you feel refreshed, not to mention the lovely scent of birch leaves. Usually, summer cottages are located next to a lake and it is common to dip into the water in between of sauna baths.
Sauna prepares you for the midnight magic. The origin of midsummer spells goes back to the days when people were superstitious and believed in magic. Most of the rituals were for young unmarried women, so the spells concentrated on partner finding and love. Nowadays, the spells are a fun activity to do with friends and family.
Sauna and spells are not the only traditions during the midsummer celebrations. It is common to collect twigs and blocks of wood beforehand, and then light the fire on midsummer. A bonfire is usually set next to a lake or on a raft that is sent out to the water. It is a social event, and people around the neighborhood gather together to have a cheerful discussion over the activity. Originally the bonfire was set up to drive away bad spirits.
There is a countless number of other midsummer traditions depending on the region. In addition, the traditions varies between families and generations. In Finland, you can create a midsummer traditions that suits you the best!