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!
In Finland, you can find so many edible, little things in the nature and they taste delicious. We have listed three natural recipes for you to read!
For instance, there are wonderful berries and mushrooms which you can pick from the bushes. We have, in Finland, this thing called “every man’s rights”. This basically means that anyone could just visit a forest or field and pick some berries or mushrooms.
My personal favorite are blueberries. Blueberries are sweet, but unlike candies, these berries are also healthy for you. You can combine blueberries with so many different food, e.g., ice cream and pies. It is fairly easy; you don’t have to be a master chef in order to create this delicious blueberry pie. Here’s a recipe.
Second favorite what most Finns pick up from the forest is chanterelle. Chanterelle is a mushroom, tasteful and maybe the most known one. There are some preparations you have to do with the chanterelles before cooking it, but it is certainly worth it. Here’s a nice chanterelle risotto recipe for you to make your friends and family happy.
The third recipe is made from nettles. I know picking nettles could be painful if you are not well covered when gathering them, but if you put proper clothes on and parboil them, you’ll be fine. Here’s one nice nettle soup recipe for you for the cold summer evenings.
There are many benefits from eating these natural foods from the forest. For example, it has been studied that blueberries could prevent cancer, they also increase your brain capacity and easy your metabolism system. Chanterelles also have its own benefits, e.g., full of vitamins and irons.
You can have a perfect three-course meal with these recipes listed above. Start with the soup, then have the chanterelle risotto, and finally the blueberry pie as dessert. Have fun preparing this Scandinavian course meal and remember to eat well!
Based on the survey results conducted by InterNations, the world’s largest for people who live and work abroad, Finland now makes it to the top in the Family Life Index, while last year’s number one, Austria, drops down to the fourth rank.
The Family Life index includes the quality of education available to expat families looking to give their children the best start in life. The quality of education in the countries listed below is based on the findings by InterNations.
#10 Australia – “Education is deemed easy to afford by 64% of expats, compared to 45% globally. The quality of education is also appreciated by an impressive 84% of respondents.”
#9 The Netherlands – Finding the right school is a big decision for expat families, but there are various public and private options, and expats don’t need to be concerned when it comes to the standard of education in the Netherlands.
#8 Taiwan – The Quality of Education comes in a respectable eighth. “Life in Taiwan seems to be rather inexpensive as well, as it ranks third in the Cost of Living Index.”
#7 Belgium – This year, a third of expat parents find the quality of education in Belgium very good. Last year, it was just about one-sixth.
#6 Israel – The quality of education is considered favourably by the majority of expat parents in Israel (84%)
#5 Hong Kong – The quality of education is top notch, but Hong Kong is in the bottom three for both the availability of education and cost.
#4 South Korea – “47% of expat parents in South Korea rate the quality of education as excellent this year compared to just 22% last year.”
#3 Switzerland – According to expat families, the quality of education is among the best in the world.
#2 Singapore – The living and education cost of Singapore are extremely high, but “53% of expat parents also rate the quality of education as excellent.”
#1 Finland – The top country for expat education, 70% say the quality of education to be excellent in Finland, compared to the global average of just 21%.
Finnish cuisine is known to be delicious and simple – you can enjoy fresh and healthy food around the year. In addition, Finnish food safety is one of the best in the world, so you can explore the local flavors carefree.
Usually, the dish looks tempting and work up your appetite, but like always, the exception proves the rule. We listed top 5 weird-looking (yet delicious) Finnish foods.
Sweetened rye pudding
Do not mistake this to be poop! Mämmi is sweetened porridge made from rye flour, rye malt and water. A pinch of salt and syrup will perfect the flavor. Finns eat the delicacy with sugar and cream or milk around Easter time, which means you need to visit Finland during spring to experience the black treat.
Mämmi-related fun fact: Finnish cross-country skier, Juha Mieto, eats nearly 30 kilograms of mämmi every year during Easter. That’s a respectable amount!
The next dish is bloody delicious – literally. The exotic sausage is made from grained meat, blood, and rye grains and usually served as a snack with lingonberries. Most genuine way is to buy a portion from a food stall at the market square and experience the atmosphere. The origin of musta makkara lies in Tampere – the same city where Edunation’s headquarters is located!
Flat meat/apple pie
Don’t judge a book by its cover! Even though this pastry does not look like an amazing culinary experience, you should include it in your bucket-list when travelling in Finland. Delicious flavors of the flat, oil cooked savory with meat or apple filling will tickle your taste buds. You can find the treat easiest in Eastern part of Finland and the most traditional location to munch lörtsy is at market square in Savonlinna (a city in Finland).
No, nobody has vomited on the plate. The green soup is patiently cooked for hours for the best taste. The main ingredients are simple: dried peas, meat, and water, whereas onion, carrot, salt and mustard can be used to give more flavors. The traditional lunch dish is usually enjoyed Thursdays with pancake dessert. There is no specific reason why the day is Thursday, yet one explanation comes from centuries ago, when Fridays were fast days and people preferred a heavy and nutritious meal the day before. Nowadays, it’s just a habit.
I bet every Finn has tasted karjalanpiirakka, a pastry that you can find easily in every bakery, supermarket, and coffee shop in Finland. Hence, you simply can’t skip this bite which is a tasteful combination of rice pudding and crispy rye crust.
The pastry is a convenient snack for students and busy people because it tastes delicious even without any preparations. However, the best way to enjoy karjalanpiirakka is warm straight out of oven with egg-butter-spread.
Check also our blog post where we listed reasons to visit Finland during the summer.