Lappeenranta and its lake of silence and peace

Funded in 1649, the city of Lappeenranta is beside one of the biggest and most beautiful lakes in Europe, and worldwide also. The lake Saimaa, the biggest in Finland, and the fifth in Europe, is a complex system of channels, little lakes, rivers, and islands in the south-east of Finland. The water of the lake is so clean that the people usually drink its water directly.

Surrounded by a beautiful ...  (continue reading)

Finland: A Sisu Society

What is sisu? I don’t really know. I have heard this term for the first time last week when I and my journalist friends were lectured about the history of Finland. Professor Maiju Wuokko from the University of Helsinki told us that ‘sisu’ represents the character of Finnish people. To put it in English vocabularies, the closest meaning to this term might be grit or gut.

It was also last week ...  (continue reading)

Helsinki: a (paradise) city that allows you to be… just you

A weekend in the capital of Finland, Helsinki, is a synonym of experimentation. The wide variety of activities that the city has to offer let you play with the different facets of your personality. And during the summer, one activity stands out: the Flow Festival.

Helsinki sharpens all your senses. The capital of Finland has the capacity to widen your pupils, make your inhalations deeper and your ...  (continue reading)

Beyond the “Nordic style” –– how Finland makes good design available to all

In my years of hearing “Nordic design” frequently thrown around outside of Nordic countries, often in fields like product design and interior decor, the term refers to the kind of simplicity in forms, with an emphasis on function and quality materials.

That is not that far off based on what I heard and saw in Finland. Tuija Aalto-Setälä, Brand Manager of Fiskars Corporation, Finland’s largest ...  (continue reading)

Porvoo reminded me of the importance of my own history as a South African

Jamaican-born black nationalist, Marcus Garvey, puts it this way, “A people without the knowledge of their past history, origin and culture is like a tree without roots.”

The fresh breeze from the long trees, the wooden and colourful houses made me feel like I was in touch with the history, the past, origin and the culture of the Wooden-city of Porvoo, Finland, as I walked through the streets ...  (continue reading)

Basic but complete: maternity and child care in Helsinki

Let’s suppose that you can turn the time back to the year you came out into this world and you can choose a city where you would be born. Which country comes to your mind?

If someone asks me this question, I will definitely answer “Helsinki” just in a second. The reason is simple: I believe that only the happy parents can raise their kids happy.

In most countries, including my home ...  (continue reading)

Finland – A country that seeks to create

Having an interest in a country and following a country’s progress from a remote location is one thing, but getting the chance to explore it from the ground is an experience that opens one to possibilities that one would have never imagined.

My first few days in Finland have essentially been of this nature. That Finland topped the list of the world’s happiest country is something that most of ...  (continue reading)

First impressions of a Finnish summer

The beautiful sunrise seen from the plane, a sort of small town atmosphere at the airport, the tall trees on the way to Töölö Towers, the nice view from the hotel corridor… And silence.

The silence was probably the most distinctive feature that caught my attention in Helsinki during my first 36 hours in the city. At first, it didn’t seem that extraordinary for it to be so quiet. I had ...  (continue reading)

Licorice and lessons from Finland

Finland seems a lot like the salty black licorice it’s known for. A sweet candy at an initial glance. More complex and extreme once you look closely.

On one hand, Finland is known for its robust social welfare programs. On the other, it has a history of struggling to combat long-term homelessness. There’s the world’s top education system by certain measures, but also a history of ...  (continue reading)

Finland: My First Trip to Europe!

For the past 5 years, I’ve visited around a dozen countries as a foreign news reporter for a TV station in Thailand. Most of them are in Asia and close to my home country such as China, Japan, Vietnam, Malaysia, and Cambodia; the others are USA and Russia. So Finland, where I will be traveling to in the next few days, will be the destination of my first trip to Europe.

I used to apply for some ...  (continue reading)