Living in Vaasa and Finland

Way of life

The Finnish way of life reflects the democratic principles of the nation. It is based on equality between all the people. Nature plays quite a role in the Finnish way of life as well sports, the arts and sauna.

The Finnish way of life is easy going and strict formalities are not really observed. People are more or less straight talking and gaps in the conversation are not generally dreaded the way they are in many other countries. In conversation it is polite to wait for the other person to finish what they are saying before presenting your own viewpoint and this tends to slow down the rhythm somewhat. At work the atmosphere tends to be informal, first names are used and people dress casually.

When going out it pays to be aware that usually each member of the party pays for themselves. Tips are not generally given except perhaps the doorman at bars in order to facilitate entry the next time or in restaurants if you are particularly pleased with the service. Finns entertain regularly at home. When you are invited to a Finnish home, it is considered polite to take a small gift for your hosts. Coffee is part of Finnish entertaining.

Smoking is forbidden in public places, offices and other workplaces. Employers have built special facilities for smoking but if there are no such places smokers go outside. Restaurants and bars must, by law, reserve areas for non-smokers. At home, guests who wish to smoke generally only do so if their host does so first. Generally speaking, smokers will go out to the balcony to smoke.