Finns love reading things written about them abroad, and visitors should not feel uncomfortable being asked repeatedly what they think of Finland.
However, although Finns are ready enough to criticize their own country, they do not necessarily wish to hear visitors doing so.
Indeed, there are very few other culture-specific considerations that visitors need be aware of.
As the Chinese proverb puts it, “Your speech should be better than silence, if it is not, be silent.”Finns have a very strong sense of national identity.
This is rooted in the country’s history – particularly its honourable wartime achievements and significant sporting merits – and is today nurtured by pride in Finland’s high-tech expertise.
Finnish customs and manners are clearly European, with only a few national variations, and attitudes are liberal.
There is very little chance of a visitor committing fundamental social gaffes or breaches of etiquette that would fatally damage relations between himself and his hosts.
Being realists, Finns do not expect foreigners to know a lot about their country and its prominent people, past or present, so they will be pleased if a visitor is familair with at least some of the milestones of Finnish history or the sports careers of Paavo Nurmi and Lasse Viren.
Finns would be happy if visitors knew something about the achievements of Finnish rally drivers and Formula 1 stars, or if they knew that footballers Jari Litmanen and Sami Hyypiä are Finns.There are also many titles ending with the suffix –mies (man) that are not considered gender-specific.It is appropriate for visitors to follow the established practice of whatever language they are using.As far as religion is concerned, there are very few dangers for visitors to Finland, even on subjects that in other cultures might be particularly sensitive.Most Finns belong formally to the Evangelical-Lutheran Church (about 83%), while 1.1% belong to the Finnish Orthodox Church; but people in general are fairly secular in their views.“Take a man by his words and a bull by its horns,” says a Finnish proverb.