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Helsinki’s apparent low profile is pure illusion. In 2012, the city was World Design Capital.
Discover the Jugend style
Which is the Finnish formula of art nouveau, visible in the national Theatre and Museum (Ateneum). The fortress of Suomenlinna, World Heritage Site, traces back to Russian and Swedish influences; and the great Lutheran Cathedral is an overwhelming luminous icon. Let's not forget the Senate Square, which is the starting point to see the rest of the city.
Do as Finns do
All roads lead to Kauppatori, the central square that includes the market. Helsinki is a great cultural destination and the KIASMA (museum of contemporary art) is just an example. And following the scandinavian tradition, there’s also a very popular amusement park: Linnanmäki!
Culture and Business
Make sure you have your citizen’s card or passport and boarding pass with you. Depending on your country of origin, arrange your visa or other required documentation well in advance.
In Finland, there are large variations in the climate from north to south. Average temperatures in the summer are around 17ºC and in winter there is snow and average temperatures are around -6ºC, and can reach -30ºC in the north. In the north, there are two months in which the sun does not set in the summer, and in the winter there are two months in which the sun does not rise.
GMT + 2
Geography and Politics
Finland is a member of the European Union. It is located in the north of Europe in the Fennoscandia region, which includes Scandinavia. Most of its population lives in the south of the country. Finland is a parliamentary republic with the central government based in Helsinki.
Tips and Payment
Credit cards are a very common payment method, and available at most locations. There are also ATM cash withdrawal machines. It is always useful to have some cash with you. Finland is part of the Eurozone, so the currency used will be the Euro (EUR). It is not customary to leave a tip since the bill in restaurants already contains a service charge.
Language and expressions to memorize
Finnish and Swedish are both official languages of the country. The mother tongue of more than 90% of the population is Finnish. Learn some terms in Finnish: “hei”= hi; “Kiitos” = thank you; “Anteeksi” = sorry.
What to do
Learn a little about Finnish culture so you can enter in conversations - Finns have a strong sense of national identity. Learn a few words in Finnish if you can, the Finns will be happy you have made the effort.
What not to do
Do not belittle the value of words. Finns value the way they use them and their meaning. They are a modest, honest and trustworthy people and like direct and uncomplicated communication - do not interrupt. Do not be late for meetings, it is a sign of disrespect.
What to wear
Dress stylishly, but conservatively. Men should wear suits and women suits or a dress.
When meeting someone for the first time, greet him or her with a handshake. If you are invited to someone's house, bring a bottle of wine and a bouquet of flowers to show your appreciation, and remove your shoes as you enter.