Do you know Finland, my home country? Beside Finland, there’s Russia at the east, Sweden at the west and Norway at north. Although Finland seems to be quite a small country, its area is bigger than Italia, Poland or UK, but its population is only 5,5 million people. That leaves us plenty of nature to enjoy. The beauty of Lapland and Finland’s 168 000 lakes gives us countless places to calm down and enjoy the scenery. The country of untouched nature, safety and its happy, honest people make Finland a wonderful place to live and safe place to be creative. And of course we have sauna, reindeers and Santa Claus’ home is in Finland’s polar circle.
Finland is famous by its safety. Here children can walk to school by themselves when they start their journey in public school at the age of seven. We don’t have many private schools. Education is free for everyone, even university is free. Finnish schools have been ranked as one of the best in the world countless times in many studies. Everyone can get help from public healthcare in a very low price and if you lose your job or get otherwise economically in a bad situation, state helps you financially. We pay quite a lot of taxes, normally around 20-30% of our salary, but a lot of things is being taken care with it. Our politicians are one of the least corrupted in the world and we can always trust our police to act fairly. Finland is located on a bedrock so we don’t have big earthquakes. There aren’t any big seas beside Finland and the Scandinavian mountains calm storm winds coming from the Atlantic, so storms with hurricane-speed wind don’t get here.
Sunlight in Northern Finland amazes tourists. In midsummer the sun doesn’t go down at all. How fun it is to be in a summer music festival, where you can listen to the bands at midnight in a daylight. Summertime we use blackout curtains in the bedrooms to avoid the sunlight to disturb our sleep in the night. The variation in the amount of sunlight here is quite big. Counterbalance to the summers 24 hours a day sunlight, in the midwinter the sun doesn’t rise at all. We call the dark time in winter “kaamos”, polar night.
Variation in the amount of sunlight is hard for some of Finnish people, but I love it. When days start to get shorter it is time to get candles from the closet and enjoy the atmosphere of darkness, candlelight and the warmness of the fireplace. The beauty of the darkness in the nature is breathtaking. The nature seems almost colorless, but there are amazingly beautiful blue moments sometimes in a freezingly cold winter day. The northern lights light up the sky on a dark winter night and the stars look like millions of diamonds. And when in the springtime the sun starts to show up again it colors the nature a bit by bit and you can see the nature reborn again.
I composed a song describing these beautiful blue moments of the winter. You can listen to it here and see the pictures of that beauty also:
Classical music is greatly appreciated in Finland and here almost every child has a chance to learn to play an instrument he or she wishes. Our conservatories are high standard academies of music and beside them we have dozens of other schools supported by the state, where children can start their musical journey in a reasonable price. Our new curriculum of music highlights creativity. Improvisation and composing are important parts of music education. There are a lot of masters in classical music from Finland which are known worldwide: for example composers Jean Sibelius, Oskar Merikanto, Leevi Madetoja, Toivo Kuula. Kaija Saariaho, conductor and composer Esa-Pekka Salonen, pianist and composer Olli Mustonen, violinist Jaakko Kuusisto, sopranos Karita Mattila and Helena Juntunen, bass singers Matti Salminen and Jaakko Ryhänen etc. The list is way too long to show properly in this post.
Maybe due to our long, cold, dark winter, many of the world’s best heavy metal bands come from Finland. In dark days it might be easier to sink into melancholia and compose rough music that touches people all over the world. Bands like Nightwish, Apocalyptica, Battle beast, Blind Channel and Beast in black are known worldwide in the heavy metal genre.
Sounds like paradise? It is for me. I love travelling but it is always wonderful to come back home. In my later posts I will tell you more about Finland, its arts and its people.