Culture and Etiquette in Finland

Finnish people are normally an outsider's favourite thing about Finland: percipient, laconically humorous, self-depreciating and genuinely interested in those who care to find out more about their country. Yet, their brevity can make them come across as withdrawn, introspective, even downright odd: little value is put on exuberance, and you can have an entire conversation with a Finn without their making any discernible facial expression. But underneath this reserve, Finnish people are as full of enthusiasm and affection as any other nation. This is a people whose aversion to small talk and affinity for the awkward moment is rivalled only by their remarkable ability to drink several times their body weight in alcohol in an evening’s sitting. Their underlying bonhomie does reveal itself when there’s drink around, but alcohol abuse really has long been a problem here, and it’s wise to avoid trying to keep up with the Finnish capacity for drinking.

Tipping is rare in Finland, and buying rounds is unheard of. Service is usually included in restaurant bills, although it’s common to round the bill up to the nearest convenient figure when paying in cash (the same applies for taxi fares).

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