Finnish Information

The Culture of Finland combines indigenous heritage, as represented for example by the country's rare Finno-Ugric national language Finnish and the sauna, with common Nordic and European culture. Because of its history and geographic location Finland has been influenced by the adjacent areas' various Finnic, Baltic and Germanic peoples as well as the former dominant powers Sweden and Russia. Finnish culture may be seen to build upon the relatively ascetic environmental realities, traditional livelihoods and a heritage of egalitarianism, and the traditionally widespread ideal of self-sufficiency .

There are still cultural differences between Finland's regions, especially minor differences in accents and vocabulary. Minorities, some of which enjoy a status recognised by the state, such as the Sami, Swedish-speaking Finns, Romani, Jews, and Tatar, maintain their own cultural characteristics. Many Finns are emotionally connected to the countryside and nature, as large scale urbanisation is a relatively recent phenomenon.

Following the recession of the Scandinavian ice sheet, which covered most of northern Europe, from Great Britain to Moscow, around 8000 BC, peoples began arriving in what is today Finland presumably mainly from the south and east although recent archaeological finds reveal a presence of the north-western Komsa culture in Finnish north equally old to the earliest finds on the Norwegian coast.

Wikipedia, Finnish, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Culture_of_Finland (as of Apr 1, 2010)

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