Is this Finland 2016?

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Is this FINLAND?

In 2015 the Finnish government along with an advertising agency decided to release an emoji-set depicting “Finnish feelings”. But what is actually going on in Finland? Stay tuned to find out.

Visit this site every day in December 2015 and discover the real Finland. Tap and hold on mobile device to copy the emoji and use it in your conversation about the true Finland.

This site was made with no tax money (or any money at all, like a lot of arts and culture is). Hurray! (If you want to contact use, use this e-mail)

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24. We Wish You a Peaceful and a Lovely Christmas!


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23. Poor People Suck (According to Rich Finns)


The income gap in Finland has grown with remarkable speed. The growth rate of income inequality in Finland is the second fastest of all industrialised countries in the world.

It’s worrying to read the results of a poverty-report made by the biggest newspaper in Finland. The questionnaire revealed that most of the rich think that poverty is usually an individual's own fault and not caused by structures of our society. “Poverty is almost always one’s own fault, and almost every poor person belongs to the bottom trash of the society”, describes a survey responder in a family with an average yearly income of 15 000 - 250 000 €.

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22. A Threat Is Not an Argument


The use of netiquette and common manners in speech on the internet has been long forgotten in Finland. As if nothing better to do during everyday life, the Finns seem to be spending their time online leaving negative comments on online news articles and blogs ranging from unwarranted critique and pure hate speech. Even boredom seems to be a good enough incentive to threaten somebody with rape or violence. Even disguised as “fun” or “not serious”, hate speech is always an act which has a target.

Vihamuki: Examples of Finnish hate speech online (in Finnish)

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21. Darkest Winters


Finns have more than ten words for snow, but actual snowy winters are almost a rarity in southern Finland. Global warming is not helping. In southern Finland it’s not possible to walk on kantohanki (a layer of snow so hard you can walk on without sinking) or to admire a tykkylumipuu (a snow covered three that mostly looks like a weirdly high pile of snow). However you might get your shoes wet while walking in loska (wet greyish snow) or get surprised by musta jää (black ice that misleadingly looks like water on the pathway).

Whatever the situation is now, we do hope, that we can still walk on kantohanki fifty years from now in the Finnish Lapland.

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20. Made in China


The Finnish Santa works tirelessly throughout the year to provide children and adults around the world with christmas spirit and gifts. The task being as immensely big as it is, it’s no wonder that the jolly old man needs some help from time to time. No amount of elves could provide for the amount of need of christmas related goods and services that are consumed in Finland every year. Gladly we can rely on the support of China and have most parts of christmas made there and shipped here in boxes.

Santa's real workshop: the town in China that makes the world's Christmas decorations

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19. The Real Map of Finland


If you are one of our non-Finnish followers, and know only our capital Helsinki and not much more, don’t worry, we’ve got you’ve covered. As almost 90% of the population of Finland lives in the southern parts of Finland we’ve simplified the map for you.

The new map consists of using the old beltway number three (KEHÄTIE III) as a divider to create the map of Finland that actually matters. If you feel the urge to go and experience other parts of Finland, you can ask about them in Helsinki and realize that they don’t actually exist. Not that anybody wanted to go there in the first place.

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Finland might well be the only country in the world, where a giveaway for plastic buckets is enough to cause a few hundred meter long queue outside supermarkets. The cause of the phenomenom is not grounded in the cheapness of Finns, but rather stem from our weird fascination towards odd social gatherings.

Everyone in the queue are partaking in something a bit crazy, which creates a feeling of social cohesion. Some people are even brave and non-Finnish enough to exchange a few words with a stranger standing next to them. How wild is that!

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17. Cutting Where It Hurts


Finland is quite famous for a thing that cuts really well, the Fiskars Orange-handled Scissors. We’re also no strangers to cutting things in our society. Just this year we’ve cut or have planned cuts on:

early education, home care support, private care support, basic education funding, university funding, child care benefits, healthcare insurance, housing supports for unemployed and elderly, unemployment benefits, regional basic services, sick pay, overtime pay, amount of holidays

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16. Eternal Love


Expressing love and feelings can be hard for Finns. But when and if we find the right one there’s small signs and acts that showcase the true Finnish love.

The best way to observe an ironclad relationship in Finland is to look at jogging couples. If they’re wearing matching windbreaker outfits, preferably bought from olympic games in the 80’s, they probably have a really solid relationship.

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15. Missing You


Finland is among the top EU-countries in suicides committed by young people. Mental health problems and social exclusion among young people has been a much-talked topic during last couple of years but the situation is still grim.

Every once in a while stories rise up where someone who needed help couldn't get in time even though asking for it. When you're young it's horrifying to notice that some of your childhood friends might not grow up to experience their lifes as adults.

In 2011 Finland was in third in the amount of suicides among young people in the world.

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14. Smudge on the Sky


In Northern Finland it’s quite common to see the northern lights. During winter there's lots of tourists who walk around with their faces tilted towards the sky. However it’s rare to see deep green aurora borealis – the one’s that you see on postcards. Sometimes it’s hard to tell, if you are looking at northern lights or a cloud in the sky.

If you're a tourist looking to see the green lights in the sky, you should head away from light pollution of the city and follow the northern lights forecasts. And you might want to turn off your cameras flash…

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13. This is Not a Threat From Outer Space


When I was younger I felt ashamed for my friends who demanded a man to apologise for his sexual harassment of a friend of ours in a pub. The man groped our friend from behind when she was on her way to the toilet. Now my tolerance towards groping and sexual harassment in general has reached it’s limits and I remember these friends with warmth.

Sexual harassment in Finland is not a new thing. Almost every single one of my female friends, and myself included, have been verbally or physically harassed in pubs, mall, public transport, workplaces and other places by men.

Recently some Finns and Finnish politicians have raised concern over the sexual harassment crimes conducted by the immigrants in Finland. However, we should judge every single act of sexual violence, no matter what cultures are or are not involved.

– From the female author behind this project

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12. Taking Care of Day Care


Finnish early childhood education is first-rate on international standards and the teachers on the field are highly educated. Lately there has been talk on cutting the funding of day care services. This has raised concerns among both the parents and the professionals in the field.

What will happen to the quality of childhood education in Finland if the funding is cut? Will the work of the nursery school teachers become just a struggle for survival or a process of pure executing to cope with the growing group sizes? What happens to the development of kids that are left without day care rights?

Oikeusasiamies tyrmää hallituksen leikkaukset päivähoitoon (in Finnish)

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11. Micro-Brew


Consuming coffee in Finland is not often a culinary experience. It's just caffeine intake to combat the long dark winter nights. We also have specialty coffees like the Micro-Brew which brings cold coffee back to life through the power of Finnish ingenuity and microwaves.

Did you know that we are the highest consumers of coffee in the world at 12kg of coffee per person per year?

Maxed Out: A Closer Look at Coffee Consumption in Finland

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10. Ten Liters per Person


It's estimated that on average Finns drink more than 10 liters of pure alcohol per person each year. As featured in the official finnish emoji, drinking in the comfort of your own home is branded in Finland as a fun pastime activity.

Unfortunately the culture of alcohol consumption in Finland isn't all about fun, especially when passing out face-first on the snow.

Statistics about average alcohol consumption in Finland

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09. Unbreakable Nokia


For us, Nokia was that one unbreakable thing we had when we were kids. Since their questionable business choices and selling of the mobile phone business to Microsoft in 2014, the amount of Nokia employees in Finland has diminished by over 10 000 workers. Gladly the old Nokia phones still work because they’re so hard to break.

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08. Toys for Boys & Girls


Not long ago, department store Anttila had on their webshop texts that gave adults advice on what kinds of toys to buy for children: “It easy to tell the difference between how little girls' and boys' play early on: even as toddlers, the little girlies hold on to baby dolls and other creatures in need of nurturing. For boys we recommend a remote control car or the newest LEGO sets.”

Our reaction to this was a big WTF and so was the reaction of a Finnish blogger, who said it aloud on her blog. Responding to her post, some readers told her that she should kill herself and called her a pedophile and a whore. The stereotypic definition of genders seems to be sacred thing for some Finnish people.

Anttila, are you kidding me? - Emmi Nuorgam (in Finnish)

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07. A Nation Divided by a Candy Bowl


Finland is proud of their design classics. Some of them, like the Mariskooli, divides the nation. The other half of Finns own one in each colour and the other half that get them for christmas presents gift them away as soon as it’s polite to do so. Mariskooli’s are made in Finland but many other Iittala -brand design classics are now manufactured abroad.

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06. This is not our message


The Finnish flag has appeared this fall in the hands of anti-immigration extremists staging protests against the immigration crisis in the EU. To use the flag of a nation to broadcast a message of hate and ignorance is something we don't agree with. All people in Finland should be proud of their flag, especially on their independence day!

See the link:
Ku Klux Klan-clad protester in Lahti anti-asylum seeker demonstration

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05. Flags of Finland


We are embarrassed to admit that until yesterday we did not know that the Finnish Swedish have their own unofficial flag. Fortunately wikipedia / one of the two Finnish Swedish persons we know was able to tell this to us. We were also told, that at the beginning of Finland’s independence, a lot of people wanted this version to be the future Finnish flag.

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04. The Fuel of the Nation


Finnish radio station YleX organized a pool where people were able to vote which kind of emojis they would want to represent Finland. The Finns have spoken and they have been heard. (Ok, Moomins were on the first place, but both second and third place went for booze).

Link to the YleX news article

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03. Miss World of Ignorance


It’s heart breaking how little the Finnish general public knows about Sámi culture. Finland’s Miss World candidate chose to wear a poor copy of a Sámi dress for the competition. It was in the news that the outfit was bought from a fancy dress shop. How is it even possible that they sell traditional, cultural outfits as Halloween costumes?

#CulturalStealing #CulturalAppropriation #MissWorld #SamiPeople #sapmi

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02. Free the Nipples!


It caught our attention, that in the official Finnish emojis, the female sauna figures breasts are conveniently hidden behind her long hair. However, true and bald nakedness is part of the Finnish sauna tradition. There is nothing sexual in being naked in sauna.

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01. Your tax money pays for art in Finland


We were excited about the official Finnish emoji. The news about the launch was shared on multiple newspapers and their websites in Finland. The comments section on the news articles started brewing with sarcastic comments about the "importance of the work" and the comments of angry tax-payers who felt that this was not a good use of the tax money they pay. Aren't art and culture important? And why is it that they don't deserve funding?

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Is this Finland? is an art project by two artists in Finland. Contat us by using the email: or follow us on twitter

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Download all the emoji

The link will appear here on december 24th