What do you know about Finland?

Three Finns and a bottle of vodka. They drink in silence for three hours.

After three hours, one Finn says: “Nice vodka.”

The other Finn says, “Did we come here to talk, or did we come here to drink?!”

Mayakovsky was acting like an avantgarde artist (or, as  we call it in my country, an arsehole) before the Revolution at a dinner, and a Finnish diplomat eventually broke down in tears and yelled like a wounded walrus, in broken Russian, Много! “Too much.” I always found that scene very poignant.

Best education system in the world, even if Sam Seaborn says so: they pay their teachers gajillions, and even respect them.

They reinvented themselves from a dependency on forests to a high tech hub. Nokia, rest in peace.

I had a cousin work for Nokia a while back. There was no point ringing central office in Helsinki in July: everyone was south for the holidays.

Uralic language. Long agglutinated words. Gemination, which means the language sounds a bit like Dothraki.

Swedish minority, including Sibelius and Linus. And that kickarse general dude, who recorded Hitler.

Lordi, Santa Claus impersonators. Lakes.

Got out of the Russian Empire just in time. Had to be careful with how they handled their Eastern neighbour. Gave the Red Army what for.

They sneer at Greece these days, but then again, all of Northern Europe does.

How’d I do?

What do Sweden, Norway, Denmark and Finland think of each other?

Answering as a Greek.

The Greek humorist Freddy Germanos (Φρέντυ Γερμανός, Freddie Germanos), God rest him, visited Denmark in the ’60s. This was his take on OP’s question (Ταξίδι στην Δανία, from the collection Το Δις Εξαμαρτείν):

The first thing you work out in Scandinavia is that the Danes do not adore the Swedes and the Norwegians, the Swedes do not adore the Danes and the Norwegians, and the Norwegians do not adore the Danes and the Swedes.

The Swedes will not forgive the Danes for Sweden once being their colony. The Danes will not forgive the Swedes for Sweden no longer being their colony.

The Norwegians don’t like the Danes because they beat them in soccer. The Danes don’t like the Norwegians because they have a lot of mountains. The Danes and the Norwegians don’t like the Swedes because they have a lot of money.


When a car and a bicycle cross paths, the car goes back. When a car and a bicycle cross paths with a dog, the car and bicycle go back. The dog is a sacred animal in Denmark.

In general all animals are sacred in Denmark, so long as their blood is not contaminated with Swedish or Norwegian blood.


The Danish national inferiority complex is that they have no mountains. Their tallest mount is the Mountain of Heaven in Jutland, which is 157 m tall.  Danes say proudly, “It’s a wonderful view from there”.

Norwegians, who have a surfeit of tall mountains, usually reply: “Of course it’s a wonderful view. So long as you stand on a chair.”

How do you say “godfather” in Greek?

In the vernacular: νονός or νουνός. From a Hellenistic word νόννος ~ νέννος, which could mean dad, uncle, or granddad (Wiktionary says the Hellenistic word in turn is from Latin nonnus).

“The Godfather. One of the greatest best sellers of all time”. (Yes, Best Seller is untranslated. Why do you ask?)

In the language of the church: ἀνάδοχος, “guarantor”.  In Modern Greek the term has been extended to sponsor of a child:

“Sponsor a child in Palestine.”