How is it living in a cold country like Finland?

A question I’m constantly asked by foreigners when traveling anywhere outside the Nordic countries. Well, maybe Russia and Baltic countries included.

So, how can people live in a country where it’s always cold?

Ok, first of all it’s not cold all the time, all year round. Of course not. Otherwise we’d have all now emigrated to the Southern Europe.

Helsinki can also be like this! My favourite rocks at Eiranranta

A small forest with morning sun in Tampere, Finland

Also, cold is a relative term – the human body can get used to very strange conditions, also to -20C. At least for a couple of days of the year.

I feel many Finns have some genetic mutation, as they almost never complain about the cold. Or the weather in general. They also think it’s not good behaviour to do it – believe me, I’ve heard so many times the comment “please don’t complain, it could be worse“.

Well, here the criteria for bad weather is quite different as in most of the countries.

If you’re interested, here comes the average temperature of Helsinki during different months, as published on Travelhappy Climate Charts for Helsinki.


You can read more about the Finnish seasons (the change is amazing!) on the page of Ilmatieteen laitos, the Finnish Meteorological Institute. They offer interesting info on the Finnish weather and its different phenomena in general.

Anyway, today I seriously reflected the question about the weather. We’ve been 2 weeks island hopping in Greece with my boyfriend with a temperature of 25-30C and guaranteed sunshine every day.

The thing is that I’m a person that seriously loves sun and warm weather. Especially in the winter, I ask myself why was I born in Finland where most of the time I’m freezing. (I also complained about the chilly wind in the evenings in Greece so you get an idea of my desire for hot weather).

Actually one of my life goals, which I confirmed this summer, is to be able to spend one entire year in a summer dress and flip flops. Let’s see when and where…

Today, when we returned to Helsinki (wearing my summer dress and flip flops) it was raining and +19C. Literally a chilly welcome. Eventually the sun started to shine and the temperature rose a bit.

Still, I wonder how this kind of very unpredictable weather affects the Finns living here? Does it make one suspicious towards the world… and everything? You can never trust that it will be sunny even for 3 days in a row – and the weather forecasts change all the time.

Winter evening in Kuusamo, Eastern Finland. To admire a snowflake you must go outside…

So the final answer to why reminds in the air – and in the minds of the ancestors who came to live in Finland.

Of course there are many excellent reasons for living in Helsinki. And the few hot sunny days we have really are wonderful!

Also there are many people in Finland who don’t share my view. Their attitude to weather is stoic.

Or maybe they mystically forget the bad days and remember only the best of all our seasons: the bright snowy days, spring blossoming and autumn leaves with amazing colors…

Autumn at its best! At Billnäs village on the South coast of Finland

Yes, of course all this is nice. Personally I just can’t forget that many many mornings you wake up and the world is grey and you go to sleep and the only change is that now the world is black. For me this is pretty depressing, for many Finns not.

I guess that’s the trick of living here! You need a bad memory or some genetic modification…?

Rowing my little boat on a rainy day, in Tampere, Finland

Rowing on the same lake on a sunny day. Quite a different feeling.

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6 thoughts on “How is it living in a cold country like Finland?

  1. We live in Alaska. Would love to visit Finland one day!

  2. Hedwigia says:

    I’m sorry, but this – “you wake up and the world is grey and you go to sleep and the only change is that now the world is black” – made me laugh out loud, which is probably rather mean. I live in the UK, which suits me pretty well most of the time, and maybe explains why I was drawn to a post about the weather. We really do talk about it a lot. Loved the autumn leaves picture – autumn is my favourite season, I think. I enjoyed the post about running too. 🙂

    • annsofia says:

      Thank you for the comment!

      Living in the UK you’ll understand very well the talk about the weather! It’s the same here in Finland, the weather is one of our favourite topics – especially because it’s so unpredictable most of the time. Well, at least one doesn’t get bored. 😉 Today it has been rainy-sunny-rainy quite a few times already!

      I also like autumn very much, the kind of autumn in that photo… unfortunately here it tends to be pretty rainy too.

  3. raalsa says:

    I loved your post. I’m living in Finland for 2 years now. I’m from Brazil and I always took Sun and nice days for granted. I’m getting pretty depressed with the perspective of living here for more years that’s why I want to move somewhere else already (I don’t want to come back to Brazil however). I honestly admire people being able to live in such terrible (yes, for me it is terrible) conditions for their whole life and getting positive attitude towards it

    • annsofia says:

      Thank you very much!

      I understand you completely, it’s quite a crazy climate to live in… I’ve wondered many times how it’s possible that we survive trough the winter months at all!

      Well, nowadays with the help of D vitamin pills, artificial lights and travels to Thailand it’s possible… but not fun at all. :/

      If I wasn’t born here and wouldn’t have my family & friends here I’d probably live somewhere else – during the winter months, the summer is great! 🙂

      Good luck with your live in Finland!! Soon the days will get longer again and we’ll have LOT OF light.

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