What’s up with coffee, heavy metal and ice hockey in Finland and Sweden?

For a non-Nordic person Finland and Sweden may be rather mysterious and unknown countries. Despite the cultural differences that can easily be spotted when observing daily life a bit closer in the two countries, there are many interesting things that Finns and Swedes have in common:

  • We have the highest number of heavy metal bands per capita…

…and heavy metal music is rather mainstream.

  • We drink a lot of coffee

…because we need something to wake us up during the several months of severe (or even total) lack of sunlight. And it’s not about drinking a refined espresso –no, it is about jugging 5-6 big cups of coffee throughout the day (hence, we are among the biggest coffee drinkers in the world).


  • We take ice hockey matches very seriously…

…that is when we are playing against each other, otherwise less so. The biggest matches ever in Finland and Sweden are the ice hockey finals where the Finnish and the Swedish team meet on the ice and fight for their pride.

Another common perception about Nordic people is that we “don’t talk”. I do need to point out that in practice this is noticeable in Finland to some extent, and less so in Sweden. For example, small talk doesn’t really exist in Finland, where awkward silences are not awkward. In Sweden, however, chitchatting is something you would be doing a lot more than in Finland, most likely several times a day during your fika. Yet, at the end of the day one should not think too much along the lines of such stereotypes – everyone is different anyway!


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