From the Finns’ burning love for saunas and coffee to their sacred personal space, we have collected some of the best memes the account had to offer. Continue scrolling and upvote the ones that made you laugh!
Very Finnish Problems is one of the biggest projects celebrating the Finnish lifestyle online. Tens of thousands of followers enjoy its content on Instagram, but it’s just the tip of the iceberg. People can also stumble across such hilarious memes and jokes on Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube. Plus, there’s even a whole website dedicated to honoring the Finnish charm.
The founder of this project, Joel Willans, is a British Helsinki resident who created the account in 2016. A year later, he published a best-selling book 101 Very Finnish Problems: A Foreigner’s Guide to Surviving Finland, and then a sequel More Very Finnish Problems: An Even More Essential Guide to Surviving Finland. These books are full of humor and essential insights into the highs and lows of fantastic Finland to help people deal with all this country can throw at them.
“I’m the Creative Director at a digital marketing agency, Ink Tank Media, and I bet one of my clients that I could create a Facebook page of 10K fans in a month without spending a penny,” Joel explained the origins of Very Finnish Problems in a previous interview with us last year. “The bet was made during Finnish winter, which was typically dark and very, very cold. The pavements were super slippery and it was taking me ages to walk to work, and I remember thinking how winter is trying to kill me, and what a very Finnish problem that is.”
He then realized it was one of the very many Finnish quirks “faced by an Englishman in the far north. That was how it all began, and it clearly resonated with lots of people, because I won the bet and got nearly 20K fans in a month.”
When asked about his followers, he said they’re extremely active. “The biggest demographic is Finnish women between 25-54. But there’s lots of other nationalities and age groups too,” he explained. “Besides Finns who enjoy hearing about Finland from a British man’s perspective, there’s foreigners who love Finland and foreigners who might have a Nordic background.”
Well, Joel was once a foreigner too. While he quickly fell in love with the Finnish lifestyle, he told us he’s still getting used to it, even after living there for over 18 years. “Of course, the culture shock isn’t as hardcore as it was, and I do a lot of Finnish things now without even noticing it. For example, if somebody had told me 20 years ago I’d learn to love saunas, I’d have laughed at them,” he revealed jokingly.
Most of the VFP memes showcase a slice of Finnish life. From the harsh yet beautiful weather to the deep introversion of this country’s citizens, there are plenty of clichés that fuel such hilarious content. “Like all stereotypes, there’s an element of truth,” Joel said. “But also like all stereotypes, it’s exaggerated.”
The creator of this project personally thinks Finns are just more straightforward and honest than many other nationalities. “Rather than being polite and pretending to be interested in chatting like we do in the UK, if Finns don’t want to talk to you, they won’t.”
He continued: “Living in the EU’s least densely populated country, I think they’re also more comfortable being alone or with family in the wilderness. That’s another thing I’ve certainly learned to love.”
While some beliefs people have about the Finns are inaccurate, they can still be a great source of entertainment. “Needless to say, for all the horrors of COVID-19, there was lots of talk about how self-isolating and maintaining distance suited Finns. Even in difficult times, I think it helps to try to laugh, so at times we had some fun with that.” Also, research that highlights unexpected characteristics about this country helps him think of new memes. To illustrate, he mentioned a study that found pineapple was Finland’s most popular pizza topping.
Moreover, Joel sees many more opportunities to brighten people’s dull days by celebrating the relatively odd and charming Finnish habits. “I’ve plans to relaunch the Very Finnish Problems podcast very soon. We originally launched it four years ago and, for a while, it was one of Finland’s top five podcasts, but then work and life got in the way. We only did 19 episodes, so there’s plenty left to talk about.”
“I’m also looking at getting into the world of Finnish-themed NFTs and considering a third Very Finnish Problems themed book, although it would take a different angle to the previous two. So, plenty of things in the pipeline!”
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