Finnish Bands: the top 10

How can I make a post about the top 10 Finnish bands? It is a herculean task and it will be polemic: Such a list will bring controversy.

In order to write something other than my own opinion, I asked for the opinion of Big in Finland’s friends on our Facebook page. In the comments of today’s post you can share your opinion too.

Here we list the top 10 Finish bands that you said were the best. They are mostly Finnish rock bands and metal bands. No indie or pop bands made the cut.

The top 10 Finnish bands, by the readers of Big in Finland

There were no rules when we did the Facebook post, so anyone who answered could vote for more than one band. The top 10 is as follows:

1. Nightwish: the band you voted the most. With or without their old vocalist, Tarja Turunen, Nightwish is the most beloved Finnish rock band by the friends of Big in Finland on Facebook.

Finnish bands: Nightwish.
Source (CC: by).

This is their most heard song on their label’s official Soundcloud account.

2. Sonata Arctica tied in votes with Nightwish, so they are as much the number one as the previous band. This Finnish metal band has been together since 1995 and is known worldwide as well.

Sonata Arctica - a Finnish metal band
Source (CC: by).

This is their most played song on their label’s SoundCloud account.

3. Apocalyptica: joining Finnish metal and cellos? The four members of Apocalyptica thought it was a great idea and started this musical adventure in 1992. They are classical music graduates from the Sibelius University of Helsinki.

Apocalyptica - one of the best Finnish bands
Source (CC: by-sa).

This is the most played Apocalyptica song on their official SoundCloud account.

4. Ensiferum play metal music with a folk twist. They are from the capital of Finland and they have been playing for 20 years, since 1995. They have five albums, and being number four in this list made by you means that their style really connects with people.

5. The Rasmus are, along with the number six of this list, one of the first Finnish bands that were recognized outside of Finland (or at least that was always my personal impression). Founded in 1994 and led by charismatic Lauri Ylönen, these Helsinkians have sold millions of records and broke thousands of hearts. Most likely, The Rasmus are one of the reasons why many people got to know – and got excited about – Finland.

6. HIM is another of the best known Finnish bands in the world. Like The Rasmus, they feature a lead singer that has captured the human blood pumps – a.k.a. hearts – of girls worldwide. His name, of course, is Ville Valo. Founded in 1991, HIM is a Finnish rock band that performs “gothic rock”, and has sold millions of records throughout the world too. Another Finnish bestseller.

7. Teräsbetoni is a heavy metal music band. Founded in 2002 – they are therefore one of the youngest bands in this list – their style is influenced by bands such as Manowar. The name of the band, translated from the Finnish language, means “reinforced concrete”. They published four albums so far.

8. Finntroll, founded in 1997, has brought together different music styles, which makes them quite unique. They fusioned folk, black and death Metal (two metal music variations that are quite extreme), and the humppa, a kind of Finnish polka.

9. Stratovarius are perhaps the oldest band in the list: they’ve been around since 1984 (as I’ve been too). Their style combines elements of classical music with a kind of melodic power metal. In their long career – quite successful as proven by the number of votes they got from the friends of Big in Finland – they have released 17 studio albums, four live albums and four “best of” albums.

10. Children of Bodom: We close the list with a band that borrows its name from the murders that took place at the Bodom Lake, in the 1960s. From 1993 onwards, these guys from Espoo – a city neighboring Helsinki – have published 10 albums so far.

We have to give a special mention to 69 Eyes, who tied in score with the previous three bands, but top 10 lists are like that: We have to choose.

The bands that didn’t make it into the top 10 list of Finnish bands, but had more than one vote, were the following: Rubik band, Apulanta, Uniklubi, Korpiklaani, Ahola, the very popular and “Eurovisive” Lordi, Turisas and Northern Kings.

Our post about Finnish music groups
This is the post we put up on Facebook about Finnish bands: “Come hear. Finland.”

The top 10 Finnish bands according to Google

There is a second (and perhaps more democratic) way to know the number of fans that the bands have.

I went on Google and checked how many people, worldwide, look up the names of these bands during an average month. After the results went in, I re-did the list and this is what it looks like. These are the most beloved Finnish bands worldwide:

1. Nightwish, with 368.000 monthly searches, is also the number one Finnish band worldwide. Congratulations for their good job!

2. HIM, with 165.000 monthly searches.

3. Apocalyptica with 110.000 searches per month. As we can see, two out of the three best bands according to the readers of Big in Finland are also the most popular worldwide.

4. Tarja Turunen, ex-singer of Nightwish, rides along the band’s fame to boost her solo career and scores 90.500 searches per month.

5. Lordi, the monsters, average 74.000 searches/month.

6. Children of Bodom: 60.500.

7. Sonata Arctica: 60.500 searches.

8. Stratovarius: 49.500 searches.

9. The Rasmus: 49.500 searches.

10. Korpiklaani close the list with 33.100 searches/month.

The data came in, and we reported it.

Which list do you agree most with? What are your favorite Finnish bands? Tell us in the comments!



Finnish swearwords – a list of profanities you shouldn’t know

Last week we had the day of the Finnish culture and Kalevala, and in a month or so (9th of April) there will be the day of the Finnish language. Let’s celebrate these days with some Finnish words – but some that are a bit polemic: swearwords in Finnish.

Some swearwords in Finnish
This porcupine swears a lot in Finnish: it is a character in a Finnish comic strip. This is the porcupine’s website. Source (CC: by-sa)

Swearwords in Finnish

We focus on profanities because we don’t want to focus on insults. Insults might be worth a separate post, but I am not sure if I’d do that because – goddammit – insulting people isn’t right (I haven’t decided yet: It is definitely one of the curiosities of Finland).

Sometimes when you are in a country with a different language than your own and you are not fluent in that language yet, something sudden happens that forces you to shout your country’s equivalent of “what the f*!”. And most likely the person you’re with (or yelling it at) won’t understand you, because it will have come out in your own language (as it has happened to me).

It is cool to score some sympathy points if you don’t speak Finnish or Swedish fluently. When the people you usually talk to in English hear, in a moment of surprise, you using one of these profanities, it will definitely generate a chuckle.

The three most used Finnish swearwords are the following.

The top 3 Finnish profanities

Vittu, Saatana, and Perkele are the three words that you will hear for sure when someone has to swear in Finnish.

Perkele: the most used Finnish swearwrod
Perrrrrrkele, rolling the “r”. One of the top 3 Finnish swearwords. Source (CC: by)

Vittu” can be directly translated to “pussy” or “cunt”. It is used to express frustration or to emphasize a sentence. It is heard a lot as voi vittu (with the meaning of “Oh, crap”), too. Some interesting combination with vittu is “Vittu, vituttaa niin vitusti” (Fuck this shit, I’m very angry), where you can see some Finnish declinations too.

Not all vittu is bad (wink, wink; nudge, nudge) and you can say things like “vitun iso” (“fucking great”), but it is mostly used for bad things. Another interesting thing: You can combine it with other swearwords in Finnish to form a super-swearword. For instance: vittusaatana and vittuperkele.

Saatana means literally “Satan”, since Finnish people – besides using swearwords about scatology and parts of the human body (as in most languages I know) – have the tendency to bring the devil into all this. With the same meaning as “saatana” the word helvetti (the hell) is used too and both of them can be combined in this way: saatanan helvetti. “Saatana” is, nonetheless, harsh.

Perkele is maybe my favorite of them all. It is used as an interjection to signify surprise (like “shit!”, or “fuck!”). It means more or less “the devil”. This story has a lot to do with Finnish mythology, as Perkele was one of the main gods of the Kalevala, the Finnish national epic. When Christian times arrived, in order to end paganism, they gave the Bible’s devil the name Perkele. An angel became the devil, and from there a swearword.

In any case, as you can see in this infographic, the use of the three main swearwords dwarfs the use of the rest.

Infographic about Finnish profanity and swearwords

If you want to use this infographic on your website, you can copy and paste this code.

<a href=&#34http://www.biginfinland.com&#34 title=&#34All about Finland in Big in Finland&#34><img src=&#34https://farm9.staticflickr.com/8682/16702651165_6a833eb46d_z.jpg&#34 alt=&#34Infographic about Swearwords in Finnish&#34 /></a>

Other profanities of the Finnish language

The Finns don’t survive on only three swearwords (but almost). Other less common profanities are not used very frequently by me and I must admit I know little more than the main ones (except maybe paska and heleveti, mentioned below), so I will just go ahead and borrow the ones that I liked the most from the correspondent page of Wiki about this.

These are the ones I found most interesting:

Helvetti, translated as “the hell”, and yes: it is a swearword.

“Hitto” or “hiisi”. Not a very strong word, but also related to devils (although it is not THE devil). Its use is similar to the word “damn”. You can also tell someone to “painu hiiteen” (go to hell).

Huora: “Whore”. Not a lot of explanation needed here.

Kulli: a word for “penis”, but not very strong.

Kyrpä also basically translates to penis. “Cock” would be the best translation. It is much more offensive than the swearword above.

Mulkku is also “penis”, but used more like “prick”, to describe a person.

Molo, another synonym of “penis”, which happens to also be the word for “I’m cool” in Spanish. If we say “molopää”, we say “dickhead”.


Paska is another profanity in the Finnish language.
Paska means “shit” and is a somewhat strong Finnish swearword. My favorite encounter with this word was on the packaging of a coffee brand.

Perse is “ass” in Finnish. A less strong word than many others in this post, but deserving of a spot in the list. You can say “Tämä on perseestä”, which would mean “This is shit!” (literally “this comes out of the ass!”).

Runkata is like “wanking”. “Runkkari” and “runkku”, that derive from it, would mean “wanker”.

Listen to these swearwords in Finnish

There are a couple of Youtube vids that bring the words to life in a very interesting way, but I have chosen the following one because the person doing it really went the extra mile. He also does something that lots of Finns do: concatenate many short profanities into a long one.

If you are curios about the video that I didn’t include, here it is: 21 minutes of swearwords in Finnish with English explanations.

How many of the profanities of the list did you know? What’s your favorite swearword, in Finnish or any other language?



No shoes at home in Finland

Not only Japanese people remove their shoes when they walk into a home: Finnish people do so too.

To everyone who isn’t used to remove their shoes at the entrances of the houses – like me – this is quite shocking.

I went to Finland at the end of a summer, and it was then when I learned about this tradition. I must admit that in summer it doesn’t seem to make that much of a difference, but in winter you truly understand why Finns do what they do.

And not doing it is truly a faux-pas in Finland.

Shoes in a corridor
My shoes in the corridor. Now I am used to do this.

The polite way: leave your shoes at the entrance of a home

Winter is the longest season of the year in Finland, especially in the north of the country.

Everything is covered in snow outside and the snow lasts for months at a time. When you walk around, since you can’t stay indoors for months, snow gets stuck to the soles of your boots. That snow, when you arrive at someone’s home – which will be heated appropriately – will start its melting process. And if if you don’t remove your shoes, soon the whole house will have little puddles everywhere, something extremely annoying for the people who did remove their shoes.

That’s why in Finland, unlike in Japan (as far as I know), there is a very practical reason behind removing the shoes at the entrance – in winter anyways. So when you go to Finland, show your politeness by removing your shoes at the entrance of the houses. The interesting thing, of course, is when many people arrive at a house simultaneously and there are a thousand pairs of shoes by the door. But that’s a small price to pay for respecting the house owner.

Remove your shoes
Pretty please? Source (CC: by)

What about in public places, workplaces and schools?

If you are wondering, kids in Finnish schools also remove their shoes at the entrance before going to class. (By the way, it seems that the Finnish Baby Box is on sale now).

In universities and some public buildings there is a place at the entrance to leave your belongings, where you can leave your outdoor shoes if you want and use some others that you can take with you (this, of course, is more common for university buildings than for public ones).

In the case of office buildings, you can bring some sandal-like shoes for walking around indoors, if you want. Some people do that if their work doesn’t require a very formal attire.

No shoes at the office
Shoes outside an office, for a meeting. Or so it says the caption of the photo. Source (CC: by-sa)

How to effectively remove as much snow as possible from the shoes

Finnish people are prepared for winter like no one I’ve seen before. If you want to know which clothes to wear for a trip to Finland in winter, here is our list of recommendations.

At the entrance of each building you can see a gigantic brush designed to remove the snow from your shoes. You can then be confident that you’ll be behaving as politely as possible when entering any building.

Some pictures of this Finnish invention:

Using the Brush for the snow

The Finnish snow brush

Using the brush

Have you ever forgot to remove your shoes while entering someone’s home? What’s the biggest faux-pas in Finland in your opinion?



The average Finnish man and woman

We have talked a bit about Finns, like what they appreciate most in life, their most popular names, and even how they look. Today, we introduce you to your average Mr. Finnish Man and Mrs. Finnish Woman.

Average Finns walking in the capital.
Some average Finns walking in the capital of Finland, Helsinki. Source (CC: by-sa).

How do we know the average Finnish man and woman?

Some time ago there was a study about the average of different parameters in Finland’s top newspaper, the Helsingin Sanomat. If you want to read it, the article can be found here.

It is a nice interpretation of the data shown in the Statistical Yearbook of Finland, which otherwise might just seem a “boring” collection of things. Nicely played, Helsingin Sanomat.

The data is a bit old – this article was first featured on our Spanish version of Big in Finland, but it still holds relevance as things don’t change that quickly.

Mr. Finnish Man and Mrs. Finnish Woman

How is a day in the life for them?

The average Finn is 40 years old, and thus is in the middle of his/her lifespan. He/She lives in a residential neighborhood in a house that he/she owns, and that has 3-4 rooms and about 78,4 square feet. He/She is still paying off the mortgage on the house and still owes 22.400€ to the bank. About a quarter of the income that he/she makes is used to cover his/her own personal needs.

Besides the mortgage on the house, the average Finn is also paying off another loan for 9.400€, that they took on to buy some consumer goods. This second credit could theoretically be paid off immediately, since the average Finn has around 11.000€ in savings in the bank. Of course the keyword here is “average”, since the wealth is not equally divided and around 44.580 credit cards are canceled each year because of debts.

Finnish man
Maybe an average Finn. Source (CC: by-sa)

How is an average day of a Finn?

An average Finn goes to work in the morning. If he is a man, he’ll be working in construction, reparations or manufacturing. If she is a woman, she’ll be working in the service sector or in the commercial or health industries. He will be working in the private sector while she will probably be working for the local authorities. The average Finnish man earns approximately 2.300€ per month and the average Finnish woman earns 2.000€ per month.

Maybe today is one of the two days per week when the average Finn does some sport (this includes going for a walk, riding the bike or doing some cross country skiing). This isn’t enough, though, to keep an average Finn thin and in top shape. He (she not so much) is prone to obesity. His good appetite and his penchant for the liquid element with some percentage of alcohol has something to do with this. Per year, a Finnish man eats an average of 72 kilos of meat, drinks 78 liters of low-alcohol drinks, eats 61 kilos of potatoes and 47 kilos of fruit.

A Finnish woman
A Finnish woman walking the streets of Helsinki. Source (CC: by)

What else happens during an average Finnish day?

There’s the daily lottery draft, which could help someone get out of the average income. But besides that, 161 children are born and 132 people close their eyes forever. 77 couples proclaim “yes, I do”, and for 36 other couples it’s the end of the line for their relationship. 45 new buildings will be constructed, and the average car will add 49 kilometers to their odometer.

Just another Finnish day.

How is your average day in Finland? Do you recognize yourself in some of these statistics, even if you are not a Finn?




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