Information & Facts
Business is conducted formally in Finland. A formal understated
sense of dress is important. Punctuality is also very important in
Finland and being late is considered rude. Appointments should
always be made and confirmed. Meetings are often strictly business
and are not often over lunch. Finns do not require a strong
relationship prior to doing business, and business often takes
place over the phone, fax and via e-mail. However, the sauna is an
important part of the culture and it is not unusual for business to
be discussed in this environment on a more sociable level. Finns
are very direct and prefer getting straight to the point. Often a
verbal agreement may hold. At meetings business cards are exchanged
and should have, on the alternate side, details in Finnish.
Business hours are generally 8am to 4.15pm Monday to Friday.
In general Finland has an extreme swing between summer and
winter, with bitterly cold winters when temperatures drop to -4ºF
(-20ºC) in many areas, particularly in northern Lapland. Summer, by
contrast, can be warm with temperatures rising to 68ºF (20ºC) or
more. Temperatures as high as 86ºF (30ºC) are possible in the south
and east of the country. The capital, Helsinki, remains fairly
temperate varying between an average of 63ºF (17ºC) in July to 23ºF
(-5ºC) in February. In the far north the sun does not set for about
73 days during summer, while in winter the sun remains below the
horizon for a 51-day stretch.
The international country dialling code for Finland is +358. The
outgoing code is 00, 990, 994 or 999, followed by the relevant
country code (e.g. 0044 for the United Kingdom). The city code for
Helsinki is (0)9. Mobile phone networks cover much of the country;
the network operators use GSM networks, which are compatible with
most international mobile operators. Besides public telephone
booths and hotels, calls can be made from post and tele offices.
Internet cafes are available in major towns and cities. For
international telephone enquires visitors should call 020208, and
for local enquiries dial 020202.
A Finnish way of life, the sauna is a popular activity in
Finland, so expect to encounter one. Words are taken seriously in
Finland and people are held to what they say, so think before you
Travellers to Finland arriving from the EU can enter Finland
without restrictions on the quantity of purchases, provided they
have been bought in the EU for personal consumption or as gift
items. No restrictions are placed on meat and dairy products. Some
restrictions may apply to selected tobacco products. Travellers
over 17 years arriving from non-EU countries are allowed to bring
in the following items without incurring customs duty: 200
cigarettes, or 100 cheroots, or 50 cigars, or 250g of tobacco.
Travellers over 20 years can bring in 1 litre of spirits with
maximum 22% alcohol content, or 2 litres of fortified or sparkling
wine not exceeding 22% alcohol content, and 2 litres of
non-sparkling wine and 16 litres of beer; perfume up to 50g and
250ml of eau de toilette; and other goods for personal consumption
to the value of EUR175.
Electrical current is 220 volts, 50Hz. Standard
European two-pin plugs are in use.
There are no health risks associated with travel to Finland.
Visitors to the Aland Islands in the summer months should be
cautious of tick-borne encephalitis. Medical care is of a good
standard. British, and other EU nationals, should ensure they take
a European Health Insurance Card (EHIC), which entitles citizens to
emergency medical treatment on the same terms as Finnish citizens.
Comprehensive travel insurance is advised.
Finnish and Swedish share status as Finland's official
languages. Sami is spoken by the isolated population group in
Lapland. English is taught at schools and is widely
The Euro (EUR) is the official currency of Finland. One Euro =
100 cents. Banks, ATMs and bureaux de change are available in all
cities and airports; banks are closed on weekends. American
Express, Diner's Club, Eurocard, Access, MasterCard and Visa are
accepted in hotels, restaurants, and larger shops. Travellers
cheques can be cashed in Helsinki and large cities, but ATMs are
the easiest and most economical way to get cash.
The borderless region known as the Schengen Area includes the
following countries: Austria, Belgium, Czech Republic, Denmark,
Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Italy,
Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, The Netherlands, Norway,
Poland, Portugal, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden and
Switzerland. All these countries issue a standard Schengen visa
that has a multiple entry option, and which allows the holder to
travel freely within the borders of all the aforementioned
countries. Additionally, travellers to Finland must hold sufficient
funds for their duration of stay in the country, a return or onward
ticket, and the necessary travel documentation for their next
destination. Also note that joint passports must include a
photograph of the spouse and, if issued after May 1, 2004, a
photograph of each child over seven years of age and up to and
including 15 years of age. Otherwise, a photo identification card
showing the child's name, date of birth and nationality must be
presented, together with the passport. NOTE: It is highly
recommended that your passport has at least six months validity
remaining after your intended date of departure from your travel
destination. Immigration officials often apply different rules to
those stated by travel agents and official sources.
Crime levels are low in Finland and visitors can be assured of a
trouble-free vacation. Drug offences and drinking and driving are
dealt with very harshly. The main danger in the country is driving
during the winter months, when icy roads are a hazard and cars must
be fitted with snow tyres.
Local time is GMT +2 (GMT +3 from the last Sunday in March to
the last Sunday in October).
Tips are not expected in Finland because a service charge is
generally added to restaurant, bar and hotel bills, but customers
often choose to round up the bill when paying in cash. Taxi drivers
also appreciate any small change or coins that are added to round
up the fare.