The social influencers bringing Finland to the world
With travel limited, getting up close to Finland’s beautiful countryside and everything that it has to offer has been a bit challenging. So for those desperate to get a taste of the country and feel as if they’re right there, social media has been very helpful.
Finland isn’t short of amazing outdoor lovers and business owners keen to show off the very best it has to offer. Head over to Instagram and you’ll find plenty of inspirational accounts that will get you in the mood to hit the road as soon as restrictions are lifted. We caught up with the people behind some of the best Finnish Instagram accounts to see how they’re bringing Finland to the world.
Mikko Lemmetti showcases Finland’s most beautiful forest landscapes at Forest Bathing Finland
I think different people experience the forest in different ways: for some it's a place where you can go to relax and be with yourself and with your thoughts, for others it might be a place to pick berries or mushrooms, and for some it's a source of livelihood in terms of timber. And of course, for many Finns, it's all of that.
I think in general, people do like to see more nature photos on Instagram. Personally, I try to take and share photos that convey the same feeling that I have when I am taking them.
In the wintertime, I absolutely love snowshoeing. And in the summertime I like to ride my fatbike, go canoeing, hiking and looking for caves. In spring, I just love to hear the blackbird or the song thrush singing in the forest right at my backdoor.
As well as Instagram, I also have a YouTube channel. There's a six-hour recording of Finnish summer night with birds on there. It is awesome to listen to how different birds sing at different times from the early evening until morning. I am planning to make a new recording this spring
When people can travel again I hope that they will find out that Finland has so much to offer. What I would like people to do is to explore what there is to see and experience in the whole country. I encourage people to slow down, be silent and listen. And look. When one is patient, many wonderful things can and will happen, and nature will come close.
Päivi Pälvimäki’s swimming adventures, often in freezing ice holes in the Finnish wilderness, are what make her Wild Swimming Finland account so special
I’ve always swum. In my childhood I was a competitive swimmer, but for a long time I didn’t swim at all. Then when my daughter started swimming I felt inspired by her. About seven years ago I became totally hooked, especially with winter and ice swimming. It invigorated me and gave me energy. I felt better.
It’s exotic and extreme, but it’s always fun. If you do it together and you have a person there to help you and say ‘you’re going to survive, take a deep breath’, after that it’s fine
In Finland we have over 250 official winter swimming locations. They are run by different clubs, so some of them you can go to spontaneously, pay €5 and then you have a warm dressing room, sauna and a good hole in the ice. But some of them are members only. And they are so full at the moment. Because of Covid, everybody wants to go to the ice pool!
When I go, I cut my own hole. I take an ice saw and a big ice screw. You make three or four holes and then you can start to saw. I’m in northern Finland, near Lapland, and at the moment, the ice is about 40 or 50cm thick. It doesn’t take that long to cut a hole, about five minutes. Then you push the ice cube under the ice, because it’s really heavy. It’s good exercise though!
If I’ve been skiing before and I’ve had a good warm up I can stay in for many minutes, but sometimes I just have a plunge. It depends on how I feel.
Steffen Wunderink runs Campfire Barista, making incredible coffee over an open fire that he pulls behind a snowmobile through the HalliPuu forest
It all started when we were sitting around a campfire and a friend said, "Wouldn't it be marvelous if you could get a perfect latte in the middle of the forest?" And now I'm at the point where I've got my own, very specialized and highly exclusive coffee blend roasted for me by Metsäpaahtimo Sampokone [a forest roastery Luumäki]. I was just on TV with Gordon Ramsay, who called my coffee "exquisite" and I'm the only café, well, coffee selling facility, in the Levi area that has a full five star rating on Google Maps. I also have the only sledge in the world that is an officially designated food-preparation space. As I told a friend of mine the other day; "I don't pull the coffee-sled, the coffee-sled pulls me.”
I ended up here by accident. It was never my intention to go and live in Lapland until I met this marvelous Finnish girl at the bus stop, who then dragged me all the way up here as a souvenir! Once I ended up here I rapidly fell in love with the landscape and the community. There's space, it's clean and there are proper seasons.
Instagram is basically our whole visibility. With a micro-business like ours, there's no advertising budget, so it's all about being visible on social media. Of course it's been rough when you earn your income in tourism and there are no tourists. But we’ve organized the first ever TreeHugging World Championships and started giving online campfire coffee courses.
I really miss chit chatting with people from all around the globe. Because that's like the best part of my job; meeting people from everywhere!