Seasons in Finland

Although seasons occur everywhere, in Finland they mark the progress of the year with striking conspicuousness.

Extending far beyond the Arctic Circle, Finland enjoys such extremes of temperature and daylight that it would not be too far-fetched to say that there are two cultures in Finland: one dominated by the almost perpetual daylight of the summer sun and surprisingly high temperatures, and the other characterized by mercilessly cold winters and Arctic gloom that only briefly gives way to twilight during the day.

Summer

Even though summer comes every year, it is considered so important that virtually the entire country 'shuts down' for the five or six weeks that follow Midsummer, which falls in late June. After Midsummer, Finns move en masse to their vacation homes in the countryside and those who do not spend their time out of doors, go to street cafés and bars, to parks and on beaches, being social and feeling positive.

Business and personal correspondence may be temporarily shelved, e-mails cheerfully return 'out of the office' notifications for a month or more, and conversations between acquaintances revolve more around how the fish are biting or how the garden is doing than around important issues of international politics or the economy. It is easy for a visitor to observe that in summer Finns are especially proud and happy to be Finns and to live in Finland, and encouraging these feelings is welcome.

Finland is called the land of the Midnight Sun. In Lapland the sun doesn't set during the summer months and in the southern parts of Finland there is only few hours of twilight during the night.

Winter

With the advent of winter, Finns close down their summer dwellings, store their boats in dry dock, put snow tires on their cars, stash their golf gear in the basement and check their skis. Whereas the rural ancestors of today's Finns whiled away the long winter days in making and repairing tools for summer, their descendants labor in offices to make their country an increasingly efficient and modern high-tech marvel.

 

While the summer time in Finland is full of light, winters are dark and days feel shorter. The lack of sunlight may cause some tiredness and mood changes. Year by year, the amount of snow differs a lot in Helsinki; some years there is a lot of snow, when some other years there are barely any snow on the groud. In northern and eastern parts of Finland the snow season usually starts in late November and lasts till late March and April.

I recommend trying winter sauna.  A quick plunge into the frozen sea is a good adrenaline boost during the long winter nights. - U.S. Student Grantee 2014-2015

I either did not really experience or got quickly accustomed to the aspects of Finnish life that may have presented difficulties, so was not that concerned. From some of the people that I talked to at the university, the winter was difficult for them because they felt trapped indoors, or that it was always dark. I did not mind the long winter because I forced myself outside for exercise and I don’t mind only a few hours of daylight each day.

- U.S. Student Grantee 2015-2016

Read more about the seasons and the rapidly changing climate in Finland.