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This blog is about my Comenius experience in Finland

Finns prefer red wine at Christmas

Finland, Finns, FinnishPosted by Sylvie Hendrickx Wed, December 07, 2011 14:18:12

Finnish mulled wine is flavoured with cinnamon

Red wine is Finns’ favoured yuletide tipple. According to the state-run alcohol monopoly Alko, red wine sales usually increase by 50 percent in the two weeks leading up to Christmas.

The fortnight before December 25 sees more than 1.5 million litres of red wine taken home from Alko stores, while sales of white and sparkling wine can be expected to rise by between 70 and 75 percent.

Christmas is also a good time for cognac producers. Sales of three star VS cognac are three times higher than normal at this time of year, VSOP cognac sales are expected to be six times greater than usual, and high-grade XO cognac sales experience a seven-fold increase. Altogether around 200,000 litres of cognac are sold in the run-up to Christmas, and the most popular grade is VS cognac.

Alko also expects to sell some 580,000 litres of ready-mixed Finnish mulled wine, or glögi, over the festive season.

From:, dd 07/12/2011

Independence Day 6/12

Finland, Finns, FinnishPosted by Sylvie Hendrickx Mon, December 05, 2011 17:01:20

Finland closes down for Independence Day

Finland celebrates Independence Day on Tuesday. The public holiday brings changes to public transport and opening hours.

Shops, Alko liquor stores, banks and post offices will keep their doors closed on Tuesday. Long-distance train services will run on Sunday timetables on Tuesday. For more information, see the state railways VR website. Local transport also runs according to Sunday timetables.

The traditional Finnish independence day celebrations in Helsinki start with a torchlit procession of students from Hietaniemi Cemetery to the Senate Square at 5pm. Similar events are held in other Finnish cities.

The President’s Independence day reception will begin at 7pm, with live TV coverage on YLE TV, radio and online. The reception and students’ procession will cause disruption to traffic from around 6pm in central Helsinki.

The Finnish parliament declared independence on 6 December 1917. Before that, the country had been part of Sweden, and later became a Grand Duchy in the Russian empire.

From:, dd 05/12/2011


Tourism ( by Sylvie Hendrickx Sun, December 04, 2011 22:52:21

History & Heritage

King Carl IX founded the city of Oulu in 1605 in the mouth of the Oulu River. The Oulu River delta is an ancient trading centre. From a city of tar and salmon engaged in international trade, Oulu has developed into a competence centre of 141.000 residents, well-known within high-tech circles all over the world.

A Fine Tourist Attraction

Also travellers from around the world find Oulu in numbers increasing each year. Oulu is easy to reach from the big centres of Europe. This, together with the busy airport in Oulunsalo, has made Oulu an excellent choice for holidays and conferences.

The Four Seasons

It is indeed easy to reach Oulu any time of year. Bright, warm summers and cold, snow-rich winters are both present in the cycle of seasons. Versatile shopping, cultural and restaurant services guarantee unforgettable experiences for travellers. Oulu hosts events throughout the year. Especially the summer is a time for numerous interesting events - such as Reindeer Feria and Air Guitar World Championships - that spice up the wide selection of events Oulu has to offer.

Experiences for Kids

There’s plenty to do and experience for visitors of all ages, including the youngest ones in the family. For instance Science Centre Tietomaa, the Vauhtipuisto speed park, the Oulun Eden spa and the wonderful Nallikari beach will be warmly remembered by the smallest travellers too. Thanks to the wide Oulu region, nature experiences are close to you.



Tourism ( by Sylvie Hendrickx Sun, December 04, 2011 22:49:44

Turku is a fascinating combination of both old and new. Turku has everything for the modern urbanite, but also for tourists interested in the treasures of history. Turku offers skilled and educated workforce, modern municipal engineering, good international connections and flexible services for companies and businesses.

Turku is a city of three institutions of higher education and high technology. In addition to the University of Turku and the Turku School of Economics and Business, the city is the home of the country's only Swedish-speaking institute of higher education, Åbo Akademi. The city can also offer studies at Turku University of Applied Sciences, Sydväst University of Applied Sciences, Humak University of Applied Sciences and Diaconia University of Applied Sciences. The city has altogether approx. 35, 000 higher education students.

The schools and businesses work in close co-operation at the Turku Technology Centre, which units are BioCity, DataCity, ElectroCity, EuroCity and the Old Mill. The degree programmes in animation, advertising and circus studies at Turku University of Applied Sciences are unique in Finland.

As the most famous cultural city in Finland, Turku offers many different types of events round the year. For example, the oldest rock festival in Europe, Ruisrock, and the bit younger city festival, Down by the Laituri, are held in Turku in the summertime. In addition, the Medieval Market, Music Festival Aurajoki Virtaa and the Turku Music Festival are also part of the summer in Turku.

In the wintertime the official Christmas City of Finland is filled with numerous performances, events and Christmas markets. The Christmastime culminates in the Ecumenical Christmas, and of course in the proclamation of Christmas peace on Christmas Eve from the balcony of the Brinkkala building, which is televised nationally.



Tourism ( by Sylvie Hendrickx Sun, December 04, 2011 22:45:01

With water lapping at its wooden mooring-posts in front of picturesque timber houses, Naantali (Swedish: Nådendal) is one of Finland's most idyllic port towns and makes a great, and popular, day-trip destination from Turku - it's only 18km away.

Once you get over the shock of the summertime crowds - and the fact that the majority of them are making a beeline for a children's theme park - it's difficult not to like Naantali. The compact boat-filled harbour is ringed with pleasant cafés and restaurants, the cobbled Old Town has a quaint (if slightly dressed up) old-world feel, and there's plenty of sights and shopping to occupy an afternoon. The main attraction for all those Finnish families is Moominworld, a theme park celebrating characters from the storybooks by Tove Jansson. Out of season, Naantali is pretty quiet, and feels a little like a filmset after the actors have gone home.



Tourism ( by Sylvie Hendrickx Sun, December 04, 2011 22:43:35

One of Finland's major winter-sports centres, Lahti is a modern town about 100km north of Helsinki. It's a good place to go if you're interested in skiing, with a good museum on the sport, alongside the city's frighteningly high ski jumps. Lahti has hosted several world championships, most recently in 2001.

Founded in 1905, the city isn't hugely interesting in other respects, and lacks anything that could be called an 'old town'. Most of the downtown area, in fact, consists of a series of linked shopping centres. The 10, 000 Karelian refugees who arrived after WWII have contributed their entrepreneurial spirit to what the locals call the 'Business City'. Lahti does make a good base for visiting nearby attractions. Its location by Vesijärvi (which is connected to Lake Päijänne) makes it the obvious place to start a ferry trip to Jyväskylä. One of the largest lakes in Finland, Päijänne provides Helsinki with tap water.

Financial incentives much used by parents in Finland

News about educationPosted by Sylvie Hendrickx Sun, December 04, 2011 19:44:42
Many Finnish parents find monthly or weekly allowances to be an effective way of teaching children to handle money.

Finnish parents are more inclined than parents in other Nordic countries to use money to encourage their children to work hard at school. This is the finding of a recent survey conducted by Nordea bank across the Nordic region.

From:, dd 01/12/2011

Babies sleep better in subzero temps

NewsPosted by Sylvie Hendrickx Sun, December 04, 2011 19:27:51

Study: Babies sleep better in subzero temps

The old Finnish custom of putting babies to sleep outdoors in winter now has scientific backing. A study by the University of Oulu finds that babies who take their naps outside in the fresh air sleep up to three times as long as those slumbering indoors.

“Yesterday when it was -11 degrees Celsius, ten-month old twins Anni and Aatu slept 3.5 hours outside, but this morning they just took a one-hour nap inside,” says mom Outi Rajanen, echoing study findings.

Special precautions should, however, be taken when putting infants to sleep outdoors, notes researcher Marjo Tourula. Babies need to be bundled warmly and should not be left out for extended periods.

According to Tourola, -5C is the optimal temperature for outside slumber. The study indicated that parents seem to know how to dress their babies adequately at this temperature.

The practice of parking sleeping babies outside became widespread nearly a century ago, when it was first promoted by the father of Finland's maternal health clinic system, Arvo Ylppö.

From:, dd 02/12/2011

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