Stepping into a Finnish home for the first time offers a glimpse into Finnish hospitality’s warm and welcoming nature. Finnish people take great pride in their homes, and hosting guests is an important part of their culture.
When visiting a Finnish home, you must familiarize yourself with the customs and etiquette to ensure a respectful and enjoyable experience. We put together the most important, unwritten rules for a successful and enjoyable home visit experience!
Eight norms to remember when visiting a Finnish home
- Shoes off, please! One of the most important customs to remember when entering a Finnish home is to remove your shoes right when stepping inside. Finns strongly prefer keeping their homes clean, and taking off shoes immediately upon entering is a common practice.
- Greetings and Introductions: If you meet someone for the first time, introduce yourself with a firm handshake. If it’s not your first time meeting the host, you can say hello; physical contact is unnecessary. However, good friends and family members do hug each other.
- Arrive on Time: Finnish punctuality extends to social gatherings as well. If you have been invited to a Finnish home for a specific time, make an effort to arrive promptly. Being on time demonstrates respect for your hosts and their schedule.
- Bringing a Gift: In Finland, getting anything to hosts is unnecessary unless you celebrate something – So don’t feel pressured. Whether you should bring something depends a lot on the type of invitation, and it’s not a bad idea to ask the hosts before the event. If you invite yourself to someone’s home, it’s polite to bring something sweet to eat or a packet of coffee.
- Dining Etiquette: If a Finn invited you for a meal, waiting until the host signals to start eating is polite. Finnish people typically wait that everyone seats before beginning their meal. Remember to use utensils and observe table manners. Finns appreciate good table manners and calm conversation while eating.
- Sauna Culture: as you know, the sauna holds a special place in Finnish culture. If your hosts offer you the opportunity to experience a Finnish sauna, consider it a privilege. Remember to follow sauna etiquette by sitting on a towel and asking for instructions if you are unfamiliar with sauna traditions.
- Express Appreciation: Thank them for the delicious meal or enjoyable visit throughout your visit. However, Finns are OK with one or two compliments – don’t make them awkward by showing too much love!
- Respect Personal Space: Finnish homes are seen as private sanctuaries, and respecting personal space is important. Avoid snooping around or touching personal belongings without permission. If you have questions about the home or its decorations, please ask your hosts politely.
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