08th March... sorry if doing edits in a bad way, but who ever wrote the "mistakenly referred to as a Scandinavian country" was dead wrong, Finland is one of the scandinavian countries, although the Fins and Finnish are not necessarily scandinavian by heritage. I deleted that remark.
- Nope. Strictly speaking, Scandinavia is defined as the peninsula where Norway, Sweden and Denmark are , and Finland is not a part of it. But I'm fine with deleting the comment, it's academic hair-splitting and not really relevant for the traveller... Jpatokal 08:52, 8 Mar 2005 (EST)
- Finland is not a Scandinavian country and the majority of the population speak Finnish, a language that is not at all related to the Scandinavian languages. Scandinavia is Norway, Sweden and Denmark. --Oddeivind 10:28, 28 February 2011 (EST)
Newly added p removed: Another traditional way of masking the flavor of vodka is by mixing it with sweet sparkling wine, the name of the mixture can be roughly translated into English as the Bitch Slammer.
I've never heard of this, and Finns aren't much into "sweet sparkling wine" either — and it can't be terribly traditional since grapes don't grow anywhere near Finland. What is the Finnish name of this? Jpatokal 22:12, 17 Nov 2004 (EST)
- I've also never heard of this. According to drinksmixer.com:
- The Bitch Slammer was invented in Russia by Toni Pinto and Fernando Peeman. In recent years the drink has increased its popularity among Yuppies in central and northern Europe, and is now a staple of the consulting, insurance and mobile industry subcultures.
- Looks like it's a Russian drink originally, so no reason to keep it here. -Nick 13:18, 18 Nov 2004 (EST)
- Toni Pinto and Fernando Peeman are 100% not Russian names. They are either Finnish or Swedish. 188.8.131.52 08:14, 27 March 2008 (EDT)
- They aren't Finnish or Swedish either... Jpatokal 12:22, 27 March 2008 (EDT)
Finnish National Parks
I opened a new Finnish National Parks under "Other Destinations" since there are plenty of them, they are worth a visit, they don't merge into one region. Sininen 23:17, 17 Apr 2005 (BST)
Whether Finland is part of geografical scandinavia does not matter. We belong to political and cultural scandinavia and every Finn thinks s/he is scandinavian. Therefore we are.
In Helsinki, nearly all people you could possibly meet as a tourist speak English very well. Especially younger people in the larger cities understand English fairly well.
That's just rude. Do you think they don't teach english outside Helsinki?. Do you think we don't get tourist outside Helsinki? I assure you that every people tourist can has to meet in Finland knows how to speak english. Only the old people don't know, but since they don't work anymore, why would you be in contact with them.
When I spent a year in Finland I was told it was not a matter of course to be invited into someones private sauna. And I bet Finns would not frowne at a foreigner who would refuse to go to sauna.
Wearing bathing suits: I saw some finnish boys (aged 10-14 perhaps) in sauna with bathing suits when we were invited to a neighbours sommer cottage's sauna. I was confused but when I asked later, my finnish friend said this was not too uncommon, they just didn't want to be naked in sauna together with a stranger. (We took turns as usual in such cases: ladys first, then men.)
- Agreed on all points. An invitation to someones home does not necessarily get extended into someones private sauna, not even among us Finns. And it is surely not considered generally rude for a foreigner (or a local, for that matter) to politely decline this option. Many Finns do humorously consider it their sacred duty to offer the "real sauna experience" to visitors, and try their best to talk them into having a sauna. Nevertheless, this should not be taken as something of a "must". Niksu 03 June 2006
- Well, it's a "must" in the sense that you haven't been to Finland if you haven't tried a sauna, but otherwise I agree and edited the section accordingly. Jpatokal 13:44, 3 June 2006 (EDT)
Edits by 184.108.40.206
So, with a heavy heart I just reverted most edits by 220.127.116.11 . Please remember that this is not an encyclopedia: eg. Salmiakki-Kossu should not be described as "something enjoyed by young adults", which says nothing and is equally applicable to bible reading seminars, but as "lethal", which it is. Jpatokal 06:00, 15 July 2006 (EDT)
- See above. Instead of reverting stuff willy-nilly, how about getting an account and discussing what points you object to? Jpatokal 06:34, 28 July 2006 (EDT)
- And yet again... Jpatokal 04:35, 17 August 2006 (EDT)
Is it really worth mentioning that there have been rare and isolated incidents of skinheads attacking people with dark skin? Immigrants and refugees from countries like Somalia commit far more violence and crime that could be considered racially, ethnically or religiously motivated, but this isn't mentioned (I'm saying that if you're going to point fingers, then at least point them in the right direction). It's also a strange non-sequitur to claim that racially motivated violance towards non-whites has decreased because cities have become more cosmopolitan. The whole segment about skinheads is asinine and should be removed entirely.
Finland is officially bilingual, but the English Wikitravel isn't, and listing everything in two alien tongues is pointless. I suggest a simple rule: give both names for the town itself, but for all other towns, streets, attractions etc, use only the primary language in that county (== the one listed on top in street signs). Jpatokal 09:20, 12 December 2006 (EST)
I disagree. It might be even useful to have the both forms, for example "Stockholmsgatan" or "Berggatan" are far easier to be remembered at least by an European or American reader, when compared to "Tukholmankatu" and "Vuorikatu" respectively. I have heard of German tourists using the Swedish names when traveling in Helsingfors due to the virtual similarity of the Swedish names to the German ones. And also for a English-speaking tourist "Berg" or "Stockholm" probably say more than "Vuori" or "Tukholma" ;) 18.104.22.168 10:39, 12 December 2006 (EST)
- Being a native speaker of Finnish I can't comment on that claim, but maybe somebody else can. What is for sure, though, is that listing all names in duplicate also doubles the space required, and that a tourist in Helsinki is never going to find himself in a situation where knowing the Swedish name would be more useful than knowing the Finnish one. It's particularly useless for things like "Tampere (Tammerfors)", where the alternate name is already available behind the link. Jpatokal 11:05, 12 December 2006 (EST)
- Also being a native speaker of Finnish I can't be sure that those are useful. But listing all names in duplicate doesn't actually double the space required - for except the place and street names themselves, of course. Is that really undesirable, when the both names are 1) official and 2) the lower names in signposts might be easier to memorize than the upper names and 3) it gives the tourist more freedom? Don't know much about being a tourist in Stadi, but IMO listing the both names can actually make navigating the city easier. When there's the option to choose which names they use, the tourist can themselves make their mind about the matter. And no problem at all, if the tourist wil use primarily the Swedish names and there is eg. an advertisement promoting "Temppelinaukion Kirkko at Lutherinkatu 3", the tourist will just search for this name from their map. Personally I would advertise that church as "Church at Tempelplatsen, Luthersgatan 3", but I'm not responsible for that. :-)
- Sure, the other official name for a Finnish city is behind a link, but then we might end with a tourist who is like "what the heck is Turku" (when shortly mentioned in text), when they only have heard the Åbo version of the name. And believe me, there are foreign people (not counting Scandinavians), who know Åbo better than Turku. OTOH this is based on my personal experiences, but I once saw a guy who was like "Turku, what is it? [...] Oh, it's the same as Åbo!" Ultrix 04:32, 20 December 2006 (EST)
- Mf. It can get pretty ugly though: look at Brussels, which is full of listings like "Musées Royaux des Beaux Arts-Koninklijke Musea voor Schone Kunsten, Rue de la Régence-Regentschapstraat 3, at Place Royale-Koningsplein", and where I've also been arguing that French should override Flemish. If the names are radically different, like Turku/Åbo, I'm not going to complain loudly if you put the 2nd name in parentheses, but I definitely don't want to get into a Kaisaniemi/Kajsaniemi-style mess here.
- And a data point: the official English-language Helsinki Tourism page  gives all addresses only in Finnish. Jpatokal 04:42, 20 December 2006 (EST)
- It seems that we're going to agree soon. The Brussels page looks a bit messy, maybe it would be better for the article that the names are mentioned in one of these ways: "Primary / Secondary", "Primary – Secondary" or "Primary (Secondary)". I guess it's OK if I take back the second names like "[M] Rastila / Rastböle" or "Aleksanterinkatu (Alexandersgatan)", but not adding unnecessarities like "Kajsaniemi"? Or would it be better to add a short list of place names in both languages into the "Understand" section? At least places like "Suomenlinna" should have their Swedish name with them for historic purposes, there might be even a historian reading the article and wondering, why the historic Sveaborg is only mentioned as Suomenlinna, which is a far more recent construction (see Wikipedia for details).
- And another important reason for mentioning the both street names: http://crest.abo.fi/nwuml04/howtoturku.html – less confusing for tourists, if they research the map before the trip, if they don't have to wonder about "Annankatu" suddenly transforming into "Annegatan", when they can easily see here in WT that they are the same, only in two different languages. But we would still probably need a list of Finnish place name generics in Finnish and Swedish, translated in English. Ultrix 05:15, 20 December 2006 (EST)
- I'm OK with a short table about the street names, but the thing about place names is just way too much info for the main guide (OK for phrasebook though). And I'm OK with adding the parenthesized forms into the city lists, if and only it's made clear that it's only for radically different names. Jpatokal 07:13, 20 December 2006 (EST)
- OK. Those generic forms could be moved to the Phrasebook if it's better be there. But what is a radically different name? Lahti-Lahtis clearly isn't, and Turku-Åbo clearly is, with Pori-Björneborg, Oulu-Uleåborg, Kokkola-Karleby, Korsholm-Mustasaari, Savonlinna-Nyslott, Kauniainen-Grankulla and so on... But what about Karis-Karjaa or Tampere-Tammerfors? They are quite similar, but not enough similar to be recognized as the very same place. And should the parentheses be limited only to bilingual places? I could create a table about street names and place names to Helsinki article, and to the text introducing the surrounding municipalities I could add their Swedish names in parentheses. But not today. ;) Ultrix 07:32, 20 December 2006 (EST)
- I'll arbitrarily suggest that if the first three letters are the same, it's fairly obvious. And I really don't want to get into the street names — I still don't see any reasons why a traveller would ever need the second name, in the way that they might need place names if perusing bus timetables etc in the 'wrong' language. Jpatokal 11:54, 20 December 2006 (EST)
- : Nonwithstanding any political issues with this, when i was visiting Helsinki, i found the Swedish names are really useful. As a Dane it's indefinitely easier to cope with the Swedish names, than the long (hard to pronounce) Finish names. I oriented myself on the Swedish street and city names, and looked for the Swedish names on buses - as they were all listed on the city map i bought when i arrived. Granted, I am a Dane who understands Swedish - but i think most speakers of Germanic languages would feel much the same way. Sertmann 06:45, 13 October 2008 (EDT)
What's about places with a Swedish-speaking majority like Ekenäs (Tammisaari)? In those places Swedish is the first language, so the Finnish names shouldn't appear here, right? --22.214.171.124 17:29, 12 December 2006 (EST)
- Fine with me, as long as the Finnish name is given for the place itself. Jpatokal 02:38, 13 December 2006 (EST)
- I disagree. From a tourist point of view it is good to know the Finnish name when asking advice on how to get there. Before I read this discussion I didn't know that Tammisaari translates to Ekenäs so I wouldn't have been able to give directions to there. I think this applies to all places, the Finnish name should be listed.
Big bilingual boxes
I've shrunk the street names into an infobox and shunted these here until we can figure out what to do with them. Jpatokal 02:22, 27 December 2006 (EST)
A list of some generic forms in Finnish street names
Other generic place name forms
||By or Böle (bew, BER-leh)
||Borg, Slott or Hus (bor-REE, slott, hoos)
|Mäki or Kumpu (MA-kee, KOOM-poo)
||Kulla, Backa or Backen (KOOL-ah, BUCK-ah, BUCK-en)
||Haga or Hagen (HAH-gah, HAH-gen)
||Näs, Udd (nehs, oo-dd)
||Holm or Ö (holme, er)
|Kari or Luoto (KAH-ree, LU-aw-taw)
||Skär, Lot or Grund (SHA-r, loot, groond)
|Vuori or Vaara (VU-aw-ree, VAAH-rah)
|Suo, Neva or Korpi (SOO-aw, NE-vah, KORR-pee)
||Kärr, Moss, Myr (CHA-rr, moss, mewr)
||Vik, Lax (veek), lahks)
||Sjö, Träsk (sher, tresk)
||Å, Älv (aw, elv)
Note: In Swedish names there might also be a grammatical -en or -et suffix after the stem.
- Fine by me, although are you sure that katu/gatan = road and tie/vägen = street but not vice versa? According to Wikipedia, article "Street": The word “street” is still sometimes used colloquially as a synonym for “road,” but city residents and urban planners draw a crucial modern distinction: a road's main function is transportation, while streets facilitate public interaction. And from the "Road" article: In urban areas roads may pass along and be named as streets, serving a dual function as urban space and route. Ultrix 09:00, 28 December 2006 (EST)
- Wikipedia's weird then. In my book a tie is bigger than a katu, and a "street" is bigger than a "road". But whatever... Jpatokal 09:53, 28 December 2006 (EST)
Finnish beer and a few other notes
Although we Finns tend to consider our beer pretty watery, I think we may be exaggerating a bit calling it tasteless. Finnish beer actually fares quite well as lagers go even though it doesn't have very much hops. Didn't edit that though as I'd rather open it for discussion.
I made a few other edits here and there. Mostly updated VR prices, updated ferry info (Tallink bough Silja and SuperSeaCat became separate, Tallink also offers fast services) and also added the distinction between Finlandia Vodka and Kossu as they really do taste different with one having sugar and the other not. Real vodkas never have sugar, which gives them a very neutral taste when compared with Kossu (I evidently drink too much). Lcpitkan 16:03, 20 January 2007 (EST)
Draft Swedish policy
So here's my shot at a policy for handling Swedish in articles about Finland.
- Article titles use the name of the majority language in that county.
- First sentence of article always mentions the other language's name if different, even if the name is similar.
- Example: Helsinki (Swedish: Helsingfors) is the capital of Finland...
- Example: Mariehamn (Finnish: Maarianhamina) is the main city of the Aland Islands...
- The first time a place is mentioned or linked to in an article, it can include the other name in parentheses if it's unrecognizably different (arbitrary definition: first three letters are not the same).
- Example: Turku (Åbo) is one hour away by train.
- Counterexample: Kaisaniemi is a station of the Helsinki metro.
- Listings (attraction names, street names, etc) use only the majority language.
Comments? Jpatokal 07:04, 9 February 2007 (EST)
- Sounds good, however in listings I'd adopt the same policy as in Wikipedia:Helsinki metro (=list all names, even "Kaisaniemi (Kajsaniemi)"). And when a place is mentioned the first time, the "second language" name should be omitted only, if hugely unnoteworthy or obvious (like Kaisaniemi (Kajsaniemi) or Konala (Kånala)). In my eyes both municipality/town/city names should be used when talking the first time of bilingual municipalities or bigger cities regardless the obviousity (eg. Helsinki (Helsingfors), Vaasa (Vasa), Karis (Karjaa), Tampere (Tammerfors) and Mikkeli (S:t Michel), but not Ähtäri (Etseri) or Larsmo (Luoto), as the second language names for small, unilingual municipalities are really unnoteworthy.
- When mentioning street names or districts, both names should be used (as in Brussels article), but only when first mentioned. Also here should the "unnoteworthy or obvious" rule be used, so no Kaisaniemi/Kajsaniemi and Konala/Kånala shit here. Note that places like Munkkivuori (Munksberget) and Munkkiniemi (Munksnäs) sound quite similar, so here mentioning the both names are necessary, even when they share the first six letters. And it may not be obvious for everyone that Rastila and Rastböle are the same thing (in bilingual signposts "Rastilan leirintäalue – Rastböle camping(område)".
- For street names both names should be used, cf. "Yliopistonkatu (Universitetsgatan)" in Helsinki/H:fors and "Kattpiskargränden (Kissanpiiskaajankuja)" in Kristinestad/Kristiinankaupunki. A secondary name can have some understandable and useful information (like universitet = university in my example) that the primary name does not have (how many non-finns understand the word yliopisto?), and to be clear, the secondary names should always be used – at least when mentioned the first time.
- If you want another good examples of useful secondary names, here it goes: Puistokatu – Parkgatan, Tähtitorninkatu – Observatioriegatan, Laivastokatu – Maringatan, Kansantie – Folkvägen, Urkurintie –Organistvägen, Hopeasalmi – Silversund (in English-speaking world it'd be Silver Sound), Puistola – Parkstad (everyone who understand German or Dutch understand even the "stad" part, meaning "town")...
- So it looks like we need a external POV here, when the other wants to adopt the "keep" policy for bilingual names and the other wants to "get rid" of them, to bring to a head. :-) Don't get me wrong, I'm not some desperate Finland-Swede with a nationalistic mission but a normal Finn interested in toponomology (the science of place names). My principle is that as Swedish and English are related, and Swedish names are generally easier to be learnt and even understandable for a English-speaker, and they both appear on maps, they should be at least mentioned. My personal agenda is even more radical: when I write my own texts, I use primarily the Swedish names even in the parts of "Svenskfinland" where they consist a minority, for a number of reasons. First, linguistic reasons – because English is related with Swedish, and many Swedish place names would pass even in (Northern) Britain (like Forsby, Bergholm or Sandbäck, which would be Sand Beck in Yorkshire).
126.96.36.199 15:55, 21 February 2007 (EST)
- Sorry, but I oppose
practically everything listed above. I don't want to double the size of every listing with everything in both languages. I don't want criteria like "hugely unnoteworthy or obvious" because that's not measurable. And your slant as a native shows through when you're saying that Konala/Kånala is "hugely obvious": no, it's not, unless you know how to pronounce that bizarre "å" thing.
- We're writing for travellers, not toponomologists. We should not be aping metro articles on Wikipedia, because we're not writing the definitive encyclopedia article on the metro, we're writing a travel guide for the city it's in. And for that travel guide it's IMHO totally sufficient that the traveller is told the first thing on every sign — which is the name in Finnish. Jpatokal 03:23, 22 February 2007 (EST)
- Well then, if Konala/Kånala is not obvious, I guess then also the Kaisaniemi/Kajsaniemi pair is not obvious, as in many languages (such as in English and French) the j letter is far from letter i. But then again, if a "normal" anglophone tries to pronounce either of these forms, chances are that they go wrong. You're right – obviousity and noteworthiness are not simply measurable – they are arguable, and to be solved via a common agreement.
- You're also right in that this is not for toponomologists but travellers, nor is this any -pedia, but then again, is this as a travel guide supposed to be to used by people who only want to see the top 10 sights, restaurants and shopping malls? I don't know about people in general, but at least when I myself am traveling somewhere as a tourist, I want to know everything about the local culture. If the local culture has a minority culture (like Sámi people in northern Lapland or Ainu people in Japan), I take it as a challenge to learn to use the both name forms for places. Small fragments of seemingly useless information might be of use, at least in pub quizes... ;) It's hard to believe that only very few people would be like me, just wanting to see the superficial things and staring only at the names hanging on the upper side of the signs.
- If we tell a traveler just to stare and remember only those upper names, I wonder what will happen, when they first visit a town where Swedish is a majority language (eg. Karis or Pernå) by car, and then want to get back where they started. Of course, most likely they will soon find out, that the HELSINKI text ist just below the HELSINGFORS text, or TURKU below ÅBO, but – well – the "just stick with the upper names" principle fails here, adding confusion and a question "now, which names should I actually follow?". This applies also to minor names (like Koskela-Forsby and Sideby-Siipyy), where it can be even more crucial to know the both names – pairs like "Helsinki Helsingfors" and "Turku Åbo" are quickly learned, as they are repeated nearly everywhere.
- Sorry that I wrote my previous message unlogged, I wrote it so long that the server managed to threw me out. And also sorry for not coming up with better arguments, I'm dead tired at the moment. :) Ultrix 17:17, 25 February 2007 (EST)
Getting in by boat from Sweden
It is mentioned in the Get in -section that 18 is the ultimate age limit on cruises. However, at least with Viking Line (http://www.vikingline.fi/info/agelimits.asp) it is possible for even younger to take one-way trips (which ought to be the case when talking about GETTING IN). I have done it, left Finland from Turku on friday evening and came back monday morning in Turku, and I was 17. 188.8.131.52 08:48, 1 April 2007 (EDT)
The section explaining "regions" can be a bit confusing since the word "region" does not only refer to an area but also refers to the 20 relativly new actual regions (like Tavastia Proper, Päijänne Tavastia, Central Ostrobothnia, Ostrobothnia, Kymenlaakso and so on ). Right now the part called "Regions" headlines the six provinces drafted in 1997. Maybe the title could be changed to "Areas" or simply "Provinces" and in the different sections about the provinces the actual regions could be included? What do you think?
One should be aware that while travelling in Finland you often encounter road signs that tell you which region you are entering , therefore travellers would find the regions much more useful than reference to old regions or provinces. The new regions correspond very well to cultural, dialectal and economic variations within Finland.
Christian B 03:05, 28 July 2007 (EDT)
- I have now changed the title "Regions" to "Provinces" on the page. I will start including the various regions within the provinces on their respective pages. If someone thinks it's a bad idea, please let me know.
- Christian B 16:44, 29 July 2007 (EDT)
- I'm OK with calling the section "Provinces" and covering the regions under the provinces, that's what we already do on the Finnish WT as well. However, on the top Finland page the province listing already mentions the important regions, like this:
- Oulu — Kajanaland (Kainuu) and the northern part of the historical province of Ostrobothnia (Pohjanmaa), named after the technology city of Oulu
- ...so there is no need to repeat the same information in the next paragraph! The road sign picture adds little value and throws the page alignment out of whack. Jpatokal 22:20, 3 September 2007 (EDT)
- In that case I think the descriptions on the provinces should change. The description on Oulu adds nothing of value to a foreigner compared to the other descriptions. I think a explanation on the regions is in order since people in Finland identify themselves according to them and not according to the provinces. No one says that they live in "Western Finland". They say they live in Ostrobothnia or Karelia and so on. The cultural boundaries within the country are much clearer when you look at the regions. The idea is to describe the country, right? So a explanation on the the regions in relation to the provinces would probably be of a lot of value to a foreigner looking up travel info on Finland.
- Christian B 12:34, 6 September 2007 (EDT)
- Detailed descriptions of Oulu province belong in Oulu (province), the main page is just supposed to define the region's area. Jpatokal 22:56, 6 September 2007 (EDT)
- I understand that. I meant the short description. Christian B 11:33, 7 September 2007 (EDT)
- So what do you propose, eg. for Oulu province? Jpatokal 12:37, 7 September 2007 (EDT)
- Well, the thing about the city Oulu could stay. I just feel that all references to any region in those descriptions just don't have any value. The names of the regions do not describe the province in a useful way to a outsider. Finnish Lapland has a description that sounds short and good. Something along those lines is what I was thinking. But someone who knows the area should come in with some good ideas. I don't know the Oulu province that well, but there's got to be more to it than Oulu, right? Christian B 17:11, 8 September 2007 (EDT)
There are a couple of cities on the front page of the aticle about Finland, and on the edit page one encounters the following text: "only 7 to 9 of the biggest and most important for the traveller, please". Now, what defines "important"? Why is Lappeenranta and Jyväskylä included and not Rauma and Vaasa (both have a connection to UNESCO world heritage sites). I think all places have some points of interest, but maybe that city-section on the front page should be deleted. It's unfair and very hard to define. Take Espoo and Vantaa as examples. They're both cities apart from Helsinki, but both have important travel destinations in the capital area (you can't even avoid Vantaa when travelling by air to Finland).
Christian B 03:18, 28 July 2007 (EDT)
- I also don't like the use of the word "important" here and have changed it. The main considerations in trimming lists of cities on country articles are: 1. get a geographically representative sample (i.e., try to select cities across the country's regions) and 2. include cities based on their relevance to the traveler (i.e., if it is reasonable to assume that a reader would expect to see a link to a certain city on the country page, include it). The limit of 9 is fairly arbitrary, but is an established practice across all guides, especially for country articles. It is quite necessary because it prevents contributors from otherwise cramming entire country guides into one article. I hope this helps! I can't explain anything specific to Finland, however, because the only place I know well is Helsinki! --Peter Talk 03:34, 28 July 2007 (EDT)
You cant talk about second world war in Finland? yeah right...has anyone ever had any problems when talking about it? thats strangest thing I have heard for a long while. Maybe the Finnish civil war part could be acceptable. on the other hand finding foreigner who has actually heard about that, could be quite hard. -Mika
- Agreed. I've removed it. Jpatokal 06:51, 17 September 2007 (EDT)
Provinces are useless
Hi all, although I'm not an foreigner, I can see problem with using provinces as the subdivision for a travel guide. Provinces are a division existing only for the convenience of the state government, and even they are currently considering abolishing them altogether. They are internally heteregeneous in the contexts of culture, dialect, economics, transportation, and population. People don't identify with them; dialects are spoken criss-cross between the provinces; etc. Basically, they exist only as just another bureaucratic step between Helsinki and a local office of a state agency. Using them in this context makes about as much sense as dividing the United States into federal judicial circuits.
As for what should replace them: options are basically regions of Finland (maakunnat), old counties of Finland (vanhat läänit) and historical provinces of Finland (historialliset maakunnat / linnaläänit). Each has its benefits and drawbacks. A quick rundown:
- Benefits: Go into fine detail, often have a good single capital with influence unambiguously reaching to and only to the area
- Drawbacks: Go into too fine detail - too many, small ones too obscure; capital may be nationally insignificant (Keski-Pohjanmaa, for example, has only Kokkola)
- Benefits: Survive in telephone numbering areas, well-known in Finland, calling code often used by Finns to quickly identify general location, have well-defined capitals
- Drawbacks: Not official anymore - borders not marked on the ground; potentially too many and small ones too obscure
- Historical provinces
- Benefits: Best subdivision of local identity and dialects, regions are subdivisions of these, a good large-scale division for economic discussion
- Drawbacks: Not official since 1634
--Vuo 12:51, 25 May 2008 (EDT)
- I think all the options are bad, including the current provinces, but I don't see any of the alternatives being better enough to warrant a shift. The differences in dialect, scenery etc just aren't that big, and the big plus of "Western", "Southern" etc is that they're very intuitive to our target audience -- people who are not familiar with Finland -- whereas Ostrobothnia, Tavastia and whatever are not.
- BTW, regions are already supposed to be the next layer of the hierarchy after provinces... Jpatokal 12:06, 29 June 2008 (EDT)
- Now there's no provinces at all anymore so could someone edit the section to either maakunta/landskap-regions or new avi-areas? Avi-areas are even less useful than the old provinces, but the only differences to the old system are that Western Finland was split in "Western and Inner Finland" and "Southwest Finland", Oulu Province was renamed "Northern Finland" (even when there's Lapland further north) and Middle Ostrobothnia was ceded from Western Finland to Northern Finland. However, I suggest to use the current provinces, because they're those that people identify themself with. And they're what are shown on the highway signage. 184.108.40.206 15:20, 4 February 2010 (EST)
At this time, I don't really see a need to split our Western Finland in two. I would support renaming "Oulu (province)" into "Northern Finland", although as you note that's a little confusing since there is an "even more Northern Finland" as well. For time being, Keski-Pohjanmaa (Middle Ostrob.) remains within Western Finland, so no changed needed in that respect -- yet?
Incidentally, here's a good map of the new "avis":  Jpatokal 02:01, 5 February 2010 (EST)
Is Turkish Airlines worthy of special mention in the Get In section? It is not a budget airline that I know of and almost all major European airlines provide equivalent or better service from Finland (Helsinki).
Lcpitkan 11:06, 29 June 2008 (EDT)
- No, I don't think it requires a special mention. Nuke at will. Jpatokal 12:02, 29 June 2008 (EDT)
Why is this an outline when it is supposed to be a Star? -Ravikiran 00:36, 1 June 2009 (EDT)
- It was demoted to outline per recent discussion at Wikitravel_talk:Country_guide_status#Usable status too strict? Gorilla Jones 01:09, 1 June 2009 (EDT)
Since there's a bit of Cold War going on in the history section...
Long story short, if you had to choose whether Finland was "West" or "East" in the Cold War, the answer is "East". The famous "YYA" treaty of 1948 ensured that, had WW3 broken out, Finland would be on the Soviet side, and it also was forced by the Soviets to refuse Marshall Plan aid from the West. Contrary to your assertion that it was "never controlled or occupied by the Soviet Union", the Allied Control Commission under Zhdanov ensured that Finland was more or less directly under Soviet control from 1944 to 1947, and Porkkala plus a bunch of islands were leased to the Soviet military for quite a while afterwards. Finland did not oppose Soviet wishes in any foreign policy issues, and there was heavy internal (self-)censorship to avoid upsetting the Soviets.
All that said, Finland was indeed never Communist nor a formal member of the Eastern bloc, since it did not belong to the Warsaw Pact. I've tweaked the wording to make this a bit clearer. jpatokal 21:21, 10 June 2011 (EDT)