This year, 3,500 Thai berry pickers arrived in Finland to help with the harvest/Lehtikuva

The news that Finnish scientists accidentally unleashed butterflies that contained parasitic wasps created a buzz this week, with several international newspapers, including The Guardian and Independent covering the story. 

Researchers had introduced a new kind of caterpillar to a small island in the Åland archipelago in the hopes of studying the behaviour of the beautiful Glanville fritillary (Melitaea cinxia) butterflies once they emerged. 

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A production of Seven Brothers at Vantaan Tanssiopisto (Vantaa Dance Institute) in 2003/Lehtikuva

Finland’s national novel Seven Brothers (Seitsemän veljestä) came into the spotlight this week when BBC published an article highlighting its history and cultural impact. While it was not well received during its time, the seminal work has come to be inextricably linked with Finland’s national identity.

First published in 1870, Seven Brothers was the first novel written in Finnish, at a time when the language had not yet acquired legitimacy as a literary medium and the nationalist movement was just beginning to gain traction.

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Ella Viitasuo (second from left) celebrates with her teammates after scoring a goal during the 2021 IIHF Women's World Championship bronze medal game/Lehtikuva

The Finnish women’s national ice hockey team skated into headlines this week after winning the bronze medal at the women’s world hockey championship. 

Finland beat Switzerland 3–1 to take third place at the 2021 IIHF World Women's Championship on Tuesday. Tanja Niskanen, Ella Viitasuo and Petra Nieminen scored one goal each, while goaltender Anni Keisala made a total of 18 saves during the match. 

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The tree hugging championship was livestreamed on various platforms/Photo credit: HaliPuu

Yet another quirky Finnish custom caught the fancy of international media this week as the annual tree hugging world championships were held in the HaliPuu forest in Levi, Lapland last weekend.

The championship, which only began last year, includes three categories of tree hugging: speed hugging, dedication and freestyle hugging. This year’s event included contestants (all residents of the nearby town of Levi) representing Finland, Switzerland, Germany, Italy, Australia, Scotland, Hungary and Spain.

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The AuroraSat-1 could help solve the current space junk crisis/Image credit: Aurora Propulsion Technologies

Finland’s efforts to increase its hydrogen capabilities were highlighted this week, with hydrogen-focused magazine H2 View reporting that the country is set to construct its first green hydrogen production plant.

The plant, which will have a capacity of 20MW, will be built in the municipality of Harjavalta in Western Finland. When commissioned, it will generate green hydrogen to power industrial applications. 

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A rare cloudberry in a swamp in Hyvinkää, Uusimaa in July/Lehtikuva

Finland’s reverence for cloudberries or “lakka” came into focus this week when National Geographic published an article about the age-old Finnish practice of mindful wild berry picking in summer. 

Respect for nature and contemplative silence are ideals that are deeply ingrained in Finnish culture, with Finns seeking quiet, meditative solitude in forests long before the concept of “forest bathing” emerged. 

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Various brands of the Finnish heritage drink lonkero for sale at a supermarket/Wikipedia (Arkke)

Finland’s iconic and ubiquitous "lonkero" (a traditional gin-based drink) was the subject of discussion this week, with Forbes publishing an article on the growing popularity of Long Drink—an alcoholic beverage inspired by lonkero—in the U.S.

The brand has recently become a trend among celebrities such as Kim Kardashian, and has received financial backing from the likes of actor Miles Teller.

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Participants in the Suolentis world championship tournament (Image credit: swampvolley.com)

The Finnish sport of “Suolentis” (Suolentopallo) or swamp volleyball made a splash this week, with the New York Post reporting on the world championship that took place last weekend.

Over eighty teams participated in the event, which was held at Haukivuori, Eastern Finland. The rules of the sport, which involves playing volleyball knee-deep in mud, are similar to that of beach volleyball.   

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Kalle Rovanperä (C R) and co-driver Jonne Halttunen (C L) celebrate their victory during the podium ceremony of the WRC Rally Estonia/Lehtikuva

Finnish rally driver Kalle Rovanperä made history this week when he became the youngest-ever winner of a World Rally Championship (WRC) event.

The 20-year-old, who drives for Toyota, beat Hyundai’s Irish driver Craig Breen by 59.9 seconds at the rally, which was held in Estonia on Sunday. Rovanperä’s father is also a former WRC rally winner.

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Beachside scenes during a recent hot day in Northern Finland (Image: Lehtikuva)

THE FINNISH WEATHER was a surprise point of focus in the world press this week, following a Nordic heatwave that has shattered records and brought previously unthinkable temperatures the northernmost reaches of Lapland.

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The 4,000-year-old wooden sculpture clearly resembles a snake (Photo credit: Satu Koivisto/University of Turku)

A snake-like sculpture dating back to the stone age, which was unearthed in Finland last year, has received significant attention from international news outlets this week. 

The 4,000-year-old, 21-inch-long relic was discovered at the Järvensuo I site in Southwest Finland and was carved to reflect the serpentine curves and likeness of a snake. Researchers at the University of Turku note that such a finding is rare for Neolithic Northern Europe, as figurines of animals like waterfowl or elk are more commonly excavated.

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