Participants in the Suolentis world championship tournament (Image credit:

Finland in the world press

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.   

The annual world championship of Suolentis has taken place since 2006. Foreign teams were not allowed to participate this year due to COVID- 19. 

A Finnish professor based in the U.S. created a stir earlier this week when he published an article highlighting the weaknesses of Finland’s higher education system in American newspaper USA Today.

Local media, including Ilta-Sanomat and Iltalehti reported on the article, which accuses the Finnish system of being “too cut-throat and unforgiving.” The author, Jukka Savolainen, is a professor of sociology at Wayne State University in Detroit. 

According to Savolainen, the vocational track offered in Finland prevents students from pursuing a university education if they wish to do so later in life. He also draws attention to the exceptionally low acceptance rate for certain programmes, such as sociology, in universities. 

Finland’s recent heatwave also made the news this week, in view of the wide-scale impact of  climate change across the globe. This June–July marked the longest heatwave recorded in Finnish history, with 31 consecutive days of temperatures hitting 25°C and above.

The phenomenon forms part of a larger pattern of extreme weather events that experts have linked to global warming. With the average global temperature now around 1.2℃ above pre-industrial levels, Finland could see more heat waves in the future. 

Hong Kong’s art exhibition at the Helsinki Biennial also came into the spotlight this week. The ongoing event, which is situated on Helsinki’s mainland as well as surrounding islands, features contemporary artwork by local and international artists.  

Located on the island of Suomenlinna, Hong Kong’s submission, titled So long, thanks again for the fish, showcases the works of five artists from the country and explores the theme of living with imperfection. 

In other news, Finland-based organisation Finest Future is offering scholarships for hundreds of international high school students, particularly from Vietnam, for 2022.

The multi-national consultant company’s Finland High School Programme (FHSP) provides  international students with the opportunity to study in Finland. The scholarship programme will enable Vietnamese students to have free access to study in schools across Finland.


Uniquely Finnish “swamp volleyball” tournament oozes into international headlines 

The annual world championship of the Finnish sport Suolentis, or  swamp volleyball, saw hundreds of Finns playing volleyball knee-deep in mud last weekend at Haukivuori, a municipality in Southern Savonia.

The sport, which was first established in 2003, follows the same rules as beach volleyball. This year’s world championship was expected to draw around 1,000 people. 

Over eighty teams participated in the tournament, which also featured  a “star performer.” Foreign teams were not permitted to take part due to COVID-19 restrictions.

Original story was published by the New York Post on 24.07.2021 and can be found here.


U.S.-based Finnish professor criticises Finland’s “Darwinistic” higher education system 

Jukka Savolainen, a professor of sociology at Wayne State University in Detroit, has condemned Finland’s secondary school system, in particular its separate academic tracks (vocational and general), which he believes closes off opportunities for some.

Savolainen contends that those who choose the vocational track at the young age of 14 are permanently deprived of the chance to pursue a university-level education. He also criticises the fact that Finnish high school graduates are expected to be able to commit to an area of study when applying to college and denounces the low admission rates in Finnish universities.  

While the professor admits that a high-quality college education in the U.S. places a significant financial burden on students and their families, he would still choose the American system of higher education over the Finnish one.

Original story was published by USA Today and can be found here.


Finland’s heatwave part of a chain of extreme weather events

Finland recently experienced the hottest June on record and saw maximum temperatures rising above 25°C for 31 consecutive days. The heatwave led to mounting cases of dehydration and cardiac issues in the country. 

According to climate scientists, extreme weather events—such as the heatwave in Finland—are on the rise and form a pattern that’s set to continue given the rise in the average global temperature.

Other recent or ongoing weather events include heatwaves in the U.S., floods in Western Europe, China and India and wildfires in Siberia. 

Original story was published by Mint on 26.07.2021 and can be found here.


Hong Kong’s art exhibit at Helsinki Biennial explores global concerns

So long, thanks again for the fish—an exhibit featuring the works of five artists from Hong Kong at the Helsinki Biennialis a project that links the islands of Suomenlinna and Hong Kong.  

The title is inspired from the popular sci-fi series by Douglas Adams, The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy. The show, which has a comical tone, seeks to highlight the theme of living with imperfection and finding common ground, in light of looming global problems such as the pandemic and climate change.

Original story was published by South China Morning Post on 25.07.2021 and can be found here.


Finnish organisation to provide scholarships for Vietnamese students

Finest Future, an organisation that seeks to introduce Finnish high school education to countries in Asia, is offering Vietnamese high school students scholarships to study in Finland through its Finland High School Programme (FHSP) initiative. 

According to Finest Future Chairman Peter Vesterbacka (an entrepreneur known for projects such as Slush and Startup Sauna), the scholarship programme will sponsor 100 per cent of students’ tuition fees throughout high school. 

Original story was published by The Star on 29.07.2021 and can be found here.


Tahira Sequeira

Helsinki Times