Located between East and West, with snowy winters and warm, light-filled summers, Finland offers a number of fascinating contrasts. Introducing Ines
Name: Ines Antti-Poika Date of birth: April 28, 1974
Residence: Helsinki, Finland Hair color: Brown
Eye color: Brown
You can wake me up for this anytime : Champagne & Fazer chocolate
I'm very good at : Promoting Finland as a destination for business events
Would love to have lunch/dinner with you at these great places : Any of the island restaurants in Helsinki. Restaurant Saaristo is an all-time favourite, it is an Art Nouveau style villa, built in 1899, and it’s one of the most imposing and traditional restaurants in Helsinki. It is located on a small island only a 2-minute boat ride away from the mainland.
Would like to show you around these eye catchers : Suomenlinna island fortress in Helsinki, it is listed on the UNESCO World Heritage List. It is one of the most popular destinations in Finland – but also a suburb of Helsinki with about 800 residents. There are 6 km of walls, exciting tunnels and beautiful parks on the island. Not to mention the museums and cafés and restaurants.
Or I would take you to Oulanka national park in Kuusamo and show you the power of water along the Karhunkierros trail route: the most impressive waterfalls in Finland are located there. There are also hanging bridges, which cross the rivers, and we would be sure to spot some wildlife, too.
My top 5 bucket-list : Try sauna and swim in a lake. Taste salmon and new potatoes at midsummer – and enjoy the midnight sun after dinner. Hike in a national park (winter or summer). Ice-skate on a frozen lake, it’s a magical feeling. Hunt the northern lights in Finnish Lapland (October-March).
The best invention ever : Fiskars scissors. You don't have to be a Finn to recognize the orange handles of the famous Fiskars scissors; more than a billion have been sold. They are considered to be the most widely spread Finnish product.
Safety reflector. Finnish farmer Arvi Lehti invented the safety reflector for use on his horse carts during long, dark winters. Now, pedestrians are required by law to wear reflectors when traveling in dark conditions in Finland. Countries that use reflectors have the lowest pedestrian fatalities and serious injuries.
Xylitol. Even if you haven't heard of xylitol, there's a good chance you've encountered or consumed it. Primarily made from birch tree branches found in Finland, Xylitol is an alternative to sugar used to prevent cavities, plaque, pneumonia, osteoporosis, and ear infections in children. It is found in many popular brands of chewing gum and candies.
Let's have a cocktail at : The award-winning Bar Runar in Helsinki – it has been rewarded with the Best Atmosphere Award at the Bartenders’ Choice Awards and chosen the Best Cocktail Bar in Finland.
I get grumpy when : I don’t get enough exercise or fresh air
My ultimate moment of happiness : Run in a forest after the rain
What I googled recently : Nature & hiking trails in southern Finland and design shops in Tampere (Miela Designroom is my absolute favourite – products from 40 Finnish design brands, the store also has a secondhand section)
My biggest challenge : So many wonderful destinations to discover!
Funniest custom(s) from my city/country : There’s nothing more Finnish than sauna, a way of life that is passed on from generation to generation. Sauna cleanses both physically and spiritually. And yes, we normally do it nude.
Finnish people are warm, open and sincere. Finns are not big small talkers, and quiet moments in conversations are not considered awkward. Silence merely means the person doesn’t have anything essential to say. There’s no necessity to fill gaps in conversation with chatter. On the other hand, Finns are genuine – we mean what we say. “Let’s have a beer sometime” actually means you will be contacting the other person sooner or later for a drink, and they will be expecting it.
Best conference hotels : There is a great variety of conference venues all over Finland: everything from a conference center for 10,000 people to an intimate log cabin for 20 can be found here. Altogether, Finland offers 10 venues that can accommodate 1,000 to 10,000 persons, and the largest fixed meeting room has 4,400 seats. Most international hotel brands have presence in the big cities. Scandic, Hilton, Nordic Choice & Clarion Hotels and the local Sokos Hotels chain have excellent hotels with a vast meeting capacity.
Fun facts that you didn't know : There are more than 2 million saunas in Finland. There is more forest and water in Finland than anywhere else in Europe. Over 70% of the land area is covered with forest - an area larger than UK or Italy! The 188 000 lakes of Finland, on the other hand, are so vast that Finland has most water in relation to land mass of all the countries in the world.
“Everyman’s right” means you can walk freely in the nature, anywhere you want. Forests offer us mushrooms, berries and wonderful fresh air. Finland is the only place in the world to meet the real Santa Claus. But I’m sure you knew it already!
Most useful websites : https://www.visitfinland.com/fcb/ and https://www.myhelsinki.fi/en/meetings-and-travel-trade
Our destination in three words : World’s happiest country
Souvenir that you must bring back : Experiences, memories, superfood (dried berries etc.), Lumene cosmetics (perhaps the most iconic Finnish beauty brand. The company takes its inspiration from the Nordic approach to well-being and beauty, and uses handpicked Nordic botanicals as ingredients in their products. All of Lumene’s skincare formulas are 100% vegan and cruelty-free.)
My tips for a happy life: Nature & outdoors, good coffee (we Finns consume the most coffee per capita in the world) and good friends & a lot of laughter.