It’s easy to pick who is flying Finnair at international oneworld lounges. They’re the ones drinking beer at 6am.

Finns like a drink. Finns have a reputation for liking a drink. But strangely, official sources say that Finns don’t actually drink as much as other Europeans. It just looks that way.

The Finnish Ministry of Foreign Affairs’ website
candidly admits “in per capita consumption of alcohol countries such as
France and Italy are ahead of the Nordics. Yes, but the boozers are
much more noticeable up here in the north because they drink simply and
solely to get legless.”

Finns binge drink. Nothing during the week. Nothing with meals. And then comes Friday night.

And Finns are such public drinkers. In the park. Walking down the
street. By the river. Earlier this year, Richard Tomkins in the
Financial Times discussed how British-awkward he felt seeing someone
eat chips on the tube. Well, I find it awkward seeing such open public binge
drinking after being used to alcohol-free streets in Sydney. And
you do see the drinkers. Maybe in other countries they can slink around under
cover of darkness, but in summer in Finland the sun’s still out at midnight, and you see it all in
its swaying, swaggering, colourful glory. There’s no shame, no
embarrassment in public drunkenness.

Finns don’t go out to bars to get drunk. They pre-party.
They invite a few friends over, or meet up at a park. Have a few
drinks. And THEN they go out.

Reserved, diffident Finns become Mr Chatty. They come up to you in
the street and start up a conversation. In Finnish. You
reply in English. And they will continue, earnestly, intensely,
in Finnish.

Read on here.

Peter Fray

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Peter Fray
Editor-in-chief of Crikey