When we moved into our apartment, we were advised you could book your own
time for a sauna or join the communal sauna on Monday night. What better way to
meet the neighbours? Welcome to apartment living in Finland.

Many Finns live in apartment blocks. Partly, it’s because Finland
rapidly urbanised after World War Two to help Finland
pay its reparations to the Soviet Union. Even now, lots
of Finns live in and around Finland’s
biggest city of Helsinki and the
second and fourth largest, Espoo and
Vantaa, are actually commuter cities,
outlying suburbs of Helsinki.

But the great irony of Finnish apartments? No-one’s ever
home. My apartment block is a ghost town. During the week Finns are working –
Finns have a labour participation rate of around 66.5% (August 2005), and that
includes women – women’s participation rate is around 63% with an average of
around 80% for women who are 35-55. Or they are at university – a fair whack
of the “economically inactive” are students (around a quarter in August 2005).

Read more on the site here.