Riihimäki, Finland is a small town with about 30,000 people. It is located about 65 kilometers north of Helsinki. The people are friendly. When the weather is good, the family likes to spend time together, such as cycling, swimming, fishing and shopping.
In summer, many people from Riihimäki go to summer houses. Summer houses usually do not have indoor plumbing, which means there is an outhouse somewhere near the summer house. A family usually swims in the lake or small inflatable swimming pool, and then walks into the wood-burning sauna together to wash and relax. During this time, it is also common for the whole family to be naked, because not wearing clothes is seen as a form of relaxation and freedom.
People usually grill fish or meat during their summer vacation. Sometimes, salmon or other types of cold-water fish are smoked in an outdoor brick oven for several hours and then eaten with home-grown potatoes or other vegetables.
Compared to most American cities, Riihimäki has a slower pace of life. Families do housework, shopping and other chores together so that they can spend the most time together. Even with satellite TV and high-speed Internet access now, most people still like to spend their free time by talking to each other and deepening their understanding.
Another difference across Finland is that children do not start formal education until they are seven years old. At that time, they could usually write down their name and phone number, but they didn’t learn to read until after school. Although they start formal education one to two years later than most American children, they will still learn to speak, read and write in two or three languages, including English, by the age of twelve.
Rotary clubs are also an important part of life for Finnish business people and professionals. The Rotary Club is an international service organization with more than one million members worldwide. Even though Riihimäki is a small city, they still have more than 70 members in the local Rotary Club.
Overall, Riihimäki’s life is very good. The price is high, but people still enjoy a good quality of life. Most families own their own houses and the loan period is usually 60 years. Everyone has access to medical services, and the government also pays for university tuition. I encourage anyone interested in a quiet, peaceful holiday to consider visiting Rishmaki in Finland.