Sat, Aug 26, 2006 - Page 14 News List

Globe trotting: Finland 世界走透透 -- 芬蘭

Although it is one of the most sparsely populated countries in the world, Finland is also one of the most developed. It shares a lot in common with other Nordic countries, but Finland’s people and language are unique. Take a look and find out more.

雖然芬蘭是全球人口最稀少的國家之一,卻也是最先進的國家之一。芬蘭與北歐其他國家有許多共同點,但人民與語言卻獨樹一幟。讓我們一同來探索、了解芬蘭這個國家。

A closer look 說古論今

As a country, Finland is very impressive. In the past hundred years, it has transformed its economy from one that was based mostly on farming to one that is competitive with other major European countries, particularly high-tech goods, like products from the well-known phone company Nokia. It is also known for its excellent education system, which again and again turns out students who are among the top scorers in the world according to the OECD’s Program for International Student Development. Additionally, Finland is known all over the world for the freedom of its press, a lack of corruption and for being extremely democratic.

The cultural and linguistic history of Finnish people is unique from that of other Nordic countries. The people of Finland were first united under the Swedish crown in the 1200’s, and remained under it for almost 600 years. At that time, their language, Finnish, was spoken mainly only by people who worked the land. People of higher education began speaking Swedish. It wasn’t until the 1800’s that Finnish again became the dominant language.

Today, one of the strongest remaining signs of traditional Finnish culture is the sauna. Saunas are purely Finnish. Finns have been taking saunas for hundreds of years. Saunas are so important to Finns that when the Finnish military travels to other countries, one of the first things they build is a sauna for the soldiers. In a room as hot as 100oC, Finns sit, talk, and enjoy a good sweat and good company.

芬蘭這個國家相當讓人印象深刻。過去數百年來,芬蘭將原本務農為主的經濟型態轉型成可與歐洲其他強國匹敵的經濟型態,尤其是高科技產品,例如知名手機廠Nokia的產品。芬蘭也以優良的教育體系聞名,根據經濟合作暨開發組織的國際學生能力評量計畫,芬蘭的教育體系一再養成躋身全球評分最高行列的學生。此外,芬蘭也以新聞自由、無貪污與先進的民主聞名全球。

芬蘭人民的文化與語言史迥異於北歐其他國家。十三世紀時,芬蘭人民受瑞典國王統治,首度一統,在瑞典轄治下將近六百年。當時說芬蘭語的多半是務農的人,受高等教育的人則講瑞典語。直到十九世紀,芬蘭語才再度成為主要語言。

現在,傳統芬蘭文化仍保留的強烈象徵之一,就是芬蘭浴(sauna)了。芬蘭浴是純芬蘭的產物。芬蘭人已洗芬蘭浴好幾百年了,它對芬蘭人來說如此重要,以至於芬蘭軍隊旅經其他國家時,首務之一就是為士兵打造芬蘭浴室。在溫度高達100oC的浴室中,芬蘭人坐著休息、聊天,享受與好夥伴一起汗流浹背的滋味。 (翻譯︰賴美君)

Who knew?: 你知道嗎

The land that is now Finland was once covered by huge sheets of ice several kilometers thick. The ice was so heavy that it actually pressed the earth down. When the Ice Age ended, the sheets of ice melted. This left lakes and islands all over Finland -- 179,584 islands and 187,888 lakes in all. As the ice melted away, the land began to rise back up, and it is still rising today. In fact, the country of Finland gains seven square kilometers every year because of land that has risen up out of the sea. And that’s not the only unusual thing about Finland’s geography. The country is so far north that at some points, the sun doesn’t set for 73 days during the summer, and it doesn’t rise for 51 days during the winter.

現今芬蘭的國土曾一度為好幾公里厚的巨大冰層覆蓋,冰層甚至厚到讓地層下陷。冰河時期結束時,冰層紛紛融化,讓芬蘭境內遍布湖泊與島嶼︰總計有十七萬九千五百八十四個島與十八萬七千八百八十八座湖。這些冰層融化後,芬蘭的地層開始回升,至今仍在持續上升。事實上,由於地層上升,芬蘭每年都會增加七平方公里的國土。這並非芬蘭地理唯一獨特之處,由於芬蘭地處極北,在某些地方夏季可達七十三天日不落山,冬季則有五十一天看不到太陽。

What time is it there?: 現在那裡幾點

Right now, Finland is on Eastern European Summer Time, which makes it five hours behind Taiwan. That means that if it is 11:00am in Taiwan, it is 6:00am in Finland.

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