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.


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.



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.


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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