Just like every nation has its own culture, traditions, and, ultimately, identity, it’s also natural to think that every nation also has its own personality and quirks when it comes to things that people do or believe in collectively as a nation.

Very Finnish Problems is one of many internet projects dedicated to celebrating cultural and national identity—the Finnish one, to be precise—whilst also having some fun with it in the form of memes.

And it’s not just an Instagram page, as there’s also a “branch” on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, and it even has its own website. Heck, there’s even a book with the same theme by Joel Willans, the guy behind all of this.

Bored Panda has collected some of the best memes shared on the Very Finnish Problems Instagram about all of the very Finnish things that may or may not raise an eyebrow outside of Finland. And while you’re scrolling through the list, why not vote and comment on the entries you enjoyed or related to the most!

Very Finnish Problems is the brainchild of Joel Willans, author of the Spellbound and Very Finnish Problems books and Creative Director at Ink Tank Media with whom Bored Panda got in touch for an interview. The VFP book in particular shares amazing insights into the everyday trials and tribulations of life in Finland.

Very appropriately, the Instagram page kind of does the same, except in the form of hilarious internet memes. Speaking of memes, these cover a variety of very Finnish things!

These include taking a jab at Finnish personal space, their natural facial expressions and reactions, their love for hockey, disdain for small talk (and talk in general), linguistic intricacies, and, of course, COVID jokes!

#4

Very-Finnish-Problems-Instagram-Memes

Very Finnish Problems Report

YoChicken
Community Member
2 years ago Created by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

i hate when people just like sit really close to you, and are not even aware they are doing it and then you're like please move and they come even closer

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"I’m the Creative Director at a digital marketing agency, Ink Tank Media, and I bet one of my clients that I could create a Facebook page of 10K fans in a month without spending a penny," explained Willans the origins of Very Finnish Problems. "The bet was made during Finnish winter, which was typically dark and very, very cold. The pavements were super slippery and it was taking me ages to walk to work, and I remember thinking how winter is trying to kill me, and what a very Finnish problem that is."

He continued: "Then it struck me that it was one of very many Finnish problems faced by an Englishman in the far north. That was how it all began, and it clearly resonated with lots of people, because I won the bet and got nearly 20K fans in a month."

#8

Very-Finnish-Problems-Instagram-Memes

Very Finnish Problems Report

Bendy Rainbow
Community Member
2 years ago Created by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

*freezes while thinking of every possible thing that could go wrong with a bear at the window*

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But it’s not just memes. It’s really anything about Finland. On the various social media that this project is on, you can find Joel Willans himself running his “Working Wonders” series where he talks about innovative Finnish companies.

There are also videos discussing iconic Finnish music, how to do things like a Finn, and videos listing very Finnish things, like stuff that should never be sold in Finland, the happiest Finnish words, the weird things to love about Finland, reasons why Finland is the future of humanity, and many more.

"Just like most observational comedy, Very Finnish Problems are usually observations dramatized or exaggerated for comic effect. Normally, they come from things I’ve experienced or conversations I’ve had, which seem more strange to a foreigner than a native Finn. I’ve now written two best-selling Very Finnish Problems books. 101 Very Finnish Problems: The Foreigner’s Guide to Surviving Finland and More Very Finnish Problems: An Even More Essential Guide, and while doing research for these I got loads of new material for memes and videos. Once I come up with an idea, I either create it myself or if it’s more complicated, our Graphic Designer will work her magic or I’ll work with our filmmaker on a video," explained Willans.

#10

Very-Finnish-Problems-Instagram-Memes

Very Finnish Problems Report

Mary Rose Kent
Community Member
2 years ago Created by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

All diacritical marks create these separate meanings in the countries that use them...

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Now, the page has gone a very long way, and it has started looking more like Very Finnish Things rather than Very Finnish Problems. Willans commented on this:

"We always try to craft everything as a “problem” with the copy because literally everything can be a problem if you frame it in the right way. So, if it's a really hot and sunny day, which most people would consider a blessing, we might write, 'When your body is allergic to sunshine' with a comparative meme, 'What you think you’ll look like in summer/What you actually look like'. So, in short, even when it’s Finnish 'things', we try to make them into fun 'problems'."

The Instagram page currently has a little bit over 400 posts, most of which are "problems", and 122,000 people are following the page. Facebook, however, is home to a Very Finnish Problems fan page with nearly 435,000 followers.

#13

Very-Finnish-Problems-Instagram-Memes

Very Finnish Problems Report

Mary Rose Kent
Community Member
2 years ago Created by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

It’s weird that my 23 & Me genetic breakdown showed no Finnish background...this is definitely the life I’m leading!

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#14

Very-Finnish-Problems-Instagram-Memes

Very Finnish Problems Report

Mary Rose Kent
Community Member
2 years ago Created by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

It would be my dream to live in the far north in the summer and in New Zealand in the northern winter months. Seasonal Affective Disorder—BE GONE!!!

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Lastly, we've asked Willans about his favorite Finnish problem that he had posted over the span of the page's existence. He had this to say:

"This is a really tough question. Probably my favorites are the ones that highlight the extremes of weather, national character and language. Weather because it really is so beautifully weird and you don’t really appreciate it until you live it and national character because in many ways it’s so different to the British national character. Possibly the best example is how we deal with small talk. Brits love it, Finns typically avoid it at all costs, which can make for some very awkward social situations when they get together. As for language, it’s one of the most challenging in the world for an English speaker to learn, but it has some really happy words, which always put a smile on my face."

#16

Very-Finnish-Problems-Instagram-Memes

Very Finnish Problems Report

RoseTheMad
Community Member
2 years ago Created by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

I've had a lot of fun learning Finnish (my Fiance is Finnish), it's not as hard as people think. :P

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#18

Very-Finnish-Problems-Instagram-Memes

Very Finnish Problems Report

YoChicken
Community Member
2 years ago (edited) Created by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

America need a president like this.. (not saying biden is bad, because he is a definite improvent)

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#19

Very-Finnish-Problems-Instagram-Memes

Very Finnish Problems Report

Mary Rose Kent
Community Member
2 years ago Created by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

So what they’re saying here is that Finland is an adventure in autism...

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#25

Very-Finnish-Problems-Instagram-Memes

Very Finnish Problems Report

Mary Rose Kent
Community Member
2 years ago Created by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

THAT’S MY DREAM HOME!!! Sorry about the shouting—I got so excited about seeing a built version of the home that lives in my head.

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#30

Very-Finnish-Problems-Instagram-Memes

Very Finnish Problems Report

YoChicken
Community Member
2 years ago Created by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

the original one looks less like a FBI agent gone fat...

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#31

Very-Finnish-Problems-Instagram-Memes

Very Finnish Problems Report

Zuko
Community Member
2 years ago Created by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

Introvert aprils fool joke. Finnish people are introverts!

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#32

Very-Finnish-Problems-Instagram-Memes

Very Finnish Problems Report

MagicalUnicorn
Community Member
2 years ago Created by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

i'm Lithuanian and I agree with both of these statements too!

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#34

Very-Finnish-Problems-Instagram-Memes

Very Finnish Problems Report

Community Member
2 years ago Created by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

Ok there's no comment, so i'm commenting.

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#36

Very-Finnish-Problems-Instagram-Memes

Very Finnish Problems Report

Mary Rose Kent
Community Member
2 years ago Created by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

Spring is my favorite season, so I totally empathize!

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#39

Very-Finnish-Problems-Instagram-Memes

Very Finnish Problems Report

Xio
Community Member
2 years ago Created by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

Finn here 👋 I've never heard anyone call mozzarella moomin meat...

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#40

Very-Finnish-Problems-Instagram-Memes

Very Finnish Problems Report

SushiPanda
Community Member
2 years ago Created by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

It is creepy how the snow seems to stalk me.......

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#42

Very-Finnish-Problems-Instagram-Memes

Very Finnish Problems Report

Mary Rose Kent
Community Member
2 years ago Created by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

San Francisco does this too. When I would ride my bike up Market Street after crossing Castro, the last six blocks to where I lived were brutal. The wind came from every angle and I would have to get off and just walk my bike up the hill.

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#43

Very-Finnish-Problems-Instagram-Memes

Very Finnish Problems Report

Shelby P
Community Member
2 years ago Created by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

so that's where Terry Pratchett (RIP) got his idea for Dwarf bread

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