Customs in Finland
There are two official languages in Finland: Finnish is spoken by over 93% of the population while around 6% of the people speak Swedish. Finland is a Nordic country, not Scandinavian as it is sometimes believed.
The currency used in Finland is the Euro (EUR) - €
The air and environment of Finland are among the cleanest in the world; Finns love nature and take great pride in protecting their environment. The air quality in Finland is among the best in the world.
Finland is an egalitarian society; women are treated as equals at home as well as in business.
Customs and Etiquette in Everyday Life and Socialization
When greeting someone, shake their hand firmly with a smile and eye contact. Shake the hands of everyone present, including children. Upon your departure, shake hands with everyone again.
When dining out, the bill is never split. Whoever extends the invitation pays for the meal. Expect to stay for awhile as conversation can continue for a few hours after dinner is eaten. It is considered impolite to leave until after coffee/dessert is finished.
If you are invited to someone's home for dinner, bring flowers, chocolate or wine. If you opt to bring flowers, make sure there are an odd number of stems, and avoid white or yellow blossoms (tulips are well received).
Wait to be seated, and do not eat until the hostess begins. Use utensils for everything except for bread and shrimp. If you are offered seconds, accept, and finish everything on your plate. If this is a formal dinner, do not take off your jacket unless your host removes his first.
When it comes to gratuity, tipping is not customary or expected, but sometimes appreciated. If your taxi driver/food server/porter refuses your tip, do not push it.
Customs and Etiquette in Business
Men should dress in dark suits and ties. Women should wear conservative dresses or stylish pantsuits with a small amount of jewelry or accessories.
Be prompt, as the Finnish see punctuality as a sign of efficiency and respect. Meetings must be scheduled in advance. Since many of the Finnish take vacation in the months of June through August, it is best to not schedule a meeting during the summer.
The Finnish prefer to get right down to business, therefore small talk before your meeting starts should not be anticipated. Prior to your conference, send an agenda along with short biographies of your work team.
Business cards are exchanged without ritual. When you receive one, treat it with great respect.