Sauna, silence and curiosity

Visit to the Finnish Institute Berlin

Libraries, education, Jean Sibelius or wood, rocks, architecture or … The conversation on April 15, 2024 with the director of the Finnish Institute Berlin, Mikko Fritze, and his assistant and program manager literature, Ms. Suvi Wartiovaara, offered many suggestions about a country that “everyone likes, but many hardly know anything about“.

In a relaxed atmosphere, the twelve interested people were able to ask questions about the country in the north with its 5.5 million inhabitants and learn a lot about its history, trust in the state, punctuality, love of nature, the somewhat different culture of discussion and debate and the art of translating Finnish literature into German. They are considered happy, the Finns, but Mr. Fritze thought it would be more accurate to say that they are content.

The exchange was also enlightening in the ‘opposite’ direction: Ms. Wartiovaara said that you can “breathe freely” in Berlin. She was pleased about “the curiosity of the people” in this city. The different, the new is not immediately rejected, but is met with interest. A new perspective – for some of those present.

“Thank you for the lovely, interesting afternoon” was the feedback from one participant.


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