Finnish Town Rivalries

Despite their quiet nature, the Finns have a fierce sense of loyalty to their hometown. You would think that a country of 5 million that is a linguistic island unto itself would pull together and present a unified front to the rest of the world but this Wikipedia article shows you that there is quite a colorful rivalry going on between towns.

A couple of choice bits:

Some people in Helsinki refer to Kehä III, the outermost of the two ring roads surrounding the Greater Helsinki area, as a “wolf border” (susiraja), outside which there is no civilisation. Outsiders refer to inside of Kehä III as the biggest psychiatric hospital in Finland.

Those from Helsinki view people from Turku either as naïve and simple-minded, or arrogant and impudent. In Helsinki they have a saying that the only good thing in Turku is the highway leading to Helsinki.  Inhabitants of Turku see Helsinkians as presumptuous and parvenu.

A popular joke in Turku asks why children in Tampere have a flat nose. The answer is that there is a Turku midwife working in a Tampere hospital. After delivering a child, the midwife holds him/her into the glass of a window and says: “Look now, child. That way is Turku, there is civilisation.” Students across Tampere go to the border of Turku and nail wooden nails to the ground, in order to make the city drift off the mainland someday, and also go to the center of the city and jump there, so that the city would someday sink back to the sea.

Ouch! With friends like that, who needs enemies?






2 responses to “Finnish Town Rivalries”

  1. Guest Avatar

    I think Turku and Tampere have the 2nd biggest city syndrome. I have never heard any of my Helsinki friend to mock Turku. At least they have the prettiest girls in Finland (most Miss Finland/Universe wins)

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