From The Art and Popular Culture Encyclopedia
Finland is a Nordic country situated in the Fennoscandian region of Northern Europe. It is bordered by Sweden to the west, Norway to the north, Russia to the east, and Estonia to the south across the Gulf of Finland.
Traditionally, Finns have attributed themselves as typically straightforward and stubborn. The idea of achieving by unyielding is still commonly expressed with the term sisu, sometimes with an emphasis to the nationality as in suomalaisella sisulla ("with Finnish guts"). The qualities endurance, hardyness and toughness are implied also by the classic characterization katajainen kansa ("juniperous people") coined in by the writer Juhani Aho in 1899 - 1900. Amidst today's material prosperity and the typical social and financial challenges that a welfare state of the Nordic model and a typical European post-industrial society faces, the average Finn might, however, find these attributes equally corny as the much repeated slogan "it's a lottery win to be born in Finland" formulated a hundred years later.
Today, the Finnish society encourages equality and liberalism, with a popular commitment to the ideals of the welfare state, discouraging disparity of wealth and division into social classes. The Protestant work ethic remains a significant cultural staple, and free education is a highly prized institution.