Things that are Finnish in Seattle, Wa

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The National Nordic Museum also has a lot of Finnish things to look at. | Photo by Joe Mabel

Hi everyone — City Editor Alina here.

Growing up with a grandmother who moved here from Finland, I was quickly introduced into all things Finland. Everytime a Nokia commercial came on TV or if there was a new Finnish hockey player that joined our local team, it was a must for one of us to point out that they were in fact Finnish.

This has led to two habits — an ongoing inventory of everything that originated in Finland (including an ability to call out Finnish last names with 100% accuracy) and the compulsion to point them out to whomever I’m with whether they care or not.

So now I share with you a short list of things that are Finnish here in Seattle, because I must.

  • Pirkko. | An essential shop where Finns can pick up Marimekko designs, Moomin coffee mugs, and Fazer bars.
  • Joonas Donskoi | A Seattle Kraken right-winger from Raahe + the only Finn on the team. Tsk tsk.
  • Saunas | Yes, it’s originally Finnish and it’s pronounced s-ow-nah, not saw-nah. Check out Banya5 or be very Finnish and install your own home sauna with Redwood Outdoors.
  • Salmiakki Koskenkorva | A salty licorice candy often dissolved in vodka and then drunk straight. It was not made in Seattle, but you can get shots of it at Nue and Screwdriver bar.
  • The Finlandia Foundation: Seattle Chapter | While we Finns are shy, we do like being around other Finns — as long as no one tries to make too much small talk.
  • The Nordic National Museum’s Kalevala Day Celebration | The Kalevala is Finland’s national epic poem and serves as the record of Finnish folklore. It is such a big deal that we celebrate its importance every year.
  • Me | I am very Finnish. In fact, I am named after my great-great grandmother who herded reindeer in Kemijärvi above the Arctic Circle.
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