Here comes yet another episode of LuxTrainees’ country fun facts. Read on to learn what a balanced nation Finland is, how to speak some proper Cockney, and how experienced Slovenes are at making wine.
Eva from Finland informs us:
- Finns are honest and straightforward in their communication and notoriously bad at small talk. This comes from the effective nature of the Finnish culture – there is no place for meaningless chitchat. There is no word for ‘please’ and also no true equivalent to the phrase ‘how are you’. So if you say ‘how are you’ to a Finn, be prepared. You might end up listening to a long explanation about their health issues or learn that their dog just died.
- In 1906, Finland was the first country in Europe and second in the world (after New Zealand) to introduce equal rights for all men and women to vote. And in 2003, Finland was the first country in the world to have a female president and a female prime minister at the same time. Finland has a tradition of strong women, which is also reflected in the Finnish language. Unlike most languages, there is only one personal pronoun: hän, which covers both he and she.
- Finland has two official languages, Finnish and Swedish. Finland has a long history with Sweden and from the middle ages until the 19th century Swedish was the language of education, culture and administration in Finland. The Finnish language was until the 19th century mostly a spoken language. Many of Finland’s best known writers are Swedish-speaking and write in Swedish, including Tove Jansson, creator of the Moomins; and J.L. Runeberg, who wrote the original Swedish lyrics of the Finnish national anthem, which later was translated into Finnish. Currently 5.4% of the Finns speak Swedish as their mother tongue.
Jenny from the UK reports:
- Technically, all unmarked swans in open water belong to the Queen, although according to the official website of the Royal Family, the Queen only exercises her ownership in “certain stretches of the Thames”. The Queen also owns all the sturgeons, whales, and dolphins in the waters around the UK, in a rule that dates back to a statute from 1324, during the reign of King Edward II. If you want to catch or keep a sturgeon, whale or dolphin, you have to offer it to the Queen first.
- Cockney rhyming slang is one of the quirkiest features of British English, originating in the mid-nineteenth century in the East End of London, and may have been used by criminals to confuse the police. Here are some useful examples:
Baked Bean – ‘Queen’: “Look who’s on TV, it’s the baked bean!”
Sausage and Mash – ‘cash’ (money): “I forgot all my sausage and mash!”
Pete Tong – ‘wrong’: “It’s all gone Pete Tong!”
Adam and Eve – ‘believe’: “Would you Adam and Eve it?!”
- Cooper’s Hill, Gloucestershire, plays host to the annual cheese rolling race, dating back to the 1800s, in which a 9lb wheel of Double Gloucester cheese is thrown down a hill and competitors have to chase after it. The idea is that whoever catches the cheese wins, but, due to the cheese reaching speeds of up to 70mph (112km/h), the winner is usually the first person to cross the finish line and gets the cheese as a reward. The hill, however, is almost vertical and most ‘runners’ actually tumble all the way down. The “Cheese Chase Chaos” of 1990 saw roughly 22 casualties, including a 59-year-old grandmother knocked out by a cheese.
Mojca from Slovenia tells us:
- Did you know that the oldest grape vine in the world grows in Slovenia? “Old Vine” is the oldest living specimen on our planet of a noble grape vine. With an age of over 400 years, it is registered in the Guinness Book of Records as the oldest vine in the world. And the best thing is, it still produces grapes.
- In Ljubljana, you will find a memorial dedicated to Napoleon
For many nations, the arrival of Napoleon is remembered as a national disaster. But in Ljubljana, you’ll find a memorial dedicated to Napoleon. The reason? Slovenes welcomed French forces, as they expected greater cultural and state autonomy than they had in the Austrian empire. Ljubljana was also made capital of the Ilyrian provinces, which stretched down to Dalmatia. However, the French occupation lasted just a few years before Ljubljana was returned to Austrian rule.
- Did you know that, although Slovenia covers only 20,273 square kilometres, you can find four major geographical regions there?
Typical Mediterranean landscape and climate, the Alps, Karst, and the Pannonian plain – such diversity of climate and landscape allows you to harvest autumn fruits in the morning, go for an afternoon swim in the Adriatic Sea and later enjoy some night skiing in the Alps. All that in one day and without any magical transportation!
María Laura from Argentina explains that Argentinians are:
- So poetic!
The story they tell of the Argentinian flag…
One beautiful evening in 1812, the political and military leader Manuel Belgrano went for a walk . The hero thought about how to tell his troops apart from the Spanish ones during the war for independence. “Where is the glory of my people?”. He stopped and looked up. In the sky he found the answer.
The real story…
One beautiful evening in 1812, the political and military leader Manuel Belgrano went for a walk. The hero thought about how to tell his troops apart from the Spanish ones during the war for independence. “What do we have in stock?”. He stopped and called his assistant. He found the answer in the voices of women who sewed the costumes of the army.
- So dramatic!
The southernmost city in the world is in Argentina and it is called “The city of the end of the world”.
Ushuaia got its name from two Yamanes words: USHU meaning “at the back” and WUAIA that means “bay, cove or port”. One of the first inhabitants was the British Missionary Rev. Thomas Bridges, who explained the meaning of Ushuaia to be “bay penetrating to the back”. But in fact it is a nice and picturesque town, with a mixture of architectural styles and amazing landscapes!
- …and so complicated!
It’s all about perspective…
In Argentina, the largest lake in the country is located in the province of Córdoba and is called “Laguna Mar Chiquita” (small sea lake). So if you think “Honey, I will go for a quick walk by the lake. I will be back for dinner”, you might be wrong! Therefore be careful if you are planning a short walk by the countryside.
Remember: if you can’t wait to tell us a story of some superweird stuff going on in your home country, let us know! Contact us at: email@example.com. Happy fun facts hunting!