Business dos and don'ts in Finland

Rvo,  Friday, 29 September 2017

Finland Row of letter-boxes and bicycle 

Below are some practical tips for doing business in Finland.

The Finns

Finns are generally very friendly and modest. But they are also reserved and less talkative than, for example, Swedes or Danes. In Finland, everyone has the same rights. Democracy and equality are paramount values; hierarchy is minimal. Finns work hard, but they know how to find a good balance between work and private life.


  • The Finns' style of communication is based on silence, listening, modesty and factuality.
  • Finns use little body language. In fact, too many physical movements point to unrest and uncertainty, according to them.
  • They believe sacred in fact-based communications. They are direct and do not use words such as' perhaps' and' maybe'.
  • Greetings are accompanied by a handshake, both at the beginning and end of a discussion or meeting.

  • Business arrangements

  • Finns are punctual and assume that a discussion starts exactly at the announced time. Punctuality also applies to delivery times. You must notify us immediately of any cancellations or changes to the timetable. Fins are punctual and always on time for private appointments as well.
  • They prefer a business conversation and prepare their conversations well. They do not need' smalltalk' or personal conversations, but want to get involved quickly.
  • After the conversation, please send an e-mail with a summary of what was discussed. Finns attach great importance to verbal agreements and expect that they will adhere to them.
  • In general, they take decisions quickly and take immediate action. This is particularly true for business partners. It does not apply to Finnish authorities.

  • Invitations

  • It is advisable to wait for the host to offer you a place for dinner. Also, do not start the meal (neither with the aperitif) before the host has started.
  • Finns are generally very hospitable. It is possible that your Finnish relationship may invite you to his home or weekend home. This usually happens after you get to know each other better. On a first visit, it is customary to bring flowers for the hostess.
  • During business matters, people usually drink water, sometimes a glass of beer or wine.

  • Language

    The national languages are Finnish and Swedish. In business contacts, English is generally the languageof the company.

    This article of is based on . Translated from the Dutch language by Jos Deuling.

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