Finnish Nightmares – A Different Kind of Social Guide To Finland

“Meet Matti, a stereotypical Finn who appreciates peace, quiet and personal space. Matti tries his best to do unto others as he wishes to be done unto him: to give space, be polite and not bother with unnecessary chit chat. As you might’ve guessed, it can’t always go that way”
– Finnish Nightmares, Karoliina Korhonen.

Finnish Nightmares – A Different Kind of Social Guide to Finland by Karoliina Korhonen is series of comic strips. They describe situations in which Finns feel awkward. Usually it involves human interaction. Originally, creator of Finnish Nightmares Karoliina Korhonen thought it would be fun to present the most awkward social situations a stereotypical Finn can encounter. Korhonen thought that it would be boring to explain these situations just through plain text and so she decided to doodle them out. She made a joke to her friends that she should make it a Facebook page. Her Facebook page went viral. Now it has more than 125 000 likes.

This book begins with a chapter “Being a Finn” and continues to deal with many common issues such as food, public transport, neighbors and social relations. For example, if we are waiting for the bus to arrive in pouring rain, we can’t seek cover under bus stop’s shelter if there is someone already there. Because we respect personal space of that person. As a result, we will be soaking wet because of it. Or when stranger looks us in the eye and smiles. Or when someone tries to greet us by hugging!


matti1Source of the 2 comic strips:  Finnish Nightmares – A Different Kind of Social Guide To Finland by Karoliina Korhonen. Published by Atena Kustannus.

In Finland, we reserve the physical touch only to people we care a lot for. Personally, for me it’s weird when people or even friends I don’t know that well try to hug me, not to mention shoulder tap or if someone stands too close to me. As a Finn, I find these comics very truthful and usually they describe very well how I react under those circumstances

This is a book on what it’s like to be Finn. I love these comic strips! They’re hilarious! I think you will enjoy these strips a lot if you are curious about different cultures and if you would like to learn more about Finland. And if you love good humor.

5/5 stars.


  1. It was published simultaneously in English and Finnish (Suomalaisten painajaiset – Vähäsanaista vertaistukea) last month.
    2. It’s HILARIOUS!! If you’re wondering how true this all is, as Finn I can confirm that all the situations that are described awkward, really are.
    3. About 100 pages, it won’t take you long to read this book but you should savor it.
    4. Surprise your friend who lives in Finland by getting them this book, also this is the perfect souvenir if you’re traveling or just for someone who loves Finland.
    5. Order the book, like Finnish Nightmares on Facebook & read the blog to get your regular update on us Finns & about what makes us feel awkward.Do you have a little bit of Matti living in you?

    I received a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher (Thank you!) in exchange for my honest review.

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