This Is the One Book You Should Read Before Visiting Finland

According to the Finnish Ambassador to the United States


When you're going to a new country for the very first time, there's no better way to get yourself pumped and gain some insight into the culture than by reading a book that truly exudes the history and spirit of the place. But how do you choose just one out of all of the options out there?

As officials who are required to have an intimate understanding of both the country they live in and the one they represent, who better to ask for advice the ambassadors to the United States? That's why language learning app Babbel asked foreign ambassadors to choose the one book that people have to read before visiting their country. And while most of the ambassadors picked serious, cerebral works (Columbia, for example, went with Gabriel García Márquez's masterpiece One Hundred Years of Solitude and the UK went with Ian McEwan's highly-acclaimed Atonement), Finland's Ambassador Kirsti Kauppi chose an internationally beloved children's book.

"The Moomin books were originally written as fairy tales for children. Their philosophic nature is universal and makes the books enjoyable for people of all ages and from all backgrounds. The carefree and friendly Moomins provide a warm-hearted reading experience, and are also an essential part of the childhood of every Finnish kid," said Kauppi.

The nine Moomin books that make up the series were written between 1945 and 1993 by the Swedish-speaking Finnish illustrator Tove Jansson, and detail the adventures of The Moomins—a family of creatures that resemble mini hippopotamuses.

moomin family

As noted by Kauppi, while the books may have been fairytales, they touch upon important philosophical themes, influenced as they were by Jansson's depression during the war. The books became popular all over the world, but they're a particular cultural touchstone of Finland, which has a whole theme park named Moomin World dedicated in their honor.

Given that Finland has recently officially been recognized as the happiest country in the world, and contains unique attractions like the northern lights and the first ever Game of Thrones-themed ice hotel, it's bound to be one of this year's hottest destinations. So if you're planning a trip, be sure to pick up a copy of one of these magical stories!

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Diana Bruk
Diana is a senior editor who writes about sex and relationships, modern dating trends, and health and wellness. Read more
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