FIVE FROM FINLAND: Finnish proverbs

By guest author

from Good News Finland.


All languages and cultures have their own proverbs and sayings that can, at first glance, seem inexplicable. Although sometimes they stem from times that hardly resonate with the modern mind, often the seed of wisdom they carry is applicable to today’s world.

We at Good News from Finland collected a set of five traditional proverbs that could function as reminders to business founders as they embark on the challenging – yet often rewarding – journey of entrepreneurship. Here you go!

Tyhjät tynnyrit kolisevat eniten.

There’s an abundance of noise in this world, and often those who should stay quiet make up for the vast majority of the noise. Business owners should be wary of whom to listen to – be it words of advice, encouragement or resentment – and whom to leave aside, despite their decibels.

Maasta se pienikin ponnistaa.

Aina on oksan ottajia, kun on kuusen kantajia.


When one takes up something big and works hard for it, there will be people who try to get the credit or otherwise benefit from those efforts. For entrepreneurs, this serves as a note to self: don’t ignore intellectual property rights, patents or anything that protects you from being taken advantage of by opportunists. This isn’t to say one should be overly protective of one’s accomplishments, just that credit needs to be given where the credit is due.


Ahneella on paskainen loppu.

If one is too greedy, things won’t end well. Trying to maximise profit, taking unnecessarily big risks or simply going only for one’s own good isn’t a sustainable business strategy. Taking others into account, focusing on stable progress instead of quick wins and acting sustainably sounds like a much better strategy, and the end is less likely to be faeces-infested.


Ei tyhjä maksa Turussakaan.

Turku is a city in the southwest of Finland, and it’s often a target of crude jokes (for no reason, if you ask us). This proverb means that if it’s something you don’t need, in other words ‘empty’, you will get it for free anywhere, including Turku. In order to create a product or service that can be monetised, it needs to have value, meaning and use. If nobody needs it, nobody buys it.

Image credits: Adobe