Between the west winds and the arctic front, the weather in Finland is hard to predict. Carrying an umbrella makes good sense at any time of the year.
Summers are usually as warm as in England and the Netherlands but drier. July is the warmest month, but with a growing likelihood of thundershowers as the month goes on. Mellower weather follows in August.
The winter is cold but in the south it doesn't start until October. Instead, summer visitors get to experience nightless nights.
Helsinki is too far south for the Midnight Sun, and the sun does indeed set in the late evening. But it’s only just below the horizon so the sky remains quite bright.
At the height of summer, the capital has just a couple of eerie twilight hours between one day and the next. Outdoor fun can continue almost around the clock.
No one knows what global warming will do to the patterns of wind and rainfall. One scenario is that, instead of just getting a bit warmer, Finland will experience prolonged zones of high pressure. This spells a much warmer summer and a much colder winter.
Almost all Finns speak English, most of them very well. A minority of citizens speak Swedish as their first language. Among most Finnish-speakers, skills in Swedish, learnt in school, are usually very rusty.
Older people may speak some German. Very few can manage French or Spanish and hardly anyone speaks Russian, apart from a small minority of native Russian speakers.