Futures studies may have existed before at the fringes of the scientific world, but it has since evolved into an influential societal force. SixDegrees looks into how the mysterious-sounding study came to have its own research centre in Finland – and parliamentary committee.

If you ever meet a futurist, make sure not to ask him or her about “predicting the future”. You’ll be swiftly and determinedly corrected. “We don’t predict the future – that’s for a wholly different type of professionals,” Anita Rubin, adjunct professor at the Finland Futures Research Centre, instructs. “What we work on is foresight of the future.”

Finland’s incoming president won’t enjoy a number of the powers his predecessors were granted, but that doesn’t necessarily mean the status quo will remain unchallenged.

On 5 February, Finland elected its twelfth president. His name is Sauli Niinistö. He’ll be taking office on 1 March and his tenure will last six years, which could be extended by another six if he decides to run again after his first term is up.

Does your status as an EU citizen lessen the bureaucratic nightmare faced when moving to Finland?

CURRENTLY in Finland there are just over 60,000 non-Finnish citizens employed in the country. This works out at around 2.6 per cent of the working population. With the numbers of foreigners altogether in the country running at around 3.2 per cent, this shows a healthy representation of foreigners’ contribution to the nation.

Does going the distance make the heart grow fonder?

ARRIVING to a new country to live, as many of us know, is an often confusing cocktail containing one pinch of excitement mixed with a splash of uncertainty and a generous portion of conflicting emotions. Having packed up your old life back home and bid a tearful farewell to loved ones, it’s not long before life has turned itself on its ear, as you soon become acquainted with a multitude of cultural differences on offer here in Finland.

With the literacy rate of the Finnish population among the highest in the world, it’s only fitting that residents here enjoy a comprehensive library system.

Reading is a global pleasure. Many keen readers enjoy buying books, new or second-hand, at bookshops and book fairs. Similar to many other countries, here in Finland you can also indulge your enthusiasm for the written word for free. Some people who move to Finland to live, study or work here are surprised by the country’s splendid public library system that is amazingly versatile, surprisingly modern and yet free of charge for users, being tax-funded. All you need is a library card, and then you are free to borrow items like books or CDs from lending libraries.