AS THE year draws to a close, how will you remember 2014? Has it been an ordinary year, just like any other? Or maybe it was one of the best in recent memory? Perhaps it is the worst on record? Or maybe you don’t even follow the Gregorian calendar, and have to endure another season of holidays, superstitions and resolutions that hold no meaning for you whatsoever!

Whatever your take, 2014 wasn’t short on goings-on. Take a walk with us as we recap some of the major events of the year.


The announcement that the architectural competition for Guggenheim Helsinki is to kick off in the spring ignites renewed debate regarding the necessity of introducing a branch of an American museum in a city that already boasts numerous world-class art establishments. Is more art too much art?


Trouble in paradise yet again for the beleaguered Nokia, as Police probe alleged intelligence scheme, with phone users’ personal information accused of being channelled to the US. This was seemingly the final straw for the one-time telecommunications giant, after Elopp’s reign saw the share price plummet. However, by year’s end the Nokia ship was afloat again, miraculously sailing into more profitable waters.


The Ministry of Social Affairs and Health proposes that retailers only be allowed to sell beer until 6 pm on Fridays and Saturdays. A national outcry ensues, as seemingly the only thing to inspire a greater reaction from the populace than restricted access to booze are the polarising opinions of Päivi Räsänen. Witness the haemorrhaging number of church members in recent times.


A Malaysia Airlines plane goes missing somewhere between Kuala Lumpur and Beijing, setting off a massive hunt that dominates headlines. Hang on a minute, call us naive, but in an age where every precise movement of individuals is traceable online, exactly just how did an entire plane manage to drop off the grid?!


A report emerges in Helsingin Sanomat that immigrants earn considerably less than Finns. Nation shrugs its shoulders. Somewhat surprisingly, this info hasn’t halted accusations from the peanut gallery that Finns’ jobs are being taken by newcomers to the country. All of this debate rages regardless of the fact that the overwhelming majority of foreign students here are forced to take their skills abroad post graduation, due to the lack of job opportunities.


A passenger plane gets shot down in skies above Ukraine. Bodies rain from the sky as world leaders clamour to condemn Russia’s alleged involvement. After much soap boxing and hoopla, the war in Ukraine refuses to cease, Malaysia Airlines’ stocks plummet, and international travellers are given pause as to whether they will go through with any forthcoming holiday plans.


Finland pulls down the shutters and enjoys a month at the mökki, as per usual for this time of year. After a month spent lakeside, swatting away the annual swarm of mosquitoes, returning to reality reveals that sanctions against Russia have hit the local economy hard. Company lay-offs are a common headline, with Prime Minister Stubb going on to blame Apple (?!) for Finland’s hardship.


Helsingin Sanomat reports that foreign men are in high demand in Finland. Local lads are given the elbow in a one-sided expose that alludes to the fact that they are not as well educated as their foreign counterparts. The proverb “the grass is always greener” is not only found here, mind you – it’s a worldwide phenomenon.


The Finnish Muslim community sees the media spotlight shone their way when one of their former members appears on a YouTube clip calling them to jihad in Syria. Ordinary Muslims let out a fatigued sigh, united in their frustration at being tarred by the same brush as those on the extreme fringes of their religion.


A Helsinki hospital readies itself for the country’s first possible Ebola patient, finally bringing the dire reality of the outbreak to Finland’s doorstep. The onset of the flu season pales in comparison.


Darkness descends around Finland, as folks settle in for the long haul of staring at their shoes for winter’s duration.


Pikkujoulut season is in full swing, with many things blurted out in an alcohol-fuelled stupor swiftly forgotten and put down to an exercise in “team bonding”. Floods of Finnish tourists head south to the Canary Islands, to simultaneously get away from it all whilst surrounding themselves with one another.

James O’Sullivan