Petteri Lyytinen, entrepreneur for Baltest from Finland
A more-extroverted-than average Finn appreciating less bureaucracy in Estonia
While there are many similarities between Finland and Estonia, the differences matter! Petteri shares how moving to Tallinn was a practical choice for his business and life: "It's just 76 Kilometers but a world of difference, so there are many good reasons to come here."

Originally from Lahti, Finland, Petteri moved to Tallinn four and a half years ago with plans to start his own business in the more entrepreneur-friendly Estonia. "I'm allergic to bureaucracy and the Finnish bureaucracy for entrepreneurs is just ridiculous. It's painfully absurd in many areas."

Now, after living here with his wife and two rescue dogs for quite some time, Petteri points out several similarities and differences between Estonia and Finland that extend much further than just business culture. While several aspects of life in Estonia have proven to be, as Petteri expected, quite similar to life in Finland, he did mention some distinct differences between the average Estonian and the average Finn.

The first shock was how respectful Estonian drivers are towards pedestrians. "I was totally baffled at first when I was not even crossing the street yet and the cars are stopping already. Except if they have Finnish plates of course." Conversely, he pointed out that, in Estonia, drivers don't give each other enough space or use turn signals to respect fellow drivers as they would in Finland.
So the car drivers respect the pedestrians,
but not fellow drivers
He also shared that the attitudes are noticeably different. "Estonia is significantly more 'European' than Finland and much, much less like a 'Nordic' country in terms of attitude." When asked to elaborate what he meant by 'attitudes', Petteri mentioned that 'status' and 'image' seemed to be much more important overall in Estonia than in Finland. In general, Petteri noted that brand names of cars and whisky or prestigious dog breeds seem to matter much more in Tallinn than they would for most in Finland.

On a more positive note, Petteri appreciates the easy accessibility of services in Estonia and the more relaxed public attitudes. "The Government in Estonia is not patronising you in everything you do. They are not saying that 'if it's not specifically allowed then it's clearly forbidden'" as they tend to do in Finland.

As a Finn, the language in Estonia has not been much of a barrier for Petteri and his wife. Although they are both learning Estonian Petteri recalled: "I've had some pretty interesting conversations that are part Finnish, part Estonian, part English and part waiving hands." He stressed how important he feels it is for Finnish people visiting Estonia to be respectful and to try to communicate a few words in Estonian.
After only three weeks living in Tallinn,
I came to the conclusion that the single most annoying thing
here is a drunken Finnish tourist. And I still feel that way
Tourists aside, Petteri hasn't found it particularly difficult to find friends in the local community. Even though he claimed to be "un-Finnish" by the fact that he is more extroverted than most Finns, he maintained that, when it comes to befriending Estonians "it's how you approach the situation." In general, Estonians and Finns are both "a bit more of the introvert type and they might be quite gloomy." His advice to meeting and befriending Estonians is to take things step-by-step. "If you meet a more introverted Estonian it might not be a good idea to adopt an American barge in all the way, I'm your friend approach. Don't overwhelm the other person."

A great deal of things have changed for Petteri and his wife in the time that they have lived in Tallinn. Petteri successfully started his own business and has hopes of expanding, the couple took in two cute rescue puppies, and now they are looking to buy a house and make Tallinn their home base. When asked the final question: whether living here has made him 'kind of Estonian', Petteri noted that there were several differences, but he couldn't tell if there were a result of living in Estonia or starting his own business. Regardless of the change resulting from living in Estonia, Patteri would warmly recommend moving here to other Finns, especially entrepreneurs. "For a low wage worker" he said "it's much better to work in Finland, but for an entrepreneur, Estonia is the better choice because it's easier and lighter in terms of taxation and bureaucracy and has a more relaxed attitude. It's just 76 Kilometers but a world of difference, so there are many good reasons to come here."
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