Why is Puolanka the World’s Pessimism Capital?

We watched the rain pelt the road as Kaarina and Tarmo drove us from their cabin near the Winter War Monument back to Puolanka this morning and thought how nice it was not to be riding our bikes today.

Puolanka, situated at the red dot on the map, is right about in the center of Finland. That means we are about halfway through the country. (It gets harder to suppress the dread of our next country as we get closer.)

Screen shot from Google Maps

In analyses by the Finnish government of unemployment, disease, depopulation, aging, or whatever, Puolanka always comes in near the top. The town decided to make the best of being the worst. BBC made a mini-documentary, The Most Pessimistic Town in the World, about how the town has made pessimism its brand. Tarmo and Kaarina made a point of showing off the town’s House of Pessimism on the way home.

Screenshot from Google Maps

Tommi Rajala is the leader of the town’s Pessimistic Society. He puts together hysterical deadpan videos about the town. They’ve caught on all over Finland. Here are links to a few:

Whole Summer Ruined (If you only have time for one, watch this one. It’s a hoot.)

Welcome to Puolanka

An optimist arrives in Puolanka

Buy our empty properties

We had some time today while sheltering from the rain in a nice house to relax and reflect. Puolanka makes light of its pessimism, but with a monument that reminds one of a long ago winter war on its doorstep and an eerily similar war raging today not far away, their pessimism would be justified.

© 2022 Lynnea C Salvo


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