Nordic Horizons

While Britain struggles with sky-high bills, and private water, electricity and oil companies make record profits, Finland relies on a unique system of economic shock absorbers. Cooperatives deliver everything from water and electricity to luxury hotel breaks. They started in the late 1800s and there are more cooperative memberships today than Finns - or saunas. How does it work? Lesley Riddoch's been to Finland to find out.

Show Notes

Finland has a 1300 km long land border with Russia, it fought two wars in the 1940s to defend then reclaim lost territory, and is now applying to join NATO. 
There, most knowledge of Finland ends.
Which is a shame.
Because a staple of Finnish life could offer a permanent solution to supply crises in Britain – if we could learn to rely on cooperatives not corporations to deliver. 
The picture shows composite wooden hand-basins and baths - a unique feature of the Solo Sokos Hotel in Lahti- part of a larger S-Group cooperative with more than 3 million members. How can such a massive coop give its local hotel managers freedom to make their own decisions? Lesley Riddoch went to Finland's seventh largest city to find out. 
With thanks to Risto Turanen, Kari Huhtala, VisitFinland, Finnair and Sokos Hotels.   

What is Nordic Horizons?

How do the Nordic nations consistently top international league tables?
Between Norway, Sweden, Denmark, Finland and Iceland they are the world's best democracy, the best place to be a woman, the best educated people and the happiest. They regularly top UNICEF's child wellbeing index, lead on the Green Transition and have an enduring emphasis on equality that's the envy of the world.
Nordic Horizons is a Scottish-based group that's been interested in learning more from our nearest European neighbours since devolved government resumed 20+ years ago. We've invited experts over to speak in the Scottish Parliament on Norwegian outdoor kindergarten, Finnish prison reform, Swedish electoral systems, Iceland's crowd-sourced constitution and Copenhagen's claim to be the world's first eco metropolis. Since the pandemic, our events have gone online - but all were recorded and will now be available - updated and edited - via this podcast on a monthly basis.