My sister used to joke on how she wanted to make a movie about a girl with lactose-intolerance. It would probably have a huge market in Finland since everybody seems to be intolerant to lactose.

In my current work, I deal a lot with visitor groups and make restaurant reservations. Everytime I book a meal for a group of Finns, I need to be careful with the order as there’s likely to be people with celiac disease, lactose intolerance, fish allergies and nut allergies.

I have friends who seem to attract all the possible allergies; in addition to the usual dietary ones they have a dust allergy, asthma, oversensitivity to fragrances, atopic dermatitis and get hay fever every summer .  

You can imagine this makes for interesting orders at restaurants abroad – most of them can’t quite fathom the concept of lactose intolerance or celiac disease. I’m dreading the day they serve pistachios to a nut allergic or pastry to someone with wheat allergy.

The abundance of allergies in Finland has led to some rather peculiar restrictions. 

Rekku, Musti and Jeppe are not welcome in Finnish shops

Finns for example are shocked to see dogs inside a shop, let alone in restaurants. Even bringing them on public transport is frowned upon.

There are signs that you shouldn’t wear perfume when travelling with public transport or flying on a plane. At kids’ birthday parties there might be three different kinds of cakes to cater for the need of all the kids present.

Some say it’s this superhygienic approach to everything that initially led to all the allergies. Who knows, we might be better off with carpeted floors after all. (Finns hate carpet floors)

So I hereby start a campaign to bring dogs everywhere with you. This obviously has nothing to do with my urge to get a dog.


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