Lost & Found

Visitors to Helsinki often comment on how well everything works. The trains run on time, the movies start when they say they will and it is very rare to see anyone cross the street before the green man appears, even when there are no cars.

Another thing I’ve noticed is the displaying of lost property. It seems there’s an unofficial understanding that if you find something of little value you drape it somewhere it will be easily found should the owner come back.


As the weather warms up the lost property du jour seems to be gloves. They are everywhere. Strategically placed on bushes, fences and elegantly draped over power boxes.


Which is not surprising really as Helsinki recently came first in an experiment to find the world’s most honest city. Eleven out of 12 ‘dropped’ wallets were returned to the owner with everything inside.


While every city has street crime I haven’t noticed it here. While Sydney is a great city, working in cafes there I witnessed bag snatching, wallet snatching, phone snatching, kids breaking into cars and people trying to steal the tip jar.

We even had one guy who would come in and stuff whole pieces of cake in his mouth and run off without paying. All part of living in a vibrant city of 4.5 million people where there’s a gap between those who have and those who have not.


So to me these Finnish displays of lost property seem like an indication of the overall honesty of the city’s population. True, no one wants one glove but I’ve also seen hats, shoes and sunglasses strategically arranged that have been left behind.


To be honest, Jonny’s Ray Bans disappeared after being left in a Helsinki changing room but he recently had a friend request on Facebook from a cafe worker here that he didn’t know. She was asking him to return to collect the credit card he’d left last time he bought a coffee.

Helsinki Tops World’s Most Honest Cities 

Helsinki Metro Runs on Honesty

20 thoughts on “Lost & Found

      • “just give me a call when you need your credit card number?” 😀

        Nah, and he’s been the champ, always handing the cash in the wallet over (quite common practice) to the one who has bothered to pick the wallet up and get in touch with him, so I bet they’d be happy to find it again anyway 😉

        Liked by 1 person

  1. My dad came to visit during the 2012 World Hockey Championships and left his wallet on the bar at Sports Academy in Helsinki on one of the busiest games nights during the tournament. To make a long story short, we went and collected the wallet the next day with everything intact. My dad is one of those people who carries his life around in his wallet.


  2. Hei! I lost my wallet with all my cards and identity card on a toilet of a busy restaurant on the Street Nr. 8 between Vaasa and Oulu. Four hours later and 400 km away (!) I recognized it… I called them and was greeted like an old friend: “Hei Tarja, you lost your wallet! Come back – I wait here, until you’ re there.” Of course, nothing missing – that’s Finnish life! The whole story you can find here: http://tarjasblog.de/?p=851


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