Sauna photo contest for Finland's stamps

A Finnish sauna hut on a lake Image copyright iStock
Image caption Lakeside huts, birch twigs, steaming coals... Sauna-going is Finland's most popular pastime

Finland's postal deliveries will soon take on a steamy theme, as people are being asked to submit photos of their saunas for a new set of stamps.

The national mail carrier, Posti, is running a competition to find the best sauna-related images, and says the stamps will share a key aspect of Finnish culture with the rest of the world, the Ilta-Sanomat newspaper reports.

Finns are being encouraged to send in eye-catching photos of sauna buildings, "interesting sauna details", or sauna paraphernalia such as hot stoves or birch twigs. The four best submissions will be adorning Finnish letters from next spring. "Images on stamps travel around the world and spread the image of Finland in their own right," says Tommi Kantola, Posti's design manager.

The company has succeeded in making a splash with its stamp choices before: in 2014, it released a set featuring the homoerotic artwork of Tom of Finland. There was huge international interest, although one Finnish supermarket refused to stock them and a Russian lawmaker asked Finns not to send them across the border.

The amateur sauna images are likely to be less controversial, but Ilta-Sanomat says they're a natural choice for the country's postal service: "You can't find a more Finnish topic for a stamp than saunas."

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