Finland - education
The economic growth after the 1960's created in the 1970's and 1980's the basis
for comprehensive pedagogical reforms in all parts of the education system. A
bilingual education policy has thus ensured the Swedish-speaking and Sami
minorities equal access at all stages of the education system. Adult education
is a high priority area, especially in vocational education. There is a
nine-year teaching obligation.
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The primary school is a nine-year unitary school that can be followed by a
voluntary 10th grade. I 1.-6. class, a class teacher usually teaches most
subjects, but then specialized subject teachers take over the teaching. The
teachers are, as a general rule, university-educated. The vast majority of
primary school pupils are taught under municipal auspices in one of Finland's
approximately 3200 schools, while less than 2% are taught in private schools or public
The language of instruction in primary and lower secondary schools is either
Finnish or Swedish, and foreign language teaching is given in one of the two
languages that the school does not use. Pupils who speak Sami, Romani or sign
language have the right to be taught in these languages.
The school year is 190 school days. The number of weekly teaching hours is
1-2. grade level at least 19 hours, at 3.-4. grade level at least 23 hours, at
5.-6. grade level at least 24 hours and at higher grade level at least 30 hours.
The municipal primary school is free, and students who live longer than 5 km
from the school are offered free transport.
Finnish schoolchildren traditionally do well in the PISA surveys, where they
have ranked at the top among OECD countries since 2000.
The secondary educations consist partly of a general three-year upper
secondary school, which ends with a matriculation examination, and partly of a
large number of vocational trade and technical school educations of three years'
duration. Tuition is free, but there may be a deductible for materials,
The access to upper secondary education has grown from 10% of a year group in
the 1950's to approximately 50% in the 2010's. In the vocational educations, approximately 41%
of students from primary school. Most colleges are municipal, only quite a few
state or private. About half of the vocational schools run by the municipalities
and 1/3 of the state, while the rest are private. Exams
taken at the highest level provide access to the university on an equal footing
with the matriculation examination.
Higher education institutions
There are 14 universities and 24 higher technical institutions in Finland
(2016). The oldest university, the University of Helsinki, was founded
in Turku in 1640.
Finland also has an extensive network of evening high schools, evening
schools and folk high schools.
OFFICIAL NAME: Suomen tasavalta (fi.) Republiken Finland (sv.) Suoma dásseváldi (sa.)
CAPITAL CITY: Helsinki (fi.) Helsinki (sv. Og da.)
POPULATION: 5,487,000 (Source: COUNTRYaah)
AREA: 303,901 km2, incl. Åland km²
OFFICIAL LANGUAGE (S): Finnish, Swedish, Sami, Romani, Tatar, Karelian, deaf language
(Finnish and Swedish)
RELIGION: Lutherans 81.8%, Greek Orthodox 1.1%, others 17.1%
CURRENCY CODE: EUR
ENGLISH NAME: Finland
POPULATION COMPOSITION: finds 93%, Finnish Swedes 6%, others (including Sami) 1%
GDP PER residents: $ 41,061 (2015)
LIFE EXPECTANCY: men 78 years, women 83.6 years (2014)
INDEX OF LIVING CONDITIONS, HDI: 0.883
INDEX OF LIVING CONDITIONS, POSITION: 24
INTERNET DOMAIN NAME: .fi (Finland) and.ax (Åland)
Finland, Republic of Northern Europe, among the largest countries in Europe
in terms of area. The country is a highly developed industrial community with
large natural areas, characterized by coniferous forests and a myriad of lakes,
known as the "Land of a Thousand Lakes".
The location between Sweden and Russia has shaped the entire history of the
country; independence was not achieved until after the Russian Revolution of
Finland is in the Nordic co-operation organizations closely linked to
Scandinavia and since 1995 a member of the EU. Finland has been a non-permanent
member of the UN Security Council twice, 1969-70 and 1989-90.
The Åland Islands in the Gulf of Bothnia have a predominantly
Swedish-speaking population and extensive home rule and, despite EU membership,
are outside the EU tax union.
Finland - religion
Christianity came to Finland in the 1000's. With the Swedish crusades from the
middle of the 1100's. the country was linked to the Roman Catholic Church, but
like the other Nordic countries, the church became Evangelical-Lutheran in the
1500's. (On conditions in pre-Christian times, see Finno-Ugric religion).
The Evangelical Lutheran Church is a people's church that (2008) comprises
81.8% of the population. The church council, which consists of bishops, priests
and lay people, adopts proposals for new church laws. The Riksdag approves or
rejects the church council's bills, but cannot change them. The bishops are
elected in the diocese, but are appointed by the president. The church has 9
dioceses with 10 bishops, as the diocese of Turku (Swedish Turku) has two
bishops, one of whom is the country's archbishop. There are 515 congregations,
of which 75 are Swedish-speaking. These are collected in Porvoo Diocese,
established in 1923. Priests are trained at Åbo Akademi University and the
University of Helsinki. The church has its own foreign aid, fi. Kirkon
Ulkomaanapu, sv. Norwegian Church Aid.
The revival movements carry out extensive preaching work of great importance
to church life. This applies to four movements from the 19th century: the
Pietist movement, the evangelical movement, the prayers and, especially in the
northernmost areas of the country,
The Orthodox Church (1.1%), headquartered in Kuopio, also has the status of a
national church. The church is divided into the dioceses of Karelia, Helsinki
and Oulu with 24 congregations. The head of the diocese of Karelia, with the
title of archbishop, is the head of the Orthodox Church and is assisted by a
bishop of Joensuu, while the other two dioceses are headed by
metropolitans. Since July 6, 1923, the Church has belonged to the Ecumenical
Patriarchate of Constantinople (Istanbul). Priests, cantors and religion
teachers are trained at the University of Joensuu. Valamo Folkhögskola (fi.
Valamon kansanopisto) at Valamo Kloster is the country's only Orthodox folk high
school. Valamo Monastery (fi. Valamon luostari) in Heinävesi (not to be confused
with the old Russian monastery of the same name in Lake Ladoga) is the country's
only current monastery. Et nonnekloster, Lintula Kloster (fi. Lintulan
luostari), is also located in Heinävesi. An Orthodox Church Museum is located in
Kuopio. The church has its own foreign aid, the Ortaid reputation.
Incidentally, 1.2% belong to other religious communities and 15.9% are not
members of any religious community.
The first Jewish prayer house was opened on the fortress island of
Suomenlinna (fi. Suomenlinna) off Helsinki in 1830 and the first synagogue in
1870. Today there are two Jewish congregations, one in Helsinki (1906) and one
in Turku (1912).
The Finnish Tatars founded the Islamic Association as early as 1830 and in
1925 the Finnish Islamic Congregation, Finlandiya Islam Cemaati, the
first in Western Europe.
Finland - constitution and political system
Finland's constitution is from 1999 with the latest amendment from 2011 and
entered into force in 2012. It states that state power belongs to the
people. The executive power lies with the president, who is elected for six
years by direct election and can only be re-elected once.
The Riksdag (fi. Eduskunta, sv. Riksdagen), which has the
legislative power in cooperation with the President, has 200 members elected by
everyone over the age of 18, including Finnish citizens residing abroad, for a
four-year period by directly proportional elections. The actual election day for
parliamentary elections is always the 3rd Sunday in April. The election takes
place according to d'Hondt's distribution method, which favors large
parties. However, Ålands hasconstituency, which is the smallest of Finland's 13
constituencies (2014), only one mandate under the Constitution and the
Self-Government Act. Voters must be able to identify themselves by voting, but
no permanent residence is required. The country's 7,000 people without a known
address and 37,000 people with a postal address have the right to vote, just as
72,000 Finns with an unknown address and 170,000 Finns with a known address
abroad have the right to vote (2015).
Following the latest constitutional amendments, it is the Riksdag that elects
the Prime Minister, who is, however, appointed by the President. The other
members of the Government are appointed by the President on a proposal from the
Prime Minister. The president's formerly powerful powers have been severely
curtailed, with the most recent changes almost to the ceremonial. The post has
lost its independent right to take legislative initiatives and the government
now has the decisive power. The right of veto with regard to legislation is
As early as 1991, the right to dissolve the Riksdag and call new elections
was placed with the Prime Minister. Also the management of foreign policy, where
the president was previously almost in power, is now largely handed over to the
government and parliament. According to the Constitution, Finland's foreign
policy is governed by the President of the Republic in consultation with the
Council of State, while the country's EU affairs and their preparation are
handled by the government and bilateral relations are largely handled by the
The actual election day is always flag day in Finland.
Finland - legal system
Finnish law has been developed with Swedish law as a model and thus belongs
to the Nordic legal family. Since 1918, Finland has participated in Nordic law
co-operation, and many of the Nordic uniform laws apply in Finland, such as the
Contracts Act, the Debentures Act and the new Nordic Sale of Goods Act, which
also apply in Norway and Sweden, but not in Denmark. Of course, since Finland
joined the EU in 1995, EU legislation also applies.
Finland's court system is similar to the Swedish one. The courts in the
cities and in the countryside decide both civil and criminal cases. There are
six courts of appeal to which the decisions of the lower courts may be
appealed. Cases decided by the courts of appeal may be brought before it with
the permission of the Supreme Court. Administrative cases between the
administration and the citizens are decided by special administrative courts
with the Högsta Administrative Court as the final instance; they check, among
other things, whether the administration's decisions are in accordance with the
The courts' most important source of law is, as in the other Nordic
countries, the written law. Once a question has been decided by judgments that
have been published, this case law plays an important role. Finally, the legal
literature also has weight. This is partly due to the fact that the legislation
does not cover all areas and that in a small country like Finland there are no
answers to all questions in case law.
Finland - economy
Finland is a highly developed, prosperous and equality-oriented society,
which in the years after World War II underwent a rapid transition from being
predominantly an agricultural country to an industrial nation and in recent
decades from a raw materials-based to a knowledge-based economy. Finland became
a member of the OECD in 1969. An economic and political cooperation agreement
with the Soviet Union gave Finland a large and stable export market. In order to
avoid large fluctuations, trade between the two countries was carried out until
1991 on the basis of a so-called clearing system, which meant that there were
virtually no money transactions between them. Any imbalances were offset by
commodity payments, which was essential for the Soviet Union due to the
country's currency problems. In the period 1945-91, an average of 16% of Finnish
exports went to the Soviet Union annually, and the share culminated in the
mid-1980's with about 25%.
The collapse of the Soviet Union led to the cessation of the clearing system
and a dramatic decline in trade between the two countries at a time when
domestic Finnish investment activity was weak due to high interest rates and
strategic investments abroad. It was the beginning of the first real recession
in Finland since World War II. Employment fell drastically and rising job
insecurity led to a clear increase in the household savings ratio. The decline
in consumption was further exacerbated by sharply falling property prices.
The economic crisis led to major problems in the financial sector, which
was in the midst of a process of restructuring marked by extensive
liberalisations, and which was therefore particularly sensitive to the economic
downturn at the time. To avoid a number of bank failures, the state had to step
in with extensive support measures in the form of capital deposits and guarantee
The crisis also led to large and unfamiliar budget deficits in the public
sector, which at the beginning of the 1990's was one of the least indebted in
OECD countries. The government adopted several crisis packages, which included
fiscal tightening and reorganization of the tax structure. For example, access
to unemployment benefits was tightened and the retirement age raised. In order
to create greater production and employment, the government reduced corporation
taxes during that period and reduced employers' social contributions. By 1993,
at the height of the crisis, GDP had fallen by 13% since 1991, and unemployment
had risen from just over 3% to just under 20%.
Reform policy in the Soviet Union meant that Finland was given a much better
opportunity to orient itself economically and politically towards the West. This
resulted in in the application for EU membership in March 1992, but already
in June 1991 the government had allowed the country's currency, the mark, to
bind to the ECU. However, fierce speculation in the autumn of 1991 forced the
field to be written down by 14% against the ECU. Again in September 1992,
speculation led to a sharp devaluation of the currency.
The crisis in the labor market has been crucial in ensuring that currency
write-downs have not had inflationary consequences, but have instead led to a
considerable improvement in competitiveness. Since 1992, exports have been
rising and the driving force behind a new economic recovery, during which
competitiveness improved and, in combination with weak domestic demand, turned
an almost chronic balance of payments deficit into a large surplus.
On 1 January 1995, Finland was admitted as a full member of the EU, and a
so-called convergence program was launched with regard to participation in the
EU's Economic and Monetary Union, EMU. In 1999, Finland joined EMU, and in 2002
the field was replaced by the euro. From the mid-1990's to 2000, Finland
experienced an economic boom, which was not least driven by developments in the
IT and telecommunications sector, where Nokiatook an absolute leading position
and alone accounted for approximately a quarter of the country's exports. However, the
growing dependence on the IT and telecommunications sector also meant that
Finland experienced a dramatic downturn in 2001, when the sector experienced a
worldwide crisis. However, output recovered rapidly, while unemployment, which
has been a major problem since the early 1990's, remains high (9.2% in 2014). The
main trading partners are Germany, Sweden and Russia.
In 2012, Denmark's exports to Finland amounted to DKK 10.2 billion. DKK,
while imports from Finland amounted to 7.8 billion. In 2013, Finland was
Denmark's 11th largest export market. Among the most important Danish export
goods were oil products, machinery and medical and pharmaceutical
products. Imports from Finland included of paper and paperboard, iron and steel
and mobile phones.
According to Transparency International, Finland (2013) is No. 3 on the list
of the world's least corrupt countries.
Finland - local government
the counties were introduced in Sweden in 1634 and after the county reform in
1997, Finland was divided into five counties and the province of Åland. Each
county had a county administrative board headed by a governor, fi. maaherra,
who was appointed by the president. The County Administrative Board represented
the state in the area's administration and was its highest police
authority. By the end of 2009, however, the counties were completely abolished
in Finland and replaced by a different management structure.
Since 1 January 2010, the areas of responsibility have been transferred
partly to 6 regional administrative authorities under 8 different ministries and
partly to 15 state regionally located business development, traffic and
environmental centers under 6 different ministries as well as to 18 regional
Since 1920, the Åland landscape has occupied a special position with
far-reaching autonomy; In a referendum in November 1994, Åland voted in favor of
joining the EU along with the rest of Finland. The County Council, which is
elected for a four-year term, is Åland's highest authority.
Finland is now divided into 317 municipalities, of which 107 are market towns
(2015). The municipal councils are elected by proportional representation for a
period of four years. The most recent municipal elections were in October 2012.
The municipalities have largely the same tasks as the Danish ones, but as
something special, it is common in Finland for the municipalities to merge into
municipal associations, ie. form municipal communities to together solve larger
tasks, eg within the health and hospital system.
The landscape of Kajanaland (fi. Kainuun maakunta) is governed from
1.6.2003 until 31.12.2012 according to a management experiment law that is
continuously adjusted. Throughout the province, with the exception of Vaala
Municipality, which is an observer with two municipally elected representatives,
a popularly elected provincial assembly is elected in connection with the local
elections, which in turn appoints a provincial director and provincial board for
the entire election period of 4 years.
The most recent (2nd) landscape election took place in October 2008, and only
residents with permanent residence in the landscape have the right to vote,
incl. foreigners who have obtained municipal voting rights.
Just as mentioned above, one large joint municipal group has been formed
(sv. Samkommun, fi. Kuntayhtymä), Kainuun
maakunta-kuntayhtymä, which solves tasks with elderly care, social, health
and hospital services, upper secondary and vocational education and adult
education. Similar experiments have not been conducted elsewhere in Finland.
Finland - social conditions
Finland has a fine-meshed social security system, which is characterized by
the so-called Nordic model. Access to the services is for the most part open to
everyone, and the responsibility for producing and financing these services lies
with the public sector. The administration is partly in central agencies and
partly in the municipalities. Half of the social expenses are paid over the
ordinary taxes, while the other half are paid over the compulsory insurance
contributions from the employees and their employers.
The municipalities provide comprehensive social services, including care and
nursing of the elderly and disabled, run children's institutions, etc. Children
under school age have a statutory right to a place in a municipal child
institution or in municipal day care. Public health insurance provides
unemployment benefits during illness and maternity leave; a maternity leave
period (1996) is four months, and paid parental leave can be a maximum of seven
Unemployment insurance is provided by the unemployment funds, which have
voluntary membership; the costs of the insurance are mainly covered by the
employers and the state.
National pension is paid to everyone who has reached the age of 65 and who
has ceased employment. In addition, a statutory occupational pension is paid,
which is financed by employer contributions, and the amount of which depends on
the number of years a person has been employed and on the earned business
income. In addition, there are schemes for early retirement, part-time pension
and a special unemployment pension, which can be granted to the long-term
unemployed who have reached the age of 60. Disability pension is granted if a
person is permanently unable to continue his work.
Social security also includes child allowance, compensation for occupational
injuries, housing allowance and cramped assistance, etc.
Finland - health conditions
The health status of the Finnish population has developed positively in
important areas in the last decades of the 1900's. The starting point was also
worse than in the other Nordic countries. Life expectancy has increased,
especially for women, in 1993 to 79.5 years, roughly the Nordic average. For men
up to 72.1 years, lower than the Nordic average. The mortality rate in the first
year of life is 4.4 per. 1000 live births, ie. lower than in Denmark. The
population growth was around 1990 approximately 0.3% pr. year.
The mortality rate from cardiovascular disease has halved since 1970 for
people under the age of 65, which is a more favorable development than in the
rest of Europe. The mortality rate for these diseases is still above the Nordic
average with 499 deaths per 100,000 men and 284 per. 100,000 women per year.
Cancer mortality is declining, most pronounced for cervical cancer and lung
cancer. The incidence of breast cancer is increasing, but is lower than in the
other Nordic countries. Deaths due to accidents and suicide are on the rise; for
suicide, the figure is the second highest in Europe. In 1995, a total of 216
cases of AIDS were reported, which was the lowest incidence in the Nordic
The municipalities have the most important part of the responsibility for the
health service. Certain tasks, such as hospital operations, are often solved in
joint municipal schemes. The municipal costs are covered through state block
subsidies, payment from the public health insurance and self-payment from
patients. The total expenditure on health care in 1992 was 8.6% of GDP,
ie. approximately 30% more than in Denmark. Deductible amounts to approximately 25%.
The primary health service is based on municipal health centers, which with
employed doctors, nurses, etc. cover the surrounding population's needs for
health services in addition to hospital services. From the early 1990's, the
individual patient chooses his or her own physician at the center. There is a
small group of doctors with private practice. Some health centers have beds
intended for short-term hospitalizations and for the elderly. The hospital
system is organized with local hospitals and a number of highly specialized
large hospitals. The number of beds in 1993 was 29,000, about the same as in
Denmark. In 1993, there were slightly fewer doctors in Finland than in Denmark,
corresponding to 2.5 per 1000 residents; almost 50% were employed in hospitals. The
coverage with nurses is as in Denmark, ie. 7.5 pr. 1000.
The Finnish state is implementing many preventive measures. The most striking
example is the North Karelia project, which was launched in 1972 at
the request of local authorities, who were concerned about the high incidence of
heart disease in the area. The effort was supported by the WHO and aimed at
influencing the living habits of the population. It had positive results both in
the form of a reduction in harmful behavior and in the form of a reduction in
mortality, also in terms of cancer, and it had a special value in its spreading
effect to the neighboring areas.
The Finns are the least smokers in the Nordic countries; less than 25% of
both sexes smoke. Alcohol consumption increased until 1990, but has fallen
slightly to 8.4 l of pure alcohol per per capita per year in 1993.
Finland - libraries and archives
National Library of Finland, University Library of Helsinki,
is grdl. 1828 as successor to Åbo Akademi University's library (1640), which
burned down in 1827. The classicist main building (by CL Engel) is the library's
headquarters, but several specialist departments are located at faculties and
departments. When the library 1828-1917 received compulsory delivery from the
whole of the Russian Empire, the Slavic department is of particular importance,
as is AE Nordenskiöld's collection of books and old maps. The main library for
forensic and social sciences is the Riksdag Library (1872). The
library of the Technical College(1842) was destroyed by bombing in
1939, but effectively rebuilt after the war. The two universities that were
founded in Turku shortly after Finland's independence have significant
libraries: Åbo Akademi University Library and Turun yliopiston
kirjasto. Among the newer universities are the largest libraries in
Jyväskylä and Oulu. The public libraries appeared in the
1800's. especially thanks to public information associations. Only after
independence did they receive support from the state, which since 1928 has
legislated on the Danish model. The City Library in Helsinki (new
building from 1986) acts as the public libraries' center. Librarians and
computer scientists are educated at the University of Tampere and at Åbo Akademi
The National Archives (Valtionarkisto) in Helsinki was established
in 1869 on the basis of the older Senate archives. The first national
archive covering one or more counties was established in 1927 in
Hämeenlinna (Hämeenlinna). Several cities have municipal city archives. The
War Archives in Helsinki, established in 1918, has gradually become the
central archives for the defense. There are independent archives for e.g. The
Reichstag, several political parties, the universities and some learned
Finland - print mass media
The oldest newspapers were published under the common name Åbo Tidningar
(1771-1819). The country's oldest yet published newspapers are Åbo
Underrättelser (3.1.1824-), Vasabladet (1856-) and Borgåbladet (15.12.1860-),
all Swedish-language and founded under autonomy. The early press, which was
mainly Swedish-speaking, was slowed down in the development of a Russian
censorship ordinance 1829-65, which reduced newspapers to literary and local
media, such as Helsingfors Tidningar (1829-66) and Helsingfors Morgonblad
Only with the language dispute between Swedish and Finnish was the press
politicized. From 1847, the main organ of the proponents of Finnishness (the
phenomena) became the newspaper Suometar (1847-66). In response, the Swedish
Press's New Press (1883-1900) emerged. Splitting among the phenomena led to new
newspaper foundations, Päivälehti (1889-1904), a forerunner of Helsingin
Sanomat (1904-), which with an everyday circulation of approximately 472,000 (2006)
has been the Nordic region's largest morning newspaper for several decades.
Within the Swedish-language press, Hufvudstadsbladet (1864-) became the
leading body from the turn of the century, a position that has been maintained
in the post-war period with an everyday circulation of approximately 65,000.
Finland first gained press freedom in formalized form in 1919, and Helsingin
Sanomat used the opportunity for party-politically independent journalism and a
very broad news coverage earlier than other newspapers. This gave the newspaper
a leading position already in the interwar period.
The country's only national news agency Finska Notisbyrån (Suomen
Tietotoimisto) was founded in 1887. It has an editorial office in Helsinki/
Helsinki and was originally bilingual, but after 2000 is predominantly Finnish.
The media policy development is characterized by extensive state support for
the press, distributed by the political parties, which has helped to maintain a
party political anchorage in the local press longer than in the rest of the
Nordic region and the maintenance of a large number of so-called daily
newspapers, published 1-3 times. pr. week. Until 1989, Finnish newspapers had to
impose restrictions on foreign reporting in order not to damage relations with
the Soviet Union, but the print media generally had more leeway than the
Finland - electronic mass media
Radio was started as an amateur company from 1921 and with regular broadcasts
from 1923. In 1926, a number of newspapers and banks established Oy Yleisradio
AB (YLE), which in 1934 was transformed into a state-owned public limited
company. Others could in principle obtain a broadcasting license, but in
practice the radio has been state-monopolized, with the exception of privately
owned local radios 1956-63 and since 1985.
Private television experiments took place from 1954, and the commercial
company Oy Mainos-TV-Reklam AB (MTV) opened in 1957. In a special scheme, MTV
from 1963 got airtime at YLE, which had started television business in 1958 and
got its second channel in 1980. Bl.a. In support of private production, in 1983
YLE, MTV and the electronics group Nokia formed a purely commercial channel,
which became the independent MTV3 in 1993.
Radio and television have always been partly advertising-financed, without
fixed rules and without major debate. The media have both Finnish- and
Swedish-language programs, two of YLE's five radio channels are
Swedish-language, and a fourth TV channel has broadcast purely Swedish programs
Finland - visual art
petroglyphs and ornate cult objects are examples of the oldest preserved
artistic expressions in Finland. From the Middle Ages, only ecclesiastical art
is known; most are from the late Middle Ages and often created by Swedish,
German or Flemish masters. Of the period's more than 800 wooden sculptures, a
Madonna (formerly in Korpo Church, now the National Museum in Helsinki) occupies
a special position due to its dating to approximately 1200.
The oldest frescoes from the 1280's are from Åland, Jomala, Lemland and
Sund; the flowering period of the fresco 1470-1520 can be seen in
Kalanti, Lohja (Lojo) and Hattula.
Of the many imported altarpieces, the Meister Francke's Barbara altar (1410,
formerly in Kalanti Church, now the National Museum in Helsinki) is particularly
significant; this also applies to St. Henry's Cenotaph (1429,
Nousiainen (Nousis) Church).
The Reformation and Gustav Vasa's confiscation of the church property gave
way to a royal profane art, murals at Turku Castle (approximately 1530), and
significantly reduced church art; the frescoes from 1560 in simplified
renaissance style in Isokyrö (Storkyro) Church are in many ways a distinctive
With the nobility's orders for grave monuments, pulpits (eg in Turku
Cathedral) and other furniture, church art gained importance again in the 17th
century. Portrait paintings also gained ground, and Åbo Akademi University
founded a portrait gallery.
Many of the artists were still foreigners, but more Finns joined. Due to
Sweden's many wars, the art from the 18th century is sparse. Mikael Toppelius
(1734-1821), however, decorated approximately 35 churches, Isaac Wacklin (1720-58),
who also worked in Denmark, and Nils Schillmark (1745-1804) was the
greatest portrait painter of this Rococo period.
As Finland's first female painter, Margareta Capsia (1682-1759) must also be
mentioned; best known is her altarpiece The Last Supper (1725, National
Museum of Helsinki). Despite a vital cultural life in nearby St. Petersburg,
the Finnish artists, such as Gustaf Wilhelm Finnberg (1784-1833) and Robert W.
Ekman (1808-73), continued to orient themselves towards Europe via Stockholm
after the secession from Sweden in 1809.
The emerging landscape painting, however, received from approximately 1850 painters
such as Werner Holmberg, Fanny Churberg (1845-92) and Hjalmar Munsterhjelm
(1840-1905) to apply to Düsseldorf. An incipient Finnish national feeling
emerged in the six reliefs that the sculptor Erik Cainberg (1771-1816) from 1813
created for Åbo Akademi University; the motives were taken from the Kalevala.
This Finnish national epic, together with Karelia's folk life and landscape,
became an important source of inspiration for real national art in the late
1800's with realistic painters such as Albert Edelfelt and the younger and more
radical Akseli Gallen-Kallela as well as the pioneering Swedish-born
sculptor Carl Eneas Sjöstrand.
The classicist art, represented by Walter Runeberg, who was also active
in Denmark, was replaced in the 1880's by naturalism and realism, which together
with the symbolist art in the 1890's marked the golden age of Finnish art and
international recognition, among others. at the World's Fair in Paris 1900.
Great attention was drawn to Helene Schjerfbeck's psychologically in-depth
environmental portraits in an increasingly blurred style and Eero
Järnefelt's harsh realism. Pekka Halonen and Gallen-Kallela helped to develop
the special Nordic landscape painting with emphasis on melancholy and
The turn of the century was marked by many decorative and monumental tasks; a
distinctive example can be seen in Magnus Enckell's and Hugo Simberg's frescoes
for Tampere Cathedral (Tampere) (1907).
The first decades of the 20th century brought clashes with both naturalism
and the national, and the devotion to pure color was seen with the
impressionist-inspired artists' association Septem, which exhibited
from 1912. But it was the group November from 1917 that came to draw
modernism in Finland.
Several of these expressionist painters, Tyko Sallinen, Juho Mäkelä
(1885-1943) and Jalmari Ruokokoski (1885-1943), formed a painting colony with
tailor Rydeng in Elsinore; the art dealer, collector and critic Gösta Stenman
(1888-1947) gained great importance for the group. Stenman was also
Schjerfbeck's find and protégé.
Finland's independence in 1917 entailed many decorating tasks, especially
for the sculptor Wäinö Aaltonen. Despite the interwar period's closed
climate, Otto Mäkilä a surrealist painting, and with Birger Carlstedt (1907-75)
a cubist and abstract.
The group Prisma from 1956 sought to maintain the international
trend in Finnish art. The break with naturalism in the art of sculpting came
late; first with Eila Hiltunen (1922-2003) and the constructivist Veikko
Eskolin-Esk (1936-2001) new forms were seen; later, Kain Tapper (1930-2004)
cultivated the Finnish predilection for wood.
In the 1970's, a number of concept artists formed the group Elonkorjaajat ('The Harvest
Men '), the contemporary group, Dimensio, united art and
technology, and in neo - realism in particular, the national was again
debated. Despite inspiration from an international postmodernism, nature also
plays a role in Finnish art in the 1980's.
The breadth that characterized Finnish art in the 1970's with informal
art (Esko Tirronen, (1934-2011)), neorealism (Ulla Rantanen, (b. 1938)) and pop
art (Harro Koskinen, (b. 1945)), became even more prominent in the 1980's and
1990's. The main trend in the 1980's was the expressive painting and combinations
with other forms of expression as performed by Marjatta Tapiola (b. 1951),
Marianna Uutinen (b. 1961) and Jukka Korkeila (b. 1968); but also with the
performance group Plastic Pony, new themes such as gender, body and
identity came into the art in the 1990's.
Significant experiments in sculpture, public space art
and installation art can be seen in Kari Cavén (b. 1954) as well as the duo OLO
with Pasi Karjula (b. 1964) and Marko Vuokola (b. 1967).
The Mänttä Festival, held in the city of Mänttä since 1993, is a central
exhibition of Finnish contemporary art. Ismo Kajander (b. 1939), one of the
pioneers in art photography, was involved in building the Photo Company and in
1978 founded Finland's first photo gallery, Hippolyte.
Other artists working with photography and video art are Ulla Jokisalo (b.
1955), Jyrki Parantainen (b. 1962), Elina Brotherus (b. 1972) and Mika Taanila
(b. 1965), director of the past music and video festival Avanto (2000-2008).
Finland - architecture
Finnish architecture has been influenced by Western European culture via
Sweden since the Middle Ages. Turku Cathedral (Turku) from the 1200's. is the
oldest in the series of Catholic stone churches from the Middle Ages. Some were
built as large pilgrimage churches, whose Gothic steep roofs with richly
ornamented gables stand markedly in the landscape. Finland was the violence
against the Orthodox Church. At Savonlinna (Savonlinna) and the waterway through
the lakes near the border with Russia lies the best-preserved medieval castle,
Olavinlinna (founded 1475), with round flanking shooting towers. Around
1600-t. cruciform churches and belfries with curved roofs and onion domes were
built in wood.
The German architect CL Engel came to Helsinki in 1816 to build the new
capital, planned according to a classic grid. The architecture was a
simple classicism with St. Petersburg in Russia as a model. The public, columned
buildings in plastered brick were painted bright, most yellow. Engels'
architecture influenced construction throughout the country, with most houses
still being built of wood.
The style renewal around 1900, inspired by the British Arts and
Crafts movement, flourished briefly and vigorously. The classical architecture
was replaced with asymmetrical and expressive shapes that reflect the function,
and the ornamentation was coniferous, bears and squirrels carved in stone. The
artist colony Hvitträsk, which Eliel Saarinen and others built in 1902, shows
the national romanticism in a clear Finnish interpretation. Criticism from
internationally oriented rationalists with contact with the Belgian Henry van de
Velde led to more discreet forms and symmetry. Helsinki Central Station, built
in 1910-14 by Eliel Saarinen, stands as a synthesis of the period's opposite
trends with granite facades and halls in concrete and steel.
The functionalism of the interwar period was most clearly expressed in
Finland in the Nordic countries. In addition to aesthetic concepts, architecture
was also determined by a human attitude and a social responsibility. The young,
Alvar Aalto, Erik Bryggmanand Hilding Ekelund (1893-1984), developed the
expressive style of "white architecture". It is characterized by a more freely
designed breakthrough of the facade and horizontal window bands on a building
body, which is formed in a freely grouped composition that reflects the
function. At the same time, JS Sirén stood for a classicist line, which is
expressed in the main work, the monumental Reichstag building in Helsinki
(1925-31). If functionalism in the 1930's was mostly a style, in the 1950's and
1960's it largely became an ideology of industry, where rationalism with
standardization and element construction prevailed. Aalto's humanism was given
as an opposite pole an internationally characterized rationalism, represented by
Viljo Revell. Tapiola (Hagalund) (1951), a satellite city of Helsinki with
a scattered settlement of white houses in a forest park area, stands as a
synthesis of the late functionalism with a richly varied cityscape, shaped by
the best architects' interpretations of culture, office and residential
Professor Reima Pietilä, with his distinctive expressive idiom, influenced
the architects who came from the Oulu (Oulu) School of Architecture after the
1970's. Some joined international postmodernism with works in wood and brick in
protest against mechanized functionalism and in contrast to the modernists of
the Helsinki school. They built high in steel and concrete, and many wooden
house neighborhoods disappeared.
After decades of experience with industrialization and rationalism towards
the turn of the millennium, old craft traditions were seen re-cultivated in a
modern design language. The masonry construction and wood, suitable for the
Finnish climate, were again used for housing, institutions and other public
buildings. Residential neighborhoods based on the dense structures of old small
towns with moderate heights shot up in the 1990's. Juha Leiviskä distinguished
himself as the architect of light, which can be seen in e.g. Männistö Church,
Kupio (1986-92), where the modulation of daylight gives the room a floating
effect. Kiasma, the Museum of Contemporary Art, in Helsinki is an experiment in
zinc and glass over a freely curved shape, designed by American architect Steven
Holl and inaugurated in 1998.
Around 2000, many works are characterized by additive structures, such as
Aurinkolahti Comprehensive School, Helsinki (1998-99), by Raimo Terrinne, Timo
Jeskanen, Tuomo Repo, Kari Lemettinen and Leena Yli-Lontinen. Newer buildings
include the Turku Academy of Fine Arts (1997) by Laiho, Pulkkinen & Raunio,
Nokia's headquarters in Espoo (1998) by Helin & Siitonen and the Finnish Embassy
in Berlin (1999) by the architect group VIIVA.
Finland - crafts and design
Among the churches' furniture are preserved examples of medieval handicrafts:
The silver follows the northern European design language, while wrought iron,
wooden furniture and textiles show a distinctive, rich ornamentation.
Swedish and a certain Russian influence is noticeable in the period up to
approximately 1870, when the beginnings of modern Finnish design were laid. With
the national romanticism, a Finnish profile was created with features from the
country's folk art. Finland's first ceramic factory, Iris, was founded in 1897,
and together with architecture, the art of furniture flourished, strengthened
With functionalism's demands for "more beautiful everyday goods", a design
was created that established Finland's position as a leading design nation. The
basis was the country's own raw materials. In birch wood, Alvar Aalto created a
series of laminated furniture from the end of the 1920's.
In other areas, the international breakthrough came after 1945; the glass
industry, which was founded in the 17th century, produced utility glass, but
also artificial glass designed by Aalto, Tapio Wirkkala and Timo
Sarpaneva (Iittala Glassworks); the ceramic factory Arabia continued a unique
production in porcelain and stoneware, but became especially known for Kaj
Franck's combination frame in simple shapes and clear colors. Textile art also
had an international impact, with e.g. Marimekko's colorful home and clothing
textiles as well as the knotted, woolly rya rugs.
Finnish craftsmanship and design continue to have the strong line, and today
the tight form, material awareness and a restrictive ornamentation and partly
color scale are still characteristics of Finnish design, but you also see freely
thought, untraditional solutions.
Finland - literature
the people of Finland form one nation, but it speaks two
languages; consequently, Finland's national literature is also bilingual. Until
the war of 1808-09, Finland was an integral part of the Swedish Empire, ie not a
province such as Estonia, which means that it is reasonable to count authors
such as Jacob Frese and Gustav Philip Creutz as Swedish authors.
They moved early to Stockholm, and at least in the poetry of the courtier
Creutz, Finland has left no visible traces. Also Franz Michael Franzén would be
more suitable in Swedish literature; as a pre-romanticist, he certainly
anticipated Johan Ludvig Runeberg, but he left Finland to settle in Sweden in
Even in the first half of Finland's time as the Russian Grand Duchy, Swedish
was, of course, the language of culture, as was that of the administration and
the judiciary. However, the secession from Sweden meant that the conscious work
of building a Finnish national identity began. Both Runeberg - already in his
lifetime canonized as a national poet - and Zacharis Topelius wrote in Swedish,
because Swedish was the language of formation, but they wrote for the whole
people and considered it their most important task to make the Finnish people
In a poem like "Bonden Paavo", Runeberg has given the ideal type of the
Finnish commoner, or even of the Finnish man: godly, taciturn and tough-tempered
even in the most difficult external circumstances. He has also shaped the notion
of the Finnish national landscape: the landscape of the quiet lakes and large
forests, beautiful, peaceful and at the same time impossible to tame.
In the epic poems Fänrik Ståls sägner, which were published in two
parts in 1848 and 1860 (then committee 1885), he nurtured a Finnish national
self-esteem by drawing from the historically pathetic war effort 1808-09 a
number of individual figures who he idealizes in hero portraits. The somewhat
more temperamental Topelius continued Runeberg's work: He became known
throughout the Nordic countries for his fairy tales and plays for children
(published under the title Läsning för barn, 1865-96, da. From 1869)
and for the Walter Scott-inspired novel cycle Fältskärn's stories (1853-67,
One author who has recently attracted more and more interest is Fredrika
Runeberg, the national poet's wife: She has written a few historical novels - Mrs.
Catharina Boije and her daughters is actually the first historical novel to
be written in Finland, although it first published in 1858 - and a number of
sketches about women's lives and conditions.
Finnish-language literature got its cautious beginning with the
reformer Mikael Agricola, who after publishing an ABC and a prayer book
translated the New Testament. The birth of Finnish literature in the true sense
of the word is linked to the national awakening after the war of 1808-09. To
Runeberg's circle of friends belonged Johan Vilhelm Snellman, the Hegelian
philosopher, who insisted that a nation can only have one language, and
consequently energetically advocated that the educated class should switch to
the vernacular, ie. be refined voluntarily.
To the same circle also belonged Elias Lönnrot, who on long journeys in
Karelia collected folk songs. In 1835 he compiled them into a whole, the Kalevala,
which has been given the status of Finland's national epic (then 1907,
1994). The Kalevala appeared as proof that it was really possible to
compose in Finnish, and strengthened the self - esteem of the Finnish people, as
did later Runeberg's Sägner. The mythological heroes of the Kalevala -
Väinamöinen, Kullervo and Lemminkäinen - have since become the central motifs of
Finnish national romanticism; the painter Akseli Gallen-Kallela and the
composer Sibelius still returned to them.
The Finnish written language is based on Mikael Agricola's West Finnish
dialect, but it must be emphasized how young this written language really
is. Jac Ahrenberg (1847-1914) - architect and author of memoirs - tells an
enlightening anecdote: In order to become a government employee, he had to take
a language test in Finnish and was then asked to translate a text about the
restoration work he was doing. When it turned out that Finnish terminology did
not yet exist, he was given the task of inventing it.
The first novel in Finnish literature - and perhaps the most beloved - is Seven
Brothers (1870, then 1957) by Aleksis Kivi. It is a story about seven
brothers who inherit a farm but come to terms with society because they do not
like learning to read, and decide to flee into the wilderness. The novel
contains the themes that have emerged as a central part of the Finnish people's
self-image: love of nature and an uncontrollable desire for freedom. On a more
symbolic level, it is about rebellion and adaptation: The seven brothers return
to their city and sit obediently with the clerk and at the ABC book, as they are
gradually ready to marry.
In the 1880's, equality between Swedish and Finnish languages is being
achieved, and for the Swedish-speaking, educated class, it is beginning to
become clear that they can no longer speak on behalf of the whole people, but
represent a linguistic and cultural minority.
The Finnish-Swedish writers were attracted by the determinism and pessimism
they encountered in Herman Bang's Haabløse Slægter and in JP
Jacobsen. KA Tavaststjerna published in 1886 developing novel Barndomsvänner which
is similar to Niels Lyhne, and continued later in the novel Hårda
times (1891, da. 1893) to rebel against Rune's idealized image of the
Finnish people: Tavaststjernas peasants are not just for himself in general, but
can also commit bigamy and murder.
The modern breakthrough was represented from the Finnish side by Minna
Canth, who wrote indignation literature in the form of prose and, above all,
drama; she has given intense depictions of class differences and patriarchal
oppression of women, of poorhouses and mental hospitals. In her play The Worker's
Wife (1885), the protagonist enters into an unhappy marriage, and one of
the supporting characters, a gypsy girl, has after a failed assassination
attempt a line that brings to mind Ibsen: "Your law and your right - it was.
just the ones I should have shot ".
' Madame Bovary of Finnish Literature ' has been called The
Priest's Wife (1893, d. 1896) by Juhani Aho, but Aho's most read work is
the smaller novel The Railway (1884, d. 1893), whose various motifs are
later found in many depictions of folk life: ordinary people's fantasies (in
this case about the technical marvel, the railway), the contrast between the
center and the periphery, social divides and the curse of brandy.
As the Russian grip on Finland intensified around 1900, the lyricist Eino
Leino emerged. His extravagant life gave him the predicate "Finland's biggest
bohemian", but in addition he was the first for whom he managed to show that the
Finnish language could technically compare with Swedish. In Helkasange (1903-16)
he, like so many at the time, linked to the Kalevala poetry, which he with a
magnificent visionary imagination gave depth in a symbolist direction.
The Finnish-Swedish literature of the time was marked by a certain
abandonment: The Swedes in Finland felt pressured not only by the Russification,
but also by the increasingly strong refinement they lived "between puukkon and
nagajkan", the Finnish knife and the Cossacks' whip.
In 1912, the most refined and in-depth short story writer and playwright of
Finnish-Swedish literature, Runar Schildt, made his debut, but he also has the
pessimism: and doom. Schildt's own life ended in writing block and suicide.
The Declaration of Independence in 1917 and, above all, the Finnish Civil
War, which followed, became crucial to literature. For a long time, the story
was written by the white victors, and also the authors were reluctant to really
confront the social inequalities that had triggered the war - or "rebellion", as
one preferred to call it. Red Guards were portrayed individually psychologically
as poor people who passively got carried away; this applies both in The
Pious Misery (1919, da. 1924) by FE Sillanpää, Finnish literature's only
Nobel laureate (1939), and in A Man and His Conscience (1931, da. Gehenna,
s.å.) by the Finnish-Swedish Jarl Hemmer (1893-1944), which is almost a
religious or at least metaphysical novel about the problem of evil, strongly
inspired by Dostoevsky.
A more analytical and nuanced picture is first given in 1962 by Väinö
Linna in Rebellion (da. S.å.), the second part of a broad trilogy about
the life of a Finnish peasant family. In Rebellion, Linna succeeded in
creating a picture of the events of 1918, which both whites and reds could
gradually agree to accept; he thus came to assume the role of "national
therapist." As early as 1954, by the way, in The Unknown Soldier (then
1955) he had addressed a more recent national trauma, the part of World War II
in which Finland fought on the same side as the Germans. The novel is the final
showdown with the patriotism that has its roots in Runeberg.
The historical novel Sinuhe is also about the disillusionment that
the war brought with it in disguised form . The Egyptian (1945, then
1948) by Mika Waltari. Like several of Waltari's later novels, it became an
international bestseller. In Finnish literature, the broad epic has generally
stood strong. From Kivi's Seven Brothers emanates a stream of
depictions of folk life, which combines realism with a not infrequently
grotesque humor; the heroes of the novels are consistently anti-heroes. Life in
close contact with nature has been portrayed as the only truly humane thing,
while industrialization and urbanization have been seen as extremely problematic
phenomena that make people rootless and vulnerable.
Finnish-Swedish literature, on the other hand, has traditionally had its
strength in poetry. A highlight was the modernism that began in 1916, when Edith
Södergran made her debut. Other big names include Elmer Diktonius, Gunnar
Björling, Henry Parland and Rabbe Enckell. As the most original - and the one
that modern research has been most interested in - stands the oldest, Gunnar
Björling, who in his lifetime was the one who had the hardest time breaking
It can be stated that modernism was the first and so far only time that
Finnish-Swedish literature in a Nordic context has manifested itself as
avant-garde literature. The modernist period must also be said to be interesting
as a phase in which Finnish-Swedish writers succeeded in exploiting their
marginal position in a productive way; it is no coincidence that the portal
figure of modernism, Edith Södergran, had attended a German school in St.
Petersburg and later lived a frontier life in Raivola on the Karelian
headland. In Finnish-language literature, modernism is a later phenomenon that
first took hold in the 1950's.
Among the Finnish poets who made their debut in the 1950's is Paavo Haavikko,
who since then has also profiled himself as a prose writer, playwright and
aphorist and perhaps first and foremost as a system critic, "dissident". In the
early 1990's, he appeared - together with the philosopher Georg Henrik von
Wright and the literary scholar Johannes Salminen (1925-2015) - as Finland's
Both Salminen and von Wright have received particular attention as
essayists; on the whole, the essay has been a leading genre in Finnish-Swedish
literature. Its lyrical modernism is continued by Bo Carpelan and Tua
Feminist-colored women 's literature is represented by Märta Tikkanen, for
example with her poetry cycle Århundradets kärlekssaga (1978, da.
1979), and in children's literature Tove Jansson with her Mumi books stands for
a fantastic that has gained readers all over the world.
From the end of the 1980's, a number of great epic novels by Finnish-Swedish
teams have also been written. Important is the trilogy about Ålandic life and
mentality, which Ulla-Lena Lundberg (b. 1947) has published: Leo (1989,
da. 1992), Stora verden (1991, da. 1993) and Allt man kan Wanta sig (1995)
. Finnish-language prose literature, on the other hand, has evolved away from
Already with Veijo Meri, whose best-known novel is Manilarebet (1957,
then 1963), reality is stylized, subjectively enigmatic and often absurd. Annika
Idström has explored the nature of evil, and Rosa Liksom has written condensed
short stories, which motivatively include everything from rootless,
internationalized young people to distressed people in northern Finland.
Finland - theater
Theater life in Finland has been popular since the Middle Ages. There has not
been an actual hip theater tradition, but well into the 1800's. dominated Swedish
touring troops in the major cities.
Only gradually was a dichotomy marked between a Finnish-language and a
Swedish-language theater as part of the national awareness. In 1827 the first
permanent theater of wood was inaugurated in Helsinki, and in 1860 the first
theater of stone; it became in 1887 the Svenska Teatern. The first Finnish
ensemble was formed in 1872 by Kaarlo Bergbom and got its own current house in
Helsinki in 1902 as the National Theater of Finland (Suomen Kansallisteatteri).
and from here later emerged the Finnish Opera and Ballet.
Another dichotomy took place in Finnish theater between a more bourgeois
theater and a strong workers' and amateur theater, especially after the freedom
struggle and the Civil War 1917-18. After World War II, municipally supported
local theaters were established. Under the direction of Vivica Bandler
(1955-67), the Purple Theater in Helsinki became an avant-garde stage, and
experimental free group theaters flourished from the 1960's. In 1979, a theater
college was formed, which brought together Finnish- and Swedish-language theater
teaching. Internationally known theater people include the Brecht-inspired Ralf
Långbacka (b. 1932) and Jouko Turkka (b. 1942), whose idiom is more physically
Finland - dance
When the Opera opened in Helsinki in 1879, there were dancers associated, but
not until some time into the 1900's. it became an independent choreographic
company. George Gé (1893-1962) directed the first Swan Lake (1877)
outside Russia in 1922. Gé also created the first Finnish ballet Siminen
helmi (The Blue Pearl) (1931). George Gé was ballet master 1921-35 and
again 1953-62. In the last period, the repertoire was expanded with both Eastern
and Western choreographers. In 1965, Harald Lander, as a guest instructor and
choreographer, created a ballet evening with two of his own ballets on the
The ballerina Doris Laine (b. 1931) became ballet master in 1984 and was
succeeded in 1992 by Jorma Uotinen. After him, the Danish Dinna Bjørn became
ballet master in 2001. She continues the predecessors' artistic line with great
classics contrasted with modern experiments and Finnish choreography. In 2005,
Dinna Bjørn, together with Frank Andersen, directed Napoli, and in
2006 John Neumeier joined the repertoire with Mågen. Kenneth Greve
succeeded in 2008 as the new ballet master of the Ballet of Finland.
However, it is modern dance in Finland that has gained the greatest
international impact, especially thanks to the Helsinki City Theater Dance
Company from 1973, now the Helsinki Dance Company. This small company with
approximately 10 dancers have been led by Jorma Uotinen 1982-91, by the
Finnish-Swedish choreographer Kenneth Kvarnström 1996-98 and since 2003 by the
English choreographer Nigel Charnock from DV8 Physical Theater.
Finnish dance is characterized by its often provocative and extreme performer
choreographers, such as the wild braided dancer Virpi Pakhinen, the skirt dancer
Tero Saarinen, the butoh-inspired Arja Raatikainen, the multi-artist Virve
Sutinen and the humorous Katri Soini.
Finland - music
Due to the political-cultural conditions in connection with Swedish rule,
Finland has only recently developed a real art music tradition. The absence of
court life meant that instrumental music and opera were largely unknown until
the late 1700's.
Church music has from approximately 1300 based on French tradition due to the
influence of the Dominican order. After the Reformation, the old church hymn
thrived for a long time alongside the new Protestant chorale, as evidenced by a
famous 1582 Latin church and school hymn, Piae cantiones.
Among the first Finnish composers known by name are Erik Tulindberg
(1761-1814) and the clarinet virtuoso Bernhard Henrik Crusell. The latter,
however, worked mainly in Sweden. In Turku, the first music association was
formed in 1790 at a time when music life was experiencing an unprecedented
upswing, at the same time as foreign artists began to visit Finnish
cities. After the Turku fire in 1827, Helsinki took over the position as a
musical cultural center. As a university teacher, violinist and conductor, the
German-born Frederik Pacius, composer of Finland's national anthem "Vårt land",
was of crucial importance to the capital's musical life. He collected Finnish
folk songs and created with King Karl's Jakt (1852) the first Finnish
opera, albeit with Swedish lyrics. From the period after 1850 Johan Filip von
Schantz 'Kullervo -ouverture, the first orchestral work inspired by
Finland's national epic, the Kalevala.
The real breakthrough for Finnish national romanticism came in the late
1800's. Crucial in this regard was Robert Kajanus (1856-1933), a significant
conductor and champion of Jean Sibelius' music. In 1882 he founded Finland's
first permanent orchestra, the present Helsinki Philharmonic Orchestra. In the
same year, Martin Wegelius (1846-1906) founded Finland's first music
conservatory, the current Sibelius Academy. Kajanus was influenced in his
orchestral works by the Kalevala substance, which from the late
1800's. became the major source of inspiration in Finnish music. Thus with the
main character of Finnish music history, Jean Sibelius, who with his Kullervo Symphony
(1892) established his name at a time when Finnish national feeling was growing
strongly. The patriotic tone poem Finlandia(1899) and seven symphonies,
composed 1899-1924, ie. just in the time around the national independence, gave
him the status of national hero and gained Finnish music a foothold in the
concert halls of the world. In 1926, Sibelius published his last significant
work, Tapiola, after which, long before his death in 1957, he resigned
from the public eye.
Among Sibelius' younger contemporaries are the composers Selim Palmgren, also
a prominent pianist, and Toivo Kuula (1883-1918), who, like Leevi Madetoja, was
influenced by French Impressionism. Madetojas Pohjalaisia (Ostrobothnia,
1923) has been described as the Finnish National Opera. The leading
composers of the interwar period, such as Aarre Merikanto, turned away from the
pathos of national romanticism in favor of a European outlook, while Central
European late romanticism was given a personal continuation by the song composer
After World War II, Erik Bergman, Joonas Kokkonen and Eino Rautavaara have
been prominent among Finnish composers. Aulis Sallinen, who is internationally
recognized as an opera composer, and Paavo Heininen, who has particularly
cultivated dodecaphony and serialism, are students of Kokkonen, whose opera Viimeiset
kiusaukset (The Last Temptations, 1975) is a core work in the rich opera
tradition, which has influenced Finnish music up through the 1980's. The younger
composers include Kaija Saariaho (b. 1952) and Magnus Lindberg, who both worked
with computer music at the IRCAM studios in Paris.
Finland - film
Finnish film production started in 1904, but talents such as Gustaf Molander
and Mauritz Stiller emigrated to Sweden, where the opportunities were
greater. It was not until director and producer Erkki Karus (1887-1935)
established the company Suomi-Filmi in 1919 that production really took off. The
films were often marked by ideological consideration for the Soviet Union, until
the innovative Nyrki Tapiovaara (1910-40) in 1938 put an end to the oppression
of the neighboring country in the revolutionary allegory Varastettu kuolema (then
the stolen death).
The international breakthrough came with Erik Blomberg's (1913-1996) Lapland saga
Valkoinen peura (1953, then the white reindeer), and in the 1960's
there was a modest renewal marked by social realist Risto Jarva
(1934-1977). With the establishment of the Finnish Film Fund in 1970, initiated
by Jörn Donner after the Swedish model, an era of self-confidence began. Rauni
Mollberg's (1929-2007) juicy denial of all landboidyl, Maa on syntinen laulu (1973,
da. Jorden is a sinful song; based on the 19-year-old Timo K. Mukkas
(1944-1973) debut novel of the same name, 1964), was one of the remarkable
With the director brothers Aki and Mika Kaurismäki at the helm, Finnish film
today belongs to the elite in Nordic film production. Through their production
company Villealfa, and on modest budgets, the brothers cultivate tragicomic
marginal figures at the bottom of society, served with black humor and clear
genre awareness based on American film noir and the French new wave added unique
national madness in rich measure.
The brothers started together with the filmmaker Anssi Mänttäri (b. 1941) in
1986 the annual Sodankylän elokuvajuhlat (Midnight Sun Film
Festival), which runs over 5 days in mid-June in Sodankylä in Lapland; in
collaboration with the municipality and with film historian Peter von Bagh (b.
1943) as festival director.
Finland - kitchen
With the country's location at the northern border for grain cultivation,
Finnish cuisine has developed from a very poor stock kitchen. However, it is
enriched by ample access to berries (eg cloudberries and strawberries) and
mushrooms (eg stone morel) as well as to game and fresh and brackish water fish
(eg hero, heroine, leech and pikeperch).
Old and new cultural influences still characterize Finnish cuisine. The
closed oven from the east brought baked-in dishes (e.g., kalakukko, a
fish-pork pie in rye flour dough) and food from pots with tight-fitting
lids; from the west came with the open fireplaces chimney food, while the Sami
in the north boiled over bonfires on the ground or in fire pits. The smoke from
the saunas' stoves was used for hot smoking. Hanseatic influence in the
1300's. created a tradition of sausages and beer, and also the long-standing
Swedish and Russian dominions left behind new dishes.
Finland - wildlife
Finland's mammal fauna is very similar to Norway's and Sweden's. In all three
countries there are the large predatory mammals wolf, brown
bear, wolverine and lynx as well as the large ruminants elk and wild boar. The
latter has been reintroduced from Norway after being exterminated in
Finland. The beaver has also been reintroduced, and in addition there are
imported populations of American beaver. Gray seals and ringed seals live along
the coasts, and a subspecies of ringed seal is found in Lake Saimaa in
SE-Finland; one of the very few seals that lives its entire life in freshwater.
The bird life differs more from the Norwegian and Swedish, although there is
also a big coincidence: In northern Finland, golden eagles and snowy
owls live. Peregrine falcons and lapland owls are far more numerous in Finland
than in Norway and Sweden. The bird life reflects the country's location as a
"bridge" to Eastern Europe and Siberia. The Great Screaming Eagle has its
westernmost outpost in Finland, as do, for example, Blue-tailed Godwit and
Finland's wildlife was greatly impoverished in the 1900's. This is primarily
due to the large forest industry as well as the uplifts of larger
rivers. Pollution is a major problem for the many wetlands, and air pollution
from the large Russian nickel plants on the Kola Peninsula has affected large
forest areas in the northeastern part of the country.
Finland - plant life
Most of Finland is located within the boreal coniferous forest zone. The
forests are dominated by spruce and Scots pine, but often have a touch of birch,
elm, common rowan and willow. In the forests there is often a rich
undervegetation of dwarf shrubs such as heather, blueberries, cranberries and in
more humid areas bog moss. Dwarf birch, creeping species of willow and
half-grasses grow in the tundra areas of northern Finland. Heat-demanding
deciduous tree species such as oak and ash are only found in the southernmost
and southwesternmost parts of the country, where the flora also has the greatest
Originally, approximately 1/3 of the country covered by
ponds and marshes, but these are now largely drained, especially in southern
Finland. In the reed belts along the lakes grow reeds, mudflies and various
species of star.
Finland's vegetation has many similarities with northern Sweden, but includes
a small group of eastern species that are missing or rare in the rest of the
Nordic countries, such as Russian fern, Diplazium sibiricum, and
leatherback, Chamaedaphne calyculata, a species in the heather
family. In total, approximately 1500 lichens, 600 leaf moss species and 1350 species
of vascular plants.