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Finland Culture and Mass Media


Finnish cultural life is rich and versatile. In the field of music everything can be seen from hard rock to opera. Finland has several internationally renowned writers, visual artists and filmmakers. But the country is also known for modern architecture, fashion and design.

Modern cultural life began to gain momentum during Finland's time as the Grand Principality of the Russian czar Alexander I (1809–1917). During this period, Finnish and Karelian popular culture also began to influence the Swedish-speaking population.

  • Countryaah: Latest population statistics of Finland, including religious profiles and major languages spoken as well as population growth rates in next three decades.

Bishop Mikael Agricola (c. 1510–1557) is regarded as the creator of the Finnish written language through his translation of the New Testament into Finnish. But a Finnish-language literature first appeared with Elias Lönnrot (1802–1884), who collected folk poems (runo songs) and formed the national epic Kalevala (1835). The first major novel written in Finnish is Aleksis Kivi's (1834–1872) Seven brothers from 1870 who had great impact.

The portal figure of Finnish literature is Johan Ludvig Runeberg (1804-1877). He is best known for his war heroic work Fänrik Stål's tales, in which figures such as Sven Dufva and farmer Paavo embody Finnish endurance (sisu). Our first poem Our country is Finland's national anthem. The author Zacharias Topelius in the novel Fältskärn's stories depicted the history of Sweden and Finland. He also contributed strongly to the incipient national feeling and popular education with the Book of Our Country (Maamme kirja). One of the most important writers of the 19th century was Minna Canth (1844-1897), who wrote realistically about the often difficult life situation of women and workers. Her best-known work is the play The Worker's Wife (Työmiehen vaimo), which she wrote in 1885. Also Maria Jotuni (1880-1943) depicted in her works the relationship between men and women.

  • Songaah: List and lyrics of songs related to the country name of Finland. Artists and albums are also included.

Culture of FinlandFrans Eemil Sillanpää (1888–1964) received the Nobel Prize in literature in 1939. Mika Waltari (1908-1979), one of the most internationally read writers with Sinuhe, the Egyptian, is also among the 20th century writers. Väinö Linna (1920–1992) broke through the war novel Unknown Soldier in 1954. Among modern Finnish writers can also be mentioned Paavo Haavikko, Eeva Kilpi, Rosa Somsom, Hannu Mäkelä, Sofi Oksanen, Arto Paasilinna, Paavo Rintala, Pentti Saarikoski, Hannu Salama and Antti Tuuri.

Finnish Swedish poets such as Edith Södergran, Elmer Diktonius and Gunnar Björling meant a great deal to the breakthrough of modern lyric in Sweden as well. Recent Swedish-language writers include Solveig von Schoultz, Bo Carpelan, Claes Andersson, Kjell Westö, Monika Fagerholm, Märta Tikkanen, Henrik Tikkanen and Tove Jansson.

One of the most viewed films in Finland is Unknown Soldier (1985) directed by Edvin Laine. The film is based on Väinö Linna's classic novel of the same name. The brothers Aki and Mika Kaurismäki as well as Renny Harlin are the internationally best known contemporary filmmakers.

Finnish visual art has many internationally renowned names, such as Akseli Gallen-Kallela (1865–1931) and Albert Edelfelt (1854–1905). During the 20th century, Hugo Simberg, Tyko Sallinen, Magnus Enckell and Helene Schjerfbeck, as well as the more modern Kimmo Kaivanto, Juhani Harri, Olli Lyytikäinen, Eija Liisa Anttila and Silja Rantanen, helped to make Finnish visual art internationally known.

In recent years, the Touko Valio Laaksonen (1920–1991), with the pseudonym Tom of Finland, has been noted both in Finland and abroad for his drawings of gay men, among other things. His pseudonym got the Laaksonen when he drew pictures for the American gay magazine Physique Pictorial during the 1970s. In 2014, the Finnish post printed stamps with his motives.

Famous sculptors include Wäinö Aaltonen, Eila Hiltunen and Cain Tapper. The world-renowned architects Eliel Saarinen (1873–1950), Alvar Aalto (1898–1976) and Reima Pietilä (1923–1993) have designed several of Finland's most famous buildings.

Finland is also known for fashion and design. In the 1970s, the clothing industry had its heyday and already in the early 1900s several clothing brands were launched. Among the most famous are Marimekko, Nanso, Luhta and Seppälä. In addition to manufacturing clothing and other textiles, companies also produce design items such as furniture and china. In addition to Marimekko, Iittala and Arabia are well-known Finnish design companies.

In music, Jean Sibelius (1865–1957) is the foremost name. Among contemporary composers are Aulis Sallinen, Joonas Kokkonen and Magnus Lindberg and Kaija Saariaho. Finnish conductors play around the world, such as Leif Segerstam, Esa-Pekka Salonen, Susanna Mälkki and Jukka-Pekka Saraste. In Finland, there are several internationally renowned festivals such as the Kuhmo Chamber Music Festival, the Kaustinen Folk Music Festival, the Opera Festival in Savonlinna and the Jazz Festival in Pori.

Tango became popular in Finland in the 1920s and 1930s. The Finnish tango differs from the Argentine, in part by being more tact-resistant. Since 1985, a tango festival has been held every year in the city of Seinäjoki. The festival concludes with a singing competition in which a tango king and a tango queen are appointed.

Among the most well-known rock and hard rock groups include HIM, The Rasmus and Nightwish. Heavy metal bands Hanoi Rocks and Children of Bodom have long been big in Japan.



The government adopts a national language strategy

The strategy provides strong support for bilingualism and emphasizes the Swedish need for community support.


Highest credit rating

Despite the euro crisis and the downturn in the Finnish economy, the credit institution Moody's declares that Finland is the only euro area with the highest possible credit rating.

Finnish yes to crisis package to Spain

A majority of the parliament votes for a financial aid package to the euro-country Spain.

Serious problems for Nokia

Finland's economy is hit when the previously profitable telecom company Nokia is facing a number of financial problems. Nokia announces that further staff cuts are necessary. Nearly 10,000 employees will be laid off by 2013. Nokia, which has 32,000 employees in the mobile phone, has in a few years lost its world-leading position in the telecommunications market and made huge losses.

New Center Leader

The center selects the wealthy businessman and MP Juha Sipilä as new party leader.


Shot drama raises gun debate

An 18-year-old boy kills two people and injures seven in Hyvinge in Uusimaa. The shooting drama brings new life to the slumbering debate on Finland's liberal gun laws. Similar shooting dramas have previously occurred in, among others, Jokela 2007 and Kauhajoki 2008.


A number of statutory supplements come into force

Among other things, the prime minister now also formally represents Finland in the EU instead of the president. Citizens are entitled to propose new laws to Parliament if they collect at least 50,000 signatures within a six-month period.


First bourgeois president of 50 years

The party's candidate Sauli Niinistö clearly wins in the second round of the presidential election with 63 percent of the vote against 37 percent for Pekka Haavisto from the Green.


The first round of the presidential election is held

Unionist Sauli Niinistö wins the first round of the presidential election, followed by Pekka Haavisto from the Greens. Since no candidate received 50 percent of the vote or more, Niinistö and Haavisto will meet in a second and decisive election round.


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