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Estonia-Finland 200


February 2018 marks 100 years since the appearance of the independent nation of Estonia on the world map. A few months earlier, in December 2017, the Republic of Finland will celebrate its 100th anniversary. To celebrate these twin anniversaries, and as a nod to the close and multifaceted ties between the two countries and their people, Ambassador Margus Laidre proposed the playful concept of Estonia-Finland 200.

Estonia’s cooperation partners during its anniversary year are the Association of Finnish Estonian Societies, the Tuglas Society, the Estonian Institute, Enterprise Estonia, and the Estonian-language congregation of Helsinki. The goal is for as many people in Finland as possible to take part in our celebration and for Estonia to expand its circle of friends even more.

One of the main events of the Estonia-Finland 200 celebration is the Estonian National Opera’s week-long tour of Finland in November 2017 and a gala concert in Helsinki’s Musiikkitalo on 25 November 2017. Another major event is the exhibit “Bridge – With Greetings from Two Republics”. The two countries will work together to create the exhibit, which will be displayed in Helsinki’s Virka Gallery in October 2017.

The bridge that has been built between Estonia and Finland has been supported for well over 100 years first and foremost by the people. The design concept for Estonia-Finland 200 highlights a variety of Estonian-Finnish cultural and political figures throughout the ages who have served as common links between the two societies. Other faces would have also fit into this series – there was no lack of them to choose from. Actually, the series could easily include the face of every single person throughout the ages and today who has cherished and nurtured the Estonia-Finland connection.

The creator of the design is head of the interaction design programme at the Estonian Academy of Arts and graphic designer Kristjan Mändmaa. The design for Estonia-Finland 200 is inspired by the design language of art deco. Modernist art deco had its heyday in Estonia and Finland in the 1920s and 30s, when relations between the two countries developed especially vigorously.

Featured figures

Eliel Saarinen


Finnish architect known for his work in the early years of the 20th century. He created several remarkable architectural designs for Estonia.

He designed St. Paul’s Church in Tartu in 1913.

Lennart Meri


Estonian politician, writer, film director and statesman who served as the 2nd President of Estonia from 1992–2001.

With the support of his Finnish colleagues and friends, Lennart Meri wrote several books and made award-winning documentary films about Fenno-Ugric cultures. The best known of these films, “Dances for the Milky Way”, was completed in 1977.

Georg Ots


Estonian singer famous on both coasts of the Gulf of Finland, whose “Saaremaa Waltz” still reverberates in the hearts of the people. During the Soviet

years, the only connection between Helsinki and Tallinn was a passenger ship bearing his name. The MS Georg Ots made its first trip in 1980.

Sofi Oksanen

b 1977

Finnish writer of Estonian descent. Considered one of the most prominent contemporary authors of her generation and a global literary phenomenon. Most of Sofi’s works deal with complex chapters of Estonian history. Her best-known novel about Estonian history, “Purge”, was published in 2008.

Fredrik Pacius


Composer who, in 1848, wrote a melody for Johan Ludvig Runeberg’s poem “Vårt land” (“Our country”, or “Maamme” in Finnish).  Pacius’s tune “Maamme”, for which Johann Voldemar Jannsen wrote Estonian lyrics, was sung in Estonia for the first time at the very first Song Festival in Tartu in 1869. The piece became well-known in Estonia, and eventually the patriotic song became Estonia’s national anthem “Mu isamaa, mu õnn ja rõõm”. To this day both Estonia and Finland have national anthems that share this melody composed by Pacius.

Lydia Koidula

Lydia Koidula


National poet of Estonia Koidula was also a pioneer of Estonian journalism. In 1881 Lydia Koidula wrote the cycle of poems “Finnish bridge”, which addressed the connection between the Finnish and Estonian peoples.

Käsis kivi, kaenlus kannel,

Suguvennad, ühel vannel:

Tõusku Soome sild!

Holding a harp, hands on a quern,

Kindred nations – hear them yearn:

Rise, o Finnish bridge!


More information:

Pille Toompere

Press Counsellor

Embassy of Estonia in Helsinki

+358 50 501 3721

President of Estonia Kersti Kaljulaid and Ambassador Margus Laidre with Estonia-Finland 200 design at Estonian Embassy in Helsinki
Photo: Toomas Dettenborn


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