Independent Finland

Finland has been an independent republic since 1917. Yesterday it celebrated its 97th birthday. I don't think I could appreciate independence as much as I do if I hadn't lived abroad. Also the fact that right next to us there is a country with very little civilization, no human rights and no freedom of any kind helps to appreciate the things that might normally be taken for granted.

For about 600 years Finland belonged under Swedish rule. Because of Sweden we have the Western culture and civilization that prevails in the country these days. But since we have been stubborn from the beginning of time we never succumbed to the Swedish language. We had our own and it was there to stay. Swedish is still an official language in Finland but few people away from the seaside speak it.

After Swedes came the Russians. But instead of forcing Finland under their rule we got autonomy: we were able to keep our language, laws and religion. The one thing they screwed up though: because the capital city Turku was too close to Sweden they changed it. Helsinki became the capital. But Turku is still beating Helsinki 6-0 in every aspect. Turku is the best and the most beautiful city in Finland, if maybe not the politest :D

The First World War crippled Russia and thus gave Finland an opportunity to reach for independence, which didn't come easily: the country went through an embarrassing civil war. After that Germany influenced Finland a lot, which also led into a very brief monarchy-period: a German Friedrich Karl was appointed King of Finland. Even imagining it makes me snigger. The "kingdom" prevailed for a whole month! 

Finland is a country with abundance of unused potential. While our government is concentrating rather on building Russian nuclear power plants than investing in the Finnish people and their well-being there are dozens of things in which Finland beats most, if not all, countries in the world. Among them such things as nature, peace, and food culture (yeah, I know, but Finnish cuisine actually is brilliant, just try the restaurants in the food capital, Turku!). The best sides of Finland have been well documented in this link

In Finland, just like in most of the countries in the world, behind every man there's a powerful woman. I think the Finnish Maiden (picture above) is thus an excellent image of Finland and Finnish culture. For me the picture tells a story. And I am so happy and proud that I am part of that story, even though I don't live in the country that my great-grandfathers gave their lives for.

And below we have a different set of Finnish Maidens, ready to take over the world :D (By the way, this picture was taken minutes before Finland beat Sweden's ass and washed the floor with it in ice hockey, so this picture also has a very important story behind it.)


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