Pro Finlandia – Finland's road to independence. Perspective: Germany, Great Britain, Austria and Hungary

The second part of the Pro Finlandia  exhibition series about Finland's path towards independence opens at the National Archives on 10 December 2015.

The exhibition is the second part of a more extensive series of four exhibitions that shows how Finland, the Finns and Finland's aspirations were seen in other European countries in the decades preceding independence and its first years. The exhibition series is connected to the Finland 100 project, celebrating one hundred years of Finnish independence. The exhibition opening in the National Archives in December will present the relationships between Finland and Germany, the United Kingdom and Austria-Hungary.

In the late 19th century, the status of Finland became a political question – for example, German, British, Austrian and Hungarian scientists and cultural personalities supported Finland in the Russification question, but at a national level, Finland received no support to prevent the drawing of parallels with the internal political issues of the empires.  After the First World War broke out, the interest of the United Kingdom started to wane, but its opponent Germany consolidated relationships with Finland in order to support its own wartime objectives. After the 1917 revolution, the relationship between Finland and Germany became even closer, and Germany steered the situation in Finland until its eventual defeat in 1918. After this, Finland sought a new international position and turned once again to, for example,  the United Kingdom, but unofficial relations with Germany remained strong.

The exhibition includes original documents, publications, photographs, paintings and artefacts from the period. The key themes of the exhibition are literature (especially travel literature), trade and diplomatic relationships, as well as the arrival of the labour movement and cooperatives in Finland. Particular attention is paid to the birth of the Jaeger movement in Finland, the women's movement, German Helsinki and the Pro Finlandia cultural petition, which has given the name to the exhibition. In arts, attention is paid to  excursions by Finnish artists (e.g. Jean Sibelius and Akseli Gallen-Kallela) to Germany, and in architecture, National Romantic architecture combining the characteristics of Jugend and Art Nouveau, in particular through designs by Eliel Saarinen.

Pro Finlandia. Finland's road to independence. Perspective: Germany, Great Britain, Austria and Hungary.” is open in the National Archives from 10 December 2015 to 17 June 2016, Tue–Fri 10am-4pm. Entry is free.

In conjunction with the exhibition, a book of the same name will be published by Edita.

The main exhibition at the National Archives will be supplemented by a 15-poster touring exhibition, which will be exhibited at provincial archives during 2016. The poster exhibition will be displayed at the National Archives until the end of 2015. In addition, there is a poster exhibition presenting German Helsinki realised in cooperation by the Aue Foundation, the City of Helsinki and the Union of Finnish-German Associations.

For further information, please contact:

Director General Jussi Nuorteva,, tel. +358 29 533 7001

Researcher Pertti Hakala,, tel. +358 29 533 7014