Finland in ancient cartography – exhibition at the National Archives

The National Archives of Finland, in cooperation with the Embassy of Italy in Finland and the Italian Institute of Culture, will host the exhibition “Finland in ancient cartography” from 21st September to 17th November 2017. The exhibition has been curated by the association Giovane Europa from Ascoli Piceno, Italy, on the occasion of the celebration of the centenary of Finnish independence.

The exhibition focuses on the depiction of Finland and offers a journey through ancient cartography history and the representation of the country from the sixteenth to the twentieth century. It places special emphasis on satirical cartography between the end of nineteenth century and the First World War, as these periods are strictly connected to Finnish independence. More than 40 maps from the Gianni Brandozzi Collection and the National Archives are displayed.

The exhibition provides the opportunity to admire rare and ancient maps, such as Munster’s 1550 Universal Cosmography, in which Europe is depicted with the unusual orientation south-north, as well as more recent works of satirical nature. In fact, during the centuries, cartography has changed its identity and purpose by assuming symbolic features and becoming a narrator of politics and history. This can be seen in European maps from the beginning of the twentieth century, which have been enriched with satirical comics humorously describing the tensions between various European countries on the verge of the First World War.

The cartographic collection has been compiled by a number of eminent journalists and cartographers of the time, such as Fred Rose (England) and Galantara (Italy) – artists who incorporated symbols into the complex social context of the Great War. This period is especially important to Finland, as those series of events led Finland to political independence.

The exhibition, which has been made possible thanks to the partnership with Finlandia-Italia Ry and Niinivirta European Cargo, will be open to the public at the National Archives (Rauhankatu 17, Helsinki) from the 21st of September to the 17th of November during the opening hours of the Archives.

Associazione Culturale Giovane Europa


Päivi Happonen, Research Director,, tel. +358 29 533 7018.