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Finnish Culture


The heritage of Finland is best represented by the rare Finno-Ugric language of the nation, which include Nordic and European cultural aspects. The development of Finnish culture has been influenced by various Baltic, Finnish and Germanic peoples. The cultural trends of Sweden and Russia had their impact on the culture of Finland as well, as it was a part of these countries during different periods in its history.


The geopolitical heritage of Finland comprises a combination of Western Protestantism and Eastern Orthodoxy. Similar to other Nordic countries, Finnish culture is built upon relatively widespread egalitarianism and the ideas of self-sufficiency and closeness to nature.

The Finnish written language came into existence with the 16th-century translation of the Bible’s New Testament into Finnish by Mikael Agricola, as a result of the Reformation. Until the 19th Century, only a few works of literature were created.

The beginning of the 19th Century was marked by the rise of the Finnish National Romantic Movement.

Elias Lonnrot collected Karelian and Finnish folk poetry, which was published as Kalevala, the national epic of Finland. Many poets and novelists of the age wrote in Finnish, with the most notable poet being Aleksis Kivi.

After Finland became an independent country, Modernism spread in literature. A major representative of Modernism was Mika Waltari, whose works included Michael the Finn and The Sultan’s Renegade, as well as his most popular The Egyptian, which won him worldwide recognition.

World War II brought a return to more national themes, compared to the international line of thought, which was best represented in the works of Vaino Linna. Modern Finnish literature has been well developed, seen also in popular detective stories.

Another popular Finish writer in modern literature was Timo K. Mukka, who wrote avant-garde works and had little respect for social and artistic norms. In the 1960s, Mukka produced nine novels which were written in lyrical prose style. His works are among the greatest literary achievements of the second half of the 20th Century.