Finland Culture

Finland Culture and Mass Media

Newspapers in Finland

Internet and mobile telephony

According to DENTISTRYMYTH.COM, Finland is a country located in Europe. More than 90% of the population aged 16-74 use the Internet, while the use of the Internet via mobile has increased sharply since 2010. More than half of the population is surfing via mobile (2012). Over 90% of Finns have 3G coverage where they live, while geographical coverage is just under 40% of the country’s area (2012). There are three nationwide operators, TeliaSonera, DNA and Elisa, as well as a regional, GSM Åland in Åland.

Finland has long been at the forefront when it comes to information and communication technology with the mobile manufacturer Nokia as the major locomotive. Examples of software developed in Finland are the Linux operating system, the IRC chat protocol and the popular mobile game Angry Birds. Communication via SMS is also a Finnish innovation.

The surfing behavior of the Finns does not differ from the rest of the Nordic countries. Global sites such as Google, Facebook and YouTube are the most visited. Three traditional media companies qualify for the top ten list – the evening newspapers Iltalehti and Ilta-Sanomat and the morning newspaper Helsingin Sanomat (2012).

TV and radio

Finnish TV is dominated by three actors, state YLE, MTV Media, owned by Swedish Bonniers and Nelonen Media with the Finnish Sanoma Group as the owner. These three have about 90% of the total viewing.

In total, there are about fifteen free TV channels and more than twice as many subscribed TV channels. Since 2008, all TV distribution has been digital. YLE is financed from 2013 with tax assets from having previously been license funded. Other channels are advertising- and / or subscription-funded.

The public service company YLE was a sole player in the radio market for a long time, but the monopoly was broken in 1985 when the Finnish state auctioned licenses for local, commercial channels. YLE has five channels, two of which are broadcast in Swedish. In addition, there are 25 regional editors for local news broadcasts. The company also has broadcasts in Sami and Romani as well as a weekly news broadcast in Latin – Nuntii Latini.

There is only one nationwide commercial channel – Radio Nova – owned by Swedish Bonnier. Most of the approximately 30 regional commercial channels are also foreign-owned, of which German ProSiebenSat.1, which owns six channels, has the highest number of listeners.

Daily Press

Finland is one of the world’s most newspaper-rich countries with over 190 newspapers. The total edition is about 2.8 million copies. (2012). There will be about 500 ex. per 1,000 residents and make the Finns, together with the Norwegians, one of the world’s most newspaper-reading people. Only the Japanese read more newspapers per resident, while Sweden stands at just over 300 copies. per 1,000 residents.

Finland’s first newspapers go under the collective name Turku Tidningar and were published by the company Aurora 1771-1818 (with the exception of a few interruptions). The oldest yet published newspaper is the established Turku Notices in 1824. A censorship regulation in 1829-65 meant that the newspapers adhered to literature and culture.

During the interwar period Turun Sanomat (founded in 1905) and Helsingin Sanomat were at the forefront of party political independence and widening its content. From the 1950s and the following decades, the party press weakened, and newspapers were closed down (the majority of newspapers became fewer) or became politically unbound. At the same time, a large number of local political newspapers were established with 1-3 issues per week, and Finland’s total number of newspapers increased.

In connection with the recession in the early 1990s, the Finnish newspaper edition fell for the first time since the Second World War. It was a downturn that the industry was unable to recover, and the total circulation reduction of the 1990s was almost 20%. The storage area has continued during the 2000s.

Two groups dominate the daily press – Sanoma and Alma Media. Together, they account for almost half of the total edition. The largest on the market is Helsingin Sanomat, which with about 380,000 items. is Scandinavia’s largest daily newspaper. The second largest is the evening newspaper Ilta-Sanomat with an edition of about 150,000 (2012). Both are owned by the Sanoma Group, which also publishes Finland’s two nationwide free newspapers, Metro and Vartti.

Other major newspapers are the evening newspaper Iltalehti and the morning newspaper Aamulehti, both owned by Alma Media. There are also eight Swedish-language newspapers where Hufvudstadsbladet is the largest with a circulation of just over 40,000 copies. (2012).

Almost all newspapers have more or less extensive activities on the Internet. Although the Finnish daily press is extremely strong in an international perspective, it is facing the same structural transformation as in other welfare states. The readers opt out of the print media for the benefit of the internet, while the revenues from the newspaper’s web services do not in any way correspond to the revenues from the printed products. The paid daily newspapers have lost half a million in circulation since 2007 and there is no indication that this trend will continue.

The newspapers’ solution has been cuts and editorial collaborations. The focus on news has also, as in the rest of the Western world, placed more and more on entertainment and television coverage, while domestic and international news has been given less space. Attempts are made to charge for the digital content. Helsingin Sanomat is a forerunner and has about 130,000 subscribers on its digital packages, adapted for eg. iPhone, Android and iPad.

Weekly press and magazine

Two major publishers dominate the magazine market – Sanoma Magazines and Yhtyneet Kuvalehdet. In total, they publish nearly 90 titles and account for over 60% of the total edition (2012).

The largest edition of all weekly newspapers has Aku Ankka (Kalle Anka) with a circulation of almost 300,000 copies. The second largest is the ET-lehti family magazine with an edition of about 230,000 copies. (2012). Both are published by Sanoma Magazines.

Danish Aller also publishes newspapers in the Finnish market. 7 päivää (a variant of Se and Hör) is the leading weekly newspaper in the gossip press segment with a circulation of just over 190,000 copies. (2012).

Swedish-owned Bonnier Publications is also represented by about 10 specialty magazines, among others. Tieteen Kuvalehti (Illustrated Science) and Kunto Plus (iForm). Almost all are done in Denmark and then translated into Finnish, Norwegian and Swedish.

Book and publishing system

As the first print made especially for Finland, the fair book for Turku diocese, “Missale Aboense” (1488), was printed in Lübeck by Bartholomaeus Ghotan. The second – and last – work printed for Finland during its Catholic era is a Latin manual for the officiating priests, “Manuale Aboense” (1522). An earlier writing culture in Finland attests to the preserved parchment covers.

With Michael Agricola, the letterpress art was taken into service in the Reformation. Agricola developed a writing language tradition with roots in the medieval cathedral school. The printing pressure consists of an ABC book, probably printed in 1540.

Until 1642, books were printed for Finland in Germany or in Stockholm. This year, the Swedish letterpress master Peder Wald (1602–53) set up the fence of the then recently founded Turku Academy Finland’s first printing office. In November or December 1642, the first Åbotryks were carried out. Professor Michael Wexionius (born c. 1608, died 1670), the first jurist of Finland in 1650. Bishop Johannes Gezelius is the first private book publisher in Finland. His publishing company included printing, bindery and a small paper mill, the country’s first at its founding in 1667.

It was a long time before the book production started again, after the great effects of the great victims on Finland’s life. In 1750, the academic letterpress in Turku was taken over by the Swede Jacob Merckell (1719-63), who already in 1748 was granted privilege on all Finnish printing except the prayer day posters. In 1758, Johan Christopher Frenckell (1721–79) had purchased half of the Merckell printing press; from 1761 it was operated in Frenckell’s name.

Until the Turku fire in 1827, the Frenckellan firm was leading but not without competition; GO Wasenius (1789-1852) became Helsinki’s largest publisher and bookstore in the 1820s. Another significant publisher was Constantin Öhman (1816–48) in Porvoo, who published the splendor “Finland presented in drawings” (1845–52; text by Topelius). In the later decades, the leading publishers were GW Edlund (1829–1907) and Werner Söderström (1860–1914). Their cultural efforts are considered crucial during the days of national revival.

During the 19th century, the proportion of Finnish-language titles increased in publishing, and during the first decades of the 20th century, the bilingual publishers were replaced by monolinguals. In 1890 Otava was founded, led by Alvar Renqvist (1868-1947) for many years. In 1891 Werner Söderström handed over the Swedish-language publication to the new publisher Söderström & Co. This and Schilt’s publishing company, founded in 1913, are today the leading Swedish-speaking public-publishing publishers in Finland, both with Finnish-Swedish funds in the back. A regionally based Swedish-language publisher is Scriptum in Vaasa in Ostrobothnia. Relative to the proportion of Finnish-Swedes in the population, the Swedish-language publication is very extensive.

The largest publishers have been developed into or incorporated into media groups. The Swedish Bonnier Book has been the largest in fiction since 2011, following the acquisition of Werner Söderström Oys (WSOY) general literary publication by Sanoma Oyj. Bonnier also owns the publishing group Tammi.

The Otava Group, which is the country’s second largest, also includes a magazine publisher, book club and printing company. Other major publishers are Söderströms and Schildts, both established in Sweden as co-owners of Atlantis and Alphabeta respectively.

Publishing activities of great importance are also conducted by several learned societies, including The Swedish Literature Society in Finland and the Finnish Literature Society (Suomalaisen kirjallisuuden seura).

According to the Finnish Publishers Association’s statistics, total book sales in 2012 amounted to EUR 263 million and the number of newly issued titles was 4,355.


According to APARENTINGBLOG, Finnish cultural life is rich and versatile. In the field of music everything can be seen from hard rock to opera. Finland has several internationally renowned writers, visual artists and filmmakers. But the country is also known for modern architecture, fashion and design.

Modern cultural life began to gain momentum during Finland’s time as the Grand Principality of the Russian czar Alexander I (1809–1917). During this period, Finnish and Karelian popular culture also began to influence the Swedish-speaking population.

Bishop Mikael Agricola (c. 1510–1557) is regarded as the creator of the Finnish written language through his translation of the New Testament into Finnish. But a Finnish-language literature first appeared with Elias Lönnrot (1802–1884), who collected folk poems (runo songs) and formed the national epic Kalevala (1835). The first major novel written in Finnish is Aleksis Kivi’s (1834–1872) Seven brothers from 1870 who had great impact.

The portal figure of Finnish literature is Johan Ludvig Runeberg (1804-1877). He is best known for his war heroic work Fänrik Stål’s tales, in which figures such as Sven Dufva and farmer Paavo embody Finnish endurance (sisu). Our first poem Our country is Finland’s national anthem. The author Zacharias Topelius in the novel Fältskärn’s stories depicted the history of Sweden and Finland. He also contributed strongly to the incipient national feeling and popular education with the Book of Our Country (Maamme kirja). One of the most important writers of the 19th century was Minna Canth (1844-1897), who wrote realistically about the often difficult life situation of women and workers. Her best-known work is the play The Worker’s Wife (Työmiehen vaimo), which she wrote in 1885. Also Maria Jotuni (1880-1943) depicted in her works the relationship between men and women.

Frans Eemil Sillanpää (1888–1964) received the Nobel Prize in literature in 1939. Mika Waltari (1908-1979), one of the most internationally read writers with Sinuhe, the Egyptian, is also among the 20th century writers. Väinö Linna (1920–1992) broke through the war novel Unknown Soldier in 1954. Among modern Finnish writers can also be mentioned Paavo Haavikko, Eeva Kilpi, Rosa Somsom, Hannu Mäkelä, Sofi Oksanen, Arto Paasilinna, Paavo Rintala, Pentti Saarikoski, Hannu Salama and Antti Tuuri.

Finnish Swedish poets such as Edith Södergran, Elmer Diktonius and Gunnar Björling meant a great deal to the breakthrough of modern lyric in Sweden as well. Recent Swedish-language writers include Solveig von Schoultz, Bo Carpelan, Claes Andersson, Kjell Westö, Monika Fagerholm, Märta Tikkanen, Henrik Tikkanen and Tove Jansson.

One of the most viewed films in Finland is Unknown Soldier (1985) directed by Edvin Laine. The film is based on Väinö Linna’s classic novel of the same name. The brothers Aki and Mika Kaurismäki as well as Renny Harlin are the internationally best known contemporary filmmakers.

Finnish visual art has many internationally renowned names, such as Akseli Gallen-Kallela (1865–1931) and Albert Edelfelt (1854–1905). During the 20th century, Hugo Simberg, Tyko Sallinen, Magnus Enckell and Helene Schjerfbeck, as well as the more modern Kimmo Kaivanto, Juhani Harri, Olli Lyytikäinen, Eija Liisa Anttila and Silja Rantanen, helped to make Finnish visual art internationally known.

In recent years, the Touko Valio Laaksonen (1920–1991), with the pseudonym Tom of Finland, has been noted both in Finland and abroad for his drawings of gay men, among other things. His pseudonym got the Laaksonen when he drew pictures for the American gay magazine Physique Pictorial during the 1970s. In 2014, the Finnish post printed stamps with his motives.

Famous sculptors include Wäinö Aaltonen, Eila Hiltunen and Cain Tapper. The world-renowned architects Eliel Saarinen (1873–1950), Alvar Aalto (1898–1976) and Reima Pietilä (1923–1993) have designed several of Finland’s most famous buildings.

Finland is also known for fashion and design. In the 1970s, the clothing industry had its heyday and already in the early 1900s several clothing brands were launched. Among the most famous are Marimekko, Nanso, Luhta and Seppälä. In addition to manufacturing clothing and other textiles, companies also produce design items such as furniture and china. In addition to Marimekko, Iittala and Arabia are well-known Finnish design companies.

In music, Jean Sibelius (1865–1957) is the foremost name. Among contemporary composers are Aulis Sallinen, Joonas Kokkonen and Magnus Lindberg and Kaija Saariaho. Finnish conductors play around the world, such as Leif Segerstam, Esa-Pekka Salonen, Susanna Mälkki and Jukka-Pekka Saraste. In Finland, there are several internationally renowned festivals such as the Kuhmo Chamber Music Festival, the Kaustinen Folk Music Festival, the Opera Festival in Savonlinna and the Jazz Festival in Pori.

Tango became popular in Finland in the 1920s and 1930s. The Finnish tango differs from the Argentine, in part by being more tact-resistant. Since 1985, a tango festival has been held every year in the city of Seinäjoki. The festival concludes with a singing competition in which a tango king and a tango queen are appointed.

Among the most well-known rock and hard rock groups include HIM, The Rasmus and Nightwish. Heavy metal bands Hanoi Rocks and Children of Bodom have long been big in Japan.



The government adopts a national language strategy

The strategy provides strong support for bilingualism and emphasizes the Swedish need for community support.


Highest credit rating

Despite the euro crisis and the downturn in the Finnish economy, the credit institution Moody’s declares that Finland is the only euro area with the highest possible credit rating.

Finnish yes to crisis package to Spain

A majority of the parliament votes for a financial aid package to the euro-country Spain.

Serious problems for Nokia

Finland’s economy is hit when the previously profitable telecom company Nokia is facing a number of financial problems. Nokia announces that further staff cuts are necessary. Nearly 10,000 employees will be laid off by 2013. Nokia, which has 32,000 employees in the mobile phone, has in a few years lost its world-leading position in the telecommunications market and made huge losses.

New Center Leader

The center selects the wealthy businessman and MP Juha Sipilä as new party leader.


Shot drama raises gun debate

An 18-year-old boy kills two people and injures seven in Hyvinge in Uusimaa. The shooting drama brings new life to the slumbering debate on Finland’s liberal gun laws. Similar shooting dramas have previously occurred in, among others, Jokela 2007 and Kauhajoki 2008.


A number of statutory supplements come into force

Among other things, the prime minister now also formally represents Finland in the EU instead of the president. Citizens are entitled to propose new laws to Parliament if they collect at least 50,000 signatures within a six-month period.


First bourgeois president of 50 years

The party’s candidate Sauli Niinistö clearly wins in the second round of the presidential election with 63 percent of the vote against 37 percent for Pekka Haavisto from the Green.


The first round of the presidential election is held

Unionist Sauli Niinistö wins the first round of the presidential election, followed by Pekka Haavisto from the Greens. Since no candidate received 50 percent of the vote or more, Niinistö and Haavisto will meet in a second and decisive election round.

Finland Culture

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