Finland â€“ 100 Years of Success is a birthday gift to a one-hundred-year-old Finland and a tribute to Finnish work and expertise. Through one hundred success stories, the book follows Finlandâ€™s path from an agrarian society to a modern Nordic welfare state. The stories proceed through the stages of independent Finland, presenting one company, organization, or product for each year according to when it was established or launched. In addition to success stories, this book discusses the changes and achievements, struggles and low points of Finnish society by decade, binding one hundred stories to a larger whole â€“ Finland. The resulting work has one singular message: Together we have always been more.
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© Kirjakaari 2017 Text: Editor-in-chief: Antti Kekola Companies and organizations: Mira-Maria Heinonen, Nelli Miettinen, Anna Partanen Decades: Mikko Hiljanen Graphic design and layout: Heikki Riikonen, Laboratorio Uleåborg Oy Photos: list of photographers on pages 236–239 Publisher: Kirjakaari Oy English translation: Aki Myyrä Printed by: Bookwell Oy, Porvoo 2017
1917 Finland One hundred years old
Åbo Akademi University A boundary-breaking historical university
1919 Helo Sauna – Finland’s common luxury
Huhtamaki From homemade candy to global packaging supplies
1921 Sako Premium firearms – hitting the mark 1922
24 Karl Fazer Milk Chocolate Winning Finnish hearts with chocolate
1923 Finnair The blue and white airline
1924 Savonlinja Finland on wheels
1925 Teuvan Keitintehdas Kitchens on wheels
The Lahti FIS Nordic World Ski Championships From the ski trails of Lahti to international success
Vierumäki An oasis of fitness and well-being amidst an evergreen forest
1928 Novita Carried away with wool 1929 KWH Group Diversified long-term success
The Finnish Reserve Officers’ Federation Leaders for war and peace
Outokumpu From a copper hill to king of stainless steel
Matkahuolto Enabling smooth travel and parcel services
1934 Kelirengas (“Weather Tyre”) Grip and long life
52 1935 Artek Timeless, quality design 1936 Vaisala Taking the measure of the world
42 1930 Kalakukko Bakery Hanna Partanen Kalakukkos by Kallavesi 1931
1937 Kalevala Jewelry Jewelry with a story
Finnish Association for Nature Conservation Connecting people with nature
1939 Raisio From a wheat mill to the world
1940s 1940 Vapo An advocate for Finnish bioenergy
content 1941 Väestöliitto Hope, happiness, and human rights
1942 VTT Technical Research 68 Centre of Finland Innovation for the nation
Amer Sports Sports, outdoor recreation, and an active lifestyle
1959 Viking Line A cruise-loving nation
1960 Exel Composites Feather-light composites
1961 Ilmarinen Insuring employees and their pensions
1953 Kaukokiito 24-hour delivery to everywhere in Finland
1962 Silenta Appreciating hearing
1954 Plasto Quality toys for imaginative play
1963 Mantsinen Group Mantsinen moves materials
1964 Leimet Building on a strong foundation
1955 Finn-Savotta Only the best for life outdoors Finland’s Peacekeepers’ Association Peacemakers
1965 Lapland Hotels From fells to urban landscapes
82 1949 Katepal Durable bitumen roofing
Children’s Day Foundation Fun and games for child welfare
1966 Containerships Containers move the world 1967 Fiskars scissors Every home’s classic
1968 Pölkky Out of the woods with Pölkky
1943 War Zone Funfair Funfair on the front line
1944 Reima Weatherproofing kids
1945 Martela Improving wellbeing at work
76 Huurre At the vanguard of environmentally friendly refrigeration and heat production
Women Entrepreneurs of Finland A pioneer of equality in business
1948 Kiitokori Group Specialized vehicles for any need
1951 Marimekko We are Marimekko
1952 Finavia A window into Finland, a gateway to the world
1958 Honkarakenne Healthy houses from Finnish forests
content 1969 Finvacon Responsible and profitable
1970s 1970 Lappset Group Ambassador of play and exercise
1979 University of Lapland A multidisciplinary expert on the Arctic
1980 Hesburger A recipe for success
Arctic Machine From sheet metal barrels to superior road maintenance
1971 Pentik Pentik – Nordic elegance
1972 Ouneva Group No room for error
1982 Allaway Smarter cleaning
1973 Baltic Yachts Sailing with the best
1983 Ferroplan A smooth flow of materials
138 1974 Biolan Promoting green living 140 1975 Tamware Doors open to the world 1976 Sirkus Finlandia One big circus family
1977 Polar Electro Technology with heart
Sámi Education Institute The Sámi Education Institute is a bridge between the past and present
Success Story of 160 Christmas Tourism A Christmas wonderland
162 Transtech From bilateral trade to cutting-edge railway expertise
1986 Mini-Maid Plates of the purest paper
1987 Robert’s Coffee Rediscovering café culture
1988 F-Secure A guardian of data networks
1989 Space Systems Finland 170 Space technology for everyday life
174 1990 Art Centre Salmela State-of-the-art culture 1991
KIHU (Research Institute for Olympic Sports) The science of sports
John Nurminen Foundation Passion for the Baltic Sea
1993 Hyvää Suomesta label Pure Finnish food
1994 Boreal Plant Breeding 182 High-yielding plants for northern conditions 1995
184 Laitilan Wirvoitus juomatehdas Quality refreshments from Laitila
content 1996 Nightwish A dark Finnish symphony
Finnish Family Firms 188 Association Supporting responsible family businesses across generations
190 Fortum New energy solutions for conscious consumers
Idean Enterprises User-friendly technology with a human touch
196 2000 Crisis Management Initiative Peace is a matter of will 2001
Valio Eila Pure, lactose-free products from Finnish milk
2002 Forchem Tall oil – green gold from Finnish forests
Arcusys New dimensions of learning through technology
Fondia Living a dream with a different kind of law firm
2005 Beneq Thin solutions for the 21st century 2006
Sotiemme Veteraanit 208 (Veterans of Our Wars) The sacrifice must not be forgotten
2007 Kirjakaari Finland illustrated
Nordic Business Forum Leaders are changing the world
2009 Clewer Marketing 214 From sewage to crystal clear water
2010s 2010 Educluster Finland Exporting educational expertise
2011 Naava A breath of fresh air – indoors
2012 TH Global Sustainability 222 Foundation For a sustainable future 2013 Logistikas Hankinta Delivering maternity packages with heart
2014 Kyrö Distillery Company Distillery in the rye
2015 Gold & Green Foods Gold&Green – the perfect protein
Rauma Marine Constructions Ship-building expertise from Rauma to the seven seas
Interviews and Photos
– 100 Years of Success’ presents one hundred Finnish organizations or products in chronological order by year of
founding. They are representative of the one hundred years of Finland’s independence, pioneers in their fields, builders of Finnish culture and education, and companies that do not parade themselves, even though they are very much present in our everyday lives. The Finnish mentality too often ruminates on past hard times and negative issues. It is good to remember our roots, but one should remember more from our past than merely the pain and suffering. Far too seldom do Finns stop to consider how they have built their country and their success. We have world-class expertise, innovations, and an ingrained, steadfast work ethic. Together we have always been greater. With this book, we want to highlight the times that Finns have risen above and conquered the challenges they have faced. We want to talk about moments when “every dog has had its day”. Between these covers, there are one hundred success stories from Finland’s centurylong history. This book will be available for use by the organizations showcased and by every individual Finn as we spread the message of Finnish expertise around the world. As the chief editor of this book, I offer my heart-felt congratulations to the one-hundred-year-old Finland and wish it the greatest success in years to come! May someone have an equally incredible opportunity one hundred years from now to create another work about outstanding Finnish entrepreneurs and organizations.
Antti Kekola, Editor-in-chief
The 1910s – The Birth of Independent Finland From 1809 to 1917, Finland was an autonomous part of the
The goal of the Whites, on the other hand, was to safeguard
multi-national Russian Empire. However, Finland’s autonomy
Finland’s independence from Soviet Russia, and they received
had been limited since the periods of oppression, or
support to this end from Germany.
Russification, starting in 1899. The outbreak of the First World War in 1914 had drastic
The civil war ended in a victory for the Whites in May 1918. Supported by the German-trained Jaegers and led by
effects on the societal, social, and economic development
General Mannerheim, the White Guard beat the Red Guard
of Europe, including Finland. Although the northern country
and drove the remaining Russian soldiers out of the country.
was not touched directly by the actual fighting, it was drawn
Independence was maintained, but Finnish society was divided
into the conflict as a part of Russia. Finnish-born officers and
into two camps. The division was deepened by many things
volunteer rank soldiers served in the Russian army, and at the
such as terror tactics, which had been practiced by both
same time, Finnish volunteers were being sent to Germany to
sides during the war, and the harsh post-war treatment of the
be trained as Jaegers.
For Finland, the most important consequence of World
A dispute also arose concerning Finland’s form of
War I was gaining independence. The war and the ensuing
government. German Prince Frederick Charles of Hesse had
shortage of food caused riots against the tsar’s government in
actually been invited to be king of Finland, but he renounced
Russia. In the 1917 revolutions, the tsar was overthrown and
the throne because Germany had lost the First World War. The
the Bolsheviks rose to power. In November of the same year,
dispute was resolved in 1919, when Kaarlo Juho Ståhlberg was
a senate was formed in Finland with the primary mandate of
elected as Finland’s first president, and the first parliamentary
obtaining independence. The senate made a declaration of
election of independent Finland was arranged. In the same
independence in early December, and it was accepted by the
year, the new country’s symbols—its currency, orders of
Finnish Parliament on 6 December 1917. This day continues to
honour, and flags—were designed.
be celebrated as Finland’s Independence Day. Independence
The 1910s were an era of financial, social, and cultural
always requires recognition from other countries, and in early
modernization in Finland. The economy and standard of living
1918, the Bolshevik administration of Soviet Russia recognized
grew, and the population slowly urbanized. People climbed out
Finland’s independence, followed by Western countries.
of poverty, and life-threatening diseases and infant mortality
However, independence did not bring peace and prosperity.
were reduced. However, modernization was unequal: people
On the contrary, it made it possible for the societal tensions of
led very different lives in the countryside and in the growing
the previous decades to come to the surface. This led to civil
cities. One of the decade’s most far-reaching social reforms
war in January 1918 between the Whites, led by the Senate,
was prohibition, which came into force in June 1919. On the
and the Reds, led by the Finnish People’s Delegation. The goal
other hand, the newly-born nation’s cultural life flourished,
of the Reds was a socialist revolution, for which they were
especially in literature, with renowned authors like Juhani Aho,
provided with weapons and other support from Soviet Russia.
Frans Emil Sillanpää, Ilmari Kianto, Eino Leino, and Maria Jotuni.
FINLAND – ONE HUNDRED YEARS OLD
After independence, the young nation’s early years were stormy. First the Finns fought each other in the 1918 Civil War. During the Second World War, they defended their country against invasion
ON THE SHORES OF THE BALTIC SEA in Northern Europe, there is
by their eastern neighbour, the Soviet Union. Despite the wars and
a land of thousands of lakes and numerous success stories. Finland
uncertainty, the country’s economy and society developed. War
has produced many significant businesses and organizations, but
reparations to the Soviet Union proved to be stepping stones into
the country itself is also a success story.
eastern trade, which expanded rapidly. For decades, the Soviet
Finland gained independence in 1917 after being part of both Sweden and Russia in past centuries. Its location literally between the East and West has had a major impact on the unique Finnish people. The political system of the one-hundred-year-old country is
opened to trade with the rest of the world as well. As decades passed, Finland evolved from a poor agrarian country into a modern, Nordic welfare state. Decisions were made through representative democracy; the population migrated from
older than the state itself, created during Swedish rule, which
the countryside into cities; and technological expertise opened new
ended in 1809. In 1906, Finland’s four-estate Diet was replaced by
paths to the world. Nokia became known for its mobile phones;
a unicameral parliament selected by universal suffrage, Finland
and the Finnish school system is still admired and emulated today.
being the first European country to grant equal voting rights to
Finland is known for its forest industry, and nature has always been
women. Immediately in 1907, the world’s first 19 female members
close to Finnish hearts. In the summer, cities slow down as people
of parliament were elected. The legal system with its lay members
go to recharge in the peace and quiet of the countryside.
was also inherited from Swedish rule, and Swedish continues to be Finland’s second official language. Finland was under Russian rule as an autonomous grand
Union was Finland’s central trading partner. Gradually doors
After its unsteady first steps, Finland has achieved the status of a politically stable country with a diligent, honest, and reliable people. Its steady growth and reputation as a neutral country have
duchy from 1809 to 1917. Eastern influence can still be seen in
made it possible for Finland to play an active international role.
many aspects of Finnish life. For example, Finnish sauna culture
Finland is a leading country in equality and freedom of speech, and
is believed to have been inherited from the East. Inspired by 19th
its education system produces high-level expertise in different
century Finnish nationalism, the nation sought its roots in Karelia,
fields. Finns are accustomed to northern conditions, and the
most of which belongs to present-day Russia. Finland’s national
country’s geographical location has made it an expert in arctic
epic, Kalevala, is partly made up of Karelian poems.
logistics, construction, and food production.
FINLAND Gained independence: 6.12.1917 Population (2017): approximately 5.5 million Form of government: republic Capital: Helsinki Currency: euro (since 2001)
Finland is a Nordic success story as it has grown from a poor agricultural country into a wealthy expert in many fields over one hundred years. In spite of the countryâ€™s remote location, Finnish innovations have spread to every corner of the earth. Success lives amidst the northern coniferous forests.â€?
A BOUNDARY-BREAKING HISTORICAL UNIVERSITY ÅBO AKADEMI UNIVERSITY has a long and notable history. Today it is known for its small class sizes, international contacts, and strong Nordic identity. It performs successful multi-disciplinary research in technology, biochemistry, and minority studies. As Finland’s only fully Swedish-speaking university, it provides students with excellent skills for working life. The roots of Åbo Akademi University go back to 1640 and the establishment of Finland’s first university, the Kungliga Akademien i Åbo, the Royal Academy of Turku. The university’s eventful history includes the Great Fire of Turku which destroyed the whole city in September 1827. At the time, Finland was under Russian rule, and the university was moved to Helsinki. The current Åbo Akademi was built in Turku in 1918, funded with the donations of 35 private individuals through the Åbo Akademi University Foundation. Today the Swedishspeaking university continues in the beautiful surroundings of Turku Cathedral, precisely where the Royal Academy operated in times past. Founding a university during the First World War was an act of commendable farsightedness. Later, the Great Depression and World War II posed serious challenges for scientific activities in the young nation, but the war years proved the significance of research around the world. The Åbo Akademi University Library’s role as the unofficial national library for Swedish-speaking Finns is culturally significant. Starting in 1919, the library’s collections were built on legal deposit copies and donations, and the current collections contain almost all
ÅBO AKADEMI UNIVERSITY Founder: the Åbo Akademi University Foundation Founded in Turku, 1918
Åbo Akademi is Finland’s only Swedishspeaking multidisciplinary university, known for successfully uniting research and industry, its international focus, and its high Nordic profile.”
material printed in Finland as well as interesting special collections
and development of ideas possible. Åbo Akademi has the same
and extensive archives. The university also owns the archive of the
advantage: students of the sciences and humanities are constantly
Finnish Economic Society, which was included in the Finnish national
in contact on the small campus, which creates cross-faculty
registry of the UNESCO Memory of the World me in 2017.
perspectives and synergy that cannot easily be replicated in larger
The university’s focal areas are minority studies, molecular processes and material technology, drug development
university departments focused on a single field. Åbo Akademi University’s campuses are in Turku and Vaasa.
and diagnostics, and biochemistry. It is also developing an
The diverse languages spoken in the hallways demonstrate the
interdisciplinary research program focusing on the sea and
university’s popularity among international students. One thousand
the maritime industries, which are both extremely important
of the university’s 6,000 students are from abroad. It is perhaps the
for the coastal city of Turku. The intimate relationship between
most international university in Finland with strong global networks
the university and the maritime industries is unique on a global
and especially close relations and co-operation agreements with
scale. In recent years, the university has engaged in important
Nordic universities in Sweden, Norway, and Denmark.
co-operation with Tekes, for example, developing the commercial
Finland has an excellent reputation in education and is
potential of innovations based on university research and in applied
associated with world-class higher learning and technology. Åbo
research to support this goal.
Akademi University has had and will continue to have an important
One of Åbo Akademi University’s strengths is the suitable
role in building this reputation. The university sees education as a
size of both Finland and the university. In a small country, people
prerequisite for future progress, something to be cherished and
and organizations know each other, which makes rapid sharing
SAUNA – FINLAND’S COMMON LUXURY
electric sauna heaters a year, and it started exporting them to the
FINLAND HAS A POPULATION of five million—and an estimated
to sauna and steam rooms by acquiring the German Knüllwald Sauna
three million saunas. Finns have built them outdoors, indoors, on
GmbH and by launching a sauna room factory in the United States
beaches, floating on water, and on truck platforms, using wood,
and a sales branch in Great Britain. In the late 1990s, Saunatec
stone, and even ice.
acquired the American steam generator manufacturer Amerec.
As its international sales increased in the early 1990s, Helo changed its name to Saunatec. It expanded its portfolio from heaters
Helo Ltd is the world’s largest sauna manufacturer, exporting
Expanding production abroad was a significant step in marketing
to over 80 countries. Rooted deep in Finnish soil, the company has
sauna rooms. In Finland, saunas are built on location, but elsewhere
spread wide by building production facilities in Finland, Sweden,
saunas are normally delivered as modules for on-site assembly.
Germany, and the United States.
Delivery is much more flexible if the factory is on the same continent
In 1919, there was a shortage of virtually everything in Finland.
as the end user. Through corporate acquisitions in the 2000s, the
Four electricians – Väinö Ahlberg, Antti Hietamies, Bertil Lundvall,
group further expanded into sauna benches and wood-burning
and Frans Nykänen – started a company named Karjalan Sähkö
heaters. The company name was changed back to Helo in 2008 when
(Karelian Electricity) in Vyborg to produce electrical equipment. In
it became part of the TyloHelo Group.
November 1939, the Winter War interrupted the construction of a new factory in Vyborg, and production was moved via Tampere to Helsinki. Electrical kitchen stoves, bench heaters for churches, and later
The latest breakthrough in the sauna world is Helo’s Bio Water Technique (BWT) which makes it easy to adjust the sauna’s temperature and humidity according to preference. In recent years, a
also oil burners made up most of the company’s production after
major shift has taken place in sauna design as traditional, dim sauna
the war. Oskar Vikström, who had studied electrical engineering
rooms have given way to carefully designed, glass-walled steam
in the United States, had become general manager in the 1930s,
rooms. A vast selection of benches and materials is available. Global
and in 1949 he designed an electric heater for his own sauna.
fitness and health trends have increased the popularity of saunas,
Mass production of the heater revolutionized the sauna market in
which are known for their health benefits. For example, Helo’s
the 1960s. The company changed its name to Helo Tehtaat (Helo
products have become standard features in hotels and gyms around
Factories) and relocated to Hanko.
Helo focused on sauna heaters and developed built-in
United States in the 1960s.
Helo’s promotion of the sauna experience has been significant
thermostats and timers for them, contributing to saunas becoming
for Finland. In addition to popularizing saunas in Finnish homes of
common in apartment buildings during the construction boom of
all sizes, Helo’s quality products have helped spread Finnish sauna
the 1970s. Wood-burning stoves require a smoke flue so they could
culture all over the world. Finns have enjoyed sauna-bathing for
not be installed in apartment buildings, but electric heaters could,
hundreds of years, and they cheerfully share that enjoyment with
and they also fit in tight spaces. Helo’s production reached 70,000
HELO Founders: Bertil Lundvall, Väinö Ahlberg, Antti Hietamies, Frans Nykänen Founded in Vyborg, 1919
Naturally, the world’s largest sauna manufacturer comes from Finland. Throughout its long history, Helo has spread the gospel of sauna-bathing by developing new technology and reforming sauna design while still honouring traditions.”
The First Steps of a Young Democracy In the 1920s, Finland had to deal with many problems and
The Compulsory Education Act was passed in 1921, making at
challenges that stemmed from gaining independence (1917)
least six years of primary school obligatory for all children.
and the civil war (1918). At the turn of the decade, Finland was
Despite the changes, a chasm divided Finns. Throughout
officially at war with Soviet Russia, although no battles were
the decade, the right wing feared the Soviet Union and a
actually fought. The conflict was ended in 1920 by the Treaty of
coup by Finnish communists. The “Greater Finland” and
Tartu which, among other things, outlined the border between
tribe ideologies were strong. Right-wing organizations were
the countries. Petsamo was annexed into Finland, but the
established, for example, to resist communism and the
extreme right’s dreams of a Greater Finland were frustrated
political left, to support the Finnic peoples beyond the Soviet
because eastern Karelia was not. However, after the Tartu
border, and to strengthen the national identity of Finns and
Treaty, Finland was the largest it has ever been, especially
their will to defend the country.
when the dispute with Sweden over Åland was decided by the League of Nations in favour of Finland in 1921.
The young republic was still only learning democracy. Councils of State were short-lived; parties were unable to co-
The 1910s had left society divided, and uniting the people
operate; and a fear and aversion toward communism could be
was crucial for Finland’s independence and future. The release
seen in politics. Two presidents served during the decade. K.J.
in the early 1920s of most Red prisoners and the restoration
Ståhlberg up to 1925; Lauri Kristian Relander until 1931.
of their civil rights, including voting rights, were important measures taken toward healing the country. During the 1920s, many laws were passed and social
During the 1920s, Finland was among the world’s elite sports countries. In three Summer Olympics, Finland won 37 gold medals, 31 silver medals, and 28 bronze medals. At the
reforms made to unify the country. Examples of such
two Winter Olympics held during the decade, Finnish athletes
reforms are progressive tax, the Poor Relief Act, and the
won 6 gold medals, 5 silver medals, and 4 bronze medals.
Freedom of Religion Act. In addition, the law known as Lex
Runner Paavo Nurmi was one of the great names in sports, his
Kallio gave landless people the right to claim land, which
success boosting the young nation’s self-esteem. In the world
advanced financial equality. Inequality between the sexes was
of culture, composer Jean Sibelius achieved international
combated by the Marriage Act, which declared spouses to be
acclaim, composing four significant symphonies during
legally equal. The first child health clinics were established,
improving the health of expecting women and their babies.
FROM HOMEMADE CANDY TO GLOBAL PACKAGING SUPPLIES HUHTAMAKI MANUFACTURES PACKAGING on all continents, and one in five people around the world buy a product with Huhtamaki packaging every week. It all started in an old stone barn in Kokkola, where 19-year-old Heikki Huhtamäki, son of a village baker, started making candy in 1920. He quickly expanded into other products such as bread, pharmaceuticals, drinks, and foods. Huhtamäki was a patron of the arts, and in 1943 he donated the majority holding of his company to the Finnish Cultural Foundation. The company was listed on the stock exchange in 1959, and in the 1960s it started investing in packaging. Its subsidiary Polarpak became the largest paper cup producer in Europe. At the turn of the millennium, Huhtamaki sold all of its other lines of business. Today Huhtamaki has over 70 production units and operations
company’s fiber raw material is sourced from forests grown with
in over 34 countries. It has three business areas: foodservice
sustainable principles, and the recycling rate of its production
products, including paper coffee cups and plates; flexible
waste is almost 90%. Huhtamaki also supports the development of
packaging, including toothpaste tubes and various packages for
new packaging materials that have a lighter environmental load.
candy, coffee, and other foods; and fiber packaging, including egg
Huhtamaki’s factories are located close to customers and
cartons and fruit trays. The Nordic foodservice packaging branch
end users, which reduces transportation needs and facilitates
is run from Hämeenlinna, and the company has a well-established
better customer service and quicker reaction to market changes.
position in Finland, even though its home country comprises only
Excellence streams ensure that different units work together
one percent of its revenue.
sharing information and best practises. Product and innovation
Huhtamaki’s customers include various-sized companies from
teams constantly seek new ways to improve the functionality and
fast-food restaurants to wholesalers and from local players to
value of the company’s products. For example, digital codes that
major global food brands. The company has grown together with
contain advertisements or consumer info can be added to packages
its customers, and its goal is to make sure that consumers get
for consumers to view with their smart phones.
their food fresh and unspoiled in packages that are as practical as possible. Huhtamaki constantly improves the core features of its
products: quality, safety, and eco-friendliness. For example, the
During its nearly 100-year history, Huhtamaki has been firmly involved in the daily lives of millions of people around the world,
starting from Finland. Many Huhtamaki packages can be found in our cupboards. For example, one in every five toothpaste tubes in the world is made of Huhtamaki material, and the coffee you buy at a service station is likely to be served in one of its paper cups.
HUHTAMAKI Founder: Heikki Huhtamäki Founded in Kokkola, 1920
Despite its global success, much of Huhtamaki’s ownership is Finnish. A significant portion of its dividends stays in Finland and, for example, supports local culture and arts through the Finnish Cultural Foundation. Huhtamaki’s business culture is marked
Huhtamaki has successfully grown and strengthened its position as
by an entrepreneurial team spirit inspired by the founder, and
a global expert on food and drink packaging throughout the 2000s.
the company still proudly carries his name as it operates in the
It grows together with its customers and helps great products reach
more people, more easily.”
PREMIUM FIREARMS – HITTING THE MARK SAKO’S GROWTH from a rifle repair shop into a world-class rifle and cartridge manufacturer is a significant piece of Finland’s history. Sako’s reputation was not created by an advertising agency; it is built purely on merit, one precise shot at a time. Sako was founded by the Finnish Civil Guard (White Guard) in 1921 to repair rundown Russian weapons seized as spoils of war. The civil guard was a voluntary national defence association with 150,000 members during 1918–1944. In 1927, Sako was moved into larger facilities in Riihimäki and soon started manufacturing cartridges in addition to repairing firearms. The first Finnish rifle, m/24, was born when Sako attached Swiss barrels to Russian bolts. It was known as the Lotta rifle, and it was the archetype for the famous m/28 (Pystykorva, or “pointed dog ear” rifle), which was used to achieve three world records in the 1937 ISSF World Shooting Championships. Sako started manufacturing barrels in 1932 and hand-made stocks soon after that. Sako became known for its excellent barrels, for which it developed a whole new machining technique. During the war years 1939–1944, Sako made 275 million submachine gun cartridges and over 70,000 m/39 rifles. It also made millions of hunting cartridges and repaired old rifles. In 1944, the factory ran day and night until the civil guard was disbanded on 3 November 1944 in accordance with the Moscow Armistice. To save the company, Sako donated its shares to the Red Cross. The terms of peace banned arms manufacturing, so the factory started producing, for example, textile machinery. Sako made it through the early post-war years and eventually returned to its core expertise and took its first steps into the export
Sako is a rifle and cartridge manufacturer with a long history during
Founder: General Headquarters of the Finnish Civil Guard Founded in Helsinki, 1921
which it has needed to adapt to challenges posed by a changing world.
market. Sako rifles delighted North Americans with their accuracy,
cartridges as a central part of its business, further improving
and Sako has long been the largest non-American hunting weapon
shooting accuracy. While production methods have changed in one
manufacturer in Canada and the United States. In the 1960s, the
hundred years, Sako’s operations are still firmly grounded in the
standard issue infantry weapon of the Finnish Defence Forces, the
RK62 assault rifle, was first manufactured under the brand name
As part of the Beretta Group, Sako continues to aim for excellence.”
Sako’s significance for Finland is difficult to summarize in a few
Valmet. At Sako’s Riihimäki factory, it was modernized and then
phrases. War-time arms and cartridge production is, naturally, an
manufactured under the Sako brand as the RK95.
achievement without compare, but even today, the Finnish arms
Majority owners of the company have been, among others,
industry supports the country’s credible defence and, for example,
Nokia, Valmet, and finally Metso which sold Sako to the prestigious
Sako manufactures the sniper rifles used by the Finnish Defence
Italian Beretta in 2000. In Beretta’s ownership, Sako has
Forces. Over the decades, Sako has become known for its accuracy
manufactured record numbers of rifles year after year. The Tikka
in hunting and shooting sports, and its Finnishness is a guarantee
T3, launched in 2002 with a new design, has been an especially
of quality for many gun enthusiasts. Its products also support a
popular model. With Sako’s long traditions, it continues to produce
nature-oriented lifestyle, which is highly esteemed in Finland.
1922 prestigious confectioner in St. Petersburg. At 25 years of age, Karl Fazer was known as a courageous and visionary confectioner who wanted to offer Helsinki the same delicacies that people enjoyed in major European cities. The café culture was flourishing, but Fazer’s reputation was largely built on sweets. Karl Fazer developed new sweets with his wife, Berta Blomqvist, who was not only the taste tester but also the company’s financial manager. All of the family’s children participated in naming the sweets, and Finland’s most cherished
WINNING FINNISH HEARTS WITH CHOCOLATE
artists designed beautiful wrappers. Factory production began in 1897, and since then, world-class flavours have kept drawing new, happy customers. The family firm’s iconic product, Karl Fazer Milk Chocolate, was born from chance and a friendly gesture. Karl’s son, Sven, had
FOR MANY PEOPLE, Karl Fazer Milk Chocolate, or “Fazer Blue”,
a British business associate whose son-in-law suffered from a
is the one and only, true milk chocolate. Its blue wrapper with
serious eye disease, and Sven had arranged for him to see a doctor
gold lettering has become a symbol for the Finnish confectionery
who was able to cure him. In return, the businessman gave Sven
industry. This union of fresh, Finnish milk and premium quality
Fazer a Swiss chocolate recipe as a gift. Fazer has made delicious
cocoa has offered chocolate lovers enjoyment for many decades.
chocolate according to the same recipe since 1922. The original,
The much-loved chocolate has also drawn Fazer’s other products
secret recipe still lies inside a safe.
into consumer awareness. Fazer is a fifth-generation family business founded in 1891,
All Finns recognize the familiar harmony of flavours that springs from the best ingredients: fresh, Finnish milk and genuine
when Karl Fazer started a French-Russian café in Helsinki. He
Arriba cocoa. The blue colour of the wrapper is a registered
was the son of a Swiss-born furrier and had studied the secrets
trademark, the unmistakable identifying element of the chocolate.
of baking and creating delicious flavours in Paris, Berlin, and a
To Karl Fazer, this hue of blue symbolized the clean nature of his independent homeland, Finland. From sweets and pastries, Fazer’s bakery expanded into bread and other savoury products. The first café in Helsinki already baked bread, and Fazer’s other bakeries eventually followed. Baking fresh bread in grocery stores is also one of Fazer’s creative ideas. The product selection has later expanded into various foods, and school and workplace kitchens are still continuing the company’s tradition of tasty, nutritious food. Adaptability and innovative experiments have always been characteristic to Fazer: why not fill an egg shell with nougat or add flavour to bread with root vegetables? Creativity gives the final touch to a satisfying array of flavours.
KARL FAZER MILK CHOCOLATE Production started in 1922, Helsinki
Karl Fazer Milk Chocolate has been the most popular chocolate in Finland and a symbol of the Finnish confectionery industry since the 1920s. The milk chocolate is still made according to the original Swiss recipe, an enticing harmony of flavour. In addition to sweets and other culinary treats, Fazer makes bakery products and offers diverse food and cafĂŠ services.â€?
For Finns, one sweet stands above all others: Karl Fazer Milk Chocolate. It is the preferred choice on the chocolate shelves of Finnish stores and a favourite gift packed along on trips abroad. The classic milk chocolate has kept its ground since 1922, and in the future, Fazer will continue to invite consumers along on exciting taste adventures with new and delicious products.
THE BLUE AND WHITE AIRLINE
Amidst the entirely new, tough competition, investing in the newly
FROM ITS ORIGINS as a one-aircraft operator named Aero, Finnair
had mostly carried Finns abroad, but now people also flew from
has grown into one of the world’s most esteemed and reliable
abroad to Finland and onward.
airlines, carrying over ten million passengers every year and
As an aviation forerunner, Finnair invests in a first-class fleet
connecting Europe and Asia. The aviation industry is sensitive
as well as quality service. The customer experience in the cabin is
to various crises from war to rising fuel prices. With Finnish
warm, straightforward and authentically Nordic, something that
“sisu”, willpower, Finnair has navigated safely through all kinds
international customers praise year after year. Over the years,
of turbulence. Finland’s northern conditions demand the highest
Finnair has been an influential advocate for Finland and Finnish
quality, which has further increased Finnair’s reputation as a
exports. On its blue and white wings, Finnair has carried Nokia
mobile phones to the world and introduced global passengers to
Finland’s geographical location is often deemed remote, but for aviation it has proven exceptional. Making use of this advantage,
Moomin, Marimekko, and other Finnish icons. Finnair’s success and reputation did not spring up overnight—
Finnair has been a forerunner in launching new scheduled flights
they are the result of long-term, consistent development. Since
and commissioning the latest aircraft models. Finnair was the first
the early Aero years, Finnair has reacted with agility to global
Western European airline to fly non-stop from Europe to China, and
changes, maintaining its reputation as a reliable and safe airline.
in the 1980s it was the only airline to offer direct flights between
A near century of experience in air traffic is a solid foundation for a
Europe and Japan. Finnair has been far-sighted, always among the
successful, international airline.
first companies to adopt new aviation technology. On a global scale, the moderate-sized airline has often been one step ahead of its larger competitors. The company’s first aircraft, a Junkers F 13, took its maiden flight in 1924, carrying mail from Helsinki to Tallinn. In the day, there were no airfields in Finland, so Aero operated from the water or the ice. The first year’s passenger count was a modest 269. During World War II, the company operated under the military authorities, and after the war, the majority holding was transferred to the state. The name was officially changed to Finnair in 1968. The most significant change in air travel has been the termination of route and ticket price regulation in the late 1990s.
opened Asian routes opened a path for growth. Before then, Finnair
FINNAIR Founded in Helsinki, 1923
Finnair is one of the oldest and most reliable, internationally esteemed airlines. Finnair has brought the world closer to Finns but also successfully carried Finland to the world.â€?
SAVONLINJA Founder: Toivo J. Honkanen Founded in Mikkeli, 1924
FINLAND ON WHEELS SAVONLINJA HAS GROWN hand in hand with public transportation
Since the beginning of regular bus traffic in Finland,
in Finland, boosting its growth by participating in various
Savonlinja has been a major player in the growth and
development projects and by staying busy on Finland’s highways
development of Finnish public transportation.”
since 1924. The young and eager Toivo J. Honkanen started fulfilling his dream of being a professional driver by operating his Ford Model T between Lappeenranta and Lauritsala in 1924. As passenger numbers and competition increased, he purchased a 21-seat Rochet-Schneider bus to run between Mikkeli and Heinola. Bus traffic grew rapidly in Finland, and the Bus Operators’ Association was established in 1928. Its tasks included providing statements to the ministry in matters related to transport licences. Honkanen settled in Mikkeli, where a chapter had been established in 1930. He understood the benefits of active participation in the association and was elected chairman of the local chapter. Honkanen’s position had its advantages, especially when it became harder to acquire a transport licence in the 1930s. Large companies were favoured due to their more extensive fleets that ensured greater reliability. Honkanen had already joined forces with two other operators, and together they decided to launch the limited company Savonlinja in 1935. Bus traffic boomed, causing financial problems for other transportation providers, such as steamboat companies operating on inland waterways. In a couple of years, Savonlinja grew into Finland’s largest private bus company, carrying both people and goods between the countryside and the city. The increase of routes and buses posed a problem for fare collection, and Savonlinja participated actively in creating a ticket system. However, after a few years, the cash register they
had developed was displaced by ticket collectors who stamped
through corporate acquisitions, and student transport compensated
passengersâ€™ tickets at their seats.
for the passenger loss caused by the rise of private motoring.
During the Winter and Continuation Wars, most of the fleet was
Savonlinjaâ€™s third-generation Managing Director, Kai Honkanen,
commandeered by the state, and the drivers were called to serve
took the wheel in 2016. The increased demand for chartered buses
on the front. Compensation was paid for the buses, but they
is opening new, interesting opportunities, for example, in tailored
deteriorated in heavy use. There was also a vast shortage of
fuel and tires until the late 1940s. Savonlinja started using wood
During its long history, Savonlinja has focused on growth
gasifiers, and the lack of proper tires forced them to suspend
and development while supporting the development of public
operation on manyÂ routes.
transportation in Finland. Its operations in sparsely populated
Toivo Honkanen passed away in 1956, and his son Raimo took over as general manager for 60 years. Savonlinja grew quickly
eastern and south-eastern Finland in particular have facilitated the effortless movement of people and goods for decades.
TEUVAN KEITINTEHDAS Founder: Jean “Pöder” Luomala Founded in Teuva, 1925
KITCHENS ON WHEELS TEUVAN KEITINTEHDAS OY in the expansive lands of southern Ostrobothnia is a prime example of Finnish expertise. For decades, it has manufactured field and street kitchens as well as mobile cooking equipment. The family business is best known for its traditional military field kitchens, which have produced food for many conscripts in the Finnish Defence Forces. Teuvan’s roots go back to 1925 when Finnish society was still largely agrarian. Estonian-born Jean Luomala launched an agricultural boiler factory in Teuva. Soon the company expanded into various food cookers and military field kitchens, starting in 1929 with the Finnish Defence Forces’ first field kitchen, the M29. The original, horse-drawn M29 had wooden wheels, and some are still in use, although motorized vehicles have long since replaced horses. The longevity of the M29 testifies to the high quality of Teuvan products. Over the decades, the company has improved on its original products and expanded its selection with new ones. In the 1970s, Teuvan expanded from wood-burning products to those fuelled by electricity and oil. It had already started making wood-burning sauna heaters in the 1960s, but it launched its first series of Parra electric sauna heaters in the 1970s. Today Parra is a comprehensive collection of modern sauna-related products and equipment. Nonetheless, wood-burning heaters have a long tradition in Finland, and they are still popular today. Teuvan’s highly mobile street and outdoor kitchens are in high demand, suitable for both large public events and private summer cottages. Sausages can be quickly heated with Teuvan’s liquefied gas barbecue, and traditional Spanish food can be made with its
Teuvan Keitintehdas Oy represents Finnish quality and expertise as it manufactures field and street kitchens, special cookers, and mobile cooking equipment for various needs. Its portfolio also includes sauna heaters and other sauna-related products.”
paella pan and burner. Teuvan quality is guaranteed by its world-
successfully designed and manufactured quality products year after
class expertise, use of high-quality stainless steel sheet metal, and
year. Finland’s varying conditions impose high demands, which have
been a guiding factor in product development. Sturdy and durable
Thanks to its comprehensive product range, Teuvan has a
products are the company’s response to today’s disposable culture.
diverse clientele. Its most long-term partner is the Finnish Defence
By using modern technology and further improving its energy
Forces for which it has made large numbers of field kitchens. These
efficiency, the company is reinforcing its position as a market
served well in the Winter War and Continuation War, and their
leader. The people of Teuvan Keitintehdas believe that innovative
significance has not diminished after the war years. Teuvan’s multi-
product development will keep producing excellent results in
purpose products are used by humanitarian organizations, sports
clubs, and other customers. One mobile kitchen can feed hundreds of people. Teuvan’s resilient Ostrobothnian faith in its own know-how has inspired the company from its very beginning, and it has
FROM THE SKI TRAILS OF LAHTI TO INTERNATIONAL SUCCESS
and the city, but responsibility was assumed by a commercial event organizer in 2017. However, volunteer work is still at the core, as hundreds of volunteer hands are needed to arrange such a major event. Over the decades, the Finnish sports culture has changed along with society. The first international skiing competition in Lahti was a
TRADITIONAL CROSS-COUNTRY SKIING depicts the Finnish mind-
modest, small-town event with less than 10 participating countries,
set at its best: even with poor glide, you set your jaw and fight your
but the numbers of participants and spectators have grown
way to the finish line. Finland’s proud history of winter sports is
exponentially, and the event has evolved into a major international
epitomized in the Lahti FIS Nordic World Ski Championships, which
competition and big business. Until the 1980s, there was a strong
have been held seven times since the 1920s. The Lahti Ski Club has
community spirit, and vast audiences arrived to cheer on the skiers,
an excellent reputation, especially in ski jumping and cross-country
whereas today, more and more people watch the competition on
skiing. Lahti is known as the Mecca of skiing, the only Finnish city to
TV from the comfort of their own home. However, the ski stadium
have hosted this internationally esteemed competition.
still draws tens of thousands of people from Finland and abroad
There would be no elite-level skiing in Lahti without the Lahti Ski Club. It was established in 1922 when Finland needed a player that could organize major winter sports events. Finnish athlete and
biathlon in person. Although new sports have challenged the status of cross-
sports luminary Lauri “Tahko” Pihkala liked the diverse terrain in
country skiing as the cornerstone of the Finnish sports culture, the
Salpausselkä, Lahti, and suggested that the city start organizing
gutsy skiing nation’s heart still beats for Finnish success on the
the competitions. Lahti accepted the challenge and arranged the
tracks and ski jumps. However, cross-country skiing is a merciless
first Nordic World Ski Championships in 1926. Three players have
sport that does not yield medals without long, hard work. The same
been responsible for the competition: in addition to the Lahti Ski
attitude is clearly visible in the Lahti World Championships, which
Club and the City of Lahti, the Finnish Ski Association has ensured
have reaped success and renown both nationally and internationally
that such major competitions are financially secure and viable.
thanks to their effective organization. When the event is held the
The Lahti World Championships have been held seven times: in 1926, 1938, 1958, 1978, 1989, 2001, and 2017. The City of Lahti was immediately prepared to build an internationally competitive venue, and it has always played a key role in ensuring that the competition and training conditions meet current requirements. The arrangements used to be a major effort for the Lahti Ski Club
to watch ski jumping, Nordic combined, cross-country skiing, and
next time in Lahti, the euphoria of competition will once again draw Finns to cheer for their own—from the heart.
THE LAHTI FIS NORDIC WORLD SKI CHAMPIONSHIPS Founder: Lauri “Tahko” Pihkala First World Championships: Lahti, 1926
Over the decades, the Lahti World Championships have achieved significant status as a promoter of Finnish winter sports. They have grown from modest beginnings into an internationally successful event that still draws skiing enthusiasts from Finland and abroad.”
1927 VIERUMÄKI Founder: Lauri “Tahko” Pihkala Founded in Vierumäki, 1927
Vierumäki’s origins were in sports, but it has grown into an internationally renowned fitness and recreation centre. The unique venue attracts around 400,000 annual visitors from Finland and around the world. Thanks to the Sport Institute of Finland’s substantial expertise in sports and coaching, many Finnish athletes are among the best in the world.”
AN OASIS OF FITNESS AND WELL-BEING AMIDST AN EVERGREEN FOREST VIERUMÄKI IS an internationally renowned sports and recreation centre, home of the Sport Institute of Finland. Vierumäki was established in 1927 as a training centre for physical education teachers and instructors. Over the years, it has grown into a diversified sports centre that combines sports and leisure in a unique way. In its environment of dry peat forests sprinkled with lakes, people can enjoy well-being services and practice over 100 sports, from winter sports to golf. People come to learn from Vierumäki’s example even from the Far East. Lauri “Tahko” Pihkala first got the idea for a sport institute in Vierumäki in 1907 when he saw university and college campuses and sports centres on his travels in the United States. At the time, there was a shortage of sports schools and physical education teachers, and Tahko’s plans for a sport institute were accepted in 1927. The first building completed was a sauna on a beautiful lakeshore, and a contract was made with a prison in Lahti to use prisoner labour to construct the main building, designed by Erik Bryggman in the functionalist style and inaugurated in 1937. Vierumäki is a nationally valuable cultural environment. During the years 1939-1945, the main building, Kaskela, served as a military hospital—Vierumäki has always had a love for the homeland. After the wars, the contacts with the Finnish Defence Forces remained strong—as late as the 1960s, students still marched in formation along the corridors. Since then, the institute’s culture has changed along with the world, and its operations have expanded. In the 1980s, Vierumäki grew quickly through bold
construction decisions. A major strategic step was to build golf
Vierumäki’s core expertise is in sports coaching, training, and
courses, which caused a stir in the Finnish sports world. Golf was
well-being and fitness services. It also provides companies with
not really considered a sport at the time. Now there are two full-
conference services. Keys to its success include well-being at work
length golf courses and one practice course with an incredible 45
programs, in which Vierumäki is a forerunner, and modern physical
holes, which is notable on the global scale.
education that has embraced digitalization. Vierumäki is unique in
Vierumäki was in danger of being shut down in the 1990s when
that it has been built from its early days according to the vision of
its owner, the Finnish National Sports Association, SVUL, went
its legendary founder, Tahko Pihkala, to keep its doors open to all
bankrupt. The ownership base was expanded and reinforced to
friends of physical activity. The doors of sport institutes around the
ensure the institute’s continuity. It was a good decision: over the
world are normally only open to members.
years, the Sport Institute of Finland has grown into an 800-student
A strong will and wealth of ideas have carried Vierumäki
campus where people can acquire a Bachelor’s or Master’s degree
forward. It has always been a notable forerunner in Finnish
for the Haaga-Helia University of Applied Sciences. A bustling
sports and coaching. Recent decades have been a time of
service network has developed around the institute, offering
substantial, ongoing growth, which Vierumäki pursues through
pastimes for active people of all ages. The centre has over 400,000
internationalization in fitness and sports expertise and by
annual customers, ranging from families with children to students,
developing recreation services.
corporate groups, and international elite athletes.
1928 of clothing and other commodities, but wool was plentiful, so knitting needles kept clicking in every home. The business grew, and under the third generation of management in 1974, Novita moved its factory to Kouvola, which facilitated the rapid development of its production technology. The selection of yarn types and colours increased, offering something
CARRIED AWAY WITH WOOL ERNST GYLFE STARTED spinning worsted yarn in 1928, hoping to
for beginners as well as advanced knitters. Nowadays Novita’s yarns can also be found close to consumers on the shelves of grocery stores. Listening to consumers, for example through social media,
release the hidden potential of wool. Fed up with prickly carded
has made Novita a forerunner in modern marketing. Despite its
yarn, the people of Finland eagerly adopted the new, comfortable
classic product, the company is a prime example of adapting
material. Over the decades, Novita has grown into the largest
to the changing world. In addition to quality yarn, Novita offers
manufacturer of hand-knitting yarns in the Nordic countries. On its
instructions for current, fashionable knitwear while still honouring
website, an international community of over 100,000 knitters share
traditions. The company has succeeded in building a strong
community of knitting enthusiasts. This helps to preserve the
When worsted spun yarn had found its place on the knitting
valuable domestic handicraft tradition which deserves the status of
needles and in the hearts of the people, Ernst Gylfe started a
a national treasure. Novita’s future objective is to spread the joy of
factory in Lauttasaari, Helsinki. During World War II, the spinning
knitting yarns beyond the borders of Finland.
mill ran out of material, but no one was laid off. The employees knit
Nowadays Finns probably do the most knitting in the world per
wool socks to keep the Finnish soldiers’ feet warm as they shivered
capita. In the past, clothes were made by hand for financial reasons,
in their dugouts. During the post-war period, there were shortages
but today knitting is a relaxing hobby that has even been likened to yoga. In spite of the changing world, yarn has stayed the same for decades—it would make no sense to alter a perfect product. Instructions for wool socks, those Finnish standard accessories, are still the same as eighty years ago. Handicrafts give people a break from modern, often hectic life. Stress fades away as hands focus on the task, and the world is made a better place one sweater at a time. Amidst the hyperactive modern world, Novita has been able to continue and improve the operations of a traditional family business, producing over ten million balls of yarn every year. In this fourth-generation family business, the new generation learns from the previous one, carrying the original values forward in the new world. The common thread of the business is to give wool the honour it deserves for the good of the customer.
NOVITA Founder: Ernst Fredrik Gylfe Founded in Helsinki, 1928
Quality hand-knitting yarn manufacturer Novita has created a modern company in a highly traditional field. Developing with agility and listening to consumers, Novita is promoting Finnish handicrafts and passing knitting traditions on to future generations.â€?
DIVERSIFIED LONG-TERM SUCCESS THE KWH GROUP IS one of Finland’s largest family businesses. In its present-day configuration, it manufactures and markets abrasives, plastics, and logistics services. The corporation’s roots are deep in Finland and Finnish labour. Edvin Wiik and his friend Emil Höglund lost their jobs in 1929 and decided to start a business to export Finnish timber. Höglund spoke English, so he took responsibility for customer contacts. In ten years, Wiik & Höglund’s network spread throughout the country from Tornio to Vyborg. This was the start of a life-long partnership that has significantly shaped the Finnish business world. The outbreak of war froze all timber exports, so a new direction had to be found. The solution was in firewood and wood chips for fuel in cars with wood gasifiers. After the war, wood exports climbed back to their original level, but Wiik & Höglund were already probing for new business opportunities. Wiik had a vision of the possibilities of plastic, a material somewhat unknown yet in Finland. The company initially suffered from the general shortage of raw materials, but when the market opened, its product development revolutionized the plastic industry with a 600 mm polyethylene pipe. It was already exceptionally big, but in its role as a forerunner, Wiik & Höglund increased the size every year. Around the same time, it developed sheets of expanded polystyrene named Styrox, which were so popular that Styrox
KWH GROUP Founders: Emil Höglund, Edvin Wiik Founded in Vaasa, 1929
During its long history, the KWH Group has invested in many different sectors of Finnish society. The KWH Group is among the major players in our country because it invests continuously in growth, job creation, technological leaps and, since the beginning, exports.”
became the unofficial generic name for the whole product group
10 new ones were launched or purchased. The group was built
around four core operations: KWH Pipe focused on pipes, Mirka
While the plastic business was booming, Emil Höglund took his
on abrasives, and KWH Plast on plastics. Other operations were
mink-farming pastime in a more professional direction. He steadily
gathered under KWH Invest. Once again, the KWH Group had
grew and developed it until he had the world’s largest mink farm,
demonstrated its flexibility. Later, the conglomerate was further
operating under the name Keppo. For a long time, fur farming and
reshaped: in addition to Mirka, KWH Logistics offers logistics
the timber trade formed the bulk of the group’s business.
services, and KWH Invest also manufactures plastic pipes and
In the 1960s, Höglund heard of an abrasives factory in Helsinki looking for a new home. He relaunched it in an empty factory
water traps. Success in so many fields makes the KWH Group a unique
building in Jepua, under the name KWH Mirka. Today, Mirka
operator. As a pioneer, it has always strived to grow steadily as
continues to manufacture abrasives and generates the majority of
the best in its field. The KWH Group has always invested heavily in
the KWH Group’s revenue.
Finland and Finnish companies. Its open-minded approach toward
Winds of change blew through the company in the late 1980s.
new opportunities has proven an effective model of operation. Due
Keppo bought the majority holding of Wiik & Höglund, incorporated
to its adaptability, the KWH Group is the only Finnish raw lumber
and restructured it. Around 15 companies were sold and around
exporter still operating—although in entirely different fields.
The Democracy Bends but Will not Break The anti-communist and anti-left sentiments that originated
recognition when Frans Emil Sillanpää won the Nobel Prize
in the 1920s continued into the 1930s, taking on more official
in Literature in 1939. The assembly praised Sillanpää for the
forms. The so-called “communist laws” passed in the 20s
insightful way he depicted the lifestyle of Finnish peasantry.
came into force in the 30s, outlawing all political activities that
The prohibition law passed in 1919 expired in 1932, and
could be seen as communism. Anti-communist groups started
a state-owned monopoly started selling alcohol. Prohibition
to radicalize and persecute not only communists but members
had failed: smuggling and illegal sales of alcohol had
of the Social Democratic Party as well. For example, the Lapua
Movement, founded in 1929, first organized marching protests,
Infant mortality was high in Finland during the decade. To
but then started threatening, beating, kidnapping, and driving
combat this problem, maternity packages were delivered to
suspected communists to the Soviet border, even murdering
disadvantaged mothers starting in 1938.
a few of them. However, after an unsuccessful coup, it lost the support of the moderate right wing and was disbanded. In spite of right-wing radicalism and its challenge to the
At the end of the decade, Finland got entangled in the Second World War. The Winter War started after the Soviet Union accused Finland of bombing the border village, Mainila,
democratic system, Finland did not become a dictatorship
in November 1939. The Soviet Union later admitted that it had
like so many European countries. One of the reasons is that
staged the bombing and used it as an excuse to attack Finland.
radical organizations never gained widespread support.
In the Winter War, the Finnish Defence Forces were
Finland’s democracy was young, but it proved strong. Pehr
significantly smaller and poorly equipped compared with the
Evind Svinhufvud was president from 1931 to 1937. His role
Soviet army, but they held their ground, avoided occupation,
was crucial in the peaceful solution to the unrest caused by
and preserved the country’s independence. The “Miracle of the
the Lapua Movement. After Svinhufvud, Kyösti Kallio served as
Winter War” and the “Spirit of the Winter War” have lived on as
president from 1937 to 1940.
concepts describing the gutsy nation, and it is commonly held
The 1930s was the golden age of radio and Finnish
that the Winter War finally put an end to the schisms in Finnish
schlager music. The decade also saw the dawn of Finnish
society. The massive shared ordeal pulled different groups
cinema. For example, Ansa Ikonen and Tauno Palo, the classic
of people together and healed the wounds of the previous
couple from black and white Finnish films, started their
careers in the 1930s. Finnish culture achieved international
KALAKUKKOS BY KALLAVESI
unhurried spirit: each stage is still done by hand, and the pies are
FINNISH CUISINE has long traditions—so does the traditional fish
Over the years, the bakery has also made other familiar products
pastry kalakukko. In the heart of Savonia, in the city of Kuopio,
alongside kalakukkos. Since the 1960s, the product selection
the bakery Kalakukkoleipomo Hanna Partanen has made these
has expanded with meat pies, Karelian pasties, and doughnuts.
delicacies by hand for decades. Vendace or perch fished from local
Consumer habits have also evolved, so the bakery also makes
waters are baked together with various ingredients inside a loaf of
kalakukko-style baked-in pastries with meat, salmon, vegetable,
rye bread. Kalakukkos are not only important in the region; they
and Swedish turnip fillings. All products are lactose-free.
are also a widely esteemed speciality that has received Traditional Speciality Guaranteed (TSG) status in the EU. Kalakukkoleipomo Hanna Partanen is a fourth-generation
The core of the kalakukko bakery is in clean, Finnish ingredients. It cherishes Finnishness in every way, which was always Hanna Partanen’s conscious choice. For example, perch
family business that relies on quality and Finnish produce. The idea
are caught in the nearby Lake Kallavesi, and vendace are brought
of a kalakukko bakery was born when housewife Hanna Partanen
by trusted fishermen from Lake Suvasvesi. Local ingredients
borrowed a few sacks of flour and started baking the fish pies on
her home farm and selling them at the Kuopio market. They were
The bakery’s quaint milieu amidst old, wooden buildings has
so popular that Partanen decided to launch an actual bakery in
remained almost entirely unchanged. Although the production
the city centre of Kuopio in 1930. She started production in a more
facilities have been remodelled to meet today’s hygiene standards,
professional manner, and the bakery was granted an official trade
the masonry oven heated with alder has stayed the same since
licence the following year. Partanen was an industrious woman in
the 1930s. Genuine kalakukko and other traditional products have
every way: in addition to baking, she also liked to help those in need
maintained their popularity, and an established, loyal clientele has
by offering them free food.
enjoyed them decade after decade. However, the elderly are not the
Since the beginning, kalakukko has been the bakery’s primary
only customers: young people have also learned to understand the
product, and its importance has not waned over the decades. It is
value of these traditional delicacies, which are shipped almost daily
still baked with the original recipe, which proves that the delicacy is
to Savonians who have moved away from their old home region.
loved by generation after generation. The bakery does not compete
Simple, forthright bakery products may well be the best suited
with quantity but, above all, with quality. As society has changed,
foods for the Finnish palate.
fast food has seized the market, but kalakukko has maintained its
slowly baked in a masonry oven for as long as ten hours.
Kalakukkoleipomo Hanna Partanen (“KALAKUKKO BAKERY HANNA PARTANEN”) Founder: Hanna Partanen Founded in Kuopio, 1930
Kalakukkoleipomo Hanna Partanen has preserved Finnish culinary traditions by baking the traditional Savonian delicacies, kalakukkos, since the 1930s. Its long traditions, Finnish ingredients, and high quality ensure that Finns will continue to enjoy these traditional bakery products in years to come.”
THE FINNISH RESERVE OFFICERS’ FEDERATION Founded in Helsinki, 1931
Finland’s fairly large field army requires the use of reserve officers to complement the commissioned officers in war-time leadership. The federation has a key role in supporting and developing not only the
LEADERS FOR WAR AND PEACE THE FINNISH RESERVE OFFICERS’ FEDERATION (FROF) is a national defence organization founded in 1931 to develop the skills of reserve officers. Because of Finland’s general conscription, most
expertise of individual reserve officers but also the
Finnish men over 18 years old serve in the Finnish Defence Forces.
whole field of national defence.”
Approximately 10% of all conscripts are trained as reserve officers, but their training is not over when they are mustered out. Civilian training combined with military training and possible refresher courses mould Finnish reserve officers into unique war-time leaders with know-how that is in high demand in civilian life as well. Finland’s military defence depends on an army of over 200,000 soldiers, and the number of commissioned officers is not enough to meet war-time needs. For this purpose, 1,500 reserve officers are trained annually for leadership in their respective branches. The war-time position of a reserve officer depends on his or her knowhow and performance. Developing these skills has always been the core function of FROF, even though terminology and focal points have varied over the years. Today the main focus is on combining civilian and military leadership. Other central activities have been physical training, including shooting range practice, and preserving traditions. The first reserve officer course of independent Finland started on 28 December 1917 in Vimpeli. The trainers of the course were fifteen Jaegers trained in Germany. During Finland’s civil war, General Mannerheim appointed reservists as leaders of White Guard divisions and promoted them as 2nd lieutenants on 26 April 1918. The Reserve Officer School was established in 1920, and it still trains most of the reserve officers. The first graduates got the idea to establish local associations and finally the Finnish Reserve Officers’ Federation on 17 May 1931. Reserve officer training was
interrupted by the Soviet-led control commission from 1945 to 1948,
changed general attitudes and increased the popularity of national
but the FROF was allowed to continue its operations.
defence associations. Today defence associations offer diverse
During the following decades, the federation’s activities were limited, and the general attitude was not very supportive
training, and their membership has increased. Due to Finland’s large reserve, its military defence has special
of voluntary defence organizations. Despite being labelled
characteristics that are heightened by the role reserve officers have
warmongers, the active members were able to keep the
in leading war-time troops. Reserve officer training also supports
association alive. In the 1970s, the federation started organizing
peace-time society as many people trained as leaders in the
combat training in various terrains. In the 1980s, these courses
defence forces serve in leadership positions in Finland’s business
were the federation’s most popular activities alongside security
community. The FROF has a key role in supporting and developing
policy courses. At the same time, women started participating
the expertise of individual reserve officers as well as the entire field
more and more in national defence activities. In the 1990s, the
of national defence.
reinterpretation of the peace treaty with the former Soviet Union
1932 nickel, zinc, and cobalt. The city that had grown around the copper mine also changed its name to Outokumpu in 1968. As Finnish ore deposits were gradually exhausted, Outokumpu set its sights abroad and, for example, purchased a zinc mine in Ireland and a copper mine in Sweden. Its long-term research continued to bear fruit, supplying production facilities with new technology. The
FROM A COPPER HILL TO KING OF STAINLESS STEEL
The discovery of chromium ore in the Kemi River in 1959 was momentous, and Outokumpu built a ferrochrome smelter in Tornio in 1960 to take advantage of it. It already had a nickel plant, so now it had access to both key raw materials for the production of
THE ORIGINS OF THE OUTOKUMPU GROUP are in a copper mine.
stainless steel. Chromium ensures its corrosion resistance; nickel
Today it has over 100 years’ experience in its core business of
improves its mechanical properties and formability. Thanks to
producing stainless steel in Finland, Germany, Sweden, Great
its unique characteristics, stainless steel is one hundred percent
Britain, the United States, and Mexico. This pioneer of the mining
recyclable, and it is suitable for many different uses, for example,
industry employs some 10,000 professionals in over 30 countries.
in the processing industries and food industry as well as home
Once upon a time, there was a hill in Kuusjärvi in North Karelia, Eastern Finland. Locals knew there was something special about
appliances and cutlery. At the turn of the millennium, Outokumpu decided to focus
the mystical hill named Outokumpu (literally, “strange mound”),
on stainless steel production. It strengthened its position with
because it attracted extraordinary amounts of lightning during
corporate acquisitions and gave up other sectors such as copper
thunder storms. The explanation turned out to be a promising
production. Its evolution from a multi-metal corporation into
copper deposit which was discovered there in 1910. A mine was
the global leader in stainless steel was complete. Outokumpu’s
established on the hill along with a copperworks next to it, and the
own chromium mine, the most extensive product selection on
mining company was named after the site, Outokumpu.
the market, and modern production facilities combined with over
Industrialization was intense in Finland at the onset of the 1930s. Outokumpu was incorporated, and it invested in research and development right from the start. Electric smelting required
100 years of experience in metals are still keeping it on the road to growth. Outokumpu’s mines have benefitted all of Finland. Its ore
vast amounts of energy, which led to developing the flash smelting
deposits have usually been far away from inhabited areas, resulting
technique in the 1940s. The method makes use of the chemical
in expanding development, such as the building of houses, roads,
energy bonded in the ore and requires only a fraction of the
schools, and even railroads. Since its early years, Outokumpu
electricity consumed by the old method. Outokumpu soon started
has been building Finland’s reputation as a mining technology
selling the technology abroad and established a technology division
pioneer. Its innovations originally designed for the mining industry
that led to the founding of the Outotec Group. Outokumpu gained a reputation as an innovative producer of metals with its copper mine as its financial backbone. In the 1950s and 1960s, it expanded its mining and metal production into
company has had a major role in developing the entire industry.
have spread wide and created new business opportunities around the world.
OUTOKUMPU Founded in Outokumpu (former KuusjĂ¤rvi), 1932
Outokumpu has evolved from a copper mine into a stainless steel expert, growing hand in hand with Finland. Mining innovations and creative use of new raw materials have been keys to its success.â€?
ENABLING SMOOTH TRAVEL AND PARCEL SERVICES
popular meeting points. While waiting for their bus, people could
MARKETING AND SERVICE COMPANY MATKAHUOLTO has built
serial tickets that can be loaded onto its Travel Card. The scheduled
a globally unique service network that is based on bus traffic and
bus network is also suitable for transporting parcels, which forms
has carried people and parcels to their destinations for many
the majority of Matkahuolto’s revenue today as eCommerce has
decades. Times have changed, and technology has advanced, but
increased the need for shipping services. The company’s network of
the company’s basic tasks are still the same. Matkahuolto serves
around 2,000 service points is a competitive advantage. Parcels can
passengers and bus operators, and maintains its service network
be sent or retrieved from 1,200 locations, and Matkahuolto offers
and parcel delivery, ticket, and timetable systems.
various services at many R-kiosks, some K-Markets, and over 300
Bus services started to develop in Finland in the late 1920s, and many bus operators were founded. They all had their own
Over the years, Matkahuolto has created a centralized timetable information system, diverse purchase channels, and annual and
Matkahuolto agents. A recent development has been moving bus stations to
points of departure—often on different sides of town—which they
travel hubs that host all forms of public transportation. The
first advertised along with their timetables in newspapers. But
public transportation sector is undergoing change: competition
soon they realized that co-operation would benefit customers
is being further liberalized, and eServices are making systems
and make travelling easier. Linja-autoliitto (the Finnish Bus and
more effective. Bus timetables and ticket prices vary weekly, and
Coach Association) was established in 1928, and its local chapters
Matkahuolto invests in digital services. With millions of monthly
concentrated bus stations in locations such as adjacent to service
visitors, the company’s website is an important source of timetable
stations. Today the federation is the sole owner of Matkahuolto,
information and a marketplace for tickets. With Matkahuolto’s new
which it co-founded in 1933 to co-ordinate the nation’s bus services
mobile application, it only takes a few clicks to buy a ticket, and the
through its network of bus stations and its timetable system.
company is also building door-to-door services and “Mobility as a
Matkahuolto started developing passenger and parcel services and expanding the bus station network. Passengers needed a
Service” systems, which are combination tickets for various modes of transportation.
clearly delimited area where buses arrived and departed as well
Matkahuolto has carried Finns and their parcels since the
as waiting rooms, cafés, ticket sales, and timetable information.
war years, through the era of urbanization, to modern times. It is
War interrupted development, but bus travel continued to grow in
a pioneer of the networked business model in Finland, bringing
popularity. Privately-owned cars did not become common until
companies together in tight-knit networks that produce seamless,
the 1970s, and buses were the only way to travel for many people.
quality services. Co-operation makes it easier to face changes and
After the wars, starting in the 1950s, cities and municipalities
to meet the changing needs of the market, customers, and society.
collaborated with Matkahuolto to build bus stations, which became
share news or tell a fellow passenger their life story.
MATKAHUOLTO Founded in Helsinki, 1933
Matkahuoltoâ€™s service network strengthens the bus service sector and offers consumers, companies, and communities information about travel alternatives. It makes it easy for customers to purchase tickets and to send and receive parcels in an environmentally sustainable way.â€?
1934 so making tyres seemed like a profitable business in spite of the post-war years of shortage. The idea for tyres intended for winter conditions came from professional drivers who were fed up with slipping along snowy roads. Snow chains were impractical and slow to install, so they wanted a better solution. Suomen Gummitehdas accepted the challenge and developed
GRIP AND LONG LIFE
Kelirengas. Its sturdy and rough tread made it the world’s first winter tyre that actually worked. Its transverse grooves dug into the snow like a cog wheel for better grip. It had no studs, which were
NOKIAN TYRES is the world’s northernmost tyre manufacturer,
not developed until the 1960s when increased ploughing made roads
promoting and facilitating safe driving in demanding conditions.
more slippery. The innovation was intended merely for lorries, but
Kelirengas (“weather tyre”) was the world’s first winter tyre, made
a model named Lumi-Hakkapeliitta (“snow Hakkapeliitta”) was
by Suomen Gummitehdas Osakeyhtiö, predecessor of Nokian
developed for cars in 1936. This tyre was extremely important for
Tyres, in 1934. Kelirengas is a real legend in its class, one of the
the growth of private motoring in Finland. The name Hakkapeliitta
most important Finnish innovations of all time. Winter tyres have
is derived from a Finnish cavalry unit of the Swedish army in the
prevented millions of accidents and saved thousands of lives
1600s, and it has remained the brand name for Nokian winter tyres
throughout their history.
since the very first tyre.
The company had manufactured galoshes since 1898, but
During the war years, the factory concentrated on tyres for the
when cars became a familiar sight on Finnish roads, it ordered
front. After the war, the company name was changed to Suomen
machinery to manufacture tyres in 1932. Buses carried people from
Kumitehdas Osakeyhtiö, and it started steering toward foreign
the countryside to cities, and lorries carried more and more goods,
markets. Its main product was the Hakkapeliitta winter tyre, which laid the foundation for Nokian Tyres’ reputation as a specialist in winter conditions. In 2016 Nokian Tyres’ net sales were almost 1.4 billion euros, and it employs over 4,500 people globally. In the 1960s, new, studded Hakkapeliittas built a reputation around the world. Finnish rally drivers used them to win the snowy Monte Carlo rally three times in a row. By 1971 the company had produced over one million tyres, over half of them Hakkapeliittas, the successors of Kelirengas. In 1978 a law came into force making winter tyres mandatory, and the company met the increased demand by introducing non-studded winter tyres. Combining a strong, lamella-based tread with a new blend of rubber achieved grip on par with that of studded tyres. Unlike studded tyres, nonstudded winter tyres can be used year-round in Finland. In the 1980s, computers were introduced to tyre testing. In 1986 the company built a testing centre in Ivalo, northern Lapland, which accelerated the development of Hakkapeliittas. It is the
world’s largest and most versatile tyre testing area, where over 20,000 winter tyres are tested each year in the extreme, northern conditions, employing the field’s top expertise and technology. The differences between the 1934 Kelirengas and modern winter tyres are significant. Product development pays keen
KELIRENGAS (“WEATHER TYRE”) – THE WORLD’S FIRST WINTER TYRE Developed in Nokia, 1934 Developers: August Kelhu, Erik Sundqvist, the engineers at Suomen Gummitehdas
attention to safety properties such as grip, but it also considers other important properties such as minimizing fuel consumption and road wear while improving driving comfort. It is no exaggeration to say that Kelirengas revolutionized driving. In addition to popularizing privately owned cars in Finland, it was the archetype of present-day winter tyres that are making
Nokian Tyres develops and manufactures tyres for demanding conditions. Its decades of experience spring from the world’s
winter traffic safer all around the world. The world’s first winter
first winter tyre, developed in 1934. The role of Nokian Tyres as a
tyre was born of necessity—the invention owes as much to Finnish
forerunner, its innovations, and its unique testing expertise have
weather conditions as it does to Suomen Gummitehdas.
always been markers on its road map to success.”
ARTEK Founders: Aino Aalto, Alvar Aalto, Maire Gullichsen, Nils-Gustav Hahl Founded in Helsinki, 1935
TIMELESS, QUALITY DESIGN ARTEK IS A FORERUNNER in modern design, known for its
Since its founding, Artek has brought humane modernism into people’s lives with its timeless design classics. Artek’s products are characterized by their functionalist style and by their beauty, quality, durability, and the use of natural materials and innovative technology.”
beautiful and practical classic furniture, light fixtures, and other design items. The durability and quality of the products as well as Alvar Aalto’s clean style have carried the company through the decades and appealed to consumers in different age groups. Artek is an important opinion leader and a bold reformer of modern design, all while honouring traditions. Artek was founded in 1935 by four talented young idealists: architect couple Alvar and Aino Aalto, art lover Maire Gullichsen, and art historian Nils-Gustav Hahl. In the spirit of modernism, they wanted to influence architecture, design, and urban planning, to sell furniture, and to showcase modern interior design using exhibitions and other means. They stated their goals and values, inspired by functionalism, in the Artek Manifest, which is still an inspiration for the company. The spirit of the manifesto is visible today in annual exhibitions and projects arranged in co-operation with students, international designers, and architects. Alvar Aalto (1898–1976) and the other co-founders of Artek were highly respected in international modernist circles. Aino Aalto (1894-1949) was Artek’s first creative director and had a strong and independent role in the company. Inspired by nature, the Aaltos designed utensils and furniture suitable for small apartments as people were moving from the countryside into cities. Their humane and warm style is visible in their home in Helsinki and in Villa Mairea, the house they designed for the Gullichsens in Noormarkku. Alvar Aalto had already made an international reputation in the 1930s by developing new technical solutions for bending wood and making use of Finnish birch in furniture. Aalto’s three-legged stool (1933) marked the emergence of the modern Scandinavian
language of form, and the patented, bent L-Leg was presented at
Traditional handicrafts and knowledge of materials combined with
the International Exposition of Art and Technology in Modern Life
modern production methods ensure quality and durability. A good
in Paris in 1937. It was the beginning of Aalto’s high standard and
example is Artek’s 2nd Cycle collection: a statement on behalf of
system thinking, which was the foundation of Artek’s portfolio. The
company’s furniture can be tailored individually for different groups
Artek has helped strengthen the roots of Finnish design. In the
of people, from children to the elderly, and can be used in private
spirit of its founders, Artek looks boldly to the future, questions old
homes and public spaces such as museums, offices, schools,
habits, promotes long-term product development, and invests in
material research and sustainable design to counterbalance quick
Artek’s furniture and lighting collection also includes classics
and superficial consumption. More and more consumers want to
designed by other Finnish masters like Ilmari Tapiovaara, Tapio
know where, how, and who has produced the products they buy. In
Wirkkala, Eero Aarnio, and Yrjö Kukkapuro, as well as new
this development, Artek’s spirit, its Finnishness, and the way its
products by international architects and designers. The Aalto
products tell stories and pass on traditions and history are highly
furniture is still made in Finland, in the same factory near Turku.
valued, promising the company long life and success.
TAKING THE MEASURE OF THE WORLD
for reliable weather observations to improve safety in the skies. Foreseeing growth, the company had already built a new factory in Vantaa.
VAISALA’S EFFORTS to create a better world through systematic
In the 1970s, Vaisala developed a new type of humidity sensor
data collection have earned it recognition as Finland’s first high-
that opened entirely new opportunities in industrial measurement
tech company. For almost one hundred years, it has produced
instruments. During the cold war, the United States government
accurate, reliable measuring instruments for weather forecasting
was suspicious of Vaisala, since it was in a country neighboured by
and industrial needs.
the Soviet Union. Therefore, the company established a subsidiary
Vaisala’s story began when the young mathematician and meteorologist Vilho Väisälä saw a Russian weather observation
in the United States in 1981, opening the North American market. The cornerstone of Vilho Väisälä’s ideology was to always
device that had crashed to the ground. Its quality was not
strive for the better, to seek perfection. Since his death in 1969, the
convincing, but it gave him a nudge to start designing a better one.
company has continued on this path to this day. It is an excellent
The result was a new type of radiosonde, which Väisälä sent
partner for anyone who needs the very best. Radiosondes are still
to the skies for the first time in 1931, to measure the temperature
at the core of the company’s business and under constant product
of the upper atmosphere. The device and its more accurate
development, even though their basic concept has remained
observations meant a revolutionary leap forward for the industry,
unchanged. Vaisala’s technology has spread to every corner of the
in both the theory and practice of weather forecasting. In 1936, he
earth, and it can also be found on the moon and in the equipment
produced a version that also measured humidity and air pressure. It
sent to Mars.
attracted massive international interest. The first customer was the
Vaisala’s devices make it possible to predict the path of a
highly esteemed Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) in the
hurricane and to warn coastal inhabitants of an approaching
tsunami. Vaisala humidity sensors are used in incubators for
Vaisala has been deeply involved in the growth story of
premature babies, while other devices warn drivers of slippery
independent Finland, through good times and bad. In the early
roads. Renewable energy production is critically dependent on
war years, the company suffered from a shortage of materials and
workers. However, the Finnish Defence Forces came to recognize
The rapid increase in air traffic in the 1960s created a great need
Vaisala is at the vanguard of Finnish technology and a valuable
the importance of measurement devices, for example, for the
player in the export market and domestic production. Vaisala’s
air force and artillery. Thanks to this, Väisälä’s employees could
equipment saves lives every day in both ordinary and extraordinary
continue working, and materials started to flow.
VAISALA Founder: Vilho Väisälä Founded in Vantaa, 1936
Vaisala has created superior technology for a complex and demanding market. It all started from one man’s interest in weather observations. This task is now being continued by a large number of experts around the world. Vaisala technology generates environmental data that improves decision-making, safety, and efficiency around the world—even in space.”
The historical Classic Collection has persisted to this day, although modern designs presently generate the most revenue. The ability to renew itself and to stay current has been vital for the company. The 1950s were the era of stone jewelry, and modern silver jewelry made its breakthrough in the 1960s, the golden age of Finnish design. Bronze pieces that draw from tradition were in vogue from
JEWELRY WITH A STORY
Modern design gained ground as Kalevala Koru Oy acquired Kaunis Koru in 1989 and the Lapponia brand in 2005. The current trend
KALEVALA KORU OY (Kalevala Jewelry) is Finland’s largest jewelry
is smart jewelry, which Kalevala Jewelry develops together with
producer and one of the country’s most esteemed brands. Its
Finnish startup companies, for example turning medical alert
jewelry tells stories of Finnishness and unites the past and future,
devices into works of art.
appealing to people of different ages. The story of Kalevala Jewelry began at the 100th anniversary
Finnish nature, life-style, history, and art have inspired the company’s designers at different times. This is evident in the names
of Finland’s national epic, Kalevala, in 1935. In the audience, writer
of popular pieces such as Vanamo (“twinflower”), Haave (“dream”),
Elsa Heporauta saw the need for a statue honouring the Finnish
Eira (a historical district of Helsinki), and Valoisa (“radiant”). Some
woman. She rallied some progressive women who started raising
pieces also make a statement—for example, the original Finnish
money for the statue by selling jewelry fashioned after the Viking-
name of the Dream brooch and pendant is Naisen Ääni (“Woman’s
era jewelry on display in the National Museum of Finland. They
Voice/Vote”). They were designed for the 100th anniversary of
presented the first series of 40 pieces at a tea party hosted by the
women’s voting rights in Finland and are often worn by Finnish
president’s wife, Kaisa Kallio, in December 1937. It was a great
politicians. The most recent ad campaign “Untamed Beauty” and
success, and by the New Year, they had already sold 8,320 pieces
the 80th anniversary exhibition “Bold. Current. Genuine.” reflect
the company’s belief that everyone who wears a Kalevala piece is
The Winter War broke out in late 1939, and the women changed their plans, using the statue funds to help people in need. This
the 1970s to the 1990s, when gold jewelry also gained in popularity.
a unique individual. The company also encourages men to wear jewelry, endorsed by the Dudesons and Nightwish.
marked the beginning of Kalevala Jewelry’s tradition of donating
All Kalevala Jewelry’s products are made in Finland, and
a share of its profits to charity. Kalevala Koru was incorporated
the company has helped revitalize the traditional Finnish crafts
in 1941, and the Kalevala Women’s Association, established to
of goldsmithery and jewelry design. Each piece is born from the
preserve its ideological foundation, is still its sole owner. Heporanta
seamless interaction of precise handicrafts and high technology.
held to the idea that “if you imitate, you must also create” and
The company favours recycled Finnish materials. Kalevala Jewelry
arranged a competition for young designers in 1947. The winning
wants to walk alongside Finns, carrying the cultural heritage
pieces formed a much-anticipated collection, and an open-minded
and wisdom of our ancestors and hoping that all Finns will feel
attitude and skilled designers like Eero Rislakki, Börje Rajalin, and
ownership in the company. At the same time, it wants to stay fresh
Paula Häiväoja raised the company into the Finnish design elite
and reflect the values and dreams of society. In this way, jewelry
within a few decades.
lives on with new generations and eras.
KALEVALA JEWELRY Founded in Helsinki, 1937
Kalevala Jewelry was born as a tribute to the Finnish woman, and the company has always been led by strong Finnish women. The beauty and versatility of Finlandâ€™s nature and cultural heritage are a boundless source of inspiration for Kalevala Jewelry designers, even in the era of modern design.â€?
THE FINNISH ASSOCIATION FOR NATURE CONSERVATION (FANC) Founded in Helsinki, 1938
CONNECTING PEOPLE WITH NATURE FINLAND IS KNOWN for its beautiful, clean nature, but it has taken substantial efforts by volunteers and experts to preserve it. One of the most industrious players is the Finnish Association for Nature Conservation (FANC), which aims for a healthy, safe, and pleasant living environment. Over the decades, environmental problems have varied, but the core of their solution has always been to influence the everyday choices people make. The FANC was established in 1938 at the House of the Estates in Helsinki. The first chairman was Professor of Botany Kaarlo Linkola. War broke out soon after the association was established, and the nature reserve established in Petsamo was lost behind the new border. However, conservation was not forgotten during the war, and the association continued to promote an appreciation of nature. After the war, Finns had high respect for nature, but as cities grew and were industrialized, many people became estranged from it. Luckily Finns gradually rediscovered it, and nature became an important lifeline amidst all the heavy work of rebuilding the nation. During the 1960s, large numbers of summer cottages were built by Finns wanting to reconnect with nature. Increased interest in the environment led to more organized environmental protection activities in the late 1960s. Among other things, the FANC increased awareness about the harms caused by the pesticide dichlorodiphenyltrichloroethane (DDT) and contributed to it being banned in Finland. Limits on sewage discharge rates saved Finland’s reputation as a land of thousands of lakes. In 1976 graphic artist Erik Bruun drew an endangered Saimaa ringed seal
The Finnish Association for Nature Conservation is blazing the trail, working passionately as an advocate to give Finnish nature the appreciation it deserves.”
for the association’s logo, which became the symbol of Finnish
larger entities and, for example, reducing emissions on a national
level. Over the decades, the FANC has grown from a small educator
In the 1980s, the FANC led the country to gradually reduce its disposable culture by highlighting the need for recycling.
into a notable expert organization. In Finland you can hike and camp in the wilderness without
The Ministry of the Environment was established at the urging
the landowner’s permission as long as you do not harm the
of the FANC in 1983, a significant step in Finnish conservation
environment. Worm fishing and picking mushrooms and berries
efforts. Before then, environmental issues were governed by
are also “everyman’s rights”. Since our forefathers settled in this
the state conservation supervisor, an individual official with very
harsh climate and lived trying to avoid large carnivores, Finns have
had a special relationship with nature. Maintaining that relationship
Joining the EU entailed joining the Natura 2000 nature
and preserving our clean environment is a civic duty that the
protection network, and climate change made the headlines in the
Finnish Association for Nature Conservation has advanced with its
early 2000s. Instead of little details, people started talking about
was not held until 1939. However, Finland’s war with the Soviet Union delayed building the mill and acquiring machinery. Coffee substitute was used for the toasts at the topping out ceremony in November 1941. When the mill was starting, grain milling and distribution was heavily regulated by the national grain reserve. Wheat mills started
FROM A WHEAT MILL TO THE WORLD RAISIO PLC IS an international specialist in plant-based nutrition.
processing barley and rye when the wheat reserves ran out during the Continuation War. Most of Finland’s mills at the time were in areas ceded to the Soviet Union after the war, which meant high demand for Oy Vehnä Ab’s grain. The mill started producing animal feed from its side products in 1948. In 1950, an oil milling plant was established in Raisio, which
It started under the name Oy Vehnä Ab (“Wheat plc”), a mill founded
accelerated rapeseed farming in Finland. Rapeseed oil was a new
by wheat farmers to mill and market their wheat and flour. Raisio
and strange raw material for margarine factories, so Raisio had to
has produced tasty foods for eight decades and has expanded its
set an example. It launched Margariini Oy together with agricultural
selection with functional foods as well as feeds that support animal
producers and retailers, a successful combination of players from
welfare. Its most renowned food brands are Benecol, Elovena,
the whole food production chain, from primary production through
and Sunnuntai, and also the Benemilk and Maituri cattle feeds and
processing to retailing.
Hercules fish feed. Millions of consumers use Raisio’s Benecol products in dozens of countries on five continents. The idea to launch a mill was mentioned already in the
Raisio launched a chemicals division in 1961 and produced, for example, distilled fatty acids for the soap, detergent, and candle industries. It started co-operation with the paper industry in
1923 agenda of south-western Finland’s chapter of the national
1971, and its own wheat starch plant built in 1976 strengthened
agricultural producers’ association. Planning and acquiring
its status as a provider of binders and special chemicals for the
shareholders took time, and the company’s constitutive meeting
paper industry. Raisio’s ultimate breakthrough took place in the mid-1990s when it launched the functional innovation Benecol which lowers cholesterol due to the plant stanol esters it contains. Raision Tehtaat Oy, Oy Vehnä Ab, and Oy Kasvisöljy-Växtolje Ab were merged in 1987 as Raision Tehtaat Oy Ab. Margariini Oy was added to the group later. The name was changed to Raisio Group plc in 1997, and since 2005 it has simply been Raisio plc. In accordance with its strategy, Raisio focuses on plant-based nutrition for well-being, developing healthy food, and expanding into new markets. For example, Raisio’s production chain makes Provena pure oat products that are suitable for people with celiac
RAISIO Founded in Raisio, 1939 Founder: Wheat farmers of south-western Finland
Started as a co-operative mill of wheat farmers, Raisio’s products are now familiar in kitchens all over the world. In addition to food, Raisio produces feeds that increase animal welfare and invests in sustainable operations and services with the goal of offering healthy food for one and all.”
disease. Benella rainbow trout is the result of healthy and ecofriendly production—the fish are fed with Raisioaqua’s premium feed which, for example, reduces the phosphorous strain on water systems. Making use of new opportunities, understanding consumers, and an innovative and enterprising spirit are keys to Raisio’s success—today and in the future.
War and Peace The Winter War ended in March 1940. The ensuing truce was
countries’ relations and of Finland’s foreign policy up until the
called the Interim Peace, foreshadowing a further war in
Soviet Union’s collapse.
the northernmost corner of Europe. The truce only lasted
World War II was ultimately ended by the Paris Peace
until summer 1941, when Finland attacked the Soviet Union
Treaties in 1947, and the terms of the previous peace treaty
alongside Nazi Germany. Finland was not officially allied with
were reaffirmed. The war was costly for Finland: around 97,000
Germany, and the political leaders often stressed that Finland
Finns perished in the Winter and Continuation Wars, 2,000 of
was waging its own, separate war against the Soviet Union.
whom were civilians. After the war, the people had to begin
During the war, the home front had it tough. Women did the men’s chores. Many women were also in the war zone, serving as nurses or in the women’s auxiliary military organization,
rebuilding the country, find new homes for the people displaced from the ceded areas, and take care of the war veterans. Due to severe war-time shortages, many commodities had
Lotta Svärd. Around 80,000 children were evacuated, mainly
to be rationed. Poverty and rationing continued after the war
to Sweden, and for many of them, separation from their family
and delayed rebuilding efforts. A ray of light shone in the hard
was a traumatic experience.
times in 1945, when the Nobel Prize in Chemistry was granted
The Continuation War lasted until the fall of 1944. Finland quickly reclaimed the areas lost in the Winter War. Soon
to Artturi Ilmari Virtanen for his inventions in agricultural and nutritional chemistry.
after this, the lines came to a standstill for three years of
In post-war Finland, as in other countries, the birth rate
trench warfare, which was finally ended by a major Soviet
soared. Over 100,000 children were born every year in 1946-
offensive. Finland’s troops were able to hold back the attack
1949. In the 1940s, child benefits were developed to ease the
until the countries were ready to make peace. The terms of
hard lives of families with children, and the child health clinic
peace stated that the German troops stationed in Northern
network was expanded. Legislation passed in 1948 mandated
Finland had to be driven out of the country. In addition, Finland
that schools make free lunch available to all children, and
was forced to surrender many areas to the Soviet Union, to
starting in 1949 a maternity package was given to all families
pay heavy war reparations, to allow the communist party to
that attended a child health clinic before the child’s birth.
operate, and to ban all anti-Soviet organizations. A Soviet-led Control Commission supervised compliance
Three Finnish presidents served during the decade of war. In December 1940, Risto Ryti was elected. His term ended in
with the armistice, and the Soviet Union grew in importance
his resignation in 1944. The president’s duties were assumed
in Finnish politics. The first Agreement of Friendship,
by commander-in-chief, Marshal Mannerheim, who led the
Cooperation and Mutual Assistance (YYA Treaty) was signed
country until 1946. After him, Juho Kusti Paasikivi led Finland
between the countries in 1948, and it was renewed during the
through the difficult years of reconstruction, serving as
following decades. The treaty served as the cornerstone of the
president up to 1956.
1940 VAPO Founded in Helsinki, 1940
AN ADVOCATE FOR FINNISH BIOENERGY IT IS SAID that Finland’s forests are green gold. They offer
from peat and wood, and delivers Finnish raw materials to its customers, advancing its production responsibly and with respect
recreation opportunities and raw material for the vital heat and
toward nature. In addition to Finland, Vapo has business activities
power industries. Vapo is a bioenergy expert that values Finnish
in Sweden and Estonia.”
nature by producing energy with Finnish wood and peat, especially for industries, municipalities, and energy companies. At the onset of the Second World War, Finland had a fuel crisis. Wood had a special role as a fuel and source of heat, so the procurement of firewood and timber for government institutions was centralized at the Timber Office of the Board of Administration of the Finnish State Railways in 1940. When its operations expanded, the Timber Office was placed under the Ministry of Public Services, and in 1945 its name was changed to the State Fuel Office (Valtion Polttoainetoimisto), which led to the abbreviation Vapo. As Finland fought for its independence, Vapo secured its supply of fuels. Due to its historical role, Vapo’s peat was used as a prop in the 2017 remake of the classic film, ‘The Unknown Soldier’. Vapo’s operations have gone through major changes over the years: at first it mainly procured firewood, but it shifted into saw mills in the 1960s. Alongside the profitable saw mill industry, the state ordered Vapo to start producing energy using peat in 1975. Vapo gradually developed its peat processing system and increased its production—today it can be called the driving force and forerunner of Finland’s peat industry. The company was stateowned until the turn of the millennium, and since then it has evolved into an expert in commercial energy production as the state’s role as an owner has gradually narrowed. Digitalization has grown in significance everywhere, including energy production. Vapo wants to meet its customers’ needs by
Vapo is known as a forerunner in bioenergy. It produces energy
offering better services: for example, the benefits of its electronic
innovations, peat fibres can be used to make insulation, acoustic
service portal for district heating customers and its updated online
panels, composites, and other products. Technical carbon products
store for wood pellets. Thanks to digitalization and automated
made from peat may also open new business opportunities where
practices, power plants can now be controlled remotely at a
imagination is the only limit.
centralized location. As an expert in the field of energy, Vapo actively seeks new ways to improve its business. Alongside wood and wood pellets, peat is a central source of
Although Vapo has always been a results-oriented company, responsibility describes its operations in every way: it respects nature as the root and source of everything. Vapo favours Finnish
energy. To ensure sustainable operations, Vapo has pledged not
and self-sufficient energy production and therefore sincerely wants
to operate on peat bogs in their natural state, and to pay special
to carry its own responsibility for the environment. For future
attention to water treatment and the restoration of peat bogs.
generations, the carbon footprint of a productâ€™s or serviceâ€™s entire
Natural values are in high esteem, and peat is extracted from only
life cycle must be reduced as much as possible. This is what Vapo
a fraction of Finlandâ€™s bogs. It is used primarily as a source of
is striving to do as a leading bioenergy provider and developer in
energy, but today it also has boundless other uses. Thanks to recent
Finland and in the export market.
HOPE, HAPPINESS, AND HUMAN RIGHTS
maternity and child health clinics, infertility treatments, genetic
VÄESTÖLIITTO, the Family Federation of Finland, was established
life management skills and well-being. Today, Väestöliitto has an
in 1941 during the truce with the Soviet Union to improve the war-
extensive portfolio of digital services; it supports parenthood and
ridden living conditions and the low birth rate. In the early years, the
the growth and development of young people; it has telephone
challenges were very different from those of modern society, but the
services that include a helpline for boys; and it provides advice,
core of its operations is still the same. The goal is to support human
mentoring, and various activities to support immigrants in their
rights, well-being, and diverse families, regardless of their ancestry
integration process into Finnish society.
or sexual orientation, and to be a courageous societal catalyst. In the early years, Väestöliitto’s primary mission was to help
counselling, and sexual therapy. It owns a company that provides therapy, domestic help, and services to help people improve their
The Population Research Institute of Väestöliitto produces current data on family issues and sexuality, and its annual family
mothers and war orphans. Then it started providing domestic
barometer assesses public opinion on various issues related
help courses for young women to enable them to work in families
to family life. The data lays a foundation for Väestöliitto’s other
with children. This gave them an esteemed profession and made it
functions and societal work. Väestöliitto is also an international
possible for mothers to work outside the home. Sexuality education
advocate for sustainable social development as well as for the
and contraception counselling decreased the number of illegal, life-
rights of women, girls, and young people. Internationally the
threatening abortions. On Väestöliitto’s initiative, the State started
federation is unique because its mandate covers both family
granting medals to women on Mother’s Day, a tradition that still
matters and sexual and reproductive health and rights.
continues. It was also involved in creating the child benefit system. After the war, there was a tremendous shortage of supplies and
An extensive NGO sector is one of the strengths of Finnish society. Väestöliitto is one of the significant actors in the sector.
housing in Finland. Väestöliitto provided disadvantaged families
Its role in rebuilding post-war Finland and maintaining the Finnish
with clothing, tableware and beds. It developed the Nukkumatti
welfare state is irrefutable. It has promoted significant reforms
convertible bed that took up very little space during the day and
for better family life and has supported families during societal
served large families. Väestöliitto also advocated for state-
transitions. Even in the future, Finland needs an advocate that can
subsidized housing and began building a garden city in Tapiola,
challenge traditional perceptions of family and support the ever-
Espoo, in the 1950s as an example of urban planning that met the
changing society on its quest to promote hope, happiness, and
needs of families with children.
Väestöliitto has been involved in developing many services to support public health and the well-being of families, for example,
counselling, comprehensive sexuality education, relationship
VÄESTÖLIITTO, THE FAMILY FEDERATION OF FINLAND Founded in Helsinki, 1941
Väestöliitto supports people in every phase of their lives. It works toward a child and familyfriendly society, making sure that every family, adult, child, and adolescent has the opportunity to live their own life in safe and balanced interpersonal relationships.”
1942 of space at the original premises by the Hietalahti Market Square in Helsinki, VTT shifted its operations, first gradually, then in the 1970s entirely to its new facilities, red brick buildings designed for the purpose by Alvar Aalto, in Otaniemi, Espoo. VTT also expanded
INNOVATION FOR THE NATION
VTT’s basic mandate is to use technology and scientific research to overcome challenges and open up new opportunities. This
VTT TECHNICAL RESEARCH CENTRE OF FINLAND has met the
involves long-term development and forecasting of technologies
needs of Finnish industry and society from the war years to this day.
as well as applied research that combines different technologies
Its goal is to increase well-being and economic growth in Finnish
and sciences to understand broad phenomena. Today’s everyday
society in co-operation with corporate and university networks.
products and services such as biofuels or wireless communication
In 1942 President Risto Ryti signed a law that ordered the
are results of decades of development. VTT researchers have left
establishment of VTT. Due to the ongoing war, the nation was in a
their mark on Finland’s major industries, from the forest industry
state of emergency. Technical research and testing of materials
to bio and computer technology, digital production technologies,
and structures were harnessed to support the defence of the home
and artificial intelligence. Items on the drawing board today will be
front and post-war life. The state needed help in food services, so
common in the lives of Finns a few years from now.
VTT started testing foods and fuels. It also studied fire precautions
Together with industry, VTT has made Finland a forerunner
against air attacks and developed non-combustible roofing felt and
in, for example, combustion boilers for power plants and biofuel
production and use. VTT’s research in radio technology laid the
After the war, VTT grew fast. Researchers were busy rebuilding Finland and ensuring the quality of the war reparations. Due to lack
to other cities, including Oulu, Tampere, and Jyväskylä.
foundation for mobile phone and ICT technology. In the field of welding, VTT’s studies have led, through computer-aided design
and production, to making use of virtual reality and digital technology in production. Alongside the traditional forest industry with its paper factories, nanocellulose and biofuel innovations are creating new opportunities in the production of food, clothing, chemicals, and eco-friendlier plastic. Future priorities emphasise research in climate action, resource sufficiency, industrial renewal, quality of life, and safety and security. VTT aims for commercial solutions that make it easier for companies to succeed in the face of increasing competition. Development in municipalities and cities also requires many kinds of expertise and long-term projects. VTT helps them manage the involved risks with its networked model of operation. VTT also
VTT TECHNICAL RESEARCH CENTRE OF FINLAND Founded in Helsinki, 1942
participates actively in EU research projects and helps companies make use of EU research funding in their development programs. Today VTT is a limited company, and its role in the Finnish innovation system is central and unique from an international perspective. It helps Finnish society and companies succeed by
VTT has developed ground-breaking technology, provided society and corporations with new solutions based on world-class expertise, and
creating contacts and providing current knowledge through its
created new business opportunities in co-operation with its customers.
global networks. VTT is also a reliable and sought-after partner
VTT does research as a service and turns the results into practical
around the world.
applications together with industry.â€?
FUNFAIR ON THE FRONT LINE THE SARIOLA CIRCUS AND FUNFAIR FAMILY has offered Finns joy and amusement for over 100 years. The Tivoli Sariola funfair’s story began in 1888 at the rail yard in Kerava and has continued throughout Finland’s independence. One of the many fascinating chapters of this tale involves the war zone funfair, a unique amusement venue in operation 26.3.1942–16.6.1944 in the town of Karhumäki. In December 1941, the Finns captured Karhumäki (Medvezhyegorsk), an Eastern Karelian town split by the river Kumsa. It became the Finns’ headquarters and logistics centre during the Continuation War. Young Second Lieutenant Unto Sariola proposed building a funfair in Karhumäki, and Lieutenant General Taavetti “Pappa” Laatikainen supported the idea. The “Karhumäki division of Suomen Tivoli (Finland’s Funfair)” was the name of the funfair that operated in heated tents around 30 km from the frontline in March 1942. Director Johan Adolf Fredrik Sariola, or J.A.F., planned the program from Kerava and sent directions to his son, Unto, by mail. This carnival oasis stood outside the range of canon fire, offering war-weary soldiers some well-deserved rest and diversion. Gradually the company built a summer funfair area, a winter funfair building, five houses, and a storehouse. The area featured a stage with seats, as well as a firing range, arcade, merry-go-round, circus, and an outdoor restaurant. The winter funfair building featured a snack shop, arcade, and separate stages for comedy, circus and cabaret. Even though the funfair operated under the auspices of the Finnish Defence Forces, J. A. F. Sariola was financially responsible
KARHUMÄKI WAR ZONE FUNFAIR
The war zone funfair in Karhumäki is worth mention in the histories
Founder: J. A. F. Sariola Operated in Karhumäki, 26.3.1942–16.6.1944
of both Finland and the Sariola circus and funfair family. The unique amusement park offered Finnish soldiers a moment of peace before returning to the trenches.”
for the equipment. Deploying almost all of the company’s fixed
Finland. Before the war, funfairs and the circus were considered
assets in a war zone was a significant risk, but the funfair was a
sinful and inappropriate, especially in rural areas, and many
thriving business despite the ever-present war. The Karhumäki
attempts were made to restrict their operation. When the war was
funfair was not on Finnish soil, so it was exempt from the
over, the Sariola funfair started a tour in 1946, and the soldiers
amusement tax that was punishing the Finnish entertainment
who had experienced it in Karhumäki discovered it again, this time
industry. Despite minor incidents of disorder, the funfair operated
together with their families in peace-time Finland. Prejudices
in the same location in co-operation with the Finnish Defence
diminished, and the Tivoli Sariola family business has continued its
Forces until the Russian major offensive in June 1944. As the enemy
success to the fifth generation. The Sariola family pioneered the
approached the city, the equipment was loaded in railway cars
circus and funfairs in Finland and continues to bring smiles to faces
headed for Finland. Thus the year 1943 was the war-zone funfair’s
even to this day.
only complete year of operation. The funfair was extremely important, not only for the morale of the soldiers but for the entire post-war entertainment industry in
1944 name to Reima-Pukine in the 1950s. During the post-war material shortage, the company’s first products were made of used military snow suits. Following a German production model, it began massproducing clothing, aiming for a good quality-to-price ratio. In the 1960s, Reima gained good traction in exports and came out with its hit material, Enstex. In the following 30 years, this
water-repellent material spread wide in both children’s and adults’ clothing. In the 1970s, women started to transition from home to work life and took the easy-care, classy Enstex clothes as their
SINCE 1944 REIMA HAS walked hand in hand with Finland through
own. Bilateral trade with the Soviet Union emptied warehouses
wind, rain, and warm summer days. Today the company’s outdoor
quickly in the 1980s. One year, Reima produced up to 300,000 pieces
childrenswear, tried and tested in Finnish weather conditions, is
of one overall in two colours, and a factory was built in Ivalo solely
known all over the world. In Finnish, the word reima means, among
for the purpose of serving the eastern market. Reima did extremely
other things, brisk and sprightly. Such use is precisely what Reima’s
well at home, too: for example, Finland hosted the World Ice Hockey
clothes are designed for.
Championships in 1982, during which the Finnish national team
A shirt manufacturer named Pallo-Paita Oy moved from Helsinki to Kankaanpää to avoid the Soviet bombings in 1939.
wore Reima outfits. To keep up the momentum started by Enstex, Reimatec was
Toward the end of the Continuation War in 1944, the company
launched in 1995. It was waterproof and breathable, but yet
returned to Helsinki, and its facilities in Kankaanpää were
affordable for families with children. At the turn of the millennium,
appointed to the newly founded Kankama Oy, which changed its
Reima had many brands and projects, and it was time for rationalization. By 2004 all adult lines had been dropped, and Reima focused entirely on its traditional core business of clothing children 0-12 years old. It was a good decision: now Reima could focus all its efforts on building a strong brand of children’s clothing. Opening an online store made it possible for busy mothers and fathers to shop from home. Wearable technology and smart clothes arrived in the 2000s, and Reima launched ReimaGO in 2016. The clothing collection, activity sensor, and free mobile app made playtime more fun and motivating. Encouraging children to engage in physical activity is the foundation of Reima’s ideology, and it has been up-to-date or even ahead of its time in this area since the 1940s. Reima clothes children in Finland and abroad, and it has left its mark on both fashion and the Finnish clothing industry. Its role as a forerunner in developing new materials and its bold innovations have accelerated Reima’s popularity from decade to decade.
REIMA Founders: Olavi Jalava, Jorma Kurikka, Pentti Kurikka, Pekka Piironen Founded in Kankaanpää, 1944
Reima has a long heritage as a manufacturer of children’s functional outdoor clothing. Its goal is to make physically active play comfortable and safe for children around the world in every season.”
1945 Martela started under the name Tehokaluste (Power Furniture). Over the decades, the company has witnessed radical changes in work methods as it has grown into Finland’s largest office furniture designer and manufacturer. It is also a leading expert organization on work and learning environments in the Nordic countries. Although office work has increased significantly and undergone major changes during the last century, the purpose of office design has always been the same: to support work and make it more effective. In the early 1900s, efficiency was sought by arranging workspaces in rows in large spaces, following the industrial model.
IMPROVING WELLBEING AT WORK
Later, management was moved into their own offices with large desks. Martela’s first product in 1945 was a manager’s desk. The digital revolution brought technology into offices, and interior design started revolving around computers and copy machines. The latest stage has been called the wellbeing revolution. Work
AS FINNS BEGAN REBUILDING their country after World War
and learning environment design now focuses on human beings
II, Matti S. Martela, who worked in wood processing, launched
instead of machines. As user-centricity rises in importance, several
a business to manufacture and market durable, practical, and
solutions may be built in the same environment to serve different
beautiful office furniture. He presented Finland with comfortable
work stages and methods. In other words, personal work spaces
and supportive work chairs and open-plan offices, and introduced
are being replaced by common spaces. The end result of the change
the terms “ergonomics” and “partition” to the Finnish corporate
is an open-plan office or school. Technology has become less
world. Since the beginning, there has been a high demand for
conspicuous while it has started serving user needs better.
Martela’s high-quality products in Finland and abroad.
Martela is a pioneer in Finnish work and learning environment design, performing continuous research in order to create better workspaces. It has also sought inspiration from abroad, but as a creator of user-centric work environments, Martela has helped make Finland a country where others come for inspiration. Martela’s work solutions are flexible, adapting to changing needs. Its products are also durable in use, and their designs maintain their popularity for decades. One of its perennial favourites is the Kilta chair, designed by Olli Mannermaa. Due to its structure, Kilta was titled Finland’s first plastic chair, and people are still reupholstering chairs made in the 1960s for continued use. In fact, reusing furniture has been a major part of Martela’s ideology for years, and when products are made to last, they can easily be reused. Matti S. Martela launched the business during the years of shortage due to war reparations. Since then, it has grown and
MARTELA Founder: Matti S. Martela Founded in Helsinki, 1945
Martela’s basic idea to raise the processing level of wood has made the company an essential part of today’s offices and learning environments. Innovation and adaptability to changes in work life have made Martela a hard-as-steel proponent of Finnish labour.”
developed along with our country. Its durable, high-quality products have also found their way abroad and made Finnish furniture design known globally. Nowadays, Martela Lifecycle® services offer usercentric planning and comprehensive implementation of offices and learning environments, which supports the economy and education in Finland and abroad. The founder’s wealth of ideas and desire for progress still live strong in Martela’s organization, helping it stay on the cutting edge of global changes.
AT THE VANGUARD OF ENVIRONMENTALLY FRIENDLY REFRIGERATION AND HEAT PRODUCTION
Refrigeration technology started to develop forcefully toward eco-
HUURRE HAS TAKEN THE LEAD in the refrigeration technology
automated refrigeration systems equipped with advanced heat
race in Finland and globally. It offers its customers comprehensive,
recovery solutions. Carbon dioxide, the eco-friendly refrigerant of
fully automated refrigeration and heating solutions. Its digitally
the future, meets the constantly rising demands of international
controlled systems are highly eco-friendly. Huurre aims to be the
world’s number one in this area of special expertise. The story of Huurre started in Tampere in 1946. In the post-
seeds of refrigeration automation were also sown. Today’s key word is digital technology, the role of which has continuously increased in the traditionally mechanical refrigeration industry. At the same time, the need for digital value-added services has grown. Huurre has made itself a name by developing carbon dioxide-based, fully
Huurre is a global leader in developing the special control technology needed in CO2 refrigeration and heat generation. iTOP,
war years, technology enthusiast Paavo V. Suominen foresaw that
Huurre’s digital suite of services for varying conditions makes it
the rising standard of living would quickly increase the need for
possible, for example, to control and monitor the refrigeration and
refrigerated products. He started servicing refrigerators in his
heat production equipment of indoor ice rinks or logistics centres
1.5 square metre bathroom under the trade name Huurre (“frost”
remotely. Similar systems are also used by the food industry,
in Finnish). He expanded the business quickly and started his
professional kitchens, and grocery stores. Energy efficiency and
own industrial production in the 1950s. His factory manufactured
quick reaction to changes in conditions bring customers significant
ice machines, milk cooling devices, and large refrigerators and
savings in the long term. The compact refrigeration devices and
freezers for stores and restaurants.
systems under the brand name Porkka are among the world’s best
Huurre’s pioneer stage lasted until the 1990s and included expansion, product development, and a period as the field’s leading user of the insulation material polyurethane. In the 1970s, the
friendly and energy-efficient solutions in the late 2000s, when the
in energy efficiency. They are used, for example, by restaurants, cruise ships, hospitals, and laboratories. As Huurre has reinvented itself and digitalized its products, it
company specialized in residential cold storage and cold rooms.
has raised itself among the world’s top names in refrigeration and
It also developed an element system with which it was possible to
heat production technology and eco-friendly product development,
assemble large cold and freezer storage rooms. Through corporate
and has a major influence on Finland’s future in the global market.
acquisitions, Huurre spread across the border to Russia and into
Most of the company’s revenue comes from exports, but its product
Scandinavia, and from the 1990s recession to the 2000s, it took the
development and main factories are in Finland. It is present in
form of a conglomerate as a consequence of ownership changes.
the lives of all Finns by ensuring the uninterrupted functioning of
At that junction, the refrigeration equipment manufacturer Porkka
critical refrigeration systems, for example, in hospitals and in the
was merged with Huurre.
different stages of the cold chain for food.
HUURRE Founder: Paavo V. Suominen Founded in Tampere, 1946
Huurre is a major player in the refrigeration industry. In recent years, it has developed comprehensive, digitally controlled hightech refrigeration and heat production systems and additional services. Eco-friendliness, energy efficiency, and the easy control of Huurre systems have made it a progressive global leader in the domain of refrigeration technology.â€?
A PIONEER OF EQUALITY IN BUSINESS
lengthened. Paternity leave was made possible in 1978. The Women
THE WOMEN ENTREPRENEURS OF FINLAND was established by
major improvements in the 1970s, including the establishment of
strong, influential women in 1947. Since then it has fought for the
a pension for self-employed people. Gender discrimination was
financial and civil rights of female entrepreneurs by influencing
forbidden by law in the 1980s, and the association advocated for a
decision-makers, officials, and law makers. It is building a positive
attitude toward entrepreneurship through the media and cooperation with other entrepreneurs’ and women’s organizations.
quarterly magazine, and the “Female Entrepreneur of the Year” has been chosen since 1963. The association’s lobbying led to
After many businesses failed during the 1990s recession, the number of business women and their level of education
The law on the freedom to conduct business was passed in
grew. The association supported Finland’s EU membership and
1879, making it possible for women to be entrepreneurs. However,
lowering entrepreneurs’ social security fees. Lately the Women
women did not get the right to make decisions concerning their own
Entrepreneurs have increased their lobbying on issues like
money until the Marriage Act of 1930. Female entrepreneurs were
improving social security, promoting taxation that encourages
not very highly esteemed in post-war Finland, even though women
entrepreneurship and rewards work, and levelling out family leave
had run the home front while the men had been at war. With a
expenses with tax funds. It is still a major challenge that only 30%
strong community spirit, women entrepreneurs did valuable work,
of entrepreneurs and corporate managers are women, even though
arranging jumble sales, exhibitions, and fashion shows through
Finnish women are highly educated. However, the trend is rising,
local associations in the early decades of the 20th century.
and lately almost half of the new businesses in some towns have
In the early 1900s, women could only gain public acclaim through the arts, culture, and politics, but appreciation for business
been launched by women. The Women Entrepreneurs have worked for 70 years to remove
women increased gradually, and the first women were granted the
the obstacles that are preventing female entrepreneurship and
Finnish, business-related honorary title “Kauppaneuvos” in the
making it difficult to reconcile family and work. The association’s
1940s and 1950s. With a strong community spirit, 80 women from
support is important because 70% of business women are solo
around Finland gathered in Helsinki in October 1947 to establish
entrepreneurs. Attitudes toward entrepreneurship have improved,
the Women Entrepreneurs of Finland. In the first year, 46 local
especially among young people. 83% of female entrepreneurs
chapters joined the umbrella organization, and its activities were
feel work satisfaction daily, even though their weeks are long
international from the start.
and vacations few. Thanks for the association’s record of
Finland was urbanized in the 1960s, and electric appliances
Entrepreneurs association diversified: it started publishing a
accomplishments are owed to the past generations, and its strong
became common. The children’s day-care system made working
co-operation on behalf of equality will carry it through future
easier for women in the 1970s, and maternity leaves were
challenges as well.
THE WOMEN ENTREPRENEURS OF FINLAND Founded in Helsinki, 1947
The Women Entrepreneurs of Finland is the largest female entrepreneur association in the Nordic countries with 70 local chapters and 6,200 members. It supports equality in professional life and improvements in the daily lives and rights of business women. Many goals have been achieved, but the association must continue its efforts toward equality.â€?
SPECIALIZED VEHICLES FOR ANY NEED KIITOKORI GROUP CONSISTS of specialized vehicle manufacturer Kiitokori Oy, firefighting and rescue vehicle manufacturer Saurus Oy, and hydraulic aerial service and rescue platform vehicle manufacturer Vema Lift Oy. The three represent Finland’s most profound know-how of specialized vehicles. Kiitokori Group took its first steps when Kiitokori Oy was founded in 1948 to manufacture buses. Today the company’s diverse know-how is used for airport vehicles, library buses, and other specialized buses. In 1994, to expand its expertise, the group acquired Saurus Oy, which had begun manufacturing products for the rescue industry in 1948 and later expanded into fire engines. Next the group acquired Vema Lift, bringing the three expert companies together for seamless synergy. The group’s factories produce precisely tailored, high-quality specialized vehicles. Kiitokori’s creations have been seen on Finland’s highways in many forms over the decades. It is noteworthy that Kiitokori’s
vehicles usually serve their purpose while parked. As most basic
Founded: 1948 Founded in Kausala, 1948
services are in city centres, mobile units can complement the health service network in the future. Kiitokori has the capacity to put almost anything on wheels, from knee-surgery clinics to kindergartens. Saurus Oy designs and manufactures vehicles for demanding
fire and rescue operations in extreme conditions. There is a
Kiitokori Group is a Finnish manufacturer of specialized vehicles that
high demand for such equipment not only in Finland but also, for
bring safety to air traffic as well as rescue services. Specially equipped
example, in China. Cold or snow cannot stop Saurus fire-fighting
buses carry important services outside population centres.”
vehicles. Their steel structures are built for rough action, and their
Vema Lift’s platforms. There is no room for error when working
effective heaters keep the pipes and pumps fully functional. The
dozens of metres high on an elevated platform.
high standard has been recognized by the Finnish Defence Forces as well as fire and rescue forces around the world. All group members benefit from their co-operation—for
Substantial arctic know-how is another factor behind the group’s products. Its de-icing equipment, touch-screens and other control devices are unaffected by cold or rain. Its vehicles are made
example, Vema Lift’s aerial platforms are used by Kiitokori for
in Finland, in practice by hand. Each one is an individual, tailored
aircraft de-icing vehicles and by Saurus for rescue vehicles.
according to the customer’s needs and operating environment, and
Reliability is the key advantage of all the group’s products, including
always built to withstand the worst-case scenario.
1949 Bitumen is the number one alternative for roofing on large factories, so Finland’s growing industrial sector increased Katepal’s orders already in the early stages. In only ten years, the company grew into Finland’s largest bitumen roofing manufacturer, and its advertisements boasted of Finland’s largest production machinery.
DURABLE BITUMEN ROOFING
Already in 1963, Katepal started manufacturing bitumen roofing shingles which quickly became common in Finland. A major investment in shingle manufacturing during the recession of 1990
FINLAND’S VARYING WEATHER is a source of enrichment, but
and the upheaval in Europe during the following years led to a rapid
cold winters, hot summers, and autumn storms demand a lot from
growth in exports, especially to former Soviet republics and Europe.
roofing materials. Katepal trusts in durable, quality bitumen tested
Katepal’s bitumen shingles became so popular that the word
in Finland’s conditions.
katepal is still a synonym for roofing shingles in Russia.
Bitumen is made by distilling crude oil. Asphalt for paving roads
Katepal began exporting its roll products to Sweden in the
is made by mixing bitumen with crushed stone. Bitumen is also an
1950s, and later to the Soviet Union, the Middle East, and many
excellent moisture barrier, and it has a long history in Finland as a
European countries. High-quality elastomer bitumen replaced
quiet roofing material.
traditional bitumen roll products in 1978. Originally the supportive
In its early stages in Tampere, the company tarred ropes
layer of bitumen roofing was made of felt, which is why people still
and made various bitumen solutions for roofing and pavement.
often call the type of product “felt roofing”, even though felt has been
The post-war rebuilding efforts in Finland accelerated demand,
replaced by fibreglass or polyester in order to improve the material’s
and soon Katepal had to move to a larger production facility in
resistance to temperature variation. The old-style felt roofing and
Lempäälä. The factory got the cooling energy it needed from the
modern elastomer bitumen roofing have very little in common.
adjacent rapids, and the passing railroad ensured easy access for cargo traffic.
The secrets to Katepal’s success are responsible business practices, high quality, and quick delivery. Attesting to its responsibility, Katepal stopped using asbestos immediately after the first studies revealed its adverse health effects in 1979. The company continuously strives to improve the quality and features of its bitumen roofing materials. It has persistently invested in automation to ensure consistent quality and reliable delivery. Throughout its history, Katepal has planned for the long term, and today most of the company’s production is exported. Katepal intends to stand by its principles and continue to live up to its reputation. As a roofing forerunner, Katepal has had a major impact on the Finnish roofing industry. While ensuring the durability of Finnish roofs, Katepal has promoted Finland’s reputation for responsible practices and quality production in the international market.
KATEPAL Founders: Matti Sakari Aro, Paavo Akseli Kaseva, Urpo Johannes NikkilĂ¤ (Nikander) Founded in Vehmainen (today a part of Tampere), 1949
Katepal grew into a roofing expert during the post-war years of rebuilding in Finland. It protects roofs all over the world with its quality bitumen products. Its customers, from detached house owners to major construction companies, consider Katepal a synonym for quality.â€?
The Olympics and the Most Beautiful Woman in the World In the 1950s, Finns continued rebuilding their nation. Finland
between the East and West. In practice, it often meant
was mostly still an agrarian country despite increasing
listening and adapting to Soviet opinions. In 1955, Finland
employment in industry and services. Due to population
joined the UN and the Nordic Council, having first heard the
growth and countless displaced people, there was a shortage
Soviet Union’s view on the effect these moves would have on
of housing, especially in Helsinki where large families had to
their national relations.
live in tight quarters. Over the decades, the economy grew and national debt
The Helsinki Olympics in 1952 improved Finland’s international status. Originally planned for 1940, the games
decreased. Finland completed a massive industrial effort,
were postponed due to World War II. During the Olympic
a source of national pride, by paying its war reparations in
year, Armi Kuusela became the first Finn to be chosen Miss
full. The last reparations train headed for the Soviet Union in
Universe. Finnish architecture and design won international
1952. Factories were now free to focus on other production.
acclaim thanks to Alvar Aalto, Kaj Franck, Timo Sarpaneva and
In spite of the rising economy and well-being, there were still
significant shortages in the early 1950s. Food was still rationed until the last product, coffee, was taken off ration in 1954. At the end of the decade, the Finns took the first steps
A majority of Finns enjoyed the coarse, so-called “rillumarei” culture, which combined frivolity and humour into musical comedy. In addition, the decade was the golden age
toward building a welfare state. For example, they renewed the
of dance hall culture. People danced to tango and schlager
National Pensions Act in 1956 and started building a national
music, and many translated songs became hits. In literature,
hospital network. In 1959, work time per week was shortened
Väinö Linna’s realistic novel about the Finnish war, “The
from 47 hours to 45. Saturday remained a workday.
Unknown Soldier,” was read by people from all walks of life
During the decade, tension was constant between the East and West. After losing the war with the Soviet Union,
and translated into several different languages. Marshal Mannerheim’s death in 1951 prompted a period
Finland had to take the superpower into consideration in its
of national mourning. The popular national leader and
decision-making. In 1956, J. K. Paasikivi was followed by Urho
commander-in-chief’s funeral procession was followed by
Kekkonen as President. Their politics came to be known as the
over 100,000 people. It united Finns and served as a national
“Paasikivi-Kekkonen line.” Their main theme was to guarantee
farewell to the difficult years of war.
Finland’s independence and to emphasize its neutrality
SPORTS, OUTDOOR RECREATION, AND AN ACTIVE LIFESTYLE AMER SPORTS HAS a fascinating history—evolving from a tobacco factory into a diversified conglomerate, and then into one of the
Founded in Helsinki, 1950
Amer Sports’ vision is to be the industry’s leading sports
world’s leading sporting goods companies with internationally
company, fueled by authentic brands that inspire athletic
recognized brands such as Wilson, Salomon, Atomic, and Suunto.
achievement and enjoyment for active and healthy living.”
Its versatile selection of sports equipment, apparel, and footwear has something for everyone from professional athletes to those who simply enjoy an active lifestyle. It all started from a desire to support the society. The post-war rebuilding of Finland increased the need for workers and students in the commercial and technology sectors. Money was scant, and students needed apartments and teaching facilities. University students of technical sciences were offered the opportunity to manage a tobacco factory in Helsinki, and a professor of agriculture and civil engineering seized the opportunity. The project advanced, and Amer-Tupakka Oy was started in January 1950 by four organizations known today as TEK Tekniikan akateemiset, Finnish Business School Graduates, Aalto University Business Students, and Maa- ja vesitekniikan tuki. The company found a market niche in American-style cigarettes and started growing. Amer’s factory was built in Tuusula in 1955. In 1961, it acquired a license from the American Philip Morris to produce Marlboro brand cigarettes. Soon Amer expanded into new fields such as ship owning, peat industry, and publishing. It changed its name to Amer Group and became known as a successful and agile conglomerate of branded goods. Amer was listed on the Helsinki Stock Exchange in 1977.
Internationalization was intense in the 1980s. In 1989, Amer Group
basketball, alpine skiing, snowboarding, cross-country skiing,
acquired the American sports equipment company Wilson, which
fitness training, cycling, running, hiking, and diving.
marked the start of Amer’s shift into sporting goods. It acquired
In 2016, the company’s revenue was 2.6 billion euros. Its sales
Atomic in 1994 and Suunto in 1999. In the late 1990s, the company
network covers 34 countries, the largest of which are the United
almost ended up in the ownership of the Irish Lord Moyne, who
States, Germany, France, Canada, Japan, and China. Amer Sports
was later accused of fraud. Amer started selling its offshoots
operates approximately 300 retail stores around the world as well
such as car dealerships, paper companies, and Marimekko. It
as e-commerce stores for many of its brands. It is pursuing faster
bought the fitness company Precor in 2002, withdrew from the
growth in apparel, footwear, retail, and e-commerce, as well as
tobacco business in 2004, and changed its name to Amer Sports,
geographic expansion especially in China and in the United States.
consolidating the shift into the sports industry. In addition to Wilson,
Amer Sports’ corporate history is characterized by successful
Atomic, Suunto, and Precor, Amer Sports acquired Salomon,
business based on marketing premium brands. It has employed
Arc’teryx, and Mavic in 2005, which made it the global leader in the
Finns in many fields for decades. Around one percent of the
sports equipment market.
company’s revenue comes from Finland, but half of its ownership
Today, Amer Sports is made of internationally recognized and
is Finnish. Its success benefits both domestic and foreign
esteemed brands. The offering of sports equipment, apparel,
investors, the global sporting goods trade, and individual consumers
footwear, and accessories covers a wide range of sports, including
around the world, who enjoy sports, outdoor recreation, and an
tennis, badminton, golf, American football, soccer, baseball,
WE ARE MARIMEKKO
leadership, Marimekko achieved remarkable success. Paakkanen
MARIMEKKO WAS FOUNDED in 1951 to brighten Finland in its
and a revival of Marimekko’s fashion shows.
grey, post-war years of shortage. With its bold colours and prints,
The company’s strength and the continuity of the Marimekko
Marimekko brought joy into people’s lives. Still today the company
phenomenon are based on the ability to express the brand’s original
brings happiness with its clothes, bags, accessories, and home
feeling, always in a way suitable for the era. Honouring its heritage,
Marimekko strives to renew itself continuously. Mika Ihamuotila
Marimekko began its world conquest at a fashion show held at
launched an internationalization strategy, offering a piece of
the Kalastajatorppa Hotel in Helsinki. Armi Ratia was a visionary
Finland through a network of Marimekko stores and shop-in-shops
who wanted to inspire people by presenting new uses for colourful
that spread the Marimekko phenomenon around the world.
design fabrics. The clothes raised an abundance of interest and
Marimekko has had a significant effect on the Finnish people
sold out immediately. The popularity took the company by surprise,
living in the pressure of long, dark times. This extraordinary and
and soon after the successful show, Marimekko was listed in the
happy northern nation needs joy and colour. The patterns that
trade register. In addition to textile printing, Marimekko started
spring from the heart of Finnishness have made Finland known
producing clothing and household textiles and opened its first store
around the world and boosted our national self-esteem. Marimekko
the following year.
showcases characteristics of Finns that are often not very obvious:
In 1960 Jacqueline Kennedy appeared on the cover of Sports Illustrated wearing a summer dress designed by Vuokko EskolinNurmesniemi, causing Marimekko to explode into the fashion world’s consciousness and attracting massive international interest in the brand. Marimekko’s foundation was rock solid overnight—it didn’t follow fashion but created it. Since its early years, Marimekko’s driving force has been courage. The even-striped Tasaraita collection celebrated equality, and the Unikko (Poppy) print, designed against Armi Ratia’s will, embodied freedom of expression. Marimekko designers have always been interpreters of society, depicting global changes in inspiring patterns and refreshing colour combinations. Marimekko empowers people to enjoy everyday life. Armi Ratia’s death in 1979 left a huge void in the company that had leaned on its strong leader. Marimekko was sold to the Amer Group, but it lost its lustre until Kirsti Paakkanen purchased it and decided to start with a clean slate. Under her charismatic
nurtured a team spirit, resulting in one great pattern after another
positivity and joy of life.
MARIMEKKO Founders: Armi and Viljo Ratia Founded in Helsinki, 1951
Marimekko is Finland’s most renowned textile and fashion design company, born from Armi Ratia’s vision. Its colours and prints bring a touch of joy and happiness into people’s lives. Taking influence from nature and society, Marimekko is a powerful herald of Finnishness.”
A WINDOW INTO FINLAND, A GATEWAY TO THE WORLD HELSINKI AIRPORT WAS OPENED for the Olympics in 1952, and it has been soaring to the skies ever since. Voted the best in the world, Finland’s main airport has become a significant hub for Asian air traffic with almost 20 million passengers passing through each year to various destinations in Finland and abroad. Plans for a new airport had been made in the 1940s, but war delayed the project. Setting the date for the Olympics finally accelerated things, and the airport was finished in two years. 1952 was memorable in many ways. Finland had paid its war reparations, and the Olympics and Miss Universe Armi Kuusela put the country on the map. People from nearby villages rode their bicycles to the side of the airfield to watch big, foreign airplanes landing, carrying athletes, dignitaries, and “our hometown girl”, the most beautiful woman in the world. All civilian air traffic was moved from Malmi to the new Helsinki Airport in autumn 1952. Passengers passed through a wooden shed, the strength of which had been tested by eager fans perched on the roof to see the famous visitors in the summer. The temporary building served until the real passenger terminal was completed in 1969. Since then it has been expanded numerous times. Air traffic and airplanes grew in the 1960s and 1970s when travel agencies started flying Finns to Spain and the Canary Islands. Flying was still a luxury, and people often wore their Sunday best on board. Finland’s joining the EU in 1995 led to deregulation of air travel, and prices dropped. Flying became more commonplace so the airport needed more facilities and services. After Finavia was incorporated, it was possible to develop airport services with corporate funding. Helsinki Airport employed airport guides who mingle with passengers, and its co-operation with various
authorities has been exceptionally seamless. Finland’s airport infrastructure is considered the best in the world, and people come from all over the world to learn from it. In the post-2000 era of tightened regulations and security, combined with the free movement of people guaranteed by the Schengen Agreement, Helsinki Airport’s competitive advantages are punctuality, safety, low airport fees, and snowhow. The airport operates in any weather thanks to its quality equipment, trained personnel, and excellent flow of information. There are three runways, and it only takes eleven minutes to clear one runway of snow. Helsinki Airport has often been voted one of the world’s best airports, and its determined strategy for the last ten years has made it the leading Northern European hub for air traffic between Asia and Europe. Helsinki Airport’s success has made it possible for Finavia to keep its 20 other domestic airports running year-
HELSINKI AIRPORT Built in 1952
round, and a large number of transit flights has increased interest in Finland as a tourist destination. Helsinki Airport strives to be a window into Finland, promoting Finnish innovations and products in its décor, services, and shop selections. Today, customer-oriented service means catering to passengers from different cultures,
Under Finavia’s guidance, Helsinki Airport has evolved over half a century from a wooden shack into a five-star hotel in terms
for example, with language services. The largest expansion in the
of services and infrastructure. Its reputation has spread, and its
airport’s history is underway in 2017, preparing for future growth in
geographical location and well-functioning service network have
made it a significant hub for air traffic between Europe and Asia.”
24-HOUR DELIVERY TO EVERYWHERE IN FINLAND
and paving roads reduced problems with traffic. Life on the road
KAUKOKIITO IS FINLAND’S LEADING transportation company
or note at popular truck stops. Drivers often took their children
owned by private carriers around the country. Around three and
with them, which sometimes sparked a desire to continue a
a half million deliveries are carried by this nationwide network
because of the cold during winter, even with sensitive cargo. Before mobile phones, messages were sent to drivers by land-line phone
of transport companies and terminals, which has its foundations
Competition tightened in the 1980s and 1990s, and many
deep in entrepreneurship and family businesses. Its storage and
carriers were bought by international corporations. Kaukokiito
electronic services support smooth delivery and tracking.
stayed in Finnish ownership, and Suomen Kaukokiito became
Kaukokiito’s first terminal started operations in Helsinki in April
an umbrella organization for the chain. The business focused on
1953. It was Finland’s post-war era of rebuilding, and cargo traffic
developing domestic cargo transportation and was ISO certified for
started to recover after being interrupted by the war. The state
quality in the early 1990s. Customer satisfaction and growth have
wanted to constrain illegal transports and granted more traffic
been high throughout the 2000s. The one thousand-vehicle fleet is
licences. Roads were bad and traffic slow, its direction from the
modern, and terminals and storehouses can be found all over the
regions toward Helsinki. Drivers carrying dairy products found it
country, the main terminal close to Helsinki Airport. Kaukokiito’s
hard to secure return loads from the unfamiliar capital, so carriers
status as a regulated supplier for air transport makes shipment
from around Finland founded Kaukokiito Oy Fjärr-Express Ab and
handling faster. As the sector has changed and been digitalized,
rented a terminal by the Hakaniemi Market Square in Helsinki.
Kaukokiito has been a forerunner in developing electronic services,
Large vehicles could easily leave their cargo at the terminal where
which increases transparency and accountability along the supply
customers picked it up, and return loads could be secured at the
chain. Drivers require high professional qualifications and diverse
skills and training.
The need for terminal services arose in other cities around
was unconventional. Drivers slept in the cabin and rarely stopped
Kaukokiito has an important role in the history of Finnish
Finland. Independent Kaukokiito companies were started in
cargo transportation and as a promoter of exports ever since the
various cities, and Kaukokiito Oy changed its name to Helsingin
wars. The company’s ownership structure is its strength on a
Kaukokiito Oy. Suomen Kaukokiito Oy was founded to broker
national level. Proactive local development strengthens the chain
international transports in the 1960s, and due to the TIR Convention
as local entrepreneurs are familiar with regional conditions and
which bypasses normal customs formalities between member
employ nearby service providers as subcontractors. Automation
states, international transportation expanded quickly. Soon the
and robotics are becoming more common in the transportation
Kaukokiito system covered all of Finland, and the longest routes
sector, which is increasing the significance of reliable data
were from Helsinki to Kemijärvi and Kolari in Lapland. The number
management and logistics chains. Kaukokiito is in pole position in
of long-combination trucks was increased to improve profitability,
KAUKOKIITO Founded in Helsinki, 1953
Kaukokiito has narrowed the geographical distance between producers and consumers in Finland for over half a century. It works to secure the future of its owners, local transport companies. At the same time, it gives its customers additional value by tailoring transport products and services for the needs of supply chains, for example, with home delivery, reliable storage, and eServices.â€?
QUALITY TOYS FOR IMAGINATIVE PLAY PLASTO HAS MANUFACTURED durable, high-quality, and attractive
manufacture various-sized pots and pails, primarily for the food industry. Just like the toys, they endure impact, dents and varying temperatures. Play is the work of the child, and Plasto produces the tools they
toys since 1954. Raw materials and methods have advanced, but
need. Today, children from Åland to Australia play with Plasto toys.
certain classics keep reappearing both indoors and out.
Thanks to this traditional toy manufacturer, children get to use their
In 1954, Olof Geelnard started making collectible toys for cereal packages. The selection grew quickly, and the international toy fair in Nuremberg generated lots of publicity and new orders. With over 60 years’ experience, the company makes toys from food grade plastic in a factory on the sunny island of Åland. Health and safety are the most important features of Plasto toys, which endure rough use and last from generation to generation. Plasto toys do not play themselves—they invite children to be active and use their imagination. Instead of battery-powered lights and sounds, they offer simple functionality, which has stimulated children to play for decades. The classic scooter continues to rumple rugs in many Finnish homes. In addition to the scooter, the Baby Swing and Giant Tipper Truck have become standard items for families with children. Over one million trucks have left the factory to help children with their sandbox excavations. In terms of vehicles sold, Plasto can playfully be considered Finland’s largest automobile factory. The products are one hundred percent made in Finland and designed to endure all kinds of weather. Heat or cold will not break them, and the winter selection includes snow shovels and scoops. Plasto’s latest innovation is a more eco-friendly toy series with plastic made of sugar cane instead of oil. This renewable material is no less durable than the plastic of older models.
In addition to toys, Plasto uses prime-quality polypropylene to
imagination and experience success in their times of play.
PLASTO Founder: Olof Geelnard Founded in Mariehamn, 1954
Plasto has long traditions and decades of experience in manufacturing toys that encourage children to be bold and creative. The durable classic toys bring children joy and adventure all around the world.â€?
ONLY THE BEST FOR LIFE OUTDOORS ROAMING IN THE MIDST OF NATURE is a favourite pastime for
is the Jääkäri Rucksack, originally designed for the Finnish Border
many Finns. To tackle difficult conditions, hikers need quality
Guard. Thanks to the modular MOLLE accessory system, load-
equipment. Finn-Savotta, known for its traditional steel-frame
carrying equipment can be modified for many kinds of uses, even
rucksacks, has decades of experience meeting these needs. The
in demanding conditions. The Jääkäri Rucksack and many other
company’s expertise is in heavy, technical sewing, ergonomics,
products have been granted the Key Flag Symbol of the Association
aluminium, materials, and structural know-how, which are
for Finnish Work to certify their Finnish origin.
combined for durable, high-quality load-carrying equipment and portable shelters. The aim is quality that endures from hike to hike. This third-generation family business was founded by Allan
fabrics and other materials are primarily intended for professional
and Marjatta Halme in 1955 under the name Pylkönmäen Nahkatyö
use so close cooperation has been necessary and fruitful, leading
(“Leatherwork of Pylkönmäki”). They made their first products,
to combat vests and tents designed for military training exercises.
leather gloves, in their attic. In the 1960s, the company moved
Finn-Savotta also started co-operation with the Finnish Red Cross
to its present facilities in Karstula and changed its name to
in the 1970s. Since then, it has delivered lodging and hospital tents
Savotta-retkeilyväline (“lumber camp trekking gear”). Steel-frame
to the world’s crisis areas. It serves consumers with its retail
rucksacks grew in popularity, and the company expanded into tents
outlet network that extends from Finland’s southern point to the
for various uses. It was renamed Finn-Savotta for foreign markets
northernmost reaches of Lapland, and even abroad. Finn-Savotta’s
when it started exports in the 1970s. In spite of two successions,
online store has expanded its selection from traditional hiking
the company has kept its focus on its special expertise, even in the
products to unique design items.
new millennium. Finn-Savotta’s roots are deep in Central Finland, but it
The principled company has stayed faithful to its own style while looking boldly to the future and aiming for the international market.
launched a subsidiary in Estonia in 2016. Its products are created
Quality products are at the very core of Finn-Savotta: through its
through proactive development and customer-oriented design.
products, the company is proudly promoting Finnish know-how and
Finn-Savotta has elected to specialize in diverse load-carrying
workmanship in Finland and around the world.
equipment and portable shelters, which has made it the leader in its field in Finland. Its comprehensive product selection includes various backpacks and tents. Finn-Savotta’s most popular product
Finn-Savotta’s most long-term partner has been the Finnish Defence Forces, starting in the 1960s. The company’s heavy-duty
FINN-SAVOTTA Founders: Allan and Marjatta Halme Founded in Pylkönmäki, 1955
Load-carrying equipment and portable shelters are at the core of Finn-Savotta’s expertise. Its high-quality product selection includes the Jääkäri Rucksack and tents for the Finnish Defence Forces.”
1956 order. Calm by nature, Finns have achieved a reputation as reliable players in such varied tasks. Finland’s Peacekeepers’ Association (Suomen Rauhanturvaajaliitto) was established in 1968 by former peacekeepers to address their need to meet with others who could share their experiences. After a few unofficial meetings, they decided to establish an official organization that they called “Finland’s UN Veterans’ Association – Blue Berets.” In 1971 they
members had mostly served in UN operations in Suez and Cyprus, but as Finland started participating in EU and NATO-led operations,
FINNISH PEACEKEEPING efforts began during the Suez crisis in
the organization’s name was once again changed to the Finnish
1956 when Finnish soldiers participating in the UNEF operation
Peacekeepers’ Association in 2005.
arrived under the hot Egyptian sun in their wool uniforms. Since
The association has evolved from an informal get-together
then, around 45,000 Finns have served in almost 50 operations
club into a formal veterans’ and national defence organization
around the world. Finland has been described as a peacekeeping
that supports Finnish peacekeepers and their families with peer
superpower because of its substantial share of peacekeepers per
support, various training activities, and events. Daily activities
capita, especially in past years. For example, in 1964-1977, over
are increasingly focused on preventing problems with the help of
10,000 Finns served in the UNFICYP troops on Cyprus.
In recent decades, the number of so-called traditional
changed the name to “Finland’s Blue Beret Association”. The early
The association represents Finland’s war veterans
border-zone peacekeeping operations has decreased while
internationally, and it has a central role in supporting voluntary
crisis management operations have increased inside national
national defence. By producing draft bills and making statements at
borders. Where peacekeeping operations try to maintain a peace
different stages of the legislative process, the association has, for
negotiated by treaty or truce, there is no permanent state of peace
example, helped to pass a dedicated law to address compensation
to defend in crisis management operations. The objective is to
for accidents in the course of crisis management operations.
resolve complicated conflicts by stabilizing societal structures, for
As a result of prolonged efforts, the act granted those who have
example, by training local judges and police to maintain law and
participated in peacekeeping and crisis management operations the
FINNISH PEACEKEEPING Began in Suez, 1956
Finland has gained a reputation as a peacekeeping superpower. Although the number of troops sent to crisis areas has dropped from the peak years, Finns are still praised for their operations around the world.â€?
status of crisis management veteran, appropriately during the 60 th anniversary year of Finnish peacekeeping, 2016. Finns have an excellent reputation in crisis areas around the world, thus promoting a positive image of Finland. The 1988 Nobel Peace Prize was granted to UN peacekeeping troops, 20,000 of whom were Finns. International operations provide experience in cooperation with various countries and valuable data for the Finnish Defence Forces. The Finnish Peacekeepersâ€™ Association supports international crisis management and carries on the successful traditions of Finnish peacekeeping.
1957 arranged Barnens Dag events according to a Swedish model. Over the years, these events developed into week-long happenings organized around Finland, complete with international circus shows and funfairs. At some point the organizing committee got the idea to build an amusement park in a fixed location. The City of Helsinki granted the permit for Finland’s first amusement park in 1950, and Linnanmäki quickly took shape on Vesilinnanmäki, the hill after which it is named. The amusement park’s operations expanded so much that the founding child welfare organizations decided to establish the Children’s Day Foundation in 1957 to manage the park’s finances and operations.
FUN AND GAMES FOR CHILD WELFARE
over 60 years of operation, the foundation’s basic mandate is still
THE CHILDREN’S DAY FOUNDATION WAS established to run
season has expanded. In the early years, the challenge was to
Linnanmäki, Helsinki’s oldest amusement park, in order to raise
acquire new rides from abroad, but today’s challenge is space.
funds for Finnish child welfare work. Continuous development and
The park’s location right by the city centre of Helsinki limits its
a distinctive service culture have made Linnanmäki appealing to
growth, so in addition to rides, it must focus on finding new thrills in
all generations year after year, and it offers a unique setting for
services and other attractions.
supporting charity while having fun. The foundation’s roots go back to the early 1900s when Finland’s oldest child welfare association Barnavårdsföreningen i Finland
Although Linnanmäki has changed and expanded during its the same—to raise funds for child welfare work. Rides, services, personnel, and customers have all increased, and the operating
Linnanmäki has always been a popular venue for performing artists, and many still remember the concert of 18-year-old Paul Anka in 1959. Today’s popular events include dances, community
singalongs, and various theme events and well-being programs for
employer and the first work place for many young Finns. In addition
school and corporate groups. For example, in the spring there is the
to its child welfare work, the foundation familiarizes young people
Carnival of Spring, and in the autumn darkness, the scary iik!week
with working life and offers them opportunities to build a career in
and the marvellous Carnival of Light.
the park’s organization or later with other employers.
A key feature of the amusement park today is variety, which extends the season otherwise limited by Finland’s climate. Linnanmäki has been praised for its customer service. Over 650 young seasonal employees are carefully trained to ensure that visitors have a safe and enjoyable experience. Sales booths and signs are colourful and full of surprises, and many cultures are evident in the services and the food selection. Visitors are able to adjust their own experiences by, for example, enhancing their rollercoaster experience with virtual glasses for an unparalleled virtual reality thrill. The park has invested in a
CHILDREN’S DAY FOUNDATION / LINNANMÄKI AMUSEMENT PARK Founded in Helsinki, 1957
pleasant environment with greenery and impressive flowerbeds, including one shaped like a peacock. This gives the park a general feel of nostalgia, just like its oldest ride, a wooden rollercoaster that smells of tar. Finland’s main child welfare associations are still behind
The Children’s Day Foundation has run the Linnanmäki Amusement Park for 60 years, raising funds for children’s welfare work. Its aim has been
the Children’s Day Foundation, and they channel all profits and
to make the park into the most entertaining destination in Helsinki, a
donations into annually changing feature projects. Linnanmäki has
place where people can pop in or linger with family and friends, enjoying
already raised over 100 million euros for charity. It is a significant
thrilling rides, games, programs, food, and a unique atmosphere.”
HEALTHY HOUSES FROM FINNISH FORESTS
businessman visited the Järvenpää exhibition, leading to hundreds
PINE IS PERHAPS the most traditional building material in Finland.
it possible to build bigger and more complex log buildings.
It also plays a major role in a success story that has grown
Honkarakenne invested in product development and brought to
alongside the forests. Honkarakenne has overcome rough times
market a log that does not settle thanks to a laminated vertical
and become the world’s largest builder of log houses. Its success is
strip of wood in the middle, which makes it possible to use logs in
based on continuous product development, first-rate raw material,
and an open-minded approach to business. The Saarelainen brothers, Viljo, Nestori, Arvo, Eino, and Reino,
in Japan. Laminated logs became common in the 1990s, making
The popularity of detached, single-family log homes exploded in Finland in 2010, and new solutions made it possible to build log
could not make a living off their farm in Lieksa, so they took their
houses in strictly zoned city areas where they have traditionally
father’s old circular saw from farm to farm and cut timber for their
been banned. Logs also spread to public buildings such as day-care
neighbours’ various needs. They saw an opportunity to supply more
centres, which had previously struggled with indoor air problems.
highly processed wood, which led them to develop machines for that
Honkarakenne’s solution to the increasing demand for healthier
purpose. With a plane and a log notcher they made logs that were
buildings is the Honka Terve Talo (Honka Healthy House) concept,
straight and settled tightly together. This was Honkarakenne’s first
developed together with the Allergy and Asthma Federation and
innovative step toward industrial log house production.
VTT, the Technical Research Centre of Finland. It meets strict
The shift to a five-day work week in the 1960s brought Finns more free time. For the Saarelainens this meant a huge leap in demand for holiday homes. Their investments in production
demands for indoor air purity, low-emission materials, moisture safety, and structural engineering. Honkarakenne’s story is full of bold steps. Its ground-breaking
technology started to bear fruit as they built one hundred
technologies in machinery and methods have given it a head
holiday homes in 1964 alone. To meet increased competition, the
start against the competition. Even in rough times it does not
Saarelainens developed a new product, round logs, which were
compromise quality, and it continuously develops its products for
extremely popular for summer cottages as they blended naturally
safe and ecological living. Honkarakenne has made determined
into the Finnish forest landscape. In the 1970s, Honkarakenne was
progress using logs for residential buildings around the world.
restructured into a limited company, and it entered the Central European market through Germany and Austria. A Japanese
of orders and opening a significant market for the company
HONKARAKENNE Founders: Arvo, Eino, Nestori, Reino and Viljo Saarelainen Founded in Lieksa, 1958
Honkarakenne is an international brand and the largest builder of log houses in the world. By boldly using new work and production methods, it has improved not only its own operations but also the whole industry.â€?
VIKING LINE Founder: Gunnar Eklund Founded in Mariehamn. Operating since 1959
MAKING WAVES FOR A CRUISE-LOVING NATION VIKING LINE HAS CARRIED over 200 million passengers and
accommodate more than just wealthy passengers. Viking Line
countless tonnes of cargo in its world-class cruise ferries. It all
initiated change in the maritime sector, paving the way for a
started in 1959 with one ship named Viking. Since then, Viking Line
cruise culture that can be seen as unique to Finland.”
has evolved into Finland’s largest maritime employer, a trailblazer in the sector. Finns love cruises, and marine traffic on Finland’s coastal waters is unique in many ways. Large cruiseferries travel through ice, normally without assistance from ice breakers, and the rocky archipelago demands local knowledge and solid expertise of the crew. Baltic Sea cruises are low-threshold tourism, offering rejuvenation equivalent to a week’s vacation condensed into one weekend. These floating entertainment centres carry people away from their daily grind to the beautiful Baltic Sea. Gunnar Eklund was a former seaman who was unsatisfied with the state of ferry traffic on the northern Baltic Sea. In the 1950s, sea ships were vital for Åland residents working in Sweden, but prices were high and schedules poorly designed. After successfully pitching a business concept to investors, Eklund was able to purchase a ship from England. After some modifications and a fresh paint-job, it was christened Viking and started operating between Mariehamn and Korppoo on June 1, 1959 under the shipping company Rederi AB Vikinglinjen. The ferry’s automobile ramp was a progressive solution compared with old-fashioned crane loading. The new ship effectively fulfilled the needs and wishes of a diverse clientele, met all expectations, and silenced the doubters. Soon the companies competing for the same passengers, Vikinglinjen, Rederi AB Slite, and Ålandsfärjan, joined forces and
Viking Line democratized ferry traffic by changing pricing to
began operating under the same name, Viking Line. They decided
largest car and passenger ferry. Mini-cruises became common,
to paint the ships red for a uniform look, and in 1967 Viking Line
and the emphasis shifted from travel to entertainment. Front-line
began investing in new ships and marketing. Passengers spent a lot
artists took the stages, and the same trend is still ongoing.
of money shopping on board, and tax-free sales became one of the
In the 1990s, the collapse of the Soviet Union opened the route
most important sources of revenue. In the 1970s, the fleet expanded
to Tallinn, compensating for the loss of passengers brought on by
with eight new ships put into service during four years. The
the recession. At the turn of the millennium, fast catamarans were
equipment was first-class, and the era’s latest trends were seen in
introduced, and passengers started demanding more from ferries.
the décor. An important prerequisite for the vessels was that they
Completed in 2013, Viking Grace is a true luxury ship with its Spa
would be able to manage icy conditions. Today all Viking Line ships
and Wellness Center and, with liquefied natural gas (LNG) as fuel, it
are in ice class 1A Super, meaning they can sail on frozen waters
is also an example of advanced ecological thinking.
without ice-breaker assistance. When passenger traffic was light, the company filled the space
By moving people and goods smoothly on the Baltic Sea, Viking Line opened the way for Finns to travel west. After many moves
with cargo. For example, Viking Line carried large numbers of Saab
that have transformed the maritime industry, Viking Line offers
cars from the Finnish factory to Sweden. In the 1980s, competition
memorable experiences at sea for today’s passengers.
escalated, and when Mariella was built in 1985, it was the world’s
From the Countryside to the City The post-war policy that favoured small farms fell into crisis
law was passed, which brought light beer into ordinary
when the baby boomers came of age and agriculture was
mechanized. Farming no longer offered employment to the
Just like elsewhere in Europe, the 1960s were marked
growing population. This resulted in rural flight and emigration
by student radicalism that derived its ideological fuel from
as people from agrarian municipalities, especially in northern
the political left and communism. The young generation was
and eastern Finland, moved to the growth centres of southern
larger than previous ones, and it rebelled against conservative
Finland or to Sweden, seeking a higher standard of living.
values such as a strict sexual moral code. Equality in
Emigration to Sweden accelerated until in 1969 alone, 40,000
universities and society, as well as anti-war sentiment, drove
Finns crossed the Gulf of Bothnia for good.
young people to protest in the streets. However, radicalism
Rural flight caused major changes in Finnish society. The former country people were unfamiliar with urban culture, entertainment, and city life in general. Work in factories and services was nothing like farming.
in Finland was peaceful compared with, for example, West Germany or France. President Urho Kekkonen was Finland’s leading political figure—he began his second term in 1962 and his third in
Finland’s economy grew during the 1960s, resulting in
1968. As the foremost expert on Eastern relations, Kekkonen
increased free time and consumption. Many urbanized Finns
achieved a status where he could also invoke the importance
cherished their roots by building a summer cottage in their old
of Soviet relations in determining domestic policy. This led
home county. On the other hand, Finns began to travel abroad,
to the term Finlandization being coined in Central Europe,
for example, to Mediterranean countries.
meaning a powerful country’s influence on its smaller
The Finnish welfare state was accelerated in the 1960s. The Employees Pensions Act of 1961 secured a livelihood for
neighbouring country’s national matters. Although Eastern relations were prominent in Finland in
retirement. Two years later, every Finn was insured by the
the 1960s, the West continued to gain in importance. Finland
Health Insurance Act which, among other things, provided
joined the European Free Trade Association (EFTA) in 1961 and
women with an income for their maternity leave. Various
the OECD in 1968. Finland also garnered international acclaim
redistributions evened out income differences. The 40-hour
in 1967 as Finnish-born Swede Ragnar Granit was granted the
work week was introduced in 1965. A less restrictive alcohol
Nobel Prize in Medicine together with two other researchers.
FEATHER-LIGHT COMPOSITES WORLD-ACCLAIMED ski pole manufacturer Exel Composites specializes in industrial composite solutions. Composites are light, durable, fibre-reinforced plastics with many superior characteristics and advantages compared with traditional materials. In 1960, three chemists, Yrjö Aho, Aarre Hollning, and Veli-Jussi Hölsö, started a company in Helsinki to manufacture electronic detonator caps. The company, which derives its name from the words Explosive Electronics, has grown into a global player but its heart still lies in Finland. Yrjö Aho loved shooting sports, which inspired him to develop hearing protectors. Sold under the Silenta brand, their success made it possible to develop new products, and Exel proceeded quickly toward composites. The company started ski pole production in 1973, and the real breakthrough came at the 1976 Olympics in Innsbruck. The lightweight poles with an entirely new design gave skiers such a boost that 70% of the medals were won using Exel carbon fibre poles. The company’s ski pole sales sky-rocketed to 1.5 million pairs per year, capturing half of the world market. Other sports equipment triumphed in the wake of the ski poles. Exel was the dominant market leader for windsurfing masts in the 1980s. Ice hockey and floorball sticks and pesäpallo (Finnish baseball) bats have also been popular. Exel also invented the new sport of Nordic walking as well as the necessary equipment in 1997. However, in the late 2000s, Exel dropped sports equipment to concentrate entirely on industrial composites. The composite technology developed by Exel makes it possible to produce durable, lightweight structural profiles and tubes,
Exel Composites is an innovative organization capable of reinventing
Founders: Yrjö Aho, Aarre Hollning, Veli-Jussi Hölsö Founded in Helsinki, 1960
itself. Over the decades, it has revolutionized the sports world and become a leader in developing and mass producing industrial composite solutions.”
as well as various laminates. For example, Exel has a significant
abroad—in 1976, it was granted the Presidential Export Award.
impact in the transportation sector as its light-weight composites
The company’s versatile products and ability to reinvent itself
in various vehicle components helps to keep fuel expenses and
have carried Exel into new markets. Its clientele has expanded
emissions at a moderate level. Energy efficiency is one of the
significantly due to its customer-orientation and products that
main themes in Exel’s product portfolio, which is expanding and
are precisely tailored for customer needs and intended uses. In
developing continuously in co-operation with customers. Compared
the 2000s, Exel has also grown through international corporate
with traditional materials, composites offer significant advantages
from extreme durability to corrosion and fire resistance.
Facing challenges with boldness and meeting the high demands
Composites are always more than the sum of their parts: precisely
of its customers have helped make Exel Composites a global
the desired outcome can be achieved by combining the right resins
forerunner in composite technology. The Finnish innovations that
and fibres. In addition to enabling innovations, composites can be
were born from the experiments of Yrjö Aho’s team are reshaping
used to improve the characteristics of existing products.
the world with almost limitless possibilities.
From the beginning, Exel has actively pursued opportunities
1961 insurance companies, Sampo, Pohjola, Suomi, and Salama, as well as six smaller players. Operations were quickly launched in an apartment on Yrjönkatu in the centre of Helsinki. Pensions were paid already during the first full year, and Teivo Pentikäinen, the father of Finland’s pension system, was hired as CEO. He left his prior post in the Ministry of Social Affairs after first completing the drafting of the Employees
INSURING EMPLOYEES AND THEIR PENSIONS ILMARINEN MUTUAL PENSION INSURANCE COMPANY is as
Pensions Act. Employers were now responsible for their employees’ pension insurance, and in return, Ilmarinen offered them investment loans with a much lower interest rate than banks. In its early years, its share of the pension insurance market was around 40%; today it is around 33%. In 1984 Sampo withdrew and took one fourth of the customers
old as Finland’s statutory earnings-related pension system. The
along with it. At the same time, Ilmarinen became a subsidiary of
Employees Pensions Act was passed in July 1961, and Ilmarinen
Pohjola. Since 1998 the company has been owned by its customers
was established in December 1961 to be ready to take care of the
with the name Ilmarinen Mutual Pension Insurance Company. It
nation’s pensions when the law came into force in July 1962. In
formed a strong financial alliance with the OP Group and Pohjola in
addition to pension insurance, its core business is to invest the
the 2000s. Ilmarinen’s customers are served in OP Group premises
pension funds productively and securely in the long term.
around Finland as well as online. Digitization has made real-time
Finland’s pension model is unique. Private pensions have been distributed to competing pension funds, foundations, and companies. While the law was being prepared, pension companies
information available to customers about the pension system and about developments in pension funds. The special status of pension companies in Finnish society
did not even exist, leaving insurance companies to find a way to
is written in both national and EU level law. The solvency limit of
provide the new, mandatory pension insurance. The solution was
pension insurance companies is defined by law, and the pension
co-operation. Ilmarinen was founded by Finland’s four largest
business has been separated from other insurances. In Finland’s model, employee pensions are funded with pension insurance fees and the profits of pension funds. Around one fourth of all annual pension fees are secured in a contingency reserve for future pension payments. This is done to prepare for the aging of the population, which is one of the major challenges of our time along with increased life-expectancy and changing work life. The invested funds collected for future pension payments are an incredible 38 billion euros. During the 20 years of modern investment, the funds have multiplied fivefold, increasing by 30 billion euros. In many international comparisons, the coverage, transparency, and co-operative culture of the Finnish pension system have been considered its strengths, which ensure its future existence and renewability. Ilmarinen has had a central role in developing the
ILMARINEN MUTUAL PENSION INSURANCE COMPANY Founded in Helsinki, 1961
For 50 years, Ilmarinen has been a steward of the pensions of Finnish employees and entrepreneurs as well as a reliable investor of pension funds. Today it is responsible for almost one million Finns’ pensions. Its high-level expertise and customer-oriented service are its competitive advantages today and in the future.”
Finnish pension system. The company wants to stay at the vanguard as working life and the expectations of customers change, and it also invests in well-being at work. In the summer of 2017, the company published its plan to merge with Etera. This will result in Finland’s largest and most cost-effective pension company, which will take Ilmarinen to a whole new level.
communication has grown in importance as a factor in workplace
OCCUPATIONAL HEALTH AND SAFETY in Finland is outstanding.
devices equipped with microphones. Helmets set certain
Compliance with laws and regulations is closely monitored, and
constraints on hearing protector design and connectivity. Well-
workplace safety issues are considered daily in various jobs. This
functioning protectors improve safety and even job satisfaction,
vigilance has dramatically decreased many occupational illnesses
especially in tasks that require their prolonged use. Silenta invests
and injuries. Best practices and the appropriate use of protective
heavily in product development and welcomes the industry’s rising
devices are central factors in occupational safety and health. It
demands and rapid advancements. Today’s multi-use hearing
is natural, then, that Finland has given rise to a world leader in
protectors are integrated with other devices and function more like
manufacturing protective devices, Silenta.
tools than mere protectors.
Established in 1962, Silenta specializes in hearing protectors for
Silenta’s products are certified on every continent. The mining
demanding conditions as well as other devices central to workplace
industry is one of Silenta’s established customer groups because
safety. Long-term product development and first-rate, local
dusty and damp work conditions place heavy demands on protective
production facilities are behind the high quality and reliable delivery
gear. In addition to protectors with special features, Silenta still
of Silenta products.
manufactures high-quality basic models.
The idea of launching Silenta came from Yrjö Aho’s shooting
Human hearing deteriorates with age and could thus be called
sports. Since the beginning, Silenta has been a strong and popular
a sense that wears with use. You should avoid excessive wear
brand. During the first decade, the company produced up to one
if you still want to listen to the world around you in old age. In
million hearing protectors. The product’s success abroad merited
addition to work, you should also pay attention to protecting your
the President’s Export Award in 1976. Silenta Pop was developed in
hearing in everyday life. In the worst case, even one loud noise can
the 1970s and very quickly became Finland’s most popular hearing
damage it, so unnecessary risks are not worth taking. Fortunately
protector with over 100,000 units sold every year.
we have Silenta, which has worked for decades to protect our
As production technology developed and jobs changed, it was recognized that hearing should not be completely blocked to ensure workplace safety. This sparked the development of “active hearing protectors” that only block particularly loud noises. Hearing protector development accelerated in the 2000s. Models equipped with FM radios were followed by those using Bluetooth. Continuous
safety. Today’s hearing protectors are versatile communication
SILENTA GROUP Founder: Yrjö Aho Founded in Mäntyharju, 1962
Silenta has protected hearing in Finland and abroad for decades. Constant product enhancement and pursuit of the best result for the user have maintained Silenta’s image as a leading protective device specialist.”
MANTSINEN MOVES MATERIALS THE MANTSINEN GROUP OFFERS cost-efficient logistics services and manufactures the world’s best material handlers. Userfocused design, a skilled workforce, and decades of experience have produced a unique operating model that makes material handling economical and efficient. Brothers Juhani and Veli Mantsinen started transporting firewood and logs by tractor to local forest companies and heating plants in 1963. From the beginning, they had a natural understanding of how loading and unloading should be done. Their experience in different practical situations was a unique foundation for designing logistics solutions and material handlers. First they modified other manufacturers’ machines according to their needs, but as the requirements grew, they decided to design and manufacture their own. In 1998, during a decade of internationalization, they made their first foreign sale. Today, Mantsinen’s machines are used in ports, terminals, and factories around the world. Material handlers are used to load and
MANTSINEN GROUP Founders: Juhani and Veli Mantsinen Founded in Joensuu, 1963
unload coal, scrap metal, timber, and the end products of the steel and forest industries. Mantsinen’s model is still based on strong expertise, high-quality equipment, and an understanding of the most effective way to perform different work stages. If a perfect
Game-changing machinery production and unwavering effectiveness have
machine for a certain task does not exist, Mantsinen will make one.
made Mantsinen a partner that is revolutionizing work in ports, terminals,
However, it is not only about machines—it is about comprehensive
and factories. Continuous streamlining of both production and practices
logistics solutions. Often in connection with equipment acquisition,
has hoisted Mantsinen into the world’s elite in material handling.”
Mantsinen ends up building an entirely new, progressive concept,
machine handles heavier loads using less energy. The company’s
the core of which is the world’s best material handling crane.
tireless product development won international acclaim as the
Creating more effective practices and developing better equipment are never-ending projects. Depending on the intended
Mantsinen 200 won the IBJ Crane of the Year Award in 2015. Mantsinen’s machines are a worker’s dream, created with
use, Mantsinen’s material handlers run on tracks, wheels, or rails.
usability as the top priority, based on user experiences. Optimized
In addition to traditional diesel-powered cranes, energy and cost-
operating models shorten loading times, generating distinct savings
effective electric material handlers are quickly increasing in sales.
for terminals and factories. This North Karelian family business
However, energy savings do not mean compromising on power
makes machinery that attracts attention and admiration while its
for Mantsinen’s machines—on the contrary. While the boom is
logistics services are spreading Finnish efficiency around the world.
being lowered, the HybriLift energy storage and redelivery system generates energy that is then reused for lifting. This means that the
BUILDING ON A STRONG FOUNDATION LEIMET IS A FAMILY BUSINESS that manufactures steel pile joints and rock points for use in pile-driving. The roots of the family go
replaced by automation, but quality cannot be outsourced to a
all the way back to Juho Gabriel Grönholm, a village blacksmith
machine. Piles that carry a railbed or the foundation of a high-rise
in Kodiksami in the municipality of Rauman Lappi. 150 years
or sports stadium must be the highest quality, and thus the sharp
later, horseshoes, axes, and ploughs have been replaced by piling
eyes of a true blacksmith are necessary, at the latest in the final
materials that meet extremely high standards.
stages of production.
In the 1950s, urbanization accelerated construction, and even
and popularity of Leimet’s products. The company started
piling is an excellent way to improve soil load capacity. At first the
manufacturing joints to connect concrete piles. Recession hit the
industry used wooden piles, but they were prone to rot so they were
business hard, but Leimet pulled through. In 1993 it entered the
replaced by concrete piles. Box shoes are used to protect the tips of
Australian market, and when the recession was over, it expanded
concrete piles as they are driven into the ground. Having seen the
into Great Britain and Holland. At the turn of the millennium, the
prototype of a box shoe made of four parts, Blacksmith Grönholm’s
Swedish market was so strong that the company had trouble
descendant Eino Leino decided to make them out of one piece, which
meeting increased demand at home in Finland.
required the know-how of generations of blacksmiths. He founded
In the 2010s, the fifth generation took over leadership when
Leimet, and the company’s guiding principle has been the desire for
Antti Leino became CEO. As cities continue to grow, challenging
continuous improvement ever since that first product in 1964.
ground is piled for construction. During its long history, Leimet’s
Soon box shoes were replaced by more durable rock points,
customers have noted the high quality of its products, so it is no
and steel was used to strengthen the structure of concrete piles.
coincidence that they continue to use reinforced concrete piles
The smithery was expanded, and Eino’s son Erkki demonstrated
equipped with Leimet products.
his business acumen by launching exports to Sweden. Erkki’s
High-precision automation further improved the quality
areas with poor ground were zoned. When building on soft ground,
Like its products, the company is deeply rooted in Finnish soil,
brother, Eero, served as foreman, and the quality of the expanding
and the expertise springing from its long traditions is put to use at
company’s products made them popular among Swedish
one construction site after the other, supporting durable, quality
construction companies. In the 1980s, manual labour was mostly
construction all over the world.
LEIMET Founder: Eino Leino Founded in Kodiksami, 1964
As a long-term manufacturer of piling products, Leimet has delivered on its promise of quality, ensuring not only sturdy foundations but stable customer relationships as well. Persistently striving for improvement has always been part of the ideology of this family business.â€?
FROM FELLS TO URBAN LANDSCAPES
those of another family business, the hotels of Levi, Rovaniemi, and
THE GROWTH OF LAPLAND HOTELS into the leading tourism
hotel in Oulu and Tampere as well as 15 hotels and 4 ski resorts in
service provider in Lapland has required bold investments,
Lapland. In spring 2018, it will open a new hotel on the Bulevardi in
extensive co-operation, and a generous portion of Lappish passion
Helsinki. The idea is to offer guests in southern Finland a glimpse
and local knowledge. Pertti Yliniemi’s family and its values are
of Lapland’s exotic spirit in the hotel’s restaurants, décor, and easy-
behind the corporate chain.
going service culture.
The story began on Pallas Fell in Muonio, where Yliniemi’s
shareholder of Lapland Hotels in 2005, and the chain expanded, for example, to Saariselkä. Nowadays the growing company owns a
Lapland Safaris, the largest destination management company
father, Arvo, was a ski-instructor. He started building a ski resort
in the Nordic countries, joined Lapland Hotels, boosting product
on Olos Fell and opened it to the public in 1965. It was an era of
development and the chain’s status in the international market.
rebuilding tourism in Lapland, and the sector’s development was
The company offers one-stop shopping for tourists seeking
supported by the state and Finland’s Tourist Association. The rising
accommodations and a unique experience for a real escape from
standard of living, increased free time, and privately-owned cars,
their hectic lives. The selection includes snowmobile and dog-
as well as improvements in roads and communications brought
sled safaris, snowshoeing, ice fishing, and scenic tours to view
mass tourism to Lapland alongside traditional outdoor adventure
the northern lights or midnight sun. The stories behind Lapland’s
tourism. Ski resorts were opened around Lapland, attracting
produce and food make even dining an experience. In addition to
families and larger groups.
reindeer, you might find traces of its environment, like lichen and
Pertti returned to Muonio to help his father with the Olos Hotel in the 1980s. They modernized the facilities and overcame past
mushrooms, on your menu. International tourists have discovered Lapland Hotels, and
financial difficulties when they started vehicle testing operations
foreign trade accounts for almost 70 percent of the company’s
nearby, which brought more travellers and made it possible to
revenue in Lapland. Tourists arrive from Europe and Asia, and the
expand. Finnair’s non-stop flights to Kittilä in the 1980s, and
potential for international growth is almost limitless. The success
general advances in air travel revitalized the entire tourism sector
of Lapland Hotels has made it a notable developer of international
in Lapland. The first British tourists came to meet Santa Claus, and
tourism in Finland and the Arctic area, which also generates
international tourism increased.
business for other service providers in the area. Lapland Hotels
For Lapland Hotels, the early 2000s were significant. Yliniemi’s resorts, Olos, Pallas, Kilpisjärvi, and Hetta, were merged with
Ylläs, as well as the Ylläs ski resort. Yliniemi became the majority
embodies a true, co-operative spirit, a key factor in tourism to Finnish Lapland.
LAPLAND HOTELS Founded in Olos, Muonio, 1965
For over 50 years, Lapland Hotels has offered a setting for encounters between locals and tourists. Its goal is to actively develop tourism in Finland and Lapland, thus promoting well-being in the region. An important objective is achieved if customers bring their grandchildren with them to experience Lapland and to see the majestic views of pristine wilderness from the Fells.â€?
1966 freight traffic. Transport capacity was used more efficiently, and much faster loading meant shorter times at dock. Soon containers became commonplace, and the aluminium container model was replaced by a new, steel one. Finland, which is an island state in
CONTAINERS MOVE THE WORLD
to the rest of the world. Following Nordström’s early vision, Containerships took care of all stages of transportation from loading to the customer’s doorstep. Even today, the core mission of Containerships is to offer
VELI-RAGNAR NORDSTRÖM went to sea at the age of fourteen
a safe and reliable chain of logistics. Cargo is carried on rail, sea,
and developed a vision for the future of freight traffic. This inspired
and land, and standard-sized containers are quickly transferred
him to launch the shipping company Containerships together with
from one form of transportation to another.
his British friend James Sherwood in 1966. The company has
The rapid development of industry in the 1970s and 1980s
significantly developed Finnish cargo traffic and helped to spread
created a heavy demand for freight traffic. Containerships grew
Finnish industrial products around the world.
and was among the first western shipping companies in Russia
Plywood-lined, aluminium sea containers used to be shipped
immediately after the Soviet Union fell apart. Like a typical family
only on longer sea lanes. Nordström saw the potential of standard-
business, Containerships proceeded boldly, and in the 2000s, it
sized containers for shorter distances as well. Containerships
took the practices proven effective on the Baltic Sea with it to the
started transporting goods between Finland and England as
Mediterranean as it expanded into Turkey and Northern Africa.
the first European shipping company specializing in container
Containerships is a typical Finnish company. Finns value
transport. It was a revolutionary advancement for Baltic Sea
terms of accessibility and transport connections, took a step closer
nature and the environment, and Containerships is in the vanguard
CONTAINERSHIPS Founders: Veli-Ragnar Nordström, James B. Sherwood Founded in Helsinki, 1966
Containerships is the only completely Finnish-owned shipping company with regular container traffic. Its innovative approach to developing cargo shipping since its early years has boosted all of Finland’s economic life.”
of companies adopting liquefied natural gas (LNG), a more environmentally friendly fuel. This is one step on the company’s path toward more ecologically minded shipping. In the future, LNG will be used by trucks as well as ocean-liners. The turbulent industry has sometimes thrown ice on the deck, but all the years sailing under the Finnish flag have continuously carried Containerships to new adventures. Revolutionary cargo solutions led to a radical change in Finnish freight traffic on global shipping lanes. Like an icebreaker, Containerships is opening the way for container shipping around the world.
EVERY HOME’S CLASSIC
another one in the United States. With one billion pairs sold, the
DUTCHMAN PETER THORWÖSTE established an ironworks in
quality design and functionality. Product development continues to
the village of Fiskars, Finland, in 1649. During its long history, it
this day, and scissors have paved the way for other cutting tools that
evolved from an ironworks into a copperworks and later into a
also display the characteristic orange colour. The classic scissors
conglomerate. The familiar scissors with orange handles have
embody centuries of know-how and consumer knowledge, which
prevailed for half of Finland’s independence, all the while becoming
Fiskars has always made use of, but particularly since the turn
the company’s internationally recognized symbol.
of the millennium. Fiskars means guaranteed quality, but each
The Fiskars ironworks turned Swedish ore into iron. Years of famine, Russian oppression during the Great Northern War, and the
product also provides an experience. Product development starts long before making and testing
financial hardships of the owners afflicted the business until, after
prototypes. Megatrends that shape consumer habits and the
many twists and turns, it was sold to Johan von Julin in 1822. In his
business environment are the starting point for brands as they
era, Fiskars focused on refining iron and established Finland’s first
design their portfolios. Today, people connect attributes like
machine workshop. He also launched a cutlery mill that produced,
“authentic”, “transparent”, and “organic” to premium and luxury
among other things, brass-handled tailor’s scissors. These were
brands. They expect companies to act responsibly at every
the archetype that Olof Bäckström followed in the 1960s when
stage from sourcing materials through production to recycling
he set about to design “the perfect pair of scissors”. Expertise
acquired over centuries of manufacturing various kinds of blades
Fiskars stands among the iconic international lifestyle brands.
was now combined with the use of a new material, plastic. The
Its products are pervasive, popping up in people’s homes and
familiar orange colour was a coincidence—the machinist making
gardens, and even in their outdoor exercise routines. Fiskars
the test pieces simply used the remainder of the orange plastic that
owns the much-loved Finnish brands Iittala and Arabia, as well as
happened to be in the machine. The designer had requested black
international brands such as Gerber, Royal Copenhagen, Waterford,
and red, but orange narrowly won the marketing team’s vote. The
first scissors came to market in 1967, and a few years later, Fiskars
As production methods and materials have developed and user
was the first company in the world to mass produce left-handed
requirements changed, the classic scissors have grown into an
scissors, this time with red handles.
ever-expanding scissor family that is constantly being updated.
The orange-handled scissors were a success from the first batch. Fiskars built a new scissors factory in Finland and, later,
scissors have been the company’s financial backbone, a symbol of
FISKARS SCISSORS Designer: Olof Bäckström Launched in the Fiskars Village, 1967
All Finns know Fiskars scissors since their childhood. They fit comfortably in the hand and cut well, and have set the pace for the evolution of cutting tools. They also embody the quality promise that Fiskars gives its customers.”
OUT OF THE WOODS WITH PÖLKKY PÖLKKY OY IS THE LARGEST private wood processing company in northern Finland. During its 50-year history, it has grown from one man with a saw to a company employing hundreds with its many sawmills and processing plants. Finland lives on its forests. There is no oil or coal in the country, but there are plenty of forests, and Finns have known how make use of them since the days of tar distillation in the 1600s. Due to industrial innovations, wood processing plants have increased their production and, more importantly, raised their processing level. In addition, new ways of utilizing the by-products of the sawmill industry are being found constantly. Pölkky has been at the forefront of the Finnish wood industry for half a century. It all started when Erkki Virranniemi rented a circular saw and began to develop the notion of his own sawmill. He founded Virranniemen Saha Oy in 1965 to meet the constant demand for wood. In 1968, he changed the name to Pölkky Oy and expanded, partnering with his wife, Saara, as well as his brothers Matti and Teppo and their wives. Already in the early years, Pölkky started processing wood beyond mere sawing. For almost two decades, Pölkky has been a share owner of log house builder Kuusamo Hirsitalot Oy, a prime example of Pölkky’s products in use. Erkki Virranniemi recognized the significance of exports already at an early stage, and wood from Kuusamo found its way abroad quickly. Northern timber is tight-grained and consistent, making it a valued building material even as far as Australia. Erkki Virranniemi’s sudden death in 1974 was a heavy blow to the growing company, but the family business was able to come
For half a century, Pölkky Oy has travelled a sometimes thorny path
Founders: Erkki, Matti and Teppo Virranniemi Founded in Kuusamo,1968
producing wood products for a Finnish and international clientele, keeping its sights on the future and growth. This family business represents traditional Finnish entrepreneurship that is passed down from one generation to another.”
together and continue its operations without interruption. Erkki’s
and in modernizing mill lines. The sawmill was built close to the
creative and innovative ideas lived on as the family worked to carry
centre of Kuusamo and has grown to be a significant part of the city.
out his unfinished plans.
It is a major employer, and forest owners in the area also welcome
The multi-talented Matti Virranniemi has had a major role
the mill as a purchaser for their logs. The company has taken good
in the company during times of uncertainty, together with Saara
care of its employees even in hard times, and love for the region has
Virranniemi, who continued as Managing Director after her husband
kept it in the north in spite of long transport distances.
died. Erkki’s two sons, Antti and Jouko assumed significant
Pölkky is a classic Finnish growth story. Over the decades, the
responsibility early on. Saara stepped down in 1991, and her son,
family business surrounded by northern forests has become one of
Jouko, continued as Managing Director. Pölkky started growing fast,
the biggest family-owned sawmills in the country. The company’s
and its success was recognized with the national entrepreneurship
main raw material is one of Finland’s central natural resources,
award in 1999. As Finland celebrates 100 years of independence, the
forests. In addition to quality raw material and efficient teamwork,
third generation is taking more and more responsibility for Pölkky’s
the secrets to Pölkky’s success are long-term, committed
employees and reliable partners.
Pölkky has always been marked by purposeful development, proven by sizable investments, for example, in further processing
RESPONSIBLE AND PROFITABLE VAASA’S REGISTERED ASSOCIATION of People with Physical Disabilities established and owns Finvacon Oy, which is on track to become Finland’s pre-eminent responsible business. It creates socially important jobs for people with limited work abilities, combining their work with the expertise of people with “normal abilities.” Above all, it is a successful and competitive production facility. In 1969 the association’s chairman John Syring noted that there were many people in the area with limited abilities who still wanted to work. Together with the local employment service, he laid the foundation for a workshop, which was supported by the Finnish Association of People with Physical Disabilities (FPD). The workshop included a wood, metal, sewing, and assembly department. Finances were tight, so the chairman put up his flat as security for a bank loan so the workshop could continue operation. For over 20 years before it was shut down, the sewing and assembly department produced doll houses that were completely furnished, right down to wallpaper on the walls. Since then, the company’s own products have diminished in importance, and today Finvacon is primarily a subcontractor. In recent years, the wood department has expanded significantly and is now responsible for most of the company’s production. Major investments have also been made in the metal department to bring its production facilities up to date. The ABB Group is one of the companies that make use of the wood department’s know-how. In 1973 the decision was made to expand the business by no longer limiting employment to people under the disability service
Finvacon brings together the expertise of people with limited work
Founded by Vaasanseudun Invalidit Ry (Vaasa’s Registered Association of People with Physical Disabilities) in Vaasa, 1969
abilities and those with ‘normal abilities,’ generating an effective business-
law. On the initiative of the City of Vaasa, Finvacon established a
processes also means work for more hands, which has always
special assembly department for people with disabilities in 1987.
been a core mission of the business. It is also significant that
At the same time, Finvacon recruited its first full-time assistance
most of the company’s profits are used to improve operations and
workers to oversee the activities. A laundry was started in 1987. As
working conditions. Continuous investments keep the machinery
orders increased in the 1990s, more full-time workers were hired.
modern and the employees satisfied. Today’s opportunities are in
In 2005 Finvacon was restructured into a limited company. Following
foreign markets, which Finvacon intends to conquer with its quality,
responsible business principles, it doubled its revenue in 2005–2015,
reliability, and transformer components.
and the wood department had to move into bigger facilities. Employees with limited work abilities can produce small
model. It is a prime example of a social business that has achieved success with its unique strengths.”
Social entrepreneurship is defined as business aiming to have a positive effect on society. Finvacon takes care of people and
batches and perform labour-intensive work stages in a cost-
the environment in a socially responsible way. By hiring skilled
effective way. For example, insulation components for power
workers who are underrated in the labour market, the ISO 9001
transformers require work stages that cannot be automated,
and 14001-certified company has created cost-effective production
making Finvacon a unique partner for various industrial companies.
methods with high quality and reliable delivery. Finvacon is proof
The importance of manual labour in Finvacon’s production
that responsible business can be profitable.
A Welfare State Between the East and West Finland’s economy grew for most of the 1970s, apart from the
Although superpower politics thrived in the 1970s, some
global recession caused by the oil crisis in the middle of the
détente was also achieved between the East and the West.
decade. Private consumption increased as seen, for example,
World leaders, including those of the Soviet Union and the
in growing numbers of cars and televisions—Finland’s
United States, came to Helsinki in the summer of 1975 for the
millionth car was sold in the 1970s.
Conference on Security and Co-operation in Europe (CSCE).
Finns continued building their welfare state. Laws were
The meeting brought the countries closer and alleviated rivalry
passed that affected the lives of all age groups. The Day Care
between the blocs. It also had a positive effect on Finland’s
Act facilitated the wider employment of women, and students
were granted student allowances and housing supplements.
Politicization and student radicalism continued in the
Higher education spread as new universities and other schools
1970s. Urho Kekkonen’s presidency spanned the whole
were established around the country. The work week was
decade. In 1973, the Finnish Parliament recognized his
further shortened, and the Annual Holidays Act was passed.
significant role by passing a constitutional exception that
The pension system was also improved.
extended his ongoing term by four years without election.
However, the largest socio-political reform was that of
When that term ended in 1978, Kekkonen was elected for a
primary school. Its purpose was to ensure equal access
fourth term with 82% support. His popularity was partly due to
to education regardless of gender, family wealth, or place
the importance of smooth Soviet relations.
of residence. In practice, it meant that municipalities were
Finland was a leading country in endurance running in the
obligated to organize nine grades of primary education for
1970s. In the 1972 Munich Olympics, Lasse Virén won the gold
medal in the 5,000-metre race with an Olympic-record time.
Finland’s foreign policy continued balancing between the
He also won the 10,000-metre race with a world-record time,
East and the West. The Agreement of Friendship, Cooperation
even though he fell halfway through the race. Four years later
and Mutual Assistance (YYA Treaty) with the Soviet Union was
in Montreal, Virén repeated the performance with two gold
extended by 20 years. In 1973, Finland signed a free trade
medals. In 1975, Finland celebrated its second Miss Universe,
agreement with the EEC, which removed customs duties from
most agricultural products. Similar treaties were signed with some Eastern Bloc countries as well.
AMBASSADOR OF PLAY AND EXERCISE LAPPSET GROUP MANUFACTURES playgrounds and outdoor fitness sites out of Nordic wood, improving the world one park at a time. Its products support well-being by attracting people of all ages to play and exercise. Sweden used to be almost a decade ahead of Finland in developing living environments and playgrounds. A reporter from the Swedish newspaper Expressen showed Antero Ikäheimo a brochure for Swedish playground equipment. Ikäheimo saw an opportunity and started marketing the playground equipment, but Finnish summers are short, so he had to find markets where winters are warm. The Finnish playground equipment salesman wearing a wolf fur coat made an impression on potential customers, and soon he was designing his own products. The company’s northern location forced Ikäheimo to find ways
representatives no longer had to haul miniature models in a trailer
modules that can be packed tightly in containers and shipped to
but could demonstrate products using scale drawings. Exports
the other side of the world by land or sea. The end user can put
exploded with the availability of customized designs. The business
the modules together in many different configurations. Thanks
was not about mere equipment but pleasant environments, and
to this innovative solution, Lappset products spread quickly and
fitness sites joined the portfolio. Eco-friendliness and responsibility
cost-effectively around the world, and the company now operates in
have long been central for Lappset. Long before people were talking
about green issues and carbon footprints, the company co-operated
Rural flight in the 1970s caused rapid city growth. Apartment buildings rose on every block, but their yards were in danger of being neglected, so Lappset set about promoting enjoyable living
Lappset adopted 3D modelling already in the 1980s. Sales
to minimize transportation costs. This led to equipment made of
with VTT for a life cycle and energy consumption assessment of all its products. Since 2000 the industry has been shaped by technological
environments. Recreational areas made up of trees, bushes,
advances and, for example, trends like parkour and street workout.
benches, and playgrounds started appearing in residential areas
Lappset’s interactive play and learning environment SmartUs was
awarded the Finnish Fitness Solution of the Year in 2007. It laid
the foundation for many interactive playground innovations that encourage children of the digital age to play and exercise. Product development is rapid, and designs are increasing in size. Angry
LAPPSET GROUP Founder: Antero IkĂ¤heimo Founded in Rovaniemi, 1970
Birds Parks, implemented in co-operation with Rovio, initiated a new era of activity parks designed around themes. Lappset continues to promote a more enjoyable environment. As various diversions increase in our changing world, it is important
Lappset is an open-minded forerunner in playground and outdoor
to find new ways to mobilize people. Lappset invites all people,
fitness equipment, creating well-being and a better future by
regardless of age or fitness level, to enjoy an active life outdoors.
motivating people all over the world to play and exercise.â€?
PENTIK – NORDIC ELEGANCE
The recession of the 1990s hit Pentik hard, so it narrowed its focus
PENTIK OY IS A RENOWNED ceramics and interior décor company
Pentik launched a chain of shops. Money was scarce, but the
founded in 1971. The family business was born of inspiration and
owners ensured the company’s survival by selling their house, car,
a passion to create beautiful items for homes. Anu Pentik and
and summer cottage. The factory became their home address.
her husband Topi wanted to live in the North, so they settled and established headquarters in Posio. Drawing inspiration from the wilderness of Lapland, most
In the remote location, far from competition, Anu Pentik was free to concentrate on her creative work. The attractive shops drew customers, and Pentik’s products spread rapidly, boosted by the
importantly the beautiful national landscape of Posio, Pentik was
creation of two classic series, Aino and Vanilja. Anu’s courage,
built with typical Finnish willpower, little money, and loads of
sacrifices and hard work have paid off, and many of her beautiful
passion. It all started when Anu Pentik’s leather and ceramics
items can be found in most Finnish homes.
hobby expanded from the children’s room to the basement. The
The business succession went smoothly with mutual
story of the northern company spread rapidly on the pages of
understanding. Pasi Pentikäinen took over as CEO when his father,
women’s magazines, and Pentik acquired well-deserved publicity
Topi, retired in 2004.
very early. Suddenly the handicrafts that derived themes from Lapp
Child benefits formed the initial working capital of Pentik, whose
mysticism were known all over the country, and a factory had to be
dishes and other articles have now been a part of Finnish daily life
built to replace the little workshop.
for many generations. Pentik’s path from a little workshop into the
The open-minded company expanded abroad quickly, even
whole nation’s homes is a classic Finnish success story involving
though in the 1970s merely scheduling a telephone call abroad
risks and hard work. Long-term employees who enjoy and take
required a two-day wait time. Its growth was accelerated by
pride in their work have contributed to the company’s success.
the courage to seek help from professionals. Anu Pentik and
With its open-minded attitude and Finnish “sisu,” willpower,
Auli Harjama looked everywhere for partners that would be
Pentik has grown into a well-known brand, a prime example of
compatible with the Pentik brand and could expand the product
Finnish entrepreneurship. Pentik products have a close relationship
selection while making it possible to keep domestic production in
with Finnish nature, giving people a touch of northern tranquillity
Posio. Throughout, the goal was to offer people northern beauty
amidst their daily lives.
down to ceramics. Even while many companies went bankrupt,
PENTIK Founders: Anu and Topi PentikĂ¤inen Founded in Posio, 1971
Pentik is a textbook example of the attitude required for successful Finnish entrepreneurship. From a northern workshop, the brand spread into Finnish consciousness and homes. With its struggles and victories, Pentik is a true, Finnish success story.â€?
1972 attitude, the Ouneva Group makes products and systems that keep the customer’s wheels turning and their electricity stable. In 1972 Heikki Nevalainen started producing electrical connectors for one customer. He worked in an old barn in Virrat that he modified to serve his needs. In 1982 the Ouneva Group moved into a production facility in Tuupovaara. It has grown quickly by
NO ROOM FOR ERROR
incorporating companies with different areas of expertise. It started with Ouneva Oy, followed by Jotwire Oy, which specializes in wiring and cable harnesses, electronics, and system assemblies. Later
THE OUNEVA GROUP IS made up of five units with different areas of
Alsiva Oy added aluminium and zinc die casting to the portfolio.
expertise. Their production technologies and assembly know-how
Eswire Oü was launched in 2005 in Estonia. It produces cost-
are combined to provide components, assemblies, and systems for
efficient assemblies that demand a lot of manual work and high
many industries around the world.
quality control. Valukumpu Oy brought plastic injection moulding to
Finland is known globally for its high technology expertise,
the group in 2011. In recent years, the Ouneva Group has invested
but people often only talk about mobile applications or other
in automating production to better meet the increased demand for
new innovations. Finnish high-tech products are made up of
components, and there is no room for error in their production and assembly. With extensive expertise and a customer-oriented
Thanks to its tailored structure, the Ouneva Group is a field leader in metal, plastic, and system technology. With its unique expertise, the Ouneva Group offers customers a complete technology portfolio of components and product development. When one operator is responsible for delivering components and complete systems, the process is cost-efficient, information flows smoothly, and there are no unnecessary delays. Electrical engineering is a highly international industry where the quality of Finnish work is esteemed. The Ouneva Group’s reputation as a reliable partner allows it to compete with cheap imports. The company’s products are used, for example, in medical industries where there is no room for error or equipment failure. As technology advances, production requires increasing precision and flexibility. Due to its structure, the Ouneva Group is capable of overcoming these challenges. The Ouneva Group leans on the basics. Its quality, product development, and cost-efficiency make it an excellent partner in Finland and abroad. Electricity is imperative in modern society, and its use should be efficient. The Ouneva Group does its utmost to ensure the reliability of its products.
OUNEVA GROUP Founder: Heikki Nevalainen Founded in Tuupovaara, 1972
The Ouneva Group offers quality components, assemblies, and systems. The need for quality is highlighted in small, precision components or systems assembled by hand. By bringing together expertise from different fields, the Ouneva Group has become recognized as a flexible, reliable partner.â€?
SAILING WITH THE BEST
company’s specialist woodworking facility in Bosund. Importantly,
BALTIC YACHTS BUILDS world-class, custom-designed yachts for
guarantee the quality for which it is known around the world.
demanding clients. Established in 1973, the company continues
Every project is unique. Customers’ wishes and their choice
centuries of Ostrobothnian shipbuilding tradition by tailoring luxury
of detail finishing vary, but Baltic Yachts is able to make even the
yachts to meet their customers’ wishes. Due to the latest carbon
wildest design dream come true. With 3D modelling, customers can
fibre building materials the company’s yachts are fast, light, and
see the end result before building begins, providing an opportunity
strong, and their speed and appearance impress wherever they sail
to perfect the design to their requirements. Completed yachts are
in the world.
handed over to the owner’s professional skipper who spends the
Five boat-building enthusiasts launched the business in a single
final months of the build in Finland getting acquainted with the
building facility in Bosund where they realised their own vision
plethora of computer-driven and mechanical systems, innovations,
of yacht construction. In the 1970s, yachts tended to be overbuilt
and the custom detailing of their new vessel.
to deal with the sea’s harsh environment, but the new partners
Baltic Yachts also possesses unique know-how in building
decided to do things differently – and better. They designed and built
motor yachts. In July 2017, a 78-foot, fast luxury motor yacht was
their first yacht with a hull that was not only lighter than traditional
launched from its Jakobstad facility. Strong, light composites are
models, but also more rigid and faster.
popular materials for projects that are difficult to build due to their
The Hamburg Boat Show in 1974 was the first step on Baltic Yachts’ path toward international success. The company expanded
large size. In 2013 Baltic Yachts founded a service and refit centre in
the Bosund production facility when it started serial production.
Mallorca to better support its clients and owners of other yachts.
At first, the new production techniques did not impress the
Complex yachts need regular specialist servicing to maintain their
competition, but gradually other companies took notice, and
value and to meet the strict safety and quality standards which now
soon many yacht manufacturers started emulating the methods
exist in yachting. This support service is regarded as a crucially
developed by Baltic Yachts.
important part of the Baltic Yachts business portfolio.
Over the last ten years, Baltic Yachts has focused on larger
Ostrobothnia has long traditions in boat building. Even the
custom-built yachts in their modern, waterside Jakobstad plant,
Swedish army hired the best boat builders in Jakobstad when it was
with no two yachts the same. Reducing weight to a minimum is
renewing its fleet in the late 1700s. Today the area hosts many of the
the key to achieving the performance for which Baltic Yachts’
sector’s leading companies, and many recognise that the best boats
products are renowned, so every single part is weighed – right
in the world come from Jakobstad.
down to the nuts and bolts – before assembly. If a customer wants
Baltic Yachts represents Finnish boat-building expertise at its
to compromise on layers of paint in the cabins to reduce weight and
best and its products can be seen around the world keeping age-old
maximise performance, his wishes will be accommodated.
traditions alive through highly advanced modern technology.
The luxury, bespoke interiors are furnished and finished to a standard second to none. Wooden parts are hand crafted at the
the company completes every stage of production itself to
BALTIC YACHTS Founders: Thor Hinders, Per-Göran Johansson, Nils Luoma, Janne Nyfelt, Ingmar Sundelin Founded in Luoto, 1973
Baltic Yachts specialises in building custom-designed luxury yachts and has developed traditional Finnish boat-building expertise to reach new levels of expertise. Baltic Yachts’ vessels win races and attract attention wherever they sail. They are hand built in Ostrobothnia and tailored precisely to the owner’s needs. Their combination of lightness, rigidity, and speed make them highly competitive and their custom design makes each one unique.”
PROMOTING GREEN LIVING BIOLAN WAS FOUNDED in 1974 to make use of the by-products of broiler chicken farming. Excessive amounts of chicken manure had become a problem. Processing it into an eco-friendly fertilizer marked the beginning of decades of work toward a greener world. Eco-friendliness, sustainable development, and environmental care are modern trends. Different environmental strategies and emission directives guide humankind toward a more eco-friendly future. In addition to global action, the small choices of individual people are important. Biolan makes everyday eco-choices a littleÂ easier. When Hannes Kariniemi started broiler chicken farming in the 1960s, he could not foresee where the resulting piles of manure would lead. He used the manure as fertilizer, but the chickens produced it much faster than it could be utilized. Chicken feed was processed into granular form by heating, so the same method was adapted to chicken manure to process it for sales. It worked, but people had initial reservations about dried and bagged chicken manure on store shelves. A marketing campaign with an entertaining TV ad and a budget higher than the companyâ€™s revenue changed everything. The risk was worth taking: the eco-friendly fertilizer became a success, and the TV adâ€™s song became a popular earworm. Kariniemi ended up leaving chicken farming to focus on Biolan. The business grew and created innovations. After the granular eco-fertilizer, it was time to develop a composter. The Finnish language did not even have a word for the device, so Biolan invented one. The functional principle of the composter was then applied
Biolan is doing more than its share for a greener world. The
Founder: Hannes Kariniemi Founded in Eura, 1974
company has turned an unwanted by-product into a flourishing business, serving different sectors of society with solutions for everything from food production to more ecological living.”
to a composting dry toilet. Almost by accident, a strategy that has
sanitation facilities of Ugandan schools, which also enhances the
stayed the same for decades evolved for all of Biolan’s operations:
designing, manufacturing and selling products to reduce the
When Biolan started its work for sustainable development and
environmental load of human beings. Innovation followed
ecological living, people had a very different worldview and values
innovation, and the next natural steps were greywater purifiers and
than today. Climate change was seen as propaganda promoted by
solar energy. Soon Biolan had a whole product family dedicated to
environmental activists—today, world leaders meet every year to
discuss ways to stop global warming. Ecological thinking has always
There is plenty of demand on the international market for
been central for Biolan, and the company will continue to develop
products that promote sustainability. Biolan composters are highly
and enhance its operations in accordance with green values, rooted
successful, for example, in China. Biolan is also co-operating
deep in Finnish soil.
with UNICEF in a project using dry toilets to improve the deficient
DOORS OPEN TO THE WORLD
In spite of the tightened requirements, Tamware’s pace of growth
TAMWARE DESIGNS AND MANUFACTURES demanding door
still develops its door systems in co-operation with Finnish
solutions for buses, trains, and subways. Since its founding in 1975,
transportation operators because Finland’s varying and demanding
it has grown from a domestic door provider to an international
conditions are excellent for testing. In addition, the company puts
player at the vanguard of development.
its door parts and mechanisms to heavy testing in its laboratories,
Tamware started by manufacturing roof hatches and baggage
where doors are subjected to -50 °C temperatures, and some parts
compartment doors for buses. The inward-opening bus doors of the
are tested for up to six months to ensure their durability. If a bus
1970s had very simple mechanisms. Pneumatic doors were not very
door suddenly stops working, the whole vehicle is rendered more or
well suited for Finland’s cold winters and temperature extremes
because their mechanisms often malfunctioned due to water seeping
Thanks to the company’s agile size, tailoring is easy, and its
in and freezing, so Tamware started developing door systems
product development is marked by open dialogue with customers.
at the request of its Finnish customers. By 1990 the selection
Tamware owns the business park TamPark, another source of
had expanded with outward-opening sliding doors. In the 2000s,
competitive advantage. Experts from various fields have come
Tamware designed a fully electric door model to meet the wishes
together and can make use of each other’s expertise. In the past,
of bus operators. In addition to reliability, the new type of door was
Tamware manufactured all the components needed for its doors
quiet, which is still a sought-after feature as city traffic increases.
itself, all the way down to the necessary nuts and bolts. When
Soon some railway operators also wanted the improved door
the company decided to focus on its core expertise, it no longer
model because they, too, struggled with door malfunctions due to
needed large laser machining centres or painting facilities. Thanks
weather variations. Trains travel at high speeds that place heavy
to TamPark, doors are still painted under the same roof, but by
demands on their doors. Meeting these criteria started a phase of
another company. This symbiotic relationship eliminates logistics
international growth for Tamware.
problems and makes production more efficient.
Simply making it into the pool of potential door providers, let
The door market for public transportation is small, the
alone succeeding in the marketplace, is a multi-step process that
requirements high, and competition tough. There is no room for
requires many pilot projects and quality assurance measures.
error, and throughout its history, Tamware has not succumbed
Image marketing does not generate orders unless a company has
to mistakes. Its tight-knit personnel is committed to carrying the
long-term, continuous test results that prove the product’s quality.
company even farther, to the very top of the international market.
Production is guided, for example, by a vast number of standards
Tamware combines its decades of experience with Finland’s
concerning safety as well as fire and corrosion resistance. As
challenging weather conditions to achieve outstanding results.
public transportation vehicles develop, standards for doors are also increasing.
has accelerated, and its operations have expanded. Tamware
TAMWARE Founder: Markku Koskenniemi Founded in Tampere, 1975
Tamware manufactures demanding door systems to ensure the efficient movement of people by train, subway, and bus. Its commitment to continuous development and to improving cost effectiveness carries it forward in the fierce competition of this narrow sector.â€?
ONE BIG CIRCUS FAMILY
country increased the number of aspiring artists and improved
SIRKUS FINLANDIA WAS conceived of two people’s love for each
challenge because people barely had money for their daily bread,
other and the circus in 1976. Carl-Gustaf Jernström and Leena
let alone for entertainment.
Jurvakainen met at a show and ended up founding Sirkus Finlandia,
Despite the hardships, Sirkus Finlandia has succeeded in
ushering in a new era of Finnish circus. Over the past 40 years,
reinventing itself and adapting to changing conditions. Today’s
both the circus trade and the Jernströms’ circus family have grown.
Finnish circus is known internationally as interesting, modern, and
Carl-Gustaf passed the Director’s hat to his son Carl Johan in 2011.
high quality. Sirkus Finlandia is esteemed not only by spectators but
In 1975, Leena and Carl-Gustaf bought an entire circus from
by circus artists as well. It has the reputation of an employer whose
Sweden and shipped it to Finland, leaving behind the most worn out
personnel enjoy equality and a strong team spirit—one big circus
equipment. After one year of refurbishing, Sirkus Finlandia’s first
family. Following basic Finnish values, promises are kept, and no
tour started from Tammisaari in 1976. Today, the circus caravan
one is left behind. Sirkus Finlandia also carries art and culture to
travels to 100 towns all across Finland. Tours begin in the spring
where they are scarce: the most remote stop on the Finnish tour is
with a new program and new performers each year. The tent village
as far north as Ivalo.
rises in one day and is on the road again one day after the show. In this era of instant, one-click online video entertainment, live
With hard work and a relentless spirit, Sirkus Finlandia has raised the Finnish circus trade from zero to impressive heights and
and uncut circus shows still draw crowds. YouTube videos raise
international awareness. Among foreign circus artists, it has a good
the bar for planning circus shows, but in front of a live audience
reputation as a reliable employer, which contributes to a positive
there are no second takes or editing. The circus offers a unique
image of Finland. Thanks to Sirkus Finlandia, circus art is not the
experience that you cannot have on your living room couch. In
exclusive right of dense population centres but everyman’s right,
Finland, the circus is still a noteworthy art form—around 250,000
regardless of geographical location.
spectators experience Sirkus Finlandia every year. Finnish legislation has not always been favourable toward the circus. Audiences were limited and ticket prices kept high by an amusement tax which was only removed in 1981. A surprising law was passed in 1986 banning elephants, long star attractions for the circus, which caused an immediate collapse in attendance. Some relief came in 1992 when circus arts were adopted into the official art education program. Various circus clubs around the
the reputation of the field. The recession of the 1990s was a real
SIRKUS FINLANDIA Founders: Carl-Gustaf JernstrĂśm and Leena Jurvakainen Founded in Karjaa, 1976
Over forty years, Sirkus Finlandia has worked its way into the hearts of the nation by raising Finnish circus arts back onto their feet and into international awareness.â€?
TECHNOLOGY WITH HEART SINCE ITS FOUNDING in 1977, Polar Electro has always been a forerunner in heart rate monitoring, its technological innovations spreading from ski trails in northern Finland to the ends of the earth. Even with its global success, Polar still has its headquarters in Kempele, Northern Ostrobothnia, right by the legendary ski trail. The prototype of the first heart rate monitor was developed in 1977 at the electrical engineering lab of the University of Oulu. The device measured heart rate from a fingertip, which was a major development in sports performance monitoring. The next innovation was a wired heart rate monitoring belt. It revolutionized training methods for elite athletes as continuous monitoring made it possible to train at their optimal heart rate instead of at a steady pace. Polar developed the first wireless heart rate monitor in 1982. The small device was strapped onto the wrist, and it could measure and store the user’s heart rate for one hour. In the early stages of product development, Finnish electronics manufacturers Aspo, Lohja Mikroelektroniikka and Salora contributed to the technological advances. At the onset, there were no challengers for Polar’s technology— the first competitors appeared as late as the 1990s. Polar is still leading the development race, bringing new, carefully developed and improved models to market year after year. Already at an early
POLAR ELECTRO Founder: Seppo Säynäjäkangas Founded in Kempele, 1977
stage, the company launched an office in Hong Kong, then a factory in China, making it possible to mass produce heart rate monitors for the consumer market. Today, due to constantly developing technology and more
Polar is a trailblazer in heart rate monitoring. Its devices showcase
extensive data analysis, the whole fields of health, exercise and
Finland’s exceptional expertise around the globe. Decades of
sports are undergoing massive changes. Polar has always faced
work on behalf of elite level sports, well-being and fitness is,
such challenges head on. From era to era and development stage
above all, a socially valuable venture.”
to the next, the company has created entirely new possibilities
help of the field’s leading experts, Polar has conquered the world
with its monitoring technology, from programs for motivating
from its home base in Kempele.
beginners to the highly developed training systems of elite athletes.
Exercise and healthy living have become a 21st century
The company’s latest innovation is the Polar Flow service that can
megatrend, but Polar’s heart rate monitors have been serving
be linked to the Polar Loop activity tracker. In addition to sports
fitness and sports enthusiasts for decades. In its daily operations,
performance, it can be used to measure, for example, daily activity
Polar relies on traditional Finnish values, seeking to be worthy of
levels and how sleep affects recovery and daily rhythm.
its customers’ trust and striving for constant improvement. The
Polar’s location close to the high-tech city of Oulu has served it well, providing it with a steady flow of skilled employees. The
family-run, tradition-conscious company strengthens Finland’s reputation as a leading high-tech country, as its diverse heart rate
active lifestyle of people in the region offers ready access to product
monitors and activity trackers demonstrate Finnish know-how all
testers for new devices and direct feedback from users. With the
over the world.
THE SÁMI EDUCATION INSTITUTE IS A BRIDGE BETWEEN THE PAST AND PRESENT
merged into it in 1993, and the name was changed to the Sámi Education Institute. Located in Inari, Lapland, the institute is a modern training centre that draws from the past but looks strongly to the future. It is a forerunner, for example, in virtual language teaching. Its location in a sparsely populated region forces it to create innovative training methods. In addition to online distance
THE SÁMI EDUCATION INSTITUTE, Sámi oahpahusguovddáš in the
education, the institute has reached out to Lapland’s villages by
northern Sámi dialect, is an upper secondary school maintained
offering, for example, local courses in handicrafts.
by the Finnish government, offering multidisciplinary vocational
The Sámi Education Institute co-operates closely with the
training in Finnish and Sámi. The institute’s purpose is to promote
universities of Lapland and Oulu as well as other Arctic schools and
the Sámi culture and language, and to develop traditional trades.
aboriginal peoples. It was also one of the founding members of the
The Sámi, 10,000 of whom live in northern Finland, are the only
University of the Arctic, a network of over 170 schools co-operating
aboriginal people of the EU. The status, language, and culture of the
to develop the trades of the Arctic areas by offering, for example,
Sámi have long faced various threats, but the future looks brighter
researcher, student, and teacher exchange.
due to recent developments. Sámi education has increased, and
The institute’s influence can be seen and heard throughout
young Sámi generations have begun to express interest in their
the Sámi region. Teaching of the Skolt, Inari, and northern Sámi
ancestry, generating a lift for the Sámi culture.
languages facilitates the continuing and increasing use of Sámi
The Sámi Vocational School was founded in 1978. The Ivalo
School of Domestic Sciences and the Inari Education Centre were
dialects. There are particularly few speakers of Skolt and Inari
THE SÁMI EDUCATION INSTITUTE
The Sámi Education Institute has a significant role in preserving the
Founded in Inari, 1978
Sámi language and culture, as well as developing the traditional trades of the EU’s only aboriginal people.”
Sámi, so each graduate of the institute’s language program has
example, by training students in carving meat and the use of GPS
a significant proportional role in preserving the language.
positioning. Teaching in various trades is constantly being developed
Vocational craft and design students are reviving lost features of traditional Sámi dress, such as various traditional belts
to meet the needs of the changing world. The language and culture of the EU’s only aboriginal people
and shoe bands. With the support of the community, students
must be preserved, and the Sámi Education Institute has played a
have also developed new accessories, such as a certain type of
major role in this, serving as a facilitator, engine, and guiding light
in the middle of the Sámi region. The modern, constantly developing
The institute is supporting and developing the trades of the
education institute has built a diverse network and is involved in
region significantly as it trains reindeer herders, wilderness guides,
international efforts to develop the Arctic regions and secure the
cooks, IT and business professionals, nurses, artisans, and tourism
status of the area’s minority peoples.
service providers. Traditional reindeer husbandry is advanced, for
A MULTIDISCIPLINARY EXPERT ON THE ARCTIC THE UNIVERSITY OF LAPLAND, the northernmost university in the EU, was established in 1979. In spite of its young age and northern location, it has achieved status as an international university of arts and sciences, specialized in Arctic research. The University of Lapland is breaking down barriers between disciplines by offering students flexible study paths regardless of their prior level of education or faculty lines. Its northern location and the characteristics of the region are strongly present in the teaching and research. For example, Education Sciences address the challenges faced by school networks in sparsely populated areas, and Social Sciences concentrate on the significance of Arctic natural resources from the viewpoint of world politics. The University of Lapland is the only Finnish school where you can study all the way to a doctorate in tourism, which is one of Laplandâ€™s most important trades. These are some of the characteristics that attract students and researchers from all over the world to come and enjoy a unique atmosphere amidst the arctic wilderness and northernÂ lights. Establishing a university so far above the Arctic Circle was not a matter of course. The University of Lapland has often been a target of critical discussion. For example, when the plan to launch a Faculty of Law was announced, the Association of Finnish Lawyers was forcibly opposed to the idea. It was only when President Urho Kekkonen supported it that the faculty was given the green light. The Faculty of Education started at around the same time, and the Faculties of Social Sciences and Art and Design were added later.
UNIVERSITY OF LAPLAND
The EU’s northernmost university of the sciences and arts,
Founded in Rovaniemi, 1979
specialized in Arctic research. The internationally oriented University of Lapland emphasizes multidisciplinary teaching and research. Its operations have an impact from northern Finland to the North Pole.”
Nowadays the university also hosts the Arctic Centre, an
development of Arctic areas, the effects of climate change, and
international Arctic research institute that represents the cutting
aboriginal matters. These are important questions for Finnish
edge of Finland’s Arctic know-how. With its multi-national research
society as well as internationally.
group, the centre offers an international and multidisciplinary
By raising Finland’s status as an expert on Arctic conditions,
research environment. The Arctic is constantly subject to
the University of Lapland is doing extremely valuable work on both
environmental, social, cultural, economic, and political upheaval.
a national and international level. This small, northern institution
The Arctic Centre’s research group approaches these changes from
of higher learning is a tenacious, international operator that has
the viewpoints of environment, minority rights, and sustainable
spread its activities to a wide sector. Its open-minded, boundary-
breaking operating model is blazing the trail, laying a foundation
The University of Lapland honours its geographical location by administering the Arktikum Science Centre and Museum together
for quality research and teaching that attracts people even from the Far East.
with the City of Rovaniemi. The Centre examines, for example, the
Growth and a Consumption Spree The 1980s was a time of incredible financial growth. Especially
Koivisto promoted a more parliamentary style of democracy
in the early 80s, there was tremendous demand for Finnish
in domestic policy, and the presidential system was curtailed.
products and services both in Finland and abroad. The
In 1988, during Koivisto’s second term, the president’s power
economy sky-rocketed, and employment was at an all-time
was limited. For example, a president could now only serve for
high. Welfare services were increased and expanded. For
example, child and unemployment benefits were increased,
Opening up to the West was also seen in culture—
and work time was once again shortened. The decade was the
especially pop music. For example, people listened to more
golden age of the welfare state.
and more music in the English language. At the same time,
Halfway through the decade, credit started to be used to fund the economy and consumption. This happened largely
more Finnish bands tried to penetrate the international music market. Few succeeded, but among them was Hanoi Rocks,
because interest-rate regulation was lifted from Finnish banks
whose albums hit the charts in Europe, North America,
in 1986, and limits on taking foreign loans were removed the
following year. With cheap loans, people invested, for example,
In the 1980s, Finland was a leading country in winter
in property and shares, hoping to strike it rich. This resulted
sports. In major international competitions, Finland won a total
in an overheated economy and unrestrained consumption.
of 40 medals in skiing, 17 in the Olympics. The most successful
Households and companies doubled their debt loads. Dark
skiers were Marjo Matikainen-Kallström (née Matikainen)
clouds hovered over Finland’s economy, but the storm held
and Marja-Liisa Kirvesniemi (née Hämäläinen). In addition,
back until the following decade.
the career of Matti Nykänen, one of the world’s all-time best
During the 1980s, Finland started shifting westward. Urho
ski jumpers, spanned the 80s. He won five Olympic Medals,
Kekkonen, who had served as president since 1956, resigned
four of which were gold, nine World Championships, and four
due to health issues in 1981. Prime Minister Mauno Koivisto
took over his duties and was formally elected to the presidency
In motor sports, four Finns were World Rally Champions,
in 1982. He led Finland’s foreign policy toward the West, yet
and Keijo “Keke” Rosberg became Formula 1 World Champion
without neglecting the East. In 1983, the YYA Treaty with the
Soviet Union was extended. In 1986, Finland became a full member of the EFTA, and three years later, a member of the Council of Europe.
A RECIPE FOR SUCCESS THE STORY OF HESBURGER goes back farther than its founding year. Tasty food with home-made mayonnaise was part of Heikki and Kirsti Salmela’s business long before the first red H’s appeared in the urban landscape. Their entrepreneurial career started with a bus-station café and continued through a snack bar into an international fast food restaurant chain that feeds 150,000 people every day. 18-year-old Heikki Salmela started work as a chef at a
a fast food restaurant, emulating the American style right down to
restaurant named Walhalla on Kustaanmiekka, an island in
work methods and measures of ingredients. Heikki had planned
Helsinki, where he met pantry chef Kirsti Sivula. Their workplace
to use the name Hesburger, based on his nick-name, Hese, but he
romance deepened into a love story that has carried them through
asked an advertising agency to refine the idea. After two weeks and
thick and thin. The couple’s first restaurant, Kievari Grilli, was
a huge bill, the chain was, indeed, named Hesburger. McDonald’s
adjacent to the bus station in Naantali. There was plenty of work in
arrived in Finland in 1984, and the competition for the title of fast
the café and at the snack bar window, but they gave up the business
food king was fierce, especially in Turku. Hesburger had taken
when Heikki started his military service. In the army, Heikki had
a firm foothold and did not compromise on quality, even amidst
time to think about the future, and he gradually developed the idea
heavy price competition, and the golden arches had to settle for
of a snack bar chain.
The time was ripe for a new diner in Turku because employment
In 1980 they rented a facility in the Hansa shopping centre and built
A purchase offer came at the right time in 1988, and the
was at a high in the 1970s. Workers were fed up with sandwich
Salmelas decided to let go of their creation to get some rest.
lunches and formed a steady flow of customers at the snack bar
Decades as entrepreneurs had taken their toll, and free time had
the couple opened by the Puutori market square. Their selection
been virtually non-existent in the busy years. Their hiatus lasted
included hamburgers and steamed frankfurters. Heikki developed
a couple of years until the 1990s recession struck the new owner
his own mayonnaise to go with his full-beef hamburgers, and young
hard. The Salmelas made a come-back to the fast food industry
people in particular loved them, earning them the reputation of
together with their now-adult sons, Kari and Marko. Despite the
“best burger in town”. The Salmelas expanded, and their little snack
recession, Hesburger started expanding in the early 1990s and
bars spread around the city.
purchased its competitor, Carrols, in the early 2000s. Its growth
HESBURGER Founders: Heikki and Kirsti Salmela Founded in Turku, 1980
Finland’s largest fast food chain was born from one snack bar at the Puutori Market Square in Turku. Hard, relentless work and, of course, delicious food, have played the lead roles in this success story from southwestern Finland.”
was also accelerated by a carefully developed franchising model. Today people can enjoy Hesburger all over Finland and, for example, in the Baltic countries, Russia, Germany, Ukraine, Bulgaria, and Belarus. Still, Hesburger continues to seek new markets. One can say that Hesburger’s success springs from an entrepreneurial spirit. Especially in the early years, Heikki and Kirsti put themselves on the line, working side by side and in shifts. Heikki’s secret recipe for mayonnaise has been a central component of their food since the Puutori snack bar, and later the company has also developed its own mustard and ketchup. Hesburger’s recipe for success is not magic, but ordinary life and hard work.
FROM SHEET METAL BARRELS TO SUPERIOR ROAD MAINTENANCE ARCTIC MACHINE OY is a family business founded in 1981. It invests in Finnish quality and has grown quickly into an international success. Today, Arctic Machine’s equipment services roads in over 12 countries, and the company is a market leader in many regions. To get snow off Finnish roads in the 1940s, the first ploughs were forged from sheet metal barrels. Arctic Machine’s innovative history extends back to 1949 when it started further developing snow ploughs. Today it is Europe’s only manufacturer that can equip a road maintenance vehicle for year-round use entirely with its own products. It supplies equipment for snow removal, sanding, salting, and cleaning, as well as data collection tools for monitoring equipment function. Arctic Machine’s guiding principle is to offer customers a comprehensive solution from sourcing materials to follow-up. Marjatta and Olavi Virtanen founded Arctic Machine in 1981, and their bold decisions and far-sighted embrace of internationalisation have led the company to grow. During the 1980s, the company established strong contacts in Russia, making up to 40 trips a year in the most active times. One of the challenges it faced in the east was the collapse of the rouble in 1998. The Russian market fell overnight, and many foreign companies withdrew. Arctic Machine, however, stayed, strengthening its ties to Russia where it is well known and Finnish quality and attitudes are highly valued. The Virtanens’ daughter Salla and her husband Juha Jääskelä are the second-generation leaders of Arctic Machine.
ARCTIC MACHINE Founders: Marjatta and Olavi Virtanen Founded in Jyväskylä, 1981
Arctic Machine is a pioneer and market leader in road maintenance. Its premium equipment represents Finnish quality around the world while innovative product development makes sure roads stay safe in any weather.”
Entrepreneurship has always been prominent in the family home,
developed in-house, thoroughly tested and entirely Finnish.
and the business succession went smoothly. The company is still
Arctic Machine is always among the first to adopt innovations, for
going strong. Arctic Machine has the courage to take risks and the
example, IoT technology which extends the value chain and opens
ability to make big and bold decisions to revitalise its products,
relying on its capable personnel and constantly accumulating know-
Arctic Machine has always been ahead of the game in road
how. The company holds on to its skilled employees, some of whom
maintenance. Customers have also noted that quality equipment is
have been with it for over 40 years.
more economical in the long run. The company’s history, reliability
Typical of Finns, Arctic Machine refrains from boasting, even though it actually could. The secret to the company’s successful
and stability bring customers back time and again, trusting in Finnish quality which Arctic Machine exports around the world.
path from Jyväskylä to the world stage is that all products are
Experts recommend that we drink two litres of water a day, but
ALLAWAY LAUNCHED its first central vacuum cleaner in 1982.
have high expectations concerning drinking water, and many are
Since then, its mission has been to make cleaning more efficient and
diet-conscious, but we often settle for much lower-quality indoor
to improve the indoor air of our homes. Allaway revolutionized the
air without even giving it a thought. However, impurities in the air
way Finns clean, and its intensive product development and testing
dry the mucous membranes and cause allergies. Ordinary vacuum
have kept it among the leading central vacuum cleaner brands.
cleaners remove dust particles from our sights and minds, but not
Finland is known for its clean nature and fresh air. Still, Finns spend a lot of time indoors and enjoy staying at home, perhaps
from our lungs or respiratory tracts. Everyone deserves a home where they can breathe easy. Silent,
because of the long, cold, and dark winter. This highlights the
tidy, and effective central vacuum cleaners save time and improve
importance of healthy and clean indoor air.
quality of life. Thanks to Allaway, our indoor air does not have to be
While developing the central vacuum cleaner, Allaway’s founder Alpo Ikonen noted that it left no unpleasant odours or fine dust in the breathing air as the system led it all out of the living quarters. Indoor air stays fresh and clean for a long time after vacuuming. The press and consumers praised the new cleaning innovation, and the product became immensely popular overnight. Allaway had made a tedious chore more tolerable and efficient. This idea has been Allaway’s common thread for over thirty-five years as it has expanded its market to eighteen different countries. Allaway is among the three largest vacuum cleaner manufacturers in Europe. Although the basic functioning of Allaway’s central vacuum cleaner has stayed largely the same over the decades, the system is constantly undergoing product development, which is one of the company’s most important functions. The products are designed to have as little impact on the environment as possible throughout their life cycle. The latest technologies, ergonomics, and Scandinavian design are important factors in Allaway’s products, and ISO standards 9001 (quality management) and 14001 (environmental management) guide its efforts.
our lungs use 10,000–20,000 litres of air every day. Most of us
worse than our clean, fresh outdoor air.
ALLAWAY Founder: Alpo Ikonen Founded in Jyväskylä, 1982
Allaway revolutionized the way people clean their homes, improving their lives one dust particle at a time. Allaway is committed to promoting health by removing harmful microdust from the indoor air of living spaces.”
A SMOOTH FLOW OF MATERIALS
FERROPLAN OY is a family business that designs and
Founder: Pentti Patosalmi Founded in Orimattila, 1983
manufactures conveyor solutions for piece items and bulk cargo, relying on innovative design and quality of work. It has also expanded its know-how into water treatment and handling solid waste. The company’s focus on straightforward hard work without
Ferroplan Oy is a market leader in designing and manufacturing
unnecessary bureaucracy has made it a sector leader in Finland.
innovative conveyor solutions in Finland. The family business plans to
Pentti Patosalmi got the idea of conveyor solutions in 1983 as he was designing machinery for industrial needs. His one-man agency soon started making actual products in his garage: there he created his first industrial turntables and water heater components. He later expanded his facilities and shifted from individual components to entire conveyor systems. Ferroplan maintained its success throughout the 1990s in spite of the recession, and the hard times did not prevent it from developing new models and technology. For example, improved efficiency was achieved using 3D design in the late 1990s, and the facilities and personnel also grew. The company has been recognized as “Enterprise of the Year” and “Employer of the Year” in Orimattila. Since its beginning, Ferroplan has been at the cutting edge of utilizing IT systems and automation. It has faced the competition with solutions that are tailored according to customer needs. The company’s success is largely based on long-term Finnish partnerships, and it has actively participated in several public service development projects. Co-operation with Tekes – the Finnish Funding Agency for Innovation and the Centre for Economic
concentrate on green technology solutions and international exports.”
Development, Transport and the Environment have kept Ferroplan
Fresh winds have carried the traditional but youthful family
on the path of progress, which started to bear abundant fruit in the
business into new areas since Pentti Patosalmi’s daughter
Minna Patosalmi took the wheel as CEO. Although the company’s
Ferroplan entered the international market in the mid-2000s by
foundation is still in traditional conveyor technology, environmental
launching a sister company to manufacture components in Latvia.
solutions are rising in importance in the international market.
A major leap forward was delivering a composting plant to Vietnam
Risk-taking capacity and new opportunities motivate the company
in 2012. Since then, Ferroplan has been considered an expert in
to view the future with determination, especially from the viewpoint
its field by, among others, the Finnish Ministry for Foreign Affairs.
of exports. Ferroplan’s most important future advances will be
Competition with corporate giants in the global marketplace can
in environmental technology, which continues as a rising trend in
be fierce, but Ferroplan has also gained a foothold in, for example,
Finland and around the world. Ferroplan’s proactive attitude and
Algeria, Kazakhstan, and many European countries.
substantial expertise are its advantages now and in years to come.
SUCCESS STORY OF CHRISTMAS TOURISM Began in Rovaniemi, 1984
The Christmas story and Santa Claus himself are behind the
A CHRISTMAS WONDERLAND
growth of Lapland’s tourism. The tiny trickle that started with
THE CONCORDE broke more than the sound barrier when it carried
flights annually, raising Finland’s popularity and status among
the first tourists to Lapland on Christmas Day in 1984. One hundred
the world’s travel destinations.”
one flight in 1984 has grown into a flood of hundreds of charter
British tourists arrived at the Arctic Circle where Santa Claus and his elves welcomed them to Lapland. That moment marked the beginning of Finland’s Christmas tourism which offers the magic and light of Christmas in the polar night. The Christmas guests who stepped out of the Concorde had a precise timetable, including a welcoming ceremony in a Sámi hut,
delicious Christmas food, reindeer sleigh rides, and more. In the 1980s, Rovaniemi was still unknown to tourists, and all but one
My elves say that there are three kinds of people: urchins, kiddies, and
hotel had shut its doors for the holidays. However, the 24-hour visit
munchkins. Many of my older guests love the experience of entering
was a success, and the international media was enchanted by the
the fairy tale of Christmas with a child’s open mind. Most of them are
Christmas fairy tale come true.
a bit nervous at first, but once I’ve confirmed that they’re on the nice
The Concorde’s story ended in 2003, but Lapland’s magic has
list, they like to chat about things like wishes and dreams. According to
not gone anywhere—quite the contrary. People travel to Rovaniemi
the elves, one-hundred-year-old Finland has passed into the munchkin
and Lapland to admire the vibrant autumn foliage, northern lights,
stage. It is wonderful to live here and to be part of the timeless story
or glimmering snowscapes. Authentic experiences have been
that began on my home Fell, Korvatunturi (Ear Mountain). I wish
woven into accommodation services, and guests can stay in log
Rovaniemi and Finland success and all the best as the guardians of the
cabins in the middle of the snow-white wilderness, or perhaps in a
International Christmas Story!
glass igloo beneath the stars. Santa Claus has become iconic to Lapland’s tourism industry,
and you can meet him every day of the year at the Arctic Circle.
It is a story that has charmed millions of people around the world
Hundreds of thousands of visitors from around the world come
with its authenticity. Rovaniemi is no longer unknown among
to meet Santa at his office, most of them adults. The fairy tale
travellers around the world, but it has established its status as
of Christmas has no age limits; it is all about sharing the gift of
the Hometown of Santa Claus. Finns can take pride in the fact that
Santa has chosen to live in this beautiful country, Finland.
FROM BILATERAL TRADE TO CUTTING-EDGE RAILWAY EXPERTISE
when VR commissioned two Pendolinos from Italy and Sr2 engines from Switzerland. The trains were originally designed for Southern Europe, so they required major modifications for Finland’s demanding conditions. Building aluminium trains entailed new challenges for the freight-train manufacturer, and Transtech needed to design and build entirely new production lines. The know-
TRANSTECH WAS LAUNCHED as part of the Rautaruukki Group in
how acquired in building Pendolinos turned out to be a significant
1985 to build steel railway freight cars in two factories in the Kainuu
factor for Transtech’s future.
region. Over the years, it has specialized in passenger cars for demanding conditions. Transtech was established to fulfil a bilateral trade agreement
passenger cars. The design and high-precision manufacturing of the world’s largest passenger cars meant a technological leap that
between Rautaruukki and a Soviet foreign trade consortium, in
secured Transtech’s basic workload to the present day. Transtech
which Rautaruukki pledged to build the factories, and the Soviet
also continued to manufacture small volumes of freight cars into
counterpart pledged to order 40,000 freight cars during the years
the 2000s and, on subcontract, trams and products for the mining,
1985–1995. The cars were built in co-operation—the Soviets
wood and metal industries. In ten years, the steel railway car
made, for example, the bogies, brakes and couplers to their own
manufacturer had grown into a developer of passenger cars for
standards, and these were then installed on the Finnish-made cars.
demanding conditions. The same hard-as-steel expertise created
An industrial rationalization of the Finnish railway industry took place in 1990. Valmet’s Tampere factory, specializing in railway engines and passenger cars, was merged with Transtech. The
Artic low-floor trams, which operate on Helsinki streets heedless of snow and ice. Transtech made a reputation as an aluminium expert and caught
companies’ railway know-how was combined to prepare for, on the
the attention of the Spanish company Talgo, which purchased it in
one hand, the expiration of the Soviet agreement in 1995 and, on
1999. Talgo had big plans to produce aluminium passenger cars
the other hand, major investments in domestic rail traffic planned
for the United States, but the terror attacks on 11.9.2001 spoiled
for the late 1990s. However, the unexpected dissolution of the
those plans, and Transtech returned to Finnish ownership in
Soviet Union in 1991 derailed Transtech’s plans. At the time, the
2007. However, exporting without an international network proved
Soviet share of Transtech’s output was around 90%, so the client’s
too hard for a company so small in the scale of the industry. In
financial collapse was a catastrophe to the factory.
August 2015, Transtech was purchased again, this time by the
Transtech did not immediately become the main contractor for domestic projects, but soon it acquired subcontract orders
In 1995, VR and Transtech signed a contract for double-deck
Škoda Transportation Group. Through the international railway consortium, Transtech can now offer its expertise globally for
TRANSTECH Founded in Oulu, 1985
Transtech started manufacturing freight cars, but over the years it has emerged as a producer of railway cars suitable for demanding conditions. Thanks to Transtech, a vast amount of Finnish-built rolling stock is running on Finland’s tracks. Transtech’s exceptional expertise is also esteemed on the international market.”
projects with especially demanding requirements. Recognizing the significance of automation has helped Transtech keep its position amidst tough competition. Increasing the level of automation does not reduce jobs, but production can be increased. Due to Transtech’s mechanical superiority and extensive know-how, Finns can trust the high quality of the railway cars they travel in. Through hard times and adversity, Transtech has stayed strong, trusting in its know-how and the high quality of Finnish labour.
PLATES OF THE PUREST PAPER
started exporting its collection to England, Sweden, and Norway.
MINI-MAID, Europe’s leading manufacturer of paper plates, was
and printed plates, and exports account for over 90 percent of its
founded as a family business operating with one machine in 1986.
sales. It ships plates to 15 countries, most of them in Northern and
Today, the company follows traditional Finnish values and ships
around 700 million plates made of green gold every year. Mini-Maid’s factory operates in three shifts around the clock.
Mini-Maid’s path has had its ups and downs. It was founded during a recession when many paperboard businesses failed, but
Each shift produces one million plates, many ending up on the
this small and tenacious factory stayed afloat. At the turn of the
shelves of Europe’s largest supermarket, Tesco. Kronoby in
millennium, another upheaval struck the disposable tableware
Western Finland contains the former municipality of Teerijärvi,
market as EU directives banned the use of cheap recycled materials
population 2,200, where industrial companies employ an incredible
due to the heavy metals and other poisonous substances they
500 people. Of these, Mini-Maid employs approximately 75, creating
contained. The time of recycled paperboard was over, thus favouring
security, support, and well-being in nearby municipalities as
clean Scandinavian quality, which has become Mini-Maid’s
well. The company purchases most of its material from Finnish
paperboard factories, including Stora Enso, Metsä Board, and Pankaboard. Mini-Maid has grown fast. Its story began with a used plate
The company invests in Finnish raw materials, eco-friendliness, and product safety. Plastic coatings have been almost entirely replaced by biodegradable varnish. 90% of Mini-Maid’s products
machine purchased in the 1980s following rather flimsy plans.
are made of 100% virgin paperboard, which is biodegradable in
Founder Karl-Gustav Grahn used to work in the textile and clothing
itself. All surplus material is recycled in the paperboard or plastic
industry, and his transition into paper plates was not problem-free.
industry, resulting in virtually no waste. Mini-Maid’s plates bring a
With no experience in the field, he had to learn the hard way. The
piece of Finnish forest to consumers in Finland and abroad.
first order was from the government purchasing centre, and the first plates were packed by hand. After a few weeks, the company bought a plastic wrapping machine to accelerate production. Soon Mini-Maid was producing 15 cm plates so fast that it threatened to saturate the Finnish market. Consequently, MiniMaid set its sights abroad, and the first foreign order was for ten pallets of plates to Denmark in 1987. At the time, the company only made one size, so it purchased two used machines in fairly poor condition from across the Atlantic. After they were repaired, the factory could also produce 18 and 23 cm plates, and Mini-Maid
Today its 20 machines produce a variety of deep, shallow, white,
MINI-MAID Founder: Karl-Gustav Grahn Founded in Teerijärvi, Kronoby, 1986
With its home base in a small Finnish town, Mini-Maid has taken over Europe’s disposable plate market. It has grown into a leading paper plate manufacturer with its clean, quality raw materials and Ostrobothnian sisu.”
REDISCOVERING CAFÉ CULTURE ROBERT’S COFFEE is a family business founded by Robert Paulig. Its mission is to introduce quality coffee and introduce some luxury into people’s everyday lives. In today’s hectic world, it is good to stop now and then for a cup of coffee or tea, and to enjoy the moment and good company. On his trips around the world, Robert Paulig has tasted many kinds of coffee. The best have one common characteristic: freshness. Finns have long been the heaviest consumers of coffee. This is often attributed to the cold, dark, northern country—a stimulating hot drink is often much needed. On the other hand, coffee has long traditions in Finland as a drink for special occasions and mundane situations alike. Coffee has an all-round positive ring and the power to bring people together, whether for a low-pressure date or for a quick, relaxing break during a hectic work day. Before World War II, coffee was known as everyman’s stimulant. It was roasted and ground at home according to everyone’s own recipe. However, the post-war years of shortage and coffee
ROBERT’S COFFEE Founder: Robert Paulig Founded in Helsinki, 1987
substitutes left a profound mark on Finnish coffee culture. Finally, in 1987 Robert Paulig decided to rejuvenate it with freshness and quality by launching a gourmet roastery with an adjacent coffee shop that offered fresh products. His model stood out from
Robert Paulig brought a whole new café culture into Finland and has
traditional cafés, and the shop was soon unable to accommodate
been an advocate of fresh coffee for decades. Finland’s reputation
all of its coffee-loving customers. Therefore Finns had to be
as the world’s leading coffee country is no longer based on mere
introduced to take-away coffee. A coffee trailer purchased from the
quantity but also on the highest quality.”
United States made it possible to serve large groups of people in the
Robert Paulig’s decades of investment into reviving coffee traditions
middle of Helsinki without compromising on quality.
continue today as his children, Carl-Gustav and Henrika, are
The selection grew with espresso, café latte, and various
supporting him in his venture. At first, the younger generation’s
layered coffee drinks that looked like works of art in their tall
contribution was mostly to play on the burlap coffee bags in the
glasses. This new type of café culture gradually spread throughout
storage room, but now they have their hands steadily on the coffee
Finland. Robert’s Coffee has never invested much in marketing
grinder and are carrying the business forward. Finnishness and
because its quality products have been their own best possible
the 300-year coffee traditions of the Paulig family are matters of
advertisement. The company welcomes increased competition in
the heart for the company. Finland’s clean groundwater and fresh
the field because it benefits all friends of good coffee.
ingredients generate exquisite products, and the world’s leading
In 2014 Robert Paulig decided to focus entirely on cafés in Finland and abroad. A transparent and short production chain
coffee nation has the privilege of enjoying them in Robert’s Coffee’s warm, welcoming cafés.
is still at the heart of the company, making it possible to offer customers the best possible coffee, tea, and ice cream.
A GUARDIAN OF DATA NETWORKS WHEN RISTO SIILASMAA was 15 years old, he dreamed of coding the world’s best adventure game. But fate had other plans and led him to establish one of the world’s leading information security companies. F-Secure was born when the Internet was being introduced to homes, and online threats were still unknown to the general public. F-Secure dedicates itself to cybersecurity so its customers can stay safe. Risto Siilasmaa and Petri Allas founded F-Secure by filling in the company registration forms as a course assignment for school. Originally named Data Fellows, the company’s early cash flow came from various training events and consulting. As the friends’ client base grew, they recruited employees with a notice on a school bulletin board. They invested more and more of their profits into hiring programmers, and the company gradually expanded into software development. During F-Secure’s early years, Risto Siilasmaa typed out all the contracts, designed the
F-SECURE Founders: Petri Allas, Risto Siilasmaa Founded in Helsinki, 1988
logo, managed the books, paid the bills and salaries, and provided customer support. The company grew quickly and hired Mikko Hyppönen, one of today’s most renowned information security experts, to package its security update floppy disks for delivery by mail. The company changed its name to F-Secure. And although it was shaken when
F-Secure offers information security services and fights tirelessly to keep data networks safe and functioning. It started its operations before the Internet became widespread. And today, it continues to do its utmost to deliver cybersecurity around the world in the midst of a never-ending race against hackers and malware distributors.”
the dot-com bubble burst in the early 2000s, its firm foothold and strong vision helped it through the worst. Instead of creating individual anti-virus software programs, it shifted its focus to developing information security services. As broadband connections spread in Finnish homes, F-Secure offered information security services to network operators to
protect broadband users from online threats, which had become
threats. The sector is constantly evolving, and attackers do
a very real problem for many people and organizations. The
not allow information security providers a moment’s rest. The
company’s timing was right, and it started growing again. Threats
most advanced attackers can break through any defenses, so in
increased as the number of Internet users grew, and F-Secure often
addition to prevention, rapid detection of data breaches is vital. A
fought cyberattacks day and night. In the early days of the Internet,
new, important area of investment for F-Secure is developing its
individual hackers created viruses just to see how far they could
detection capabilities with the use of artificial intelligence. Every
spread. Today’s malware and spyware “phish” for bank access
new smart device is a new vulnerability, whether it is a computer,
codes and corporate secrets. Information security is an endless
tablet, or mobile-operated lighting system.
race against parties who are constantly developing new techniques and strategies to exploit vulnerabilities. Businesses pay special attention to information security. On
From its home base in Finland, F-Secure offers its information security expertise to companies and consumers around the world. Finland is esteemed as a leader in information security thanks to its
request, F-Secure performs “red teaming” test attacks to find
high level of know-how and its impartial and reliable reputation. In
vulnerabilities in a company’s security systems. These exercises
an industry where trust is everything, Finland is an excellent place
also improve F-Secure’s understanding of hackers and possible
to call home.
1989 The majority of Space Systems Finland’s customers are abroad, and they represent top expertise in different fields. Know-how in space technology is used, for example, in the ExoMars project, a joint mission of the European and Russian space agencies to send a device to Mars in search of signs of life. In the medical device industry, Space Systems Finland has been involved in developing, for example, a new product that can diagnose asthma from a
SPACE TECHNOLOGY FOR EVERYDAY LIFE SPACE HAS FASCINATED PEOPLE around the world for centuries.
wrist watch developed together with a customer, which supports independent living at home for the elderly. Projects related to renewing Europe’s fleet of weather satellites are making it possible to observe and forecast atmospheric changes more reliably. Future technology trends offer Space Systems Finland new
Space Systems Finland is known as a forerunner in Finnish space
opportunities to improve the world with advanced technology and
technology and has achieved significant international status in
software. Society is being digitalized and automated rapidly, so
the field. Its high-level expertise and quality of work can be seen
the need for this company’s innovative projects is only increasing.
in its technology and software for demanding sectors: in addition
Space Systems Finland has been ahead of its time in many projects,
to space, it designs and builds applications for the needs of the
which has made it a sought-after partner globally. Trust in the
mechanical, medical, energy, defence, and other industries.
company and its excellent reputation have not come about by
Finland reached for the stars already in the late 1980s when it
accident but through world-class expertise and results. On the
joined the European Space Agency (ESA). Seppo Korpela was also
upward trajectory of this space industry pioneer in Finland, not
interested in space technology, and he did his dissertation for the
even the sky is the limit.
Finnish Meteorological Institute on a satellite that measures the ozone layer. His research inspired Korpela to launch Space Systems Finland in 1989. The company started by designing measurement systems for satellites and later specialized in software for the space industry. Space technology later proved to be a good product development forum for other fields as well. Today the company offers its expertise to numerous significant producers of machinery, medical devices, and energy and defence systems. Demanding projects require first-class know-how as the latest science is combined with new technology. At Space Systems Finland, projects are run in Finland and the Czech Republic by an international group of experts in various fields. The company’s philosophy is basically to improve the quality, reliability, and safety of high-tech systems by designing intelligent software. In addition, valuable data can be collected from the systems and analysed for the purpose of refining those systems.
sample of exhaled air. An example of preventive medicine is a smart
SPACE SYSTEMS FINLAND Founder: Seppo Korpela Founded in Espoo, 1989
Space Systems Finland is considered a pioneer in Finnish space technology. It designs and implements demanding technical applications for the space industry, and increasingly for the mechanical, medical, energy, and defence industries. Its advanced technological innovations have made it a highly soughtafter partner in Finland and abroad.â€?
Out of Recession into the European Union The economic growth of the 1980s ended in the unprecedented
growth. In other sectors, recovery from the recession was
recession of the early 1990s. In a few years, Finland’s gross
slower, but halfway through the decade, the domestic market
domestic product shrank over 10 percent, unemployment
was also back on its feet. The economy grew surprisingly fast
climbed from a few percent to 16%, and the state ran deep into
until the turn of the millennium. However, gross domestic
debt. The banking sector, domestic market, and almost all
product remained permanently below the pre-recession level.
industries fell into crisis, and foreign trade almost ground to
The collapse of the Soviet Union had more than just
a halt. Countless companies experienced liquidity problems.
financial effects on Finland. Through the decade, Finland
The recession tested the welfare state and its services to the
leaned more and more toward the West. As the Soviet Union
limit. The safety net held, but benefits had to be cut and many
fell apart, Finland resigned from the YYA Treaty and signed a
households were forced to resort to food aid.
Neighbour Treaty with the Federation of Russia. Finland joined
Many separate events occurred before and during the recession that stretched and deepened it. For example, the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991 cut Finland’s foreign
NATO’s Partnership for Peace in 1994, the EU in 1995, and the European Economic and Monetary Union (EMU) in 1998. Finland continued its role as a peacemaker, for example,
trade by almost 20%. The Bank of Finland was committed to
in EU and NATO-led UN peace-keeping operations. In 1994,
a monetary policy based on a stable, strong Finnish markka.
Martti Ahtisaari was elected president. He led Finland deeper
Interest rates rose, causing problems for households and
into the core of the European Union. Finland’s first presidency
companies weighed down by debt and even further hindering
of the Council of the European Union began during Ahtisaari’s
the struggling export sector. It was a vicious cycle.
term in July 1999.
In spite of its depth, the recession passed surprisingly
In sports, Finland won its first Ice Hockey World
quickly. At the end of 1991, monetary policy was changed, and
Championship in 1995 after many successful years that failed
the markka was devalued. The following year, the markka
to bring gold. The victory was particularly sweet because
was floated and the market allowed to define the currency’s
Finland beat its dearest enemy, host country Sweden, 4-1 in
value. Foreign trade accelerated, which increased industrial
the final. The World Championship made ice hockey Finland’s
most watched sport, and the members of that first gold-
Technology and electronics, in particular, served as engines of the economy, lifting Finland back onto paths of
winning team were hailed as national heroes.
Salmela invites artists to come and build their own exhibitions
SUMMER IS THE MOST ACTIVE TIME of year in Finland’s cultural
the artwork is created specifically for Salmela. Year after year the
life, when people visit art exhibitions and music events. Thousands
number of young artists has increased, and Salmela is a unique
of art lovers also find their way to exhibitions and concerts at Art
stepping stone for talented young artists like Ilkka Lammi. The
winter atelier offers unique facilities for creative work. An artists’
The municipality of Mäntyharju faced challenging times in the late 1980s. Long-term municipal manager Sakari Nuutinen led discussions on how to solve the problem of the deteriorating
residence was also opened in 2010 in Vyborg to increase cultural cooperation with Russia. Finnish elite artists have headlined the centre’s popular
Salmela building. In the end, a public competition challenged people
concerts and song contests. The winner of the first Merikanto
to come up with new uses for the old parish hall.
Singing Competition was Tommi Hakala, who also won the BBC
Musician and art lover Tuomas Hoikkala proposed Art Centre Salmela, an incubator for diverse art and cultural projects. The
Cardiff Singer of the World competition in 2003. In addition to music and visual arts, Art Centre Salmela does
idea stood out, and with Municipal Manager Nuutinen’s support
valuable work to preserve culturally and historically important
and Hoikkala’s determination, the first art exhibition was held in
areas and buildings. Salmela has saved buildings that are centuries
1990, presenting previously fairly unknown classic contemporary
old and given them new lives as cultural venues. The restorations
art. Nonetheless, audiences were drawn by musical performances,
are carried out in accordance with the guidelines of UNESCO and
and Salmela’s unique atmosphere charmed them and opened their
the National Board of Antiquities.
minds to the art. Salmela was intended to be a summer hobby,
Launching the art centre in Mäntyharju rescued the valuable
but instead, it became the Hoikkala family’s lifestyle, an artists’
buildings from demolition and brought new life to the village.
residence, and a summer tradition for friends of art and music.
Salmela offers young artists a workspace and an inspiring
The number of visitors grew in the following summers, so the
environment for self-fulfilment. People first admire their works at
nearby vicarage and its outbuildings were added to the centre. Later
Salmela and then often end up taking them home. The art centre’s
the renovated old village store, pharmacy, and post office were
unique atmosphere makes visitors receptive to art and increases
incorporated into the centre. Over the years, the 3,000 m² plot has
their interest in culture. Without Tuomas Hoikkala’s vision and
expanded into a cultural centre of more than two hectares in the
relentless efforts, there would be a tremendous void in Finland’s
middle of the village of Mäntyharju. In the beginning, there were
2,000 visitors per year, but as the art centre expanded to meet the demands of the art and the public, the number of annual visitors leapt to 30,000. The Vuohijärvi Nature and Culture House was added to Salmela in 2015.
every year. The emphasis is on modern contemporary art, and
ART CENTRE SALMELA Executive Manager: Tuomas Hoikkala Founded in MĂ¤ntyharju, 1990
Art Centre Salmela is a story about what art and culture can do. Art can revive a whole village and make it flourish while creating successful cultural activities. Art Centre Salmela is more than a company; it is a haven for art and culture.â€?
1991 KIHU (RESEARCH INSTITUTE FOR OLYMPIC SPORTS) Founder: The University of Jyväskylä, the Finnish Ministry of Education, and the Finnish Olympic Committee Founded in Jyväskylä, 1991
THE SCIENCE OF SPORTS THE RESEARCH INSTITUTE FOR OLYMPIC SPORTS, KIHU, has used science for the good of Finnish sports since 1991. Today it is the country’s leading applied sports research centre. Finland’s small size has posed a challenge for achieving success in sports, but what Finns lack in quantity they compensate for with creativity. KIHU has supplied the world of sports with innovations from alpine huts to javelin guns, and has performed invaluable research on healthcare for athletes. The synergy that KIHU has achieved between research and sports is unique on a global scale. The existence of sports research centres in other countries generated pressure to establish one in Finland, too. Since the founding of KIHU, it has been one of the sources of success for Finnish sports. In 1987 the Finnish Olympic Committee approved the strategy to establish a research unit in Finland to support elite sports. However, KIHU’s path was not straightforward. It took many negotiations and a lot of sportsmanship to acquire funding and get things moving. The conclusive handshakes took place in the grandstands of the 1989 FIS Nordic World Ski Championships in Lahti. From an international perspective, Central Finland is quite remote, but it has proven an excellent home base for KIHU. The City of Jyväskylä has provided the institute with good facilities, and the University of Jyväskylä has offered its academic know-how as a significant partner throughout KIHU’s history. Expertise is the key factor in KIHU’s success, and its employees have always been highly educated—more than one in three have a doctorate. The first decade of the institute was defined by creative achievements and ingenuity. Through trial and error, KIHU
The Research Institute for Olympic Sports, KIHU, is an esteemed, multidisciplinary research centre that combines sports and science in a unique way. It advances Finnish elite sports and serves as an important exporter of Finnish sports expertise.”
developed new equipment and methods that are still being used
manoeuvre in between theory and practice so that the results of
by the sports community. For example, a high-speed camera
studies performed with athletes in the field can be put directly into
was designed for analysing the movements of javelin throwers;
practice in coaching or innovation.
a “throwing gate” for recording angles and speeds; and a javelin
KIHU is a significant factor in the success of Finnish sports and
gun to analyse javelin flight performance. KIHU’s javelin research
aims to be its even more influential advocate. World-class research
has raised Finnish throwers to the world elite and brought Finland
is used to overcome the problems that young athletes face in their
Olympic gold medals, world championships, and record throws.
sports habits and the challenges involved with coaching elite
Short-term solutions are common in the sports sector today,
athletes. The institute is an internationally connected producer of
and their quality is controlled by KIHU. Sports Lab Jyväskylä
empirical data that has brought Finnish sports and coaching global
performs research such as product testing for KIHU, using science
recognition for its high-level expertise.
to generate impartial data. The mission of the institute is to
PASSION FOR THE BALTIC SEA
of roaches and using them to make delicious archipelago fish
THE GOAL OF THE JOHN NURMINEN FOUNDATION is to save
run by the Finnish Transport Agency. Its purpose is to improve
the Baltic Sea and its cultural heritage for future generations.
safety by collecting the route plans of all oil tankers navigating
Cleaning the sea and disseminating information go hand in hand
the Gulf of Finland into one database used by the authorities. In its
in the foundation. Its operations include exhibitions presenting its
environmental education, the foundation emphasizes the effects
collection of antique maps, art, and items related to seafaring.
of each individual’s choices on the Baltic Sea. It was also involved
Already as a child in his ship-owner family, Juha Nurminen was interested in the sea and the history of seafaring and cartography, as well as in sailing and diving. Juha’s great grandfather had
in creating the Baltic Sea Calculator for assessing your Baltic Sea footprint. The foundation’s publishing and exhibition divisions support
started a family business in Rauma in the late 1800s. Juha inherited
marine conservation and offer the general public information
it from his father who had begun collecting historical maritime
on seafaring, exploration, and cartography. Its books translated
documents, maps, and antique items such as navigation equipment
into different languages include Mare Balticum, The History
in the 1930s. Juha expanded the collection and launched the John
of Seafaring, and Ultima Thule. In 2015, it also published
Nurminen Foundation to safeguard this cultural heritage in 1992.
The Mapmakers’ World by authors Marjo T. Nurminen and
As a passionate diver and seafarer, Nurminen became aware of
Juha Nurminen, who were recognized by a prestigious Royal
eutrophication, or nutrient enrichment, and large algal blooms in
Geographical Society award for the book’s research on the
the Baltic Sea in the late 1990s. He wondered if the foundation could
cultural history of maps. The Loki web service shares stories and
do something about the alarming state of the water. This led to the
information about the most popular destinations on Finland’s coast
Clean Baltic Sea projects, which decrease environmental loads
and in its archipelagos.
and minimize risks quickly and cost-effectively, and the results are
The Baltic Sea belongs to us all, and work must be done
measurable. The first project was the enhanced chemical removal
where it has the most impact. The strength of the John Nurminen
of phosphorous from the three largest wastewater treatment plants
Foundation is its multinational, independent collaboration with
of St. Petersburg in 2004–2011. Other projects have been carried
experts and researchers in various fields as well as with the
out in various cities within the Baltic Sea drainage basin in north-
authorities. The work has concrete results, and the Baltic Sea is
western Russia, Poland, the Baltic countries, and Belarus.
clearer today than it was at the turn of the millennium. The nutrient
In Finland, the foundation funds a project that cuts the nutrient load of agriculture by treating fields with gypsum. The Local Fishing Project cleans the sea by fishing the overgrown stocks
patties. The foundation also started the ENSI service which is now
load on the Gulf of Finland has been reduced significantly, and appreciation of Finland’s maritime cultural heritage has increased.
JOHN NURMINEN FOUNDATION Founder: Juha Nurminen Founded in Helsinki, 1992
When people know the Baltic Sea and its history, they understand why it must be protected for future generations. On this premise, the John Nurminen Foundation collaborates across borders, making use of the latest research data in its maritime conservation and cultural projects. It wants future generations to be able to enjoy a clean Baltic Sea with its unique heritage and lively coastal culture.â€?
PURE FINNISH FOOD
much more. Use of the label is audited, and it can be found on the products of large and small companies alike. The label’s popularity has only increased despite tightened
THE HYVÄÄ SUOMESTA (PRODUCE OF FINLAND) label was
criteria. Food scandals such as BSE and bird flu have increased its
registered in 1993. It indicates that a food product is grown,
value in everyday food choices. More and more consumers demand
produced, and packed in Finland. The blue and white label is known
Finnish food, so companies also desire the Hyvää Suomesta label to
as the “swan flag,” and it is an easy, reliable way to confirm a
prove the Finnish origin of their products.
product’s Finnish origin. The idea of the mark of origin was sparked in the early 1990s as Finland was preparing to join the EU. In the 1980s,
of food is important to modern consumers, and an international
internationalization had spread into kitchens, and fears arose that
focus has given way to an appreciation for local produce.
EU membership and the removal of import restrictions would be a disadvantage for Finnish food and its producers. The association Ruokatieto Yhdistys ry (Finfood – Finnish Food
A growing number of consumers in Finland and abroad recognize the superior features of Finnish food. Finland is the world’s northernmost agricultural country. Arctic conditions
Information) adopted the idea. A large number of operators in
give food production special characteristics that are not easy to
the food chain joined the association. Funded by the Ministry of
replicate. Clean water, air, and soil are proven to generate first-
Agriculture and Forestry and the Ministry of Trade and Industry,
rate produce. The cold, long winter keeps pests and parasites in
consumers were soon familiar with the label. In a high-visibility TV
check, meaning that much less pesticides are used in Finland than
campaign, Finnish celebrities supported locally produced food. The
elsewhere. Animals are medicated only when necessary, and not as
first label was granted to the fundamentally Finnish Atria sausages.
a matter of course. The purity and safety of Finnish food are among
By the end of 1994, over 400 products carried the mark. The
the basic values of the Hyvää Suomesta label, which is probing the
financing of the label was privatised in 2000.
international market through the evolving concept of Arctic Food
Products with the Hyvää Suomesta label are made of Finnish ingredients with Finnish labour. Meat, fish, eggs, milk, honey, and
In the mid-2000s, the prestige of domestic food products dropped a bit, but it has been on the rise again since 2007. The origin
from Finland. Thanks for the Hyvää Suomesta label and the success of Finnish
all the single-ingredient products carrying the mark are always
food belongs to aware consumers and responsible farmers and
100% Finnish. In multi-ingredient products, the proportion of
manufacturers. The label has done more than its share to ensure
Finnish ingredients must be at least 75%, but in most products it is
that home-grown food is still eaten in one-hundred-year-old Finland.
HYVÄÄ SUOMESTA LABEL Developer: Ruokatieto Yhdistys ry (Finfood – Finnish Food Information) Registered in 1993
You can identify genuine Finnish food from the Hyvää Suomesta label. Finnish food is honest, clean, and seasoned by the arctic conditions. It is the pride and joy of our nation.”
HIGH-YIELDING PLANTS FOR NORTHERN CONDITIONS BOREAL PLANT BREEDING LTD. BREEDS high-yielding, quality field crop varieties for professional farmers in northern conditions. The varieties of over ten species are targeted for the needs of the Finnish food chain. Finland’s northern farming conditions are quite unique, and due to the short growing season, crops must mature quickly. The varying and severe weather conditions require resilient plants. Almost two thirds of Finland’s fields are cultivated using varieties bred by Boreal to thrive in the northern climate. Plant breeding is long-term work. Starting from the crossing of two varieties, multi-phase selection, and testing stages, it lasts over 10 years before a new variety is ready for farming. The roots of Finnish plant breeding go back to the early 1900s when Finland’s seed association started promoting quality seeds and launched its plant breeding operations. The work was expanded when Finland’s Agricultural Economic Research Institute started breeding plants in 1908, and the co-op Hankkija established its own plant breeding
BOREAL PLANT BREEDING Founded in Jokioinen, 1994; roots in the early 1900s
operations in 1913. For many decades, these players produced the majority of varieties needed by Finnish farmers. In addition, they had an important role in improving the self-sufficiency of Finland’s food production after World War II. Over the decades, the business environment changed, and in
Boreal is Finland’s unique plant breeding company, specialized in northern growth conditions. It has a key role in improving the
1992 the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry decided to reform the
competitiveness of Finnish food production. Having accumulated
plant breeding activities in Finland. The plant breeding operations
genetic resources for over one hundred years, Boreal breeds plants
of Hankkija and MTT Agrifood Research Finland were merged into
that thrive in the north.”
a state enterprise named Boreal in 1994. It was located in Jokioinen
found on virtually every dining table in Finland, be it in meat, dairy,
where there were suitable experimental fields, laboratories, and
or cereal products. Boreal has earned its position in the Finnish
greenhouses. From the beginning, the new organization effectively
food chain. Without plant breeding, our food production would
performed its core mission of plant breeding and marketing
probably never have become so voluminous and versatile, nor
profitable varieties to farmers through seed suppliers.
would it have been able to overcome the competitive challenges that
In the early days of Finland’s independence, plants were mostly
EU membership has imposed on Finnish agriculture. In addition
evaluated by their external features, whereas today, modern
to Finland, there is demand for Boreal’s plant varieties in other
laboratories dive all the way down to the DNA level. Identifying
northern regions such as Sweden, the Baltic countries, and Canada.
the genetic properties of plants helps to breed varieties that are
The need for food grows together with the world’s population.
more resistant to diseases or to produce the quality desired by
Extreme weather and increased aridity brought about by climate
the end users of the crop, the food and feed industries. In all plant
change are disturbing food production in many areas. On the
varieties, abundant crops are, naturally, a sought-after trait, but
other hand, rising temperatures mean longer growing seasons in
new varieties must always be in some way superior to those already
northern regions, which are also growing in importance for food
on the market.
production on a global scale. In addition to ensuring Finnish food
Gathering all Finnish plant breeding efforts under Boreal has proven a good decision, and the company’s fingerprint can be
production, Boreal’s plant varieties may have more extensive markets in other northern regions in the future.
QUALITY REFRESHMENTS FROM LAITILA
industry. Today it is the fourth largest brewery in Finland, featuring
LAITILAN WIRVOITUSJUOMATEHDAS (“Laitila Refreshment
Oiva (“splendid”). In 1998, the factory launched its first beer, Kukko
Factory”) quenches thirst and offers Finnish-made beverages for
(“rooster”), which became, almost by accident, the world’s first
Finns to enjoy while sauna-bathing at the cottage or celebrating
gluten-free full-malt beer, thanks to a unique brewing process
with friends. This likeable player in the beverage industry has
developed by the factory. The factory also produces various
achieved a significant foothold over the years. The company’s
specialty beers. Its creative product development has led to
products stand out on store shelves, exuding great taste and the
expanding the palate with spiced Into (“enthusiasm”) long drinks and
spirit of the good old days.
Skumppa (slang for “sparkling wine”), mixes of cider and wine.
The company is the brainchild of four men from Laitila who
factory’s ciders came out in 1997 and were sold out immediately. One year later, they named those berry and fruit-flavoured ciders
The refreshment factory produces thousands of bottles
started a company named Fisutta in 1995 to export fish products
and cans a day, so thanks to the national recycling system, the
to Central Europe. However, their business crashed, quite literally,
company’s ecological footprint is moderate. However, a lot of energy
as they had a car accident on their first marketing trip, resulting
is needed to keep production running. Environmental values are
in a load of spoiled fish. They decided to start from scratch in the
important to the company, so it only uses wind power. The factory’s
first-class water supply system is also eco-friendly and gives it
They made their first soft drinks with a Sodastream device
clean groundwater from Laitila. The mash left over from beer
in Fazer’s old egg processing plant. They were able to acquire
production is used to make feed for sheep and cattle and to give a
glass bottles from the Czech Republic and crates from a local
local bakery’s bread some rich flavour.
carpenter. Although the beverage industry was totally unfamiliar,
Enthusiasm and faith in the company’s products have made it
the entrepreneurs used their industrious spirit to turn the early
a national favourite. Uncompromising determination has helped,
challenges into victories. Their hobby turned into a profitable
especially when things have not gone according to plan. Laitila’s
business at the turn of the millennium, and in 2007 the company
drinks have already found their way to the lips of thousands and
was officially named Laitilan Wirvoitusjuomatehdas. The
thousands of Finns—the factory’s future objective is to start
refreshment factory has taken major steps by investing in new
exports. With quality that exceeds everyone’s needs and wishes, it
brewery equipment, bottling lines, and canning systems.
will undoubtedly succeed.
Since its first juice-based sodas, the company has expanded its product selection as a pioneer in the Finnish microbrewing
products like cider, beer, and long drinks alongside their sodas. The
LAITILAN WIRVOITUSJUOMATEHDAS (“LAITILA REFRESHMENT FACTORY”) Founders: Jari Laiho, Markku Pilppula, Totti Salko, Pekka Siivonen-Uotila Founded in Laitila, 1995
The Laitila Refreshment Factory produces quality beverages and has grown over the years from a microbrewery to Finland’s fourth largest company in the beverage industry. Based in Western Finland, the factory’s selection includes nostalgic sodas, Oiva ciders, Kukko beers, Into long drinks, and Skumppa sparkly drinks.”
A DARK FINNISH SYMPHONY NIGHTWISH IS THE MOST SUCCESSFUL Finnish band of all times in terms of worldwide album sales—a piece of Finnish musical history founded in Kitee in 1996. This trailblazer of symphonic metal accelerated the popularity of Finnish hard rock at the turn of the millennium. Led by founder Tuomas Holopainen, the band has achieved several important milestones. Holopainen started taking piano lessons at the age of six, but he dreamed of being a scientist, not a professional musician. However, as a fifteen-year-old exchange student in the United States, he saw Metallica and Guns N’ Roses live, which lit a fire inside him that he could not extinguish. As he continued his studies in Finland, he played in his schoolmates’ heavy metal bands. After a few years, he decided to try his hand at songwriting, and the project named Nightwish was born. Holopainen himself played keyboards; his schoolmate Erno Vuorinen played guitar; and Tarja Turunen took the microphone. They recorded their first songs during Christmas break at a studio at Kiteen Huvikeskus, a local youth organization’s
music venue. After Jukka Nevalainen joined the band with his
Founder: Tuomas Holopainen Founded in Kitee, 1996
drums, they recorded their first album, ‘Angels Fall First’. The style of Nightwish evolved in time from acoustic and atmospheric toward metal. After the band released ‘Oceanborn’, they started landing gigs. Their popularity forced the band members to make a choice: together they decided to postpone their studies and focus on music. Tuomas Holopainen was studying at the
Nightwish is extremely popular in Finland and around the world. This
University of Kuopio’s Faculty of Natural Sciences. He informed his
symphonic metal band has been at the top of the charts for over two
parents that he was putting off his studies and asked them to lend
decades and stayed loyal to the path it has chosen, keeping music as its
him 8,000 marks for a new keyboard.
number one priority.”
The ‘Wishmaster’ album leapt to the top of Finland’s charts, and the whole genre of Finnish metal was soaring. The following year,
out Wembley Arena in London as its first ever Finnish headliner. The band members’ passion for making music has kept
Marco Hietala came aboard as bassist and male vocalist. The
burning for over two decades since their youth. From a small
band’s 2004 album, ‘Once’, was Europe’s top-selling album for
town in Northern Karelia, their path has led to stages as far as
two weeks: Nightwish had made its international breakthrough.
Australia and South America, and their audiences have ranged from
But in spite of their incredible success, vocalist Tarja Turunen and
hundreds at private clubs to tens of thousands at major stadiums.
Nightwish went their separate ways.
Nightwish have survived the pitfalls of fame with co-operation
The band started looking for a new singer who could continue
and self-confidence. The secrets to Nightwish’s success are the
its trademark, powerful female vocals. Swedish Anette Olzon was
quality of their music, sincerity, and an inextinguishable desire for
chosen out of two thousand applicants. The change of vocalist did
not slow the band down—‘Dark Passion Play’ sold platinum on the
Finnish melancholy and the songwriters’ life experiences
day it was released in 2007. However, during its international tour in
resound in Nightwish’s music. One of the band’s sources of
2012, Nightwish suddenly parted with Olzon and replaced her with
inspiration is Finnish nature. The Finnishness that is crystallized
Dutch Floor Jansen. In 2015, the band released ‘Endless Forms Most
in their songs helps them to maintain a special feeling of national
Beautiful’ and made Finnish rock history by performing at the sold-
pride while travelling far away from home.
SUPPORTING RESPONSIBLE FAMILY BUSINESSES ACROSS GENERATIONS THE FINNISH FAMILY FIRMS ASSOCIATION (Perheyritysten liitto) was formed by Finland’s largest family businesses to serve as an advocate and a networking organization for family businesses. The association supports companies across generations by influencing society and offering peer support and coaching. Family businesses wanted to organize as a result of changes taking place in society. Finland had joined the EU in 1995 and had
The association’s status has risen in the 2000s, and since it is not
overcome a deep recession. Nokia was soaring, drawing other
a labour union, it has been able to facilitate dialogue with both
companies in its wake. Changes in the global economy made
employee and employer parties. It co-operates closely with the
international contacts more important for companies, and attitudes
Finland Chamber of Commerce, the Confederation of Finnish
toward entrepreneurship were becoming more positive. The
Industries, and the Federation of Finnish Enterprises. Their joint
owner perspective was highlighted, and Finnish family firms began
statements benefit from the association’s vision of ownership
thinking about the differences between family-owned companies
with a face.
and those with a different ownership structure. The model for the organization was found in Switzerland,
association’s trademark. It offers its members ways to prepare
where the Family Business Network (FBN International) had
for succession and tools to overcome the related challenges. The
promoted learning and networking since the 1980s. National
association believes that tax policy in Finland should be modified
affiliated associations were established, and in Finland, Peter Fazer
to give the new generation the best possible chance to invest and
brought the strong owner families together into a network that
develop the family business.
started activities in 1997. The network was soon organized as a
Supporting succession in family businesses has become the
The association has created the internationally significant
co-operation, coaching, and advocacy association with the goal of
operation model Next, which offers support and networking
promoting responsible and transparent ownership.
opportunities to the new owner generation of family businesses
as they grow into responsible business leaders. Authenticity is valued when experiences are shared in member meetings. Sharing company stories has shown that although family businesses are different, many opportunities and challenges are common, and
PERHEYRITYSTEN LIITTO, FINNISH FAMILY FIRMS ASSOCIATION Founded in Helsinki, 1997
people can learn from the success and solutions of others. During its 20-year history, the Finnish Family Firms Association has established itself as an esteemed societal actor and a spokesman for family businesses. Up to 80% of Finnish companies are family businesses, and they employ 42% of all employees in
The Finnish Family Firms Association participates in societal dialogue and legislation, emphasizing issues that are important for family businesses.
the private sector. Successful family businesses are important for
As a member of the global network of family businesses, it promotes
Finland’s economy and employment rate. They raise the vitality of
responsible ownership that revitalizes companies from generation to
their home towns and strengthen their regions.
generation, thus supporting Finland’s economy and employment.”
NEW ENERGY SOLUTIONS FOR CONSCIOUS CONSUMERS
in hand. The objectives of sustainable development are related to
FORTUM IS A CLEAN ENERGY COMPANY that produces
developing new energy-efficient and resource-efficient solutions,
eco-friendly electricity and heat. In the spirit of sustainable
reducing its environmental impact and increasing climate-friendly
development, Fortum offers intelligent solutions to improve
energy production. Fortum’s Circular Economy Village was selected
as Climate Deed of the Year in 2017. This village in Riihimäki has
Fortum was born from the merger of Imatran Voima Oy and
that use natural resources, the importance of environmental consciousness is pronounced. This is why Fortum is committed to
advanced recycling systems for materials such as plastic. Around
Neste Oyj in 1998. It started its ascending path as a new kind
half of its municipal waste can be recycled, and its utilisation rate is
of energy corporation at the sturdy roots of these two major
companies. 2005 was a year of great change as the oil business was
Fortum has also developed new solutions for reducing energy
spun off, forming Neste Oil Oyj. At the same time, Fortum focused
consumption. It improves the energy efficiency of its power plants
more on power and heat production. During its almost 20-year
with investments and new technology. For consumers, Fortum
history, Over the course of two decades, Fortum has expanded
offers services such as electric vehicle charging and digital
purposefully beyond Finland’s borders—today it has operations in
technology to monitor power consumption in real time. Fortum also
the Nordic and Baltic countries, Poland, Russia, and India.
sells solar panels, increasing its customers’ energy self-sufficiency
Renewable and emission-free forms of energy production
through renewable energy. When energy is produced in a more eco-
are Fortum’s foundation. Around one third of its total electricity
friendly way and consumers’ ability to monitor their consumption is
production is hydro power, but in the Nordic countries, hydro
further improved, customers can more easily reduce their energy
accounts for as much as fifty percent. The company is also
use and power bills.
increasing its production of solar and wind power by investing in
Renewable forms of energy are evolving rapidly and challenging
new plants in Finland and abroad. In addition to renewable sources
traditional fossil fuels: for example, solar and wave energy as well
of energy, Fortum produces climate-friendly nuclear power. In
as geothermal heating offer interesting opportunities to lead energy
its combined heat and power (CHP) production, Fortum uses
production toward a more sustainable future. Fortum is proactive
other efficient fuels such as biomass, waste, and traditional fossil
in this development, producing sustainable energy and offering its
fuels. Safe and responsible energy production is a core value for
customers solutions for sensible energy consumption.
the company. Sustainability defines all of Fortum’s operations because responsible business practices and sustainable energy go hand
financial, social, and environmental responsibility. In companies
FORTUM CORPORATION Founded: 1998
Fortum is a Finnish clean energy company that focuses on renewable and emission-free forms of energy and operates in accordance with the values of sustainable development. The corporation has expanded to the Nordic and Baltic countries, Poland, Russia, and India.â€?
USER-FRIENDLY TECHNOLOGY WITH A HUMAN TOUCH DIGITALIZATION IS TAKING a constantly stronger hold on the use of technological devices and systems. Idean Enterprises is a growthoriented design and strategy firm that designs and builds digital products and services. The company’s operations all aim at the best possible user experience. Idean is the first Finnish service company to have taken great leaps on the road to success in Silicon Valley in the United States. Designing user experiences has evolved into Idean’s core business. The company employs a multidisciplinary group of experts in the digital field, service design, and user interfaces. For example, they analyse and design the user experience of an online store and make it even better. The goal is a product or service that works so seamlessly that the consumer is immediately able to use it and gains a sense of ownership. Idean’s corporate culture is
IDEAN ENTERPRISES Founders: Niko Frilander, Mikko-Pekka Hanski, Markus Kallio, Risto Lähdesmäki Founded in Jyväskylä, 1999
inspired by the traditions of Finnish and Scandinavian design. In this way, the company has brought a unique perspective to designing user experiences in the digital environment. Idean’s path started in 1999 in Jyväskylä from a concept developed by four students who saw business opportunities in the digital evolution of society. The original company, Idean Research, performed usability testing for technology firms. To fulfil the wishes
Idean Enterprises is a growth-oriented service company that designs and builds user interfaces to serve consumers in the best way possible. Drawing from Scandinavian design traditions, Idean’s unyielding determination and optimism have made it a sought-after partner around the world.”
of its customers, the company started focusing more and more on designing user interfaces, which led to founding Idean Creative in 2005. One year later, the two companies merged to form Idean Enterprises. Not even unprofitable accounting periods have been able to suffocate the energy of Idean, and international markets have
carried the company to success. In early 2017, Idean was purchased
Ambition to grow drove the company forward. Today Idean has
by one of the world’s largest IT consulting companies, Capgemini,
operations in Helsinki, San Francisco, Palo Alto, Los Angeles, New
which is based in France. Thanks to this transaction, Idean is now
York, and Austin. In Europe the company has expanded to Berlin,
able to carry out even more impressive projects while maintaining
and the next office will be opened in London. Idean has been able to
its status as an independent business unit.
secure major international accounts like IBM, Nike, and Amazon.
Idean’s long co-operation with Nokia helped it to secure major
Idean’s work ethic relies on Finnish design traditions, and its
international projects in the early 2000s, and soon the company
humble yet ambitious attitude has been fruitful in Finland and
was able to gain a foothold on its own, not only in Finland but also
abroad. The company holds on to its special expertise as it strives
elsewhere in Europe, Asia, and the United States. Determined
to reach its goal to be the world’s leading designer and producer of
ground work was the key that warmed the American market to
user experiences. Even though Idean is a hard-as-steel expert in
the Finnish company: its bold networking, optimistic attitude, and
digital technologies, the human being using a device or service is
good recommendations opened a door that had taken a long time
always at the core of the company’s thinking.
The New Millennium: the Euro and the First Female President The first decade of the new millennium in Finland began
with the Council of State. The new limits to the president’s
with growth, openness, and internationalization. European
power caused minor friction during Halonen’s term, but major
integration continued, and citizens of member states were
disputes were avoided. She was elected for a second term
learning to live in the new, EU-led system. Legislation changed
as EU directives replaced national statutes. In addition, life started having common European features.
In 2008 Finland received significant recognition for diplomacy when Martti Ahtisaari, who had served as president
One step was Finland’s joining the Eurozone in 2002. The new
before Halonen, was granted the Nobel Peace Prize for his
currency impacted the lives of Finns by making travelling
extensive efforts toward solving international conflicts. During
easier, as it was no longer necessary to exchange currency in
the decade, Finland’s school system also gained positive
Euro countries. It also made some things difficult: for example,
attention as Finnish teenagers climbed to the top positions
people had to learn to convert prices from Finnish markkas
of the PISA tests which assess students’ skills in reading,
mathematics, and science. This success is largely due to
Along with EU membership and globalization,
Finland’s excellent level of teacher training and societal
internationalization continued through the decade. This was
appreciation for teachers. People from around the world came
seen, for example, in the fact that the population of Finland
to observe teaching in Finnish schools.
grew, but only through immigration. Culture became even
Alongside the success, Finland’s schools were also hit by
more international, and Finnish metal music, in particular,
grief during the decade. Two school shootings affected the
was successful around the world. Finnish metal and hard rock
whole nation. Alongside know-how, schools and the society
broke into international awareness in 2006 when monster
as a whole started paying more attention to the mental health
rock group Lordi won the Eurovision Song Contest with Hard
problems and marginalization of young people.
Rock Hallelujah, raising the prestige of the genre to a whole
Up until the international financial crisis of 2007–2008, the
new level in Finland. In addition to music, Finnish filmmakers,
decade was a time of financial growth, falling unemployment,
especially Aki Kaurismäki, achieved international success.
and shrinking national debt, driven by mobile phone giant
In 2000, Finland got its first female president, Tarja
Nokia and the information and communications technology
Halonen. The new constitution came into force the same year,
(ICT) sector. Nokia’s success not only boosted the economy
strengthening parliamentarism and limiting the president’s
but also impacted the daily lives of Finns, who had the most
power. The president lost her power to select the prime
mobile phones per capita in the 2000s. Around 80% of Finnish
minister or individual ministers independently. In addition,
households also had an internet connection in 2009, the most
she could no longer lead foreign policy alone but together
in the world.
CRISIS MANAGEMENT INITIATIVE (CMI) Founder: Martti Ahtisaari Founded in Helsinki, 2000
CMI seeks solutions to conflicts in co-operation with the concerned parties. Founded by former President of Finland Martti Ahtisaari, CMI
PEACE IS A MATTER OF WILL THE CRISIS MANAGEMENT INITIATIVE (CMI) was founded in 2000 by former President of Finland Martti Ahtisaari. It is one of the world’s leading conflict resolution organizations, employing around 80 experts in the promotion of peace on different continents. President Ahtisaari was granted the Nobel Peace Prize in 2008. In 2000 Martti Ahtisaari had served his six-year term as President of Finland and had not yet decided what he would do next. Before his victory in the 1994 presidential election, Ahtisaari had acquired substantial experience in international diplomacy. He had taken several posts with the Ministry for Foreign Affairs, including ambassador to Tanzania, Zambia, Somalia, and Mozambique. He later worked for the UN, advancing and monitoring the independence process in Namibia. After his term as president, there was much demand for his international expertise. Ahtisaari rejected Kofi Annan’s job offer as director of the UNHCR, the UN’s Refugee Agency, and went to Northern Ireland to monitor the disarmament of the IRA and the parties’ compliance with the terms of peace. Ahtisaari’s early childhood experiences fleeing the Winter War from Vyborg in 1940 increased his desire to seek solutions for crises around the world. He listed CMI in the Finnish Register of Associations and started recruiting young experts. His annual calendar was fully booked with trips abroad, even though the CMI also hosted peace negotiations in Finland. Far from the tumult
emphasizes negotiation and dialogue. With these proven methods, the organization has achieved excellent results around the world.”
of the world, Finland was an exceptional venue for many critical
negotiation and dialogue. This is CMI’s core expertise. Conflicts are
increasing, and they have become more complicated, increasing
The Königstedt Manor in Vantaa had a central role, for example,
the need for peaceful problem solving. The development of Middle-
in the 2005 peace negotiations between the Indonesian government
Eastern, African, and former Soviet countries has a major impact on
and the Free Aceh Movement, the separatist group seeking
the future of Europe, for example, through displacement.
independence for the Aceh Region. Ahtisaari led the negotiations
CMI’s key strength is its impartiality. As an independent
that ended nearly three decades of conflict. CMI was also
conflict solver, CMI can work where states or intergovernmental
instrumental in Kosovo gaining independence in 2008, the same
organizations cannot. CMI enhances peace efforts by filling the
year Ahtisaari won the Nobel Peace Prize.
gaps between official and unofficial peace processes. Lasting peace
In its early years, CMI concentrated on supporting President
is possible only if local populations take it into their own hands.
Ahtisaari’s work. Today CMI is a mid-sized organization in terms
CMI also emphasizes the active participation of women in conflict
of its staff and budget, and its employees represent almost 20
different nationalities, working in around 30 projects around the world. Violent conflicts and humanitarian crises paralyze entire nations
CMI’s Finnish background is an added value recognized even by parties to conflicts. At the core of Finnishness are a solutionoriented attitude and the urge to treat all parties with equality.
and aggravate the cycle of poverty and corruption. Conflicts cannot
Finland’s strong democratic legacy provides opportunities to seek
be solved with violence—peace can only be achieved through
lasting solutions to conflicts around the world.
2001 and the EU. Valio needed to develop a method to prove that the lactose content of its milk was less than 0.01%. In addition, due to EU statutes, the product had to be called a milk drink, not milk. However, it tastes like ordinary milk when half of the lactose is removed through chromatography, and the other half with hydrolysis. When the milk drink came into stores in 2001, it sold one million litres in two months. It was also a forerunner in the Swedish market. Consumers value its extended shelf life treatment, which was originally adopted because the company believed sales would
PURE, LACTOSE-FREE PRODUCTS FROM FINNISH MILK
be slow. The sweetness of Hyla milk turns many milk-lovers away,
FINLAND’S LARGEST DAIRY MANUFACTURER, Valio, introduced
Eila comes from the words Expert in Lactose free, and presently Valio has hundreds of Eila products from yoghurt to beverages and from butter to cooking cream. Valio has also patented a method with which it can remove the protein that causes some
completely lactose-free milk products in 2001. Named Eila® in
Valio Eila® is an innovation born in Valio’s research and product
2012, the products have been immensely popular among milk-
development laboratory, established in 1916. Its long-term director
loving Finns, one in five of whom gets an upset stomach from
up to the late 1960s was Nobel Prize winner in chemistry Artturi
lactose. Eila products are also known abroad, one of the long-term
Ilmari Virtanen (1895–1973), in whose footsteps the laboratory is
achievements of the company’s product development.
proud to follow.
It all started from whey, which Valio processed for use in
Seventeen co-operative dairies founded a company in 1905 to
food production in the 1970s. This led to hydrolysis with which
control the quality of their export butter, and Valio is still owned
the lactose in the whey is broken down into sweeter glucose and
by the same number of Finnish dairy producer co-operatives. It
galactose. The purpose was to make syrup for use as a sweetener
acquires 85% of all the milk produced in Finland and is the largest
and to break down the lactose in milk as a by-product. Hydrolysed
food exporter in the country, delivering to 60 countries. Valio
milk was dried to a powder and tested by lactose-intolerant people.
produces fresh dairy products as well as cheese, butter, margarine,
The results were positive, and in 1980 Valio introduced low-lactose
juice, milk and whey powder, and products for commercial kitchens.
Hyla products, the predecessors of Eila. ®
Lactose is completely removed from milk using
but Eila lactose-free milk drink tastes like real milk. The name
Finland is the most important market for Valio Eila, which has created significant added value for Finnish dairy producers in
chromatography. Milk is run through a tall separation column
many ways, including its new raw material brands such as protein
through which lactose travels slower than the other contents and
products. In other countries, Valio’s lactose-free technology and
can be removed. During the late 1980s’ boom for light products,
milk powder have spread among consumers of various products,
Valio intended to prepare lactose-free milk suitable for dieters
and at a Chinese trade fair, Valio’s lactose-free milk powder won an
and diabetics. However, the project was delayed by the product’s
award as an innovative product, a well-being drink made of clean,
high price, the margarine industry’s criteria for “lactose-free”,
natural ingredients—Finnish milk.
VALIO EILA Introduced in Finnish stores in 2001
Valio specializes in fresh dairy products, and it has always been a significant player in Finland’s dairy market. Lactose-free Valio Eila® products have expanded the consumer market, and in various tests, the brand’s lactose-free milk drink has been voted the best and most fresh-tasting milk drink on the market.”
TALL OIL – GREEN GOLD FROM FINNISH FORESTS
the paint and coating industry as well as producers of various
FORCHEM HAS a modern tall oil fractionation plant founded in
with, for example, conifers growing in the south-eastern United
Rauma in 2002. It turns tall oil, a by-product of wood pulping, into a
States. Trees grow slowly in the north, and the cold winter produces
raw material that industries can process further.
tall oil with a unique fatty acid content which improves the quality of
No crude oil is pumped out of Finland’s soil, but tall oil comes from the pines in its forests and is used by an extensive, global
and lubricants. Tall oil from Nordic timber has significant advantages compared
the end product. Tall oil is interesting in many ways because it is fairly scarce,
group of industrial players. Tall oil is renewable and, above all, eco-
and entering the field is challenging due to high start-up costs. In
friendly. The greenhouse emissions and carbon footprint of tall oil
addition, there is a symbiotic relationship between pulp mills and
products are only a fraction of those of products made from fossil
distillation plants. Forchem makes use of a pulp mill’s by-product,
materials and even other renewable materials.
crude tall oil, and then sells tall oil pitch and rosin soap back to
Tall oil distillation is not a new invention—it was patented by the Finnish engineer Alfons Hellström in 1911. Finns may best
the mill. The pulp mill is thus both a raw material supplier and a customer.
remember him as the inventor of a well-known tall oil-based
There is an extremely high demand for Forchem’s products,
product, pine soap. Forchem was founded after the IT bubble
which are esteemed in Finland. Finns are interested in recycling
burst in the early 2000s, and it quickly established itself in the
and sustainable development so it is natural for them to make
marketplace by modernizing the one-hundred-year-old process
extensive use of what forests have to offer. Based on a Finnish
technology. With its enhanced process, Forchem is one of the
invention, Forchem’s refining process multiplies the value of a
leading tall oil producers in the world today.
forest industry by-product, even up to tenfold in some market
The main products of tall oil distillation are tall oil fatty acid
segments. This is not only an eco-friendly field, but also a true
and tall oil rosin. Secondary products are tall oil pitch and distilled
business of the future. Just how significant it will be as the bio-
tall oil. This wide range of products is continuously growing due
economy grows is hard to predict.
to product development in co-operation with universities and customers. For example, tall oil fatty acid contains resin acids which, according to research, have antibiotic effects on farm animals when added to fodder. This is useful not only for animal well-being and growth but also for preventing antibiotic-resistant bacteria from spreading. Other users of tall oil are, for example,
adhesives. Fatty acids are also used in producing cleaning agents
FORCHEM Founders: Martti Fredrikson, Hannu Näsi Founded in Rauma, 2002
Forchem refines tall oil, a by-product of pulp mills, into versatile products used, for example, by the paint and food industries. Thanks to its efficient production process and use of quality Finnish pine, Forchem is one of the world’s leading tall oil processors.”
NEW DIMENSIONS OF LEARNING THROUGH TECHNOLOGY
which their clientele and business environment expanded to the
ARCUSYS IS A TECHNOLOGY COMPANY that specializes in the
open-source learning environment Valamis.
digitalization of learning. It successfully combines two recognized
United States. At the moment, Arcusys is in close co-operation with the NASA Epic Challenge training program. Valamis connects astronauts, scientists, and students around the globe to solve the most epic challenges facing humanity, such as inhabiting the planet Mars. This is one example of the opportunities created through the The world is changing, and digital transformation is speeding
Finnish strengths: high-level technological know-how and
up the process. From a business point of view this means, for
education. Its product, Valamis – Learning Experience Platform,
example, changing customer expectations and increasing needs for
has spread rapidly in companies and schools around the world.
efficiency. Change is inevitable, so the fastest companies to react
In 2003, four friends based in Joensuu decided to start a
and adapt to new demands will be the winners of this evolution.
company to employ themselves. Soon their main focus became
Reaction and adaptation require learning, applying, and passing
digitalizing learning as they developed the Valamis platform.
on acquired knowledge. Valamis makes teaching and learning
Their open-minded attitude, trust in their abilities, and North Karelian determination produced successful projects through
flexible and enables the measurement, analysis, and development of learning. Traditional learning platforms cannot respond to all learning needs, whereas Valamis is easy to modify, making it possible to offer personalized learning by supporting individual strengths and different learning styles when, for example, training personnel. Combining the right technology with the latest learning methods is crucial for companies as they prepare for future ways of working. Phenomenon-based learning has proven an effective way to adopt new information because the necessary knowledge and skills are tied to real life phenomena instead of mere theory. The advantages of such learning are widely recognized, and phenomenon-based learning was also included in Finland’s National Curriculum Framework in 2016. In other words, Arcusys has created something that helps learners in companies and schools alike to adapt to the changing
world. From a small, northern country, Arcusys has spread its learning environment around the world, someday perhaps even to the planet Mars. In addition to its above-mentioned expertise,
ARCUSYS Founders: Jussi Hurskainen, Mika Kuikka Founded in Joensuu, 2003
studies have proven that Arcusys is among the top Finnish companies in employee satisfaction, which is one of the key drivers of increased competitiveness. Satisfied employees generate good results, and there is a vigorous spirit of teamwork at Arcusys. Digitalization brings challenges as well as opportunities.
Arcusys specializes in the digitalization of learning with its product Valamis – Learning Experience Platform. Valamis revolutionizes learning
Innovative companies like Arcusys help others keep up with
in enterprises and schools around the world. Combining the right
development. The company has faith in its abilities, a prime example
technology with the latest learning methods is crucial for companies as
of “sisu,” the gutsy spirit behind Finland’s success.
they prepare for future ways of working.”
LIVING A DREAM WITH A DIFFERENT KIND OF LAW FIRM
kind of legal service. Fondia hired its first lawyers in 2005, and today it has more than 100 employees. In addition to its head office in Helsinki, it has offices around Finland and in Stockholm and Tallinn. Fondia’s employees and clients love the company. Its Helsinki offices, for example, feature bright colours and comfortable furniture; its conference rooms follow different themes such as
FONDIA OFFERS diversified law services for the varying needs of its
“Grandma’s place” and “playroom”; and its reception area is a café.
clients. Companies can outsource their legal departments to Fondia
Fondia’s lawyers, or Fondians, work in 2–6-person core teams
and pay a monthly fee, eliminating the need for a new retainer for
that form a legal department according to the client’s needs. The
every matter. True to its name, Fondia takes care of all the legal
client has access to the core team’s expertise, for example, in
needs of its clients, anticipating issues and creating solutions for
employment or confidentiality issues, as an on-going service. The
their business needs.
expertise of the whole company is also available, as the core team
Fondia was conceived when young lawyer Marianne Saarikko Janson asked the question, “Do law firms always have to look the same?” She had an interesting job at a respected law firm, but it
corporate acquisitions. Clients value the Fondians’ ability to navigate between constant
demanded she give it her all. The lawyer’s robe weighed heavy, and
legal needs and unique situations. Fondia has been praised for its
the environment was more set in concrete than creative. Marianne’s
practicality and focus on the essentials—it can see the forest for the
vision of her dream job would not go away. She and her lawyer
trees. Interaction is continuous, and transparency is achieved with
husband Mårten Janson noticed a niche market between in-house
MyFondia, where all the client’s legal documents can be accessed
lawyers and external counsel, so they founded Fondia in 2004.
centrally by Fondia’s team and individuals named by the client.
The wheels started rolling, and Marianne left her job to focus
Fondia has proven that it is possible to be successful in the legal
on building networks. In 2005, Fondia and its new VirtualLawyer
sector with a twinkle in the eye and while maintaining a balance
service were presented to invited guests in an old wine cellar. The
between work and free time. The firm’s style of leadership is often
reception was inspiring. Many guests wondered why no one had
cited as exemplary and the Financial Times ranked Fondia as
thought of such a service before. Fondia’s Legal Department as
one of the top two European law firms to have changed the legal
a Service (LDaaS) sounded smart, just like its free online legal
market the most. Fondia believes that there is global demand for its
database that makes legal advice available for all companies while
style of client service. Internationalization and Fondia’s advanced
creating visibility for Fondia.
digital services were reasons for it being listed on Nasdaq First
It was not easy to establish such a different company in a
can consult with Fondia’s other experts in special matters such as
North Finland. Fondia is an example of creating a success story by
conservative sector. There were naysayers, but there was also
exporting services in traditional fields with boldness, persistence,
demand. Word spread, and clients were more than ready for a new
and courage to believe in and pursue dreams.
FONDIA Founders: Marianne Saarikko Janson, Mårten Janson Founded in Helsinki, 2004
Fondia’s client-oriented service concept covers all the legal functions and support that a company may need, including extraordinary situations. Fondia offers the legal expertise of its lawyers to help businesses succeed and improves their legal protection with its free VirtualLawyer service.”
THIN SOLUTIONS FOR THE 21ST CENTURY BENEQ IS A GLOBAL nanotechnology company that combines Finnish industrial history with high technology, creating special displays and atomic-layer coating equipment. It co-operates with international corporations and elite universities to ensure that new peak applications are taken from research laboratories into production and made available to consumers. Beneq’s story began with a former joint venture of Nokia, cable manufacturer Nextrom, where a group of engineers met in the 1990s. They designed and manufactured cable machines for the global market and led international projects. In the 2000s, Nextrom started an internal venture team to develop a service concept for new customers who aimed at moving products from the research lab to industrial production and needed help in testing, piloting, and manufacturing new industrial products. Nextrom was sold in 2005, and the developers of this new industrialization service spun it off into its own company, Beneq. Their first order came from the Micronova Centre for Micro and Nanotechnology, which needed ALD (Atomic Layer Deposition)
BENEQ Founders: Sampo Ahonen, Jari-Pekka Tiesmäki, Tommi Vainio Founded in Espoo, 2005
coating equipment. ALD is a Finnish invention from the 1970s with which thin coatings are built up under gaseous conditions one layer of atoms at a time. ALD coatings can be used, for example, to create
a perfect moisture barrier or to prevent the tarnishing of silver.
Beneq offers coating services to improve its customers’ products and
Beneq’s team had world-class expertise in thin films, so it decided
manufactures film systems and special displays based on a Finnish
to focus on coating equipment and services, productizing coatings
invention. ALD thin film technology creates extremely thin protective
for new markets, and taking ALD from research into industry.
coatings, one layer of atoms at a time.”
Narrowing its focus to its core know-how paid off, and Beneq’s
was launched in the 1980s by Lohja Oy in Espoo, Finland. Lohja
global business grew rapidly. From the start, its customers
and Planar had manufactured ALD technology-based, extremely
included international corporate giants like Philips. The core of
durable and flat electroluminescent displays. For example, Lohja
Beneq’s coating services is to improve its customers’ end products:
Finlux display modules were used at Helsinki Airport for over 20
for example, to prolong the life of lithium-ion batteries; to make
years without a single failure. Beneq’s Lumineq displays are used
solar cells more effective; and to protect flexible electronics from
in, for example, airplanes, helicopters, and medical devices, and an
breakage, OLED displays from moisture, and sensitive components
intriguing use for the new, transparent models is to laminate them
from corrosion. Coatings can block reflections, filter light, and
into the windshields of various vehicles in co-operation with glass
create decorative, metallic-looking surfaces for high-end watches.
A new application for which Beneq’s customers are using coating
Although almost 99% of Beneq’s revenue comes from abroad,
machines is printable electronics such as invisible authenticity
Finnish industrial history and know-how are the company’s
stickers to combat counterfeit products.
foundation. Thanks to Beneq, a Finnish invention is spreading in the
Beneq’s second area of operations is in durable Lumineq displays. This came about in 2012 when Beneq purchased a
global technology sector, creating jobs, and showcasing Finnish expertise around the world.
display factory from the American company, Planar. The factory
THE SACRIFICE MUST NOT BE FORGOTTEN DURING THE WAR YEARS 1939–1945, Finland’s independence was defended by a total of 700,000 men and women while the entire population was less than four million. Many sacrificed their youth and even their lives for the nation’s freedom. In addition to 95,000 fallen and 96,000 permanently injured, the war years resulted in 30,000 widows and over 55,000 orphans. The war touched the whole nation, but especially the people who experienced it first-hand.
then each organization had individually raised and distributed funds.
Thanks to the veterans who fought and suffered permanent scars,
Because of the new arrangement, veterans who do not belong to
Finland can celebrate 100 years of independence in 2017.
one of the various associations are also able to receive financial
After the Winter War, Suomen Aseveljien Liitto (“union of
nationally, regionally, and locally with volunteers as the backbone of
it was disbanded in January 1945 following the interim peace
treaty of 1944. After this, Finnish veterans were without a national
Despite having experienced the horrors of war, many veterans
organization for over 10 years until the establishment of a housing
have been active in society and, for example, dozens of veterans
association for war veterans, the predecessor of today’s Finnish
were Members of Parliament in the 1970s. Many organizations
War Veterans Federation. The Disabled War Veterans Association
have sought to document the experiences and stories of veterans,
of Finland was founded in 1940. War widows established the Union
and Tammenlehvän Perinneliitto (“oak leaf heritage association”)
of Relatives of Fallen Soldiers in 1945. A housing and support
was founded in 2003 to preserve the veteran tradition. As thanks
foundation for veterans was established in 1964, and the women
for the veterans’ sacrifices, the 27th of April has been observed as
who had served in the war founded the Federation of Women
National Veterans’ Day since 1987. Appropriately, representatives
Veterans in 1980. The transition from war to civilian life was
of the veterans are also the first guests to arrive at the annual
not always without problems, so fundraisers were organized to
Independence Day reception at the Presidential Palace.
facilitate rehabilitation and peer support for those wounded in war. Old age started rapidly reducing the number of living veterans
support. The Veterans of Our Wars fundraising campaign is run
Finnish brothers in arms”) was established in 1940. However,
In January of Finland’s 100 th year of independence, approximately 17,000 Finnish war veterans were still alive, all of
in the 2000s, and the associations decided to combine their
them over 90 years old. It is estimated that the last of them will
fundraising efforts. They founded Veteraanivastuu (“Responsibility
leave us in the 2030s. Without the heroic sacrifices of our veterans,
for Veterans”) to unite all the fundraising efforts under the banner
Finland would not exist as it is today. Through the Veterans of Our
of the Sotiemme Veteraanit (“Veterans of Our Wars”) emblem. Until
Wars campaign, Finns can pay them our debt of gratitude.
Disabled War Veterans Association of Finland
Finnish War Veterans Federation
Union of the Finnish Front Veteran Soldiers
SOTIEMME VETERAANIT (VETERANS OF OUR WARS) Founded in Helsinki, 2006 Founders: Suomen Sotaveteraaniliitto (Finnish War Veterans Federation, 1957–), Sotainvalidien Veljesliitto (Disabled War Veterans Association of Finland, 1940–), Rintamaveteraaniliitto (Union of the Finnish Front Veteran Soldiers, 1964–), Kaatuneitten Omaisten Liitto (Union of Relatives of Fallen Soldiers, 1945–), Rintamanaisten Liitto (Federation of Women Veterans, 1980–2013)
As war raged on Finland’s borders and threatened its freedom, hundreds of thousands of men and women put themselves in harm’s way to defeat the enemy’s plans. Today these heroes need help. The volunteers at Sotiemme Veteraanit (Veterans of Our Wars) co-ordinate fund-raising efforts to ensure that veterans are provided with the life they deserve.”
FINLAND ILLUSTRATED KIRJAKAARI OY was founded in 2007 to publish books that present Finland and all things Finnish from an international perspective. As Finland celebrates its 100th anniversary, Kirjakaari celebrates its own 10-year journey. It was founded during the 2007– 2008 financial crisis, and its path has often been like ploughing rocky ground, but founder Kimmo Koistinen’s faith in his company and its customer-oriented service has carried it through. Today, Kirjakaari has hundreds of thousands of books in print, showcasing Finnish know-how and culture on every continent. The translated products of this small publisher from Central Finland are on display in bookshelves from North America to Asia. Kirjakaari is personified in Koistinen who started the company in order to follow in his father’s footsteps in publishing. For Koistinen, “Finnish” means quality, which is Kirjakaari’s guiding principle. Finnish products are not always the cheapest, but you can rely on their excellence. In keeping with the Finnish ethos, Kirjakaari’s projects are seen through from start to finish with a big
heart and sparing no effort. Products are made one hundred percent
Founder: Kimmo Koistinen Founded in Jyväskylä, 2007
in Finland and tailored for the genuine needs of the end user. In the age of digitalization, mass communication, and email marketing lists, Kirjakaari’s employees go about sales and marketing with a personal touch. They always agree on projects face to face with customers and, if necessary, travel hundreds of
kilometres to do so. Careful preparation and close co-operation
Kirjakaari is the only Finnish publisher to specialize in
are good starting points for creating a book to endorse Finnish
presenting Finnish know-how and culture around the
know-how. This operating model requires hard work and plunging
world with its elegant books.”
in, but the results are always a piece of Finland printed on paper, a
from a companyâ€™s history help people understand its path from its
satisfied customer, and a happy reader.
founding to where it is today, including its background and reasons
Digitalization has rapidly changed the way society operates.
for its success, and they help the company build a credible brand.
Archives are now electronic, and many people read news on a
Kirjakaari is constantly seeking new publishing channels for stories.
smartphone rather than from a newspaper. Innovative technologies
The purpose is not to compete with traditional booksâ€”which are
also create new opportunities in the book industry, especially in
still popularâ€”but to make good stories known to the widest possible
diverse forms of story-telling. A good book is not a disposable
product; it stands the test of time and maintains its value. Quality
Proud of Finland, its culture, and the Finnish people, Kirjakaari
works and innovative uses of stories can serve as marketing tools
strives to make the potential of this northern nation known to the
many years into the future.
rest of the world and to put Finnish success stories and the people
In 2017 Kirjakaari founded the communication agency Brandia,
behind them on the map.
which focuses on using stories in content production. Stories
LEADERS ARE CHANGING THE WORLD
ticket sales, they were able to secure the former U.S. Vice
A HUMBLE YET AMBITIOUS attitude takes you far in business.
them to move the conference from Jyväskylä to Helsinki. In just
Founded in Jyväskylä, Nordic Business Forum has grown
under ten years, the number of participants has increased from less
resolutely, and after only ten years, the event is already reaching for
than one hundred to around 7,500 at the 2017 event. The outstanding
the title of ‘world’s leading business conference’.
conference experience draws business leaders back time and again.
In 2007, two like-minded young students with an
event in 2011. Since then the conference has continued to grow. The company’s desire to internationalize and keep growing led
Nordic Business Forum relies on high quality, inspiring
entrepreneurial spirit and a passion for the corporate world
speakers, and networking. It has attracted speakers like British
attended a marketing lecture at the University of Jyväskylä. Their
billionaire Sir Richard Branson and former Governor of California,
shared interests led Jyri Lindén and Hans-Peter Siefen to the same
Arnold Schwarzenegger. The inspiring and welcoming forum is a
workplace in the investment sector. When their employer needed
great opportunity for business people to network face to face as
more space, the young men decided to acquire it—they launched
well as through various media. The final touch is added by hundreds
their first limited company and rented the Schauman Mansion by
of volunteers who make sure participants enjoy every aspect of
Lake Jyväsjärvi with the intention of renting space out. However, the
the event. In addition to the annual conference, for many years,
impressive premises did not attract enough tenants, and they found
Nordic Business Forum has provided entrepreneurship training for
themselves in financial trouble. Nevertheless, the strong-willed
businessmen continued to look to the future. Lindén and Siefen were both interested in entrepreneur
A Nordic spirit is one of the event’s strengths. The company’s perseverance, determination, and courage to pursue dreams
coaching, so they planned to start organizing such events in 2013.
are carrying the conference into the future as it shares Nordic
It turned out that they held their first event already in December
values in order to improve business practices around the world.
2009. Themes included sales, investment, time management, and
Although operations have spread to other Nordic countries, Finland
leadership, as well as responsible business practices, an idea that
will continue as the forum’s home base. Nordic Business Forum
has motivated the two from the start. This first event attracted 80
believes that good leadership, not politics, will make the world a
participants who sat on modest kitchen chairs borrowed from all
over town. Encouraging feedback and the entrepreneurs’ fearless selfconfidence led them to expand. Their attitude overcame all doubts, and as the result of long, hard work, a bank loan, and successful
President, Nobel Prize winner Al Gore as the keynote speaker of the
NORDIC BUSINESS FORUM Founders: Jyri Lindén, Hans-Peter Siefen Founded in Jyväskylä, 2008
Nordic Business Forum has grown into one of the world’s most prominent business conferences. The annual event promotes responsible business practices and is inspired by the idea that leadership can change the world.”
FROM SEWAGE TO CRYSTAL CLEAR WATER CLEWER MARKETING OY has purified and recycled water since 2009. Its wastewater purification system represents nextgeneration environmental technology that combines financial efficiency with a passion for environmental protection. In Finland, the land of a thousand lakes, clean water may be taken for granted, but for most of humankind it can be hard to come by. Food production consumes around 70% of drinking water, which is already used in many places faster than groundwater aquifers can recharge. Sustainable solutions are needed fast. Clewer has developed an entirely new biological wastewater purification process, which gives it a head start in the race to conquer these problems. The innovative treatment process is based on a Finnish invention developed from an idea born in the late 1980s when a few wastewater researchers figured out how to improve the technology from the 1960s still in use at the time. They worked hard with the idea for years until the industrial wastewater requirements established by the city of Kaarina gave them the final incentive to commission the new technology. Clewer’s guiding principle is to conserve the environment by recycling water and by purifying wastewater where it is generated without the need for long sewer pipelines. Advantages of Clewer’s technology include its easy maintenance and quick implementation. Clewer’s patented purification system uses a whole new bioprocess based on specific bacteria and an innovative rotating
CLEWER MARKETING Founder: Heikki Salmela Founded in Turku, 2009
bed biofilm reactor (RBBR). Wastewater flows through a bioreactor
Clewer Oy is a forerunner of environmental technology. Its new, efficient and eco-friendly biological water purification technology recycles water for reuse around the world.”
vital for arid regions. For example, Clewer’s solution for recycling
inside which specially selected bacterial strains clean it of
water in carwash systems reduces their water consumption by a
impurities like phosphorous, nitrogen, and organic material. After
this, the sludge and chemical residues are collected and the purified
Clewer’s success is based on Finnish know-how and a unique
water is extracted. Centrifugal forces cause the process to clean
expert network that functions with agility in a country the size of
itself, and sludge can be separated and the purified water reused.
Finland. The future is being built on the principle of salvaging and
Clewer must often combat old customs as it rides the cleantech
reusing all valuable materials from wastewater. Clewer’s goal is
wave. Many wastewater treatment plants are still employing
to create a next-generation circular economy where biological
systems dating from the 1960s and are sceptical about new
water purifiers can be used for food production in city centres. New
methods. But Clewer delivers on its promises time and again.
biomechanics are definitely on track to displace old technologies
Most of Clewer’s revenue comes from exports, and its largest
in the near future. Clewer is building a cleaner environment for us
market is in Asia, where its water-saving technology is proving
all—in Finland and around the world.
Pathways of Success in One-hundred-year-old Finland Following the 2007–2008 financial crisis, Finland’s economy
of Southern Finland; the population aged; and life expectancy
fell into a long recession that raised national debt to a record
increased. There had been a lot of talk about the pension
high. The reasons for this included problems in exports and
crisis. As baby boomers are retiring, pension expenditure
a restructuring of the forest industry, one of the most crucial
is rising while the number of tax payers in the work force is
sectors for Finland’s economy. At the same time, the ICT
falling. At the same time, Finnish birth rates have fallen to a
sector waned after having boosted the economy significantly.
record low. The aging population of Finland is a real problem.
Good news came from the Finnish mobile game industry as
In 2012, Sauli Niinistö was elected as Finland’s 12 th
it grew into international success in the aftermath of the IT
president. Before the presidency he served, for example,
as speaker of the parliament and minister of finance. As of
The political debate of the 2010s was marked by two
now, the most recent Nobel Prize to a Finn was granted in
themes. The first was about the economy and savings:
2016 when the Nobel Memorial Prize in Economic Sciences
around the middle of the decade, the Finnish Council of
was awarded to Bengt Holmström together with another
State attempted to reduce the national debt with many cuts,
researcher for their contributions to contract theory. In
for example, on social security, education, and research.
one hundred years, the fragile democracy feeling its way
A solution to the recession was sought, for example,
through various challenges has grown into a strong, stable,
with a competitiveness pact aiming to increase Finland’s
and independent Nordic welfare state. Although the path of
competitiveness compared with other countries. Time will tell
independent Finland has not always been easy, it can easily be
if the measures help.
considered a success story.
The other major theme was the rise of right-wing
Many international studies performed in the 2010s attest to
populism. In Finland this was seen in criticism of the EU and
Finland’s success. Finland has ranked at the top of the world,
in resistance to immigration. It also brought to light how the
for example, in safety, equality, education, and environmental
universal polarization between liberals and conservatives was
issues. Naturally, Finland’s success does not mean that
also dividing Finns.
everything is perfect. There is still work to do to make Finland
Many of the changes begun earlier continued in the 2010s. Increasing numbers of people moved to the growth centres
and the world a better place, but the top rankings prove that Finland and Finns can be at the vanguard in this global task.
EXPORTING EDUCATIONAL EXPERTISE
Finnish education, such as its holistic approach to teaching and the
FINLAND’S EDUCATION SYSTEM is one of our society’s most
in the international operating environment. EduCluster Finland
important cornerstones, respected at home and abroad. EduCluster
has worked on projects in over 25 countries, which testifies to its
Finland (ECF) is an expert organization that develops and
special reputation around the world. The most significant project to
implements diverse education services. The company maintains the
date has been a school established in 2014 in Qatar, where a large
reputation of Finland’s high-quality education system by exporting
number of the company’s employees work at present. In addition
Finnish education around the world.
to the Middle East, Asia and Latin America have been favourable
EduCluster Finland has achieved growth and success. It was
EduCluster Finland stand out from its competitors. The quality of the Finnish education system is brought into focus
ground for Finnish education exports. Different cultures often
founded in Jyväskylä during 2010, inspired by regional development
present challenges, but EduCluster Finland can take pride in the
measures in Central Finland. EduCluster Finland integrates
ethics of its operations because education is often the best solution
different educational fields and levels: its owners are the University
for societal problems.
of Jyväskylä, the JAMK University of Applied Sciences, and the Jyväskylä Educational Consortium. The company is part of the University of Jyväskylä group
Finnish educational expertise is the foundation of EduCluster Finland, which is committed to offering the best Finnish knowhow around the world. When projects are implemented with high
and therefore entirely publicly owned. When Finnish education
quality, reliability, and creativity, customers are genuinely satisfied
authorities engage in academic co-operation, EduCluster Finland
with the service. Because Finnish teaching methods are highly
helps them find and implement commercial partnerships. It
respected, the company can look boldly to the future and seek
has gradually shifted from a regional model to an international
sustainable growth from the global education marketplace. Despite
company with branch offices around the world. Thanks to an active
its intentions to expand, EduCluster Finland holds on to the fact
marketplace and interested customers, its revenue comes almost
that education and development work must always be done with a
entirely from abroad.
Listening to customer needs and meeting them are at the core of EduCluster Finland: it tailors every service individually and does not recycle previously invented models. Its experts and partners make use of Finnish pedagogy in their teacher training, assess and improve the quality of teaching and training, and offer support for extensive education system reforms. The unique features of
seamless co-operation among different parties in the system, make
EDUCLUSTER FINLAND Founder: University of Jyväskylä Founded in Jyväskylä, 2010
EduCluster Finland is an expert organization that develops education and tailors solutions for education and learning around the world. This international education exporter can take pride in the excellent reputation of the Finnish education system.”
A BREATH OF FRESH AIR – INDOORS NAAVA’S SMART GREEN WALLS purify indoor air and increase
location. The smart green wall is part of a service package
comfort by using technology to enhance nature’s own purification
resulting in naturally clean indoor air.
mechanism. Efforts to improve work efficiency by creating cleaner indoor air are spreading around the world. Aki Soudunsaari started thinking about how indoor air could
developed by Naava is critical to its products’ functionality. As plants consume impurities in the air, they are under heavy strain.
be made more natural and healthy because he had been sensitized
Thus their irrigation and lighting require computer-level precision.
to mould and construction chemicals. He took a course at the
The system monitors weather conditions and makes adjustments
University of Jyväskylä where he met Niko Järvinen, who was
proactively, for example, as the temperature outside drops
immersing himself in using algae for purifying wastewater.
quickly. In addition, a vacuum enhances air circulation through the
In the lecture hall, their discussions turned to the problems
caused by poor indoor air, and how biotransformation could be a
In addition to their air-purifying features, Naavas must also look
solution. Soon Soudunsaari and Järvinen had started a company,
good. Allergy-free smart green walls must not flower, so just any
Naturvention, and were working on the first prototype of Naava.
plants will not do. Naava experiments continuously to find suitable
Plants purify air primarily in their roots, as they break down impurities for their nutrition. Järvinen and Soudunsaari got acquainted with NASA’s research on space station air purification
plants, and so far, only some 10 of 150 tested plants have passed the screening. Naava’s personnel need to correct many erroneous prejudices
and developed a new, soil-free substrate. Their prototype was
daily. Using plants for natural air purification is often considered
made up of various plants, pipes, and duct tape—not very classy,
nonsense, but test results and practical experiments prove the
but the two believed the results would compensate. They sold their
contrary. The naturally pure indoor air cleaned by a Naava smart
first twenty green walls by promising a refund if they did not work.
green wall enhances office work and makes it easy to breathe while
The pilot versions needed some adjustment and were not very
sitting on a couch at home.
intelligent. However, collaboration with customers was fruitful, and
Finland is known for its clean air, high technology, and health
soon the company could deservedly talk about smart green walls.
expertise—a natural birth place for Naava. On the other hand,
Not a single one was returned.
Naava has begun conquering the world, starting in the United
The company changed its name to Naava as the product
Anyone can put plants on a wall, but the artificial intelligence
States, and demand for its products is growing, for example, in
selection expanded. However, you cannot buy a Naava the way
Asia. What would be a better export than naturally clean, Finnish
you buy a couch—Naavas are precisely tailored for the intended
NAAVA Founders: Niko Järvinen, Aki Soudunsaari Founded in Jyväskylä, 2011
Naava is reconnecting people with nature by developing a symbiotic system involving technology and plants. Air purified with a smart green wall is healthy and feels pleasant. The natural air-purifying traits of plants are enhanced using artificial intelligence and automation, making it easier to breathe and increasing comfort in the desired space.”
FOR A SUSTAINABLE FUTURE THE TH GLOBAL SUSTAINABILITY FOUNDATION was founded in 2012 by former President of Finland Tarja Halonen. The foundation supports achieving the UN Sustainable Development Goals, operating on the national and international levels. Tarja Halonen served as President of Finland in 2000–2012. Throughout her political career, she emphasized human rights, democracy, rule of law, and good governance as the foundation for lasting well-being. The basic idea of the Nordic welfare state is to empower people to care for themselves and each other. Social justice is fair for the individual, but it is also beneficial for society, as it helps people turn challenges into victories. The basics of the Nordic model of society are already visible in the UN’s Millennium Goals published in 2000, but they have grown even more in importance in the Sustainable Development Goals that replaced the former in 2015. Already during her term as president, Halonen held several positions of trust in UN sustainable development projects. For example, she co-chaired the Millennium Summit, which approved
TH GLOBAL SUSTAINABILITY FOUNDATION Founder: Tarja Halonen Founded in Helsinki, 2012
the Millennium Goals, and the ILO World Commission on the Social Dimension of Globalization. She also co-chaired the UN SecretaryGeneral’s High-Level Panel on Global Sustainability as an input to the UN Rio+20 Conference. After her terms as president, Halonen has focused on supporting sustainable development in Finland and around the
The TH Global Sustainability Foundation promotes the values of sustainable development and especially the well-being of women,
world. Because sustainable development requires co-operation
children, and young people. The foundation continues the work
between different sectors of society, Finland must also increase
that Tarja Halonen began during her term as President of Finland to
its focus on the power of co-operation. Advancing sustainable
advance sustainable development in Finland and around the world.”
development requires the participation of the public and private
opportunity to participate in building their societies. Together with
sectors, universities, Finland’s active civic organizations, and other
the Trade Union Solidarity Centre of Finland, SASK, the TH Global
Sustainability Foundation organized a seminar on the concept
Sustainable development also requires education so that people understand how their life-style impacts the well-being of the environment. The foundation has striven to participate in producing
of decent work in 2016 and also published a book on the topic, ‘Challenges to Sustainability – Decent Work’. Strengthening equality is an important prerequisite for
and disseminating factual information about ways that people can
sustainable development. The TH Global Sustainability Foundation
make the world a better place to live. President Halonen’s trade
believes that improving the well-being of women, young people,
union background has inspired her to co-operate with various
and children in particular is crucially important. In this, Finland
actors in the labour market.
and the other Nordic countries are encouraging examples, and the
The UN’s 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development promotes work that honours human rights, offers safety, promotes the
foundation concentrates on these themes in Finland and around the world.
well-being of workers and their families, and offers adults the
DELIVERING MATERNITY PACKAGES WITH HEART
Symbolizing an egalitarian society, Kela’s maternity grant has
GOODS MOVE from one corner of the world to another more
grant. Its original purpose was to reduce infant mortality and to
effectively when their procurement, storage, and transportation
improve the well-being of underprivileged mothers by bringing
are well organized. Logistikas Hankinta Oy is an essential part of
them into the healthcare system. Today it is a delightful help for the
the Logistikas family, a successful provider of flexible solutions for
everyday life of families with children.
logistics and procurement. One of the company’s most significant
authentic maternity package has not lost its appeal in 80 years: almost all first-time mothers still choose it instead of a monetary
Around 40,000 packages are distributed annually. Each
operations is delivering Kela’s (the Social Insurance Institution of
package contains some 50 products from 20–30 different suppliers,
Finland) maternity package all over Finland.
including baby clothing and child-care and hygiene products. Once
Logistikas has ploughed its way through the logistics sector
Kela has selected the products and suppliers, Logistikas Hankinta
since 1997, and the family business has expanded across Finland
Oy takes charge and buys the products from the suppliers, inspects
over the years, constantly improving its IT systems to ensure
them, and stores them. Every package is packed by hand, and
smooth logistics services. Its major customers are in the
the quality of the products is monitored meticulously. Finally the
technology and energy industries as well as the import sector.
company ships the packages to expectant mothers from its logistics
The goal of Logistikas has always been to allow its customers to
centre in Rauma.
focus more on their core business by tailoring a suite of services
The maternity package has stirred keen interest in other
according to their needs, for example, using local and in-house
countries as well, but Finnish law does not allow selling the official
logistics to enhance their production processes or local storage to
package regardless of demand. The greatest need for it would be in
make their daily work easier.
poorer countries, where it would have real value, even in reducing
Through the maternity package, Logistikas has expanded
infant mortality, just like in the package’s early years in Finland.
into procurement logistics. Logistikas Hankinta Oy was founded
Logistikas Hankinta takes pride in delivering the maternity package
in 2013 to run the maternity package operations, and it has later
well, thus increasing trust in this product of the Finnish welfare
expanded into other tailored procurement services for the needs
state, now and in the future.
of the technology, energy, and maritime industries. As the turnkey supplier of the maternity package, Logistikas Hankinta makes sure every mother gets an official package that meets the standards of Kela. The maternity package has already become an institution, and Logistikas supports and develops the brand and the service in cooperation with Kela.
been part of the Finnish social security system since 1937, and the
LOGISTIKAS HANKINTA Founder: Ari Salmi Founded in Rauma, 2013
Logistikas companies offer logistics and procurement solutions and meet the individual needs of their customers by providing diverse logistics services. Logistikas Hankinta Oy has achieved a significant role as the turnkey supplier of the unique, genuine maternity package.â€?
DISTILLERY IN THE RYE KYRÖ DISTILLERY COMPANY set off on a quest to conquer the world from its distillery in Ostrobothnia in 2014. You can taste Finnish nature in its products which include whisky and gin made from Finnish rye. On a beautiful Finnish summer night in 2012, the founders tasted rye whisky and came to wonder why Finns produce and consume so much rye bread but so little rye whisky. The question sparked a conversation that led to a business idea, and then things started rolling. They first launched the limited company Rye Rye and then carefully plotted its products’ path from the field to the bottle. The core of the business is a premium quality rye distillate that can be refined into many forms. The founders started by mashing a test batch in a garage and taking it to a brewery in Pori for distillation. However, it is very difficult for the untrained palate to assess the quality of a raw distillate, so the adventurous friends smuggled sample bottles to the TWE Whisky Show and enlisted
KYRÖ DISTILLERY COMPANY Founders: Miko Heinilä, Mikko Koskinen, Miika Lipiäinen, Jouni Ritola, Kalle Valkonen Founded in Isokyrö, 2014
exhibitors as ad hoc tasters. Their positive feedback motivated the next step. The company found facilities in an old dairy in Isokyrö and started production under the name Kyrö Distillery Company. While waiting for the first batch of three-year-old whisky to mature, the founders decided to produce gin from Finnish fresh botanicals and rye base. Test batches and various development stages led to
Kyrö Distillery Company is a producer of rye distillates and a
Napue, a Finnish summer day in a bottle. Rye grown in northern fields has small grains with intense, condensed flavour. Quality
champion for premium spirits. It condenses Finland’s deepest
grain, clean Finnish water, and wild herbs and berries were mixed
flavours into its rye distillates and offers them to the world.”
together for a unique blend of flavours. The resulting gin was
named after its birthplace, the village of Napue, and its flavour
Kyrö Distillery’s products are based on delicious combinations of
comes from cranberry, sea-buckthorn, birch leaves, and various
carefully selected, premium-quality ingredients, and the same
applies to Kyrö’s founding members, Miko, Mikko, Miika, Kalle,
The entrepreneurs promoted the gin, for example, by giving
and Jouni. Each individual brings a different area of expertise
samples to bartenders while travelling on business trips. The
to the success of the enterprise, from distillation techniques to
breakthrough came when Napue was voted “The World’s Best
complicated foreign logistics. Optimism and whisky are the unifying
Gin for Gin & Tonic” at the International Wine & Spirit Competition
factors behind the five diverse business partners. The Kyrö spirit
(IWSC) in 2015. The gin caught the interest of the Finnish media,
permeates the company, manifesting in a strong community spirit
and diligent marketing abroad started bearing fruit. The new gold
and genuine enthusiasm for the company’s work and products.
medallist spread quickly in restaurants and bars, and Napue tonic
Just like the distillates it produces, the company’s success is
with cranberries and rosemary was soon being served throughout
carefully handmade. The team pays attention to every detail. For
Finland and dozens of cities abroad. While the world was enjoying
example, the classy and recognizable bottle was selected from over
Napue, Kyrö brought out Long Kyrö, a bottled long drink that gained
200 alternatives, and the label’s font is from the stone memorial
quick popularity as its combination of Napue and cranberry juice
to the Great Northern War. Even though Ostrobothnia has plenty
delves into the very essence of Finnishness. Kyrö’s first batch of
of heritage and legends to go around, Kyrö Distillery has decided
whisky was ready just before Finland’s big celebration in 2017,
to create its own. Its goal is to make Finland the promised land of
and hands-on experiments in the lab have further expanded the
GOLD&GREEN – THE PERFECT PROTEIN
meat. Simple, clean ingredients ensure that no preservatives are
OATS ARE ABUNDANT IN NORTHERN FIELDS, and interest in
unique mouthfeel. Its tenderness and softness make it suitable
their health effects has increased. People have made porridge and
for many different purposes, including almost anything normally
bread from oats for ages, but no one has really made use of their
made of meat. In addition to unflavoured, “Nude” Pulled Oats®,
full potential. Gold&Green Foods produces a whole new type of oat
the selection includes seasoned versions that make cooking
product, Pulled Oats , which has sparked hype and significantly
increased the popularity of vegetarian food, making use of and further improving the excellent reputation of Finnish oats. This plant protein product is the result of tenacious product
needed in the production of Pulled Oats®. The ingredients are mechanically mixed, pressed, and heated, giving the product a
Gold&Green Foods was founded in 2015 in the pilot bakery of the University of Helsinki, but it soon relocated to its own facilities in a former bakery in Lauttasaari, Helsinki. In spring 2016, the
development, and it is made of oats, beans, and yellow peas. The
company moved its plant to a new facility in Järvenpää, but all
idea of using oats as an ingredient for vegetarian food inspired
other operations remained in Helsinki. Pulled Oats® was an
industrial designer and startup entrepreneur Maija Itkonen, who
entirely new type of vegetarian food, and it quickly broke through
saw their potential and persuaded her friend, Reetta Kivelä, to
into the awareness of consumers around Finland and created
join her. As a food scientist, Kivelä had made a dissertation on
massive demand. In late summer 2016, the company joined the
processing oats and had studied their health effects. The two
Paulig Group, which ensured long-term support for growth and
decided to develop a plant protein with the perfect nutritional
internationalization. In just one and a half years, Gold&Green Foods
profile, and they travelled around the world seeking ideas for
has grown from five employees to around sixty.
processing oats. Research took its time, but a capable and
The founders of Gold&Green Foods believe that vegetarian
ambitious technology team was able to create the actual product
food is becoming a common trend: no one needs to be a committed
quickly. Pulled Oats® is a food, but also a patented technology.
vegetarian to eat it. It is growing in global importance for ecological
The production of Pulled Oats® is ecologically sustainable, and
beings. This makes Pulled Oats® a source of protein on par with
reasons, which means that only the imagination is the limit
the only ingredients used apart from oats are fababeans and yellow
concerning opportunities for vegetarian innovations. Gold&Green
peas. The synergistic health effects of the ingredients together
Foods is seeking growth from the international market by offering
with their fibre content form a diverse nutritional profile, including
its expertise through licenses to produce Pulled Oats®. Finnish oats
a balanced combination of amino acids, which are vital for human
definitely have what it takes to achieve global success.
GOLD&GREEN FOODS Founders: Maija Itkonen, Zhong-Qing Jiang, Reetta Kivelä Founded in Helsinki, 2015
Pulled Oats® has been immensely popular, propelling Gold&Green Foods onto paths of success in just two years. Vegetarian food is a modern trend that will continue to create opportunities for Finnish products like Pulled Oats®.”
SHIP-BUILDING EXPERTISE FROM RAUMA TO THE SEVEN SEAS FINNISH SHIP-BUILDING has a long and honourable history. Since the 1500s, Finland’s shipyards, especially on the west coast, have sent many vessels around the world. Traditionally, ship-building know-how was passed from father to son, generation to generation. In a similar way, Rauma Marine Constructions Oy (RMC) is continuing modern ship-building traditions in Rauma. RMC was established in 2014 amidst an upheaval in the Finnish shipyard industry. It operates at the heart of the marine ecosystem, designing, building, outfitting, converting, and repairing specialized vessels. In late 2015, the company’s ownership expanded with Taaleri Telakka Ky and Finnish Industry Investment Ltd, in addition to four other owners. The company’s first contract was signed in 2016 when Danish company Molslinjen ordered a 158-metre car &
RAUMA MARINE CONSTRUCTIONS (RMC)
passenger ferry. A contract with the Finnish Defence Forces covers
Founders: Aarno Mannonen, Ari Salmi First ship order: 2016
designing and building four new multi-purpose corvettes for the Navy’s Squadron 2020 project. RMC relies on a network-based model of operation and long-term partnerships. It plans and implements every project individually according to the customer’s needs and builds a unique expert network to meet the demands of each project. Shipbuilding has traditionally been based on experiential know-how, but today
Finnish-owned Rauma Marine Constructions (RMC) is specialized in building and servicing multi-purpose icebreakers, car & passenger
various digital models and simulations are used in ship design.
ferries, and military vessels for the Finnish Defence Forces. With the
At the same time, production has become more efficient and the
help of modern technology, it embodies strong Finnish shipbuilding
level of automation has risen. RMC operates in the Rauma Seaside
Industry Park, which means that it has space to build multiple
universities, engineering firms, and other expert parties. It designs
vessels simultaneously and produce its own steel structures. Its
and builds multi-purpose icebreakers for the State of Finland, which
modern technology plays an important role in the competition for
testifies to its substantial arctic expertise. Research vessels are
also part of RMC’s portfolio.
Because customer projects require strong, reliable expertise,
Ships are often identified with their building location. The
RMC focuses on specialized vessels. Successful projects require
Rauma shipyard is esteemed in Finland and around the world as
infallible technology, expertise, and experience. The majority
a first-rate shipbuilding site because ships built here on the west
of the company’s production capacity is in car & passenger
coast of Finland are of world-class quality and durability, and they
ferries, which many Finns have boarded to travel the waves. The
stay seaworthy even in extreme weather conditions. Entirely in
Rauma Shipyard’s co-operation with the Finnish Navy has always
Finnish ownership, RMC wants to continue Rauma’s many centuries
been productive, resulting in many combat vessels built. Due to
of shipbuilding traditions, which have earned the town an excellent
Finland’s northern climate, RMC can be considered a forerunner
reputation among the world’s elite shipbuilding locations.
in arctic seafaring, and it develops innovations in co-operation with
Thanks IN SEPTEMBER 2016, four people came together around a kitchen table to discuss the realization of a new project. The idea of a commemorative book to be published on Independence Day 2017 inspired the members of the working group. After that meeting, the group has grown, and many meetings have been held face to face in Jyväskylä and by telephone, Skype, and email. Different views have been integrated into one harmonious book that celebrates the independence of the one-hundred-year-old Finland. The path from a budding idea to a finished book has included over 170 interviews, extensive background research, thousands of photographs, countless kilometres driven, and naturally, loads of pure writing. Reading could not be avoided either—every spread has been read by two to three people in addition to the writer before actual proof-reading and translation. Close teamwork between professionals combined with one hundred years of Finnish success stories has created something exceptional – this book is a true collaborative effort. The working group behind Finland – 100 Years of Success is thankful to all the people who made room in their busy calendars for an interview. Special thanks also go out to the people who worked hard finding pictures and critiquing texts. Thanks to Sanna Karppinen and Sirpa Ovaskainen for their ruthless proof-reading, to Aki Myyrä for his professional translation, and to Laboratorio Uleåborg, in particular to Heikki Riikonen, for toiling with the layout and presentation of the book. Thanks must also be extended to Attorney-atLaw Aino-Kaisu Renko at Pro Juridica who helped us navigate the intricacies of contract law.
— The Working Group —
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Interviews and Photos
Cover Photo: iStock.com/Vershinin-M.
1922 Karl Fazer Milk Chocolate Photos: Fazer
Table of Contents Photo: Keijo Penttinen
1923 Finnair Keijo Suila Pekka Vauramo Katriina Veikkola Photos: Finnair
1931 Finnish Reserve Officers’ Federation Mikko Halkilahti Janne Kosonen Photos: Hedenström/Military Museum (meeting), Jussi Kangas/Museum Centre Vapriikki (firing a pistol), Mauri Terho/National Board of Antiquities (soldier), Finnish Reserve Officers’ Federation (colour photos)
1924 Savonlinja Raimo Honkanen Kai Honkanen Photos: Savonlinja
1932 Outokumpu Group Pekka Erkkilä Katri Saari Photos: Outokumpu Group
1925 Teuvan keitintehdas Henri Penttilä Photos: Teuvan keitintehdas
1933 Matkahuolto Jarmo Oksaharju Photos: Matkahuolto
1926 Lahti FIS Nordic World Ski Championships Erkki Raita Photos: Lauri Heino (joy at the finish line), Lahti Ski Club
1934 Kelirengas Teemu Sainio Photos: Nokian Tyres
Foreword Children of Finnish missionaries studying Finnish geography at the Swakopmund School in present-day Namibia. Photo: Taisto Saarinen. Picture Collection of the Finnish Evangelical Lutheran Mission, Ethnographic Picture Collection. National Board of Antiquities. 1910s Photo: P. E. Svinhufvud’s “senate of independence” 4.12.1917. Photo: Eric Sundström. Helsinki City Museum. 1917 Finland Photos: Samuli Paulaharju / National Board of Antiquities (boy and ridging hoe), Volker von Bonin / Helsinki City Museum (Senate Square), Keijo Penttinen (Koli, guksi, Helsinki Cathedral), Keijo Taskinen (forest). 1918 Åbo Akademi University Mikko Pusa Pia Södergård Photos: Åbo Akademi University 1919 Helo Pentti Piisku Photos: Helo 1920s Photo: Second-grade students of the Kerava coed school (1923-1924). Photographer unknown. Art and Museum Centre Sinkka. 1920 Huhtamaki Maisa Katila Photos: Huhtamaki 1921 Sako Raimo Karjalainen Kari Kuparinen Erkki Kauppi Photos: Sako
1927 Vierumäki Heikki Hietanen Tapani Ilkka Photos: Matti Heusala (kettlebell), Panu Rissanen (coach), Vierumäki (gymnast, ice hockey, Finnish baseball, aerial photo) 1928 Novita Daniela Yrjö-Koskinen Ernst Gylf Photos: Novita 1929 KWH-Group Holger Wester Photos: KWH-Group
1935 Artek Marianne Goebl Anja Matilainen Photos: Artek 1936 Vaisala Kjell Forsén Raimo Voipio Photos: Vaisala 1937 Kalevala Jewelry Riitta Huuhtanen Photos: Kalevala Jewelry
1930s Photo: The Lapua movement’s countrymen’s march at the Senate Square in Helsinki. Photo: Rafael Roos. Helsinki City Museum.
1938 Finnish Association for Nature Conservation Matti Nieminen Photos: Kari Hulkko (recycling), Finnish Association for Nature Conservation (Founding meeting, front page, creek, Saimaa ringed seal), Niilo Söyrinki (spring trek)
1930 Kalakukkoleipomo Hanna Partanen Perttu Partanen Photos: Kalakukkoleipomo Hanna Partanen
1939 Raisio Group Marjo Ahvenainen Photos: Raisio Group
Interviews and Photos
1940s Photo: Finnish children being evacuated to Sweden to escape the war. Photographer unknown. National Board of Antiquities. 1940 Vapo Ahti Martikainen Photos: Vapo 1941 Väestöliitto Eija Koivuranta Jaana Syrjälä Photos: Katja Tähjä (colour photos), Väestöliitto (black and white) 1942 VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland Irma Lind Antti Vasara Photos: VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland 1943 War Zone Funfair Tapio Sariola Ville Sariola Jouko Mattila Photos: Tivoli Sariola 1944 Reima Riikamaria Paakkunainen Photos: Reima 1945 Martela Minna Andersson Matti Rantaniemi Photos: Martela 1946 Huurre J.T. Bergqvist Irina Brax Photos: Huurre
1949 Katepal Hannu Knuutinen Mikko Pellinen Photos: Katepal 1950s Photo: Armi Kuusela. Lehtikuva. 1950 Amer Sports Päivi Antola Ilkka Brotherus Timo Maasilta Photos: Amer Sports 1951 Marimekko Corporation Tiina Alahuhta-Kasko Mika Ihamuotila Minna Kemell-Kutvonen Photos: Helsinki City Museum (black & white), Pauliina Salonen (Finland’s 100th anniversary print), Heidi Strengell (fashion show) 1952 Finavia Corporation Annika Kåla Photos: Erkki Kivikero (Finnair plane’s tail), Finavia Corporation, 1953 Kaukokiito Jari Immonen Jarmo Lilja Photos: Kaukokiito 1954 Plasto Anne Larpes Photos: Plasto 1955 Finn-Savotta Anita Halme Riitta Halme Elmo Valkeinen Photos: Finn-Savotta
1947 Women Entrepreneurs of Finland Seija Estlander Photos: Women Entrepreneurs of Finland
1956 Finland’s Peacekeepers’ Association (Suomen Rauhanturvaajaliitto) Paavo Kiljunen Photos: Suomen Rauhanturvaajaliitto
1948 Kiitokori Group Juhani Härkönen Photos: Kiitokori Group
1957 Children’s Day Foundation Pia Adlivankin Photos: Children’s Day Foundation
1958 Honkarakenne Tanja Rytkönen Mauri Saarelainen Marko Saarelainen Jukka Valtonen Photos: Honkarakenne 1959 Viking Line Johanna Boijer-Svahnström Jan Hanses Photos: Viking Line 1960s Photo: Petsamo, a city district of Tampere. Photo: Matti Selänne. Museum Centre Vapriikki’s photo archive. 1960 Exel Composites Riku Kytömäki Pentti Paajanen Olli Pöllänen Merja Pyykkö Jari Sopanen Photos: Lehtikuva/ EPU (Juha Mieto), Exel Composites 1961 Ilmarinen Kari Puro Timo Ritakallio Photos: Ilmarinen 1962 Silenta Heikki Koponen Heidi Neuvonen Photos: Keijo Penttinen (children), Silenta 1963 Mantsinen Group Martti Toivanen Veli Mantsinen Photos: Mantsinen Group 1964 Leimet Oy Antti Leino Erkki Leino Photos: Leimet Oy, Pete-Jukka Rinteelä (man and robot) 1965 Lapland Hotels Ari Vuorentausta Pertti Yliniemi Photos: Juuso Holstein
Interviews and Photos
1966 Containerships Nina Kuosmanen Kari-Pekka Laaksonen Photos: Containerships 1967 Fiskars scissors Satu Kalliokulju Photos: Fiskars 1968 Pölkky Jouko Virranniemi Teppo Virranniemi Photos: Pölkky 1969 Finvacon Juha Kaksonen Kaj Sunden Kaija Tuulari-Orrenmaa Photos: Finvacon 1970s Photo: Lasse Viren. Photo: Jorma Pouta/Lehtikuva. 1970 Lappset Group Antero Ikäheimo Johanna Ikäheimo Photos: Lappset Group
1977 Polar Electro Raija Laukkanen Marco Suvilaakso Heikki Rytky Photos: Polar Electro 1978 Sámi Education Institute Outi Länsman Liisa Holmberg Photos: Sámi Education Institute 1979 University of Lapland Mauri Ylä-Kotola Photos: Jani Kärppä (Arktikum), Iiro Rautiainen (aurora), Linus Shaaf (sleigh ride) 1980s Photo: Hanoi Rocks. Photo: Kari Martiala. 1980: Hesburger Photos: Hesburger
1985 Transtech Matti Haapakangas Esa Rintala Photos: Transtech 1986 Mini-Maid Karl-Gustav Grahn Photos: Mini-Maid 1987 Robert’s Coffee Petri Parviainen Henrika Paulig Robert Paulig Photos: Robert’s Coffee 1988 F-Secure Samu Konttinen Risto Siilasmaa Photos: F-Secure 1989 Space Systems Finland Seppo Korpela Veera Sylvius Photos: Space Systems Finland 1990s Photo: HeTy – Helsinki Association for the Unemployed offers free pea soup on Wednesdays, this time in front of the Parliament House. Photographer unknown. Finnish Construction Trade Union’s collection, the People’s Archives.
1971 Pentik Auli Harjama Anu Pentik Pasi Pentikäinen Photos: Pentik
1981 Arctic Machine Juha Jääskelä Salla Jääskelä Photos: Arctic Machine
1972 Ouneva Group Mikko Nevalainen Photos: Ouneva Group
1982 Allaway Pekka Juurinen Photos: Allaway
1973 Baltic Yachts Sam Stenberg Photos: Baltic Yachts
1983 Ferroplan Minna Patosalmi Pentti Patosalmi Photos: Ferroplan
1991 KIHU (Research Institute for Olympic Sports) Sami Kalaja Heikki Rusko Photos: KIHU
1984 Success Story of Christmas Tourism Santa Claus Sanna Kärkkäinen Jyrki Niva Head Elf Minttu Photos: Santa Claus Office (Santa Claus), Visit Rovaniemi (aurora, arctic circle)
1992 John Nurminen Foundation Juha Nurminen Photos: Max Edin (sail boat at sea), Eurochem (people wearing helmets), John Nurminen Foundation (map), Jukka Nurminen (under water), SA-kuvat (black & white), Ilkka Vuorinen (lighthouse)
1974 Biolan Pekka Kariniemi Photos: Biolan 1975 Tamware Jussi Hilden Photos: Jukka-Pekka Juvonen
1976 Sirkus Finlandia Carl-Gustaf Jenström Carl Jenström Jr. Leena Jurvakainen Photos: Jukka Nuutinen (christening), Kari Nieminen (performance, Santa Claus) Peter Sandberg (elephant, children)
1990 Art Centre Salmela Tuomas Hoikkala Sakari Nuutinen Photos: Art Centre Salmela
Interviews and Photos
1993 Hyvää Suomesta label Minna Asunmaa Tiina Lampisjärvi Photos: Ruokatieto Yhdistys 1994 Boreal Plant Breeding Ulla Kommeri Markku Äijälä Photos: Boreal Plant Breeding 1995 Laitilan Wirvoitusjuomatehdas Rami Aarikka Photos: Laitilan Wirvoitusjuomatehdas 1996 Nightwish Tuomas Holopainen Photos: Tim Tronckoe 1997 Finnish Family Firms Association Heikki Kovanen Photos: Finnish Family Firms Association 1998 Fortum Corporation Photos: Fortum Corporation 1999 Idean Enterprises Oy Niko Frilander Mikko-Pekka Hanski Markus Kallio Photos: Teemu Ullgrén (office), Idean Enterprises 2000s Photo: Johner. Lehtikuva. 2000 Crisis Management Initiative Photos: Crisis Management Initiative (meeting), Riku Isohella (handshake), Hannu Lindroos (Nobel), Tomas Whitehouse (President Ahtisaari) 2001 Valio Eila Hanna Hiekkamies Photos: Valio
2002 Forchem Risto Näsi Olli Mähönen Timo Saarenko Mikko Rintola Anu Valtonen Photos: Forchem 2003 Arcusys Jussi Hurskainen Photos: Arcusys
2012 TH Global Sustainability Foundation Photos: Matti Porre (President Halonen), Markus Sommers (black & white seminar photo), TH Global Sustainability Foundation 2013 Logistikas Hankinta Toni Brigatti Johanna Lainio Photos: Sammeli Korhonen
2004 Fondia Marianne Saarikko Janson Photos: Fondia
2014 Kyrö Distillery Company Mikko Koskinen Miika Lipiäinen Mari Saarenpää Photos: Rye Rye
2005 Beneq Sampo Ahonen Photos: Beneq
2015 Gold & Green Foods Maija Itkonen Photos: Gold & Green Foods
2006 Sotiemme Veteraanit (Veterans of Our Wars) Pia Mikkonen Photos: Uuno Laukka (Lotta with binoculars, young soldier), Sotiemme Veteraanit
2016 Rauma Marine Constructions Heikki Pöntynen Photos: Sammeli Korhonen
2007 Kirjakaari Kimmo Koistinen Photos: Keijo Penttinen 2008 Nordic Business Forum Jyri Lindén Photos: Nordic Business Forum 2009 Clewer Marketing Jouni T. Laine Photos: Clewer 2010s Photo: Angrybirds. Sony Pictures/Everett/Lehtikuva 2010 Educluster Finland Jyrki Saarivaara Elise Tarvainen Photos: Educluster Finland 2011 Naava Eeva Niemelä Aki Soudunsaari Photos: Naava
Finland â€“ 100 Years of Success is a birthday gift to a one-hundred-year-old Finland and a tribute to Finnish work and expertise. Through one hundred success stories, the book follows Finlandâ€™s path from an agrarian society to a modern Nordic welfare state. The stories proceed through the stages of independent Finland, presenting one company, organization, or product for each year according to when it was established or launched. In addition to success stories, this book discusses the changes and achievements, struggles and low points of Finnish society by decade, binding one hundred stories to a larger whole â€“ Finland. The resulting work has one singular message: Together we have always been more.
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