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Finland – 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 Finland’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 – Finland. The resulting work has one singular message: Together we have always been more.

9 789527 187272

© 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

ISBN 978-952-7187-27-2

content Foreword




1917 Finland One hundred years old




Åbo Akademi University A boundary-breaking historical university

1919 Helo Sauna – Finland’s common luxury


1920s 1920

Huhtamaki From homemade candy to global packaging supplies

18 20

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

1932 1933


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


62 64

content 1941 Väestöliitto Hope, happiness, and human rights


1942 VTT Technical Research 68 Centre of Finland Innovation for the nation

1950s 1950

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

128 130



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

216 218

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 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.

losing party.

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.



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 country’s remote location, Finnish innovations have spread to every corner of the earth. Success lives amidst the northern coniferous forests.�



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

built upon.




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.

the world.

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

others, too.

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 1920s

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,

the decade.

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

global market.

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

company’s expertise.

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


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 cafÊ services.�

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.




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

reliable airline.

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.�


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

passengers’ 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

Savonlinja’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

adventure travel.

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 many 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

ultra-modern technology.

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

future years.

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




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


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

ideas daily.

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.�


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

in Finland.

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 1930s

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

been rampant.

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



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

guarantee freshness.

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.”



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


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


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 Kuusjärvi), 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.�



popular meeting points. While waiting for their bus, people could


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

Matkahuolto’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.�


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


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

conscious consumption.

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

and hotels.

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.




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

United States.

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

weather forecasting.

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


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

of jewelry.

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 Finland’s nature and cultural heritage are a boundless source of inspiration for Kalevala Jewelry designers, even in the era of modern design.�



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

environmental protection.

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

little influence.

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

significant work.



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.

The 1940s

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 product’s or service’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 Finland’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.




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.

human rights.

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 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


VTT’s basic mandate is to use technology and scientific research to overcome challenges and open up new opportunities. This


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

wood material.

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


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.�



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



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.


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.



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

environmental regulations.

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.�




lengthened. Paternity leave was made possible in 1978. The Women


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

widows’ pension.

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 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.�


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.


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 Nikkilä (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.�

The 1950s

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

Tapio Wirkkala.

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,

active lifestyle.




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,

décor items.

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-


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

air traffic.

made it a significant hub for air traffic between Europe and Asia.”




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

family business.

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

same address.

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,

this development.

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.�




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.�



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.

trained volunteers.

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


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.�

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 Peacekeepers’ 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.


over 60 years of operation, the foundation’s basic mandate is still


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


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.”




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,

modern architecture.

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.�


VIKING LINE Founder: Gunnar Eklund Founded in Mariehamn. Operating since 1959


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


The 1960s

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

grocery stores.

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


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



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

precious hearing.

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.�



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.�

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


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.



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

the product.

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

and Wedgwood.

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.


The 1970s

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

international reputation.

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

all children.

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

Anne Pohtamo.

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

50 countries.

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

and schoolyards.

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 Ikäheimo 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.�




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.

and warmth.


down to ceramics. Even while many companies went bankrupt,

PENTIK Founders: Anu and Topi Pentikäinen 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.�

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


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

its products.

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.�



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 little 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 company’s revenue changed everything. The risk was worth taking: the eco-friendly fertilizer became a success, and the TV ad’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:

local economy.

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

eco-friendly living.

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




In spite of the tightened requirements, Tamware’s pace of growth


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

less useless.

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.�



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.�


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.




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 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

Skolt headdress.

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 Lapland’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 northern 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.



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


The 1980s

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

two terms.

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

and Asia.

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

World Cups.

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

in 1982.

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.

second place.

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,

new markets.

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.”




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

early 2000s.

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.




The Christmas story and Santa Claus himself are behind the


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

good cheer.

Santa has chosen to live in this beautiful country, Finland.



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.



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

Central Europe.

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


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.�

The 1990s

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

Centre Salmela.

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

cultural life.

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 Mäntyharju, 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.�

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




of roaches and using them to make delicious archipelago fish


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.�



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


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.




industry. Today it is the fourth largest brewery in Finland, featuring


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

beverage industry.

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


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.”




in hand. The objectives of sustainable development are related to


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

energy efficiency.

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

98 percent.

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 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.�


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.

to reach.


The 2000s

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

in 2006.

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,

to euros.

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


be slow. The sweetness of Hyla milk turns many milk-lovers away,


people symptoms.

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.”




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.”



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.”




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

local efforts.

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 company’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 books—which are

also create new opportunities in the book industry, especially in

still popular—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




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

young people.

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

better place.

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

whopping 90%.

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.


The 2010s

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.



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.

human touch.

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.”



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

plants’ roots.

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

indoor air?

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




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.�


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

other ingredients.

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

rye whisky.

product selection.




meat. Simple, clean ingredients ensure that no preservatives are


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

even easier.


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 &


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

new orders.

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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years-since-the-invention-of-thewinter-tyre martelan-historia-1945


Interviews and Photos

Cover Photo:

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 – 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 Finland’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 – Finland. The resulting work has one singular message: Together we have always been more.

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Finland - 100 years of success  
Finland - 100 years of success