Stories

FINLAND – SUOMI

by Miodrag Colic - 3 years, 1 month ago

This country is famous for its designers and its peacemakers. The latter did not do well at peacemaking. On the contrary, their presence only made the war more intense and they were only more relentless in pursuing their mission which did not bring any good, at least to my people. Yet, their peacemaker got the Nobel Prize for peace. However, in design they have been much more successful. The legendary Finnish designer, Tapio Wirkkala always used to mention, as an unspoken rule, that materials should not be treated roughly but that we should live in harmony with their natural traits. The Fins lived in similar harmony with their mighty neighbours, the Swedes and the Russians, who fought against each other incessantly throughout history and Finland belonged to one and then to the other, keeping good relations with everyone, until it finally got its independence before the Russian Revolution. During the cold war, all films featuring Leningrad were filmed in Helsinki, the capital of Finland which is also called the Daughter of the Baltic. Similarity and even the sameness of the architecture of these two cities reflects their parallel development in recent history. This similarity is obvious in the architecture of the Lutheran and Orthodox churches too. Lutheran and Uspenski cathedrals are monumental and imposing. The Fins have no prejudice in that respect, so Helsinki is also called Helsingfors in Swedish, which is the city’s original name. Built in art nouveau style, or the Finnish jugendstil, Helsinki is very attractive in its simple beauty. The Fins definitely lose their ‘finesse’ once they board on a gigantic Silja Line or Viking Line boats, as during such trips to one of the nearby Baltic cities alcohol takes over all their senses. The Viking blood is stirred into motion by litres of beer, an inexplicable aggression appears and then disappears the following morning in a sauna –one of the symbols of this country. I suspect that in the North, in Lapland, things are different, because according to a general belief this is the source of all Christmas presents sent around the world. Turku is the oldest city and the original capital of Finland from the beginning of the 19th century and as I am writing these lines on 28th of November 2009, it becomes the first real Christmas city. Just a year ago, exactly on the birthday of my younger son, on the 18th of December 2008, the Christmas Peace Declaration was announced here. This surplus of peace had to be distributed around the world through the European Conference on Security and Cooperation and via the famous Finnish peacemakers. It would have been better though, if they stuck to their design expertise.


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