Monday, June 09, 2014

Connections to Finland

I was at an international conference in Helsinki last week, my first ever visit to Finland and I will admit that prior to my visit I'd have been hard pressed to say where it was on the map except for a vague impression that it was in the North and rather close to Russia. 

What I hadn't realised was that I had connections to Finland, in my pocket, on my iOS and in my childhood.

The first is obvious. I have a Nokia mobile phone and Finland is the home of Nokia. 

The second wasn't obvious to me. Finland is the home of the creators of Angry Birds.

The last was tucked away in my memory and emerged when I was bombarded with Moomin trinkets and toys, fabrics and fridge magnets. Finland is the home of the creator of one of my favourite childhood book series, the Moomins. Her name was Tove Jansson (which I can now pronounce correctly thanks to my Finnish colleagues), it is a hundred years since her birth and she is an iconic figure in Finland. As luck would have it I got to visit the special exhibition at the Ateneum Art Museum and was blown away by her work as a painter, illustrator, cartoonist and author. 

However I have also discovered that I am a little unusual, in my own country, in knowing of her children's books. I borrowed these from my public library as a child and have sadly neglected to expose my own children to them. I will be correcting this oversight in the near future.

You can discover more about the remarkable Tove Jansson at

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