The Warsaw Voice » National Voice » Monthly - December 30, 2016
Finland - Special National Section
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Finland Marking 100 Years of Independence
Finlandís Ambassador to Poland, Hanna Lehtinen, talks to Ewa Hancock.

The year 2017 will be a very special year for Finland, marking 100 years of independence and 150 years since the birth of the great hero of the Finnish nation, Carl Gustaf Mannerheim. How will Finns be celebrating?

The centenary of Finlandís independence in 2017 is a joint effort, built together by citizens and organizations. The central theme of the Finland 100 celebrations is ďTogether.Ē A special Secretariat working within the Prime Ministerís Office is in charge of preparations for the centenary year as a whole. The outlines for the centenary have been approved by the Centenary Commission led by the prime minister.
The centenary program abroad is organized by Finlandís diplomatic missions, Finlandís culture and science institutes, and many other organizations and companies.

The centenary program looks in three directions: Finlandís 100 years; Finland 2017; and the future of Finland. The program will include activities and events, a variety of deeds and gifts for the centenary.

The anniversary of Finnish independence in 2017 is also 150 years since the birth of Marshal Mannerheim. The main event marking this will be a concert organized by the Marshal Mannerheim Heritage Foundation in Finland Feb. 15 that will go through the long and distinguished career of Marshal Mannerheim as a statesman, soldier, cosmopolitan and civil society activist.

Are there plans to celebrate these events in Poland?

Definitely, and the Finland 100 celebrations have a link to the celebrations of 100 years of Polandís independence in 2018.

The main event of Finland 100 in Poland will be the Echoes exhibition: 100 years of Finnish Design and Architecture. It is an official Finland 100 event opening in Warsaw at the renowned Polin Museum designed by Prof. Rainer Mahlamški on Jan. 12, 2017.

The exhibition is a celebration of 100 years of Finnish architecture and design. Natural conditions, nature itself and historical events have all contributed to the distinctive style of Finnish architecture and design. It is often underpinned by the simple elegance that combines pragmatism with the highest standards and optimal use of materials. Exhibits show how architects and designers have sought responses to complex challenges like vivid and profound seasonal changes, as well as how to protect the purity of our cherished natural environment.

They all tell the story of Finland as a problem-solving country where architecture and design pave the way for technological innovations and new business opportunities.

The exhibition builds bridges between the past, present and future. It is built around eight central themes which are all rooted within nature and natural elements. The exhibition shows how Finnish architecture and design echo similar themes which manifest themselves in different ways over time. The exhibition has been built in cooperation with the Finnish embassy in Warsaw.

Poland was an important country in the life of Marshal Mannerheim. There are many plans to celebrate in Poland the 150 years since his birth, including the unveiling of a memorial plague as well as some publications and events. The anniversary of Marshal Mannerheim also coincides with the 150th anniversary of the birth of Polandís Marshal Jůzef Piłsudski.

Finland is already a significant investor in Poland. What further investments are in the pipeline?

Poland is one of the major destinations of Finnish foreign direct investment. Finnish investments amount to far over EUR 2 billion. There are over 200 Finnish companies with a presence in Poland, and they employ over 30,000 people. Outsourcing and business support centers have grown strongly over the last several years, and Finnish companies employ over 5,000 people in the sector.

Recent large investment projects include those by Fortum, Stora Enso, Nokia and Cargotec, yet there is still room for more.