Happy birthday, Suomi. Now, for some Sibelius.


Finland is 100 years old as of the 6th of December.

The legal basis for Finland’s subjugation within the Russian empire evaporated when the Romanov dynasty fell during the first of two Russian revolutions in 1917. Professor Barry picks up the story in November of 1917.

Independence was actually granted by VI Lenin and his Bolshevik regime less than one month after seizing power and overthrowing the Duma government in November. Lenin admired the Finns and appreciated the fact that friends there had sheltered and hid him at least twice in the past after he had fled for his life from the Tsarist and Duma Regimes.

The composer Jean Sibelius wrote Finlandia with his country’s national awakening in mind.

Finlandia is probably the most widely known of all the compositions of Jean Sibelius. Most people with even a superficial knowledge of classical music recognise the melody immediately. The penultimate hymn-like section is particularly familiar and soon after it was published the Finlandia Hymn was performed with various words as far afield as the USA.

The views of Finland’s natural beauty seen in the video are stellar, indeed. In 2016, we didn’t have time to make it past Helsinki, but I’m hoping to rectify this in the future.

Happy birthday, Suomi.