Stamps have conveyed an image of Finland to the world on letters and parcels since 1856. The first stamps featured the coat of arms, while ones with illustrations were first issued in the late 1920s. Nowadays, Finnish nature, culture, science, art and expertise appear on stamps in images captured by Finnish designers, many of whom have won international accolades. The exhibition language is English.
Ten themes of Finnishness have been selected for the exhibition. The national epic Kalevala has inspired artists and writers in the field of culture and been the subject of numerous stamps. Many stamps have also been issued on Finnish architecture and design over the years, and the Northern nature of Finland with its animals has been a popular subject.
Music-themed stamps have been published in honour of both classical and popular musicians, from Sibelius to Lordi. Popular culture has featured on stamps in images such as Tove Jansson’s Moomins, the characters from the Angry Birds game and the set of Tom of Finland stamps, which attracted much attention.
Numerous internationally renowned Finnish sports heroes have also appeared on stamps. Christmas is another very important part of Finland’s character, and stamps have spread the word of the ‘only real’ Santa Claus across the world.
The exhibition was part of the Finnish Government’s Finland 100 programme and toured Finnish embassies and missions around the world during Finland’s 100th anniversary year in 2017. The exhibition was displayed in Denmark, Belgium, Malaysia, Australia, the UK and Ukraine.