Finnish Happenings and News

See what else is happening while we wait for FinnFunn 2021

Finland In The US
Newsletter, 2/2021
(click here)

Finlandia Foundation National
Soiva Music Camp Concert
December 21, 2020
(click here for video)

Finlandia Foundation National
Education in Finland
Two-part Webinar Via Zoom
January 12 and 19, 2021
(click here)

Finlandia Foundation National
Beautiful Music of the Season Performed by
Jussi Makkonen and Nazig Azezian
(click here)

Historical Society of Cheshire County
“Sirkka” is a documentary film about the life of Sirkka Tuomi Holm (1920-2020)
December 3 – 12, 2020
(click here)

Finland In The US
Newsletter, 3/2020
(click here)

Finlandia Foundation National
News of Finnish America - Marraskuu/November 2020
(click here)

Finlandia Foundation National
Meet Mikko Nissinen
(click here)

Finnfest USA
News from Finnfest USA
(click here)

The Embassies of Finland and Sweden in Washington, DC, and DC Jazz Festival invite you to our event “OutLoud! LGBTQI+ Experiences in the Music Industry” on March 11, 1 PM EST. The panel discussion, hosted in Zoom, gives space for American and Nordic artists to discuss LGBTQI+ rights and their experiences in both their home countries and the music industry. To offer a Finnish perspective, we are joined by the beloved pop star and songwriter Saara Aalto from Finland.

Other panelists include:

•    Tove Styrke – Swedish pop artist and songwriter best known for her smash hit single "Say My Name."
•    Lea DeLaria – an American comedian, actress, and singer best known for her portrayal of inmate Carrie "Big Boo" Black on Netflix original series Orange Is the New Black
•    Dave Koz – American contemporary jazz saxophonist, also well known as DJ radio host
•    Michael Mayo – Critically acclaimed singer. His lead single, “The Way,” is from his Mack Avenue Records’ debut album, Bones on Artistry Music, which is slated for release in March 2021. 
•    Andrew D’Angelo – American saxophonist, known for his work with Human Feel, the Matt Wilson Quartet and Tyft
•    Theo Beckmann – Two-time GRAMMY® nominated, and ECM recording artist from Germany
•    Moderator DJ John Murph – DC-based music journalist, entertainer, and pop critic

The event is supported by The Corner at Whitman-Walker and the Human Rights Campaign Foundation (HRCF). 

Register for the free event on Eventbrite

South by Southwest (SXSW) will be held online on March 16–20. The Virtual Finland Pavilion will showcase Finland as a front runner and partner in creative industries, sustainable innovations and future technologies. This Business Finland led collaboration brings together Music Finland, Audiovisual Producers Finland (Apfi), Finnish Film Foundation, a group of Finnish companies, Embassy of Finland in Washington D.C. and Consulate General of Finland in New York.

The Embassy and the Consulate General are presenting an Innovative Wood event as part of the SXSW Partner Program. The event will take place on Thursday, March 18, at 10 am (CDT). Through collaboration with Finnish companies and research organizations, we present Finland’s innovations from wood, from medicine to fashion. Furthermore, we highlight Finland’s climate and sustainability commitments. The event includes greetings from Mr. Skinnari, Finland’s Minister for Development Cooperation and Foreign Trade, and our bioeconomy partners in the State of Maine. Through the event, we wish to reach new partners in the US and globally in the transition to a greener economy.                    
Please find more information here:

Having art experiences limited for almost a year has further highlighted their importance. In order to offer possibilities to experience and admire art during this time, our new campaign #FinnishArtUSA, starting in March, will showcase US-based Finnish and Finnish American artists and their creations on the Embassy’s social media channels. 

The Embassy has asked artists for submissions from all over the U.S. and we have received a delightful number of entries by artists with different backgrounds and specialties. The artists’ stories and works will be presented on our social media channels and updated on our website throughout the year.

Link to the campaign’s page

Travel & Immigration Webinar

Finnish American Chamber of Commerce and the Consulates General of Finland in New York and Los Angeles host a webinar on March 2 at 12 p.m. EST titled "Travel and immigration between Finland and the U.S. during Covid-19: What you need to know". 

Sign up for the webinar here

Women InNovation

Join us for Women InNovation virtual conference with the Nordic Innovation House, New York, on March 5! This is a gathering of key voices to promote global understanding of challenges and opportunities women entrepreneurs face.

More information and RSVP on the event site

Environmental Film Festival

Have you ever met a newborn reindeer? Now is your chance to follow the incredible journey of Ailo, who embarks on an odyssey with the help of his mother, as the Environmental Film Festival in the Nation’s Capital is screening A Reindeer’s Journey during March 19–28, 2021. This story is filmed in the amazing scenery of Finnish Lapland and narrated by Donald Sutherland.

The Environmental Film Festival in the nation’s capital is the world’s premier showcase of environmentally-themed films with many screenings being free of charge. See the event on the festival's website.

FROM WASTE TO FASHION: Solutions for Fashion Brands in Transition to Greener Future

Official Side Event of Circular City Week New York, hosted by Business Finland and the Consulate General of Finland in New York

Join us for a panel discussion tackling the urgent environmental challenges in the textile and fashion industries and hear compelling case examples on transforming these industries with innovations from Finland.

What can we do better in terms of using new types of recyclable material innovations with less harmful impact on the environment, textile treatment, recycling, and waste handling, all the way to educating future designers? How can different fashion industry actors support the transition to circularity and sustainable development on their ends?

March 25, 9:00–10:30 a.m. EST
Sign up for the event here

FinnFest USA Online Lecture Series

Have you ever wondered what traditions in today’s Finnish American culture originated from Finland and which ones are uniquely Finnish American? In her lecture, Dr. Hilary-Joy Virtanen explores the Finnish and American aspects of Finnish American cultural practices. 

March 27, 11:00 p.m. EST
Sign up for the free lecture 

Panel recording: The geopolitics of emerging tech during the pandemic

On February 10, Atlantic Council hosted a discussion that touched on the intersection of geopolitics, modern technologies, and the COVID-19 pandemic. One of the panelists was Antti Niemelä, Head of Section for Sustainable Growth and Commerce at the Embassy of Finland.

Watch the panel recording
NB! All times and dates are subject to change, please check the event site for details before attending.

Education in Finland
Two-part Webinar Via Zoom 
January 12 and 19, 2021

What makes the Finnish education system so special?
Is it possible for non-residents to study in Finland?
Attend a free, two-part, online webinar hosted by Finlandia Foundation National and the Embassy of Finland in the United States.
Ilkka Turunen, senior specialist, higher education and science policy at the Embassy in Washington, D.C., will lead the webinars addressing the popular topic of education in Finland.
Attend Part One, Part Two or both!
There is no charge to participate in the Zoom webinars,
but you must register for each separately. 
Register for PART ONE by Monday, January 11

Registration for PART TWO will open on January 12
Click here to register
4-5 p.m. (Eastern), Tuesday, January 12
In the first session he will address the factors that have contributed to recognition of Finland's unique system as one of the best in the world; what changes and challenges it is facing; and what's ahead.
4-5 p.m. (Eastern), Tuesday, January 19
The following week will cover what's required for non-residents to pursue post-secondary and graduate degrees in Finland, from necessary permits to anticipated costs and opportunities for scholarships. He will also offer information on starting a business in Finland. 

Click here for information about Finlandia Foundation National, the leading, independent source of support for Finnish culture in the United States.

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 A Christmas Concert
Especially for You

Beautiful Music of the Season
Performed by
Jussi Makkonen and Nazig Azezian

Finlandia Foundation National is pleased to bring you this special performance from Nurmes, Finland by cellist Jussi Makkonen and pianist Nazig Azezian. The concert was recorded at the artist residence of Jussi, on the shore of Lake Pielinen in North Karelia. 

In the past few years, the musicians have had several concert tours in the United States organized by Finlandia Foundation National. In 2019 they received the Finlandia Foundation Award of Excellence in recognition of their musicianship and commitment to performing the music of Finland in the United States, particularly the works of Jean Sibelius. 

With this Christmas concert, Jussi and Nazig extend their best wishes for a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!

This 30-minute program includes beloved Finnish Christmas music by Karl Collan, Heino Kaski and Jean Sibelius, as well as the classic "White Christmas" by Irving Berlin. 

Please share this program with your family and friends, and enjoy it often throughout the holidays.   
Click here for the Program

Finlandia Foundation National wishes you a Merry Christmas and the Happiest New Year. 

Hyvää Joulua ja Onnellista Uutta Vuotta.

Click here
for more information about Jussi and Nazig and their programs.

For more about Finlandia Foundation National:
Follow us at:

FFN office in Pasadena: Tel: 626-795-2081

“Sirkka” is a documentary film about the life of Sirkka Tuomi Holm (1920-2020)

View the film December 3 – 12, 2020 for free on Vimeo and then join us on 12/10/2020 at 7pm for a Zoom discussion with filmmaker Kristin Ojaniemi and Finnish American Heritage Center director James Kurtti.

This virtual program is present through an ongoing partnership between the Historical Society of Cheshire County and the Finnish American Heritage Center in Hancock Michigan.

Click here for more information and to register

Independence Day Broadcast

Dear Friend of Finland, we warmly welcome you to join us to celebrate Finland's 103rd Independence Day online!

Head over to the Embassy's Facebook page this Thursday evening to watch a video stream filled with music, speeches from the Head of Missions, and greetings from Finns in the US. This event is held in English, so you can (virtually) grab a non-Finnish speaking friend with you to watch it.

Recording of the event will be available afterward on Facebook, and we'll post highlights of the broadcast on the Embassy's YouTube channel at a later date. On the actual date of the Independence, Dec 6th, you can view the President of Finland's reception on Yle Areena web player (in Finnish and Swedish).

Finland Online

Launch event: Finland and U.S. cooperation in bioeconomy

Finland is experiencing a biofuel and pulp boom and the entire bio-economy value chain is in place, with strong relationships between end-users, companies and researchers. Many companies and research organizations are reinforcing and building their ties to the U.S.

The United States aims for a so-called “Billion Ton Bioeconomy Vision”, i.e. an annual billion ton biomass output by 2030. At the federal level the vision is supported by a robust Bioeconomy Initiative led by the federal administration and an expert body mandated by the U.S. Congress.

In this event, Finland and two States in the U.S., Maine and Michigan, will launch industry working groups in sectors of the forest bioeconomy. These working groups will be open for companies, education and research organizations as well as industry interest groups.

More information and registration

Are you a 90 Day Finn?

Helsinki Business Hub, the international trade and investment promotion agency for Helsinki, is looking for US tech professionals to apply for a free 90-day Helsinki Relocation Package.

Whether you are an investor, employee, or entrepreneur, this might be your chance to experience living and working in one of the world-leading technology hubs.

Apply by December 10th here.

Events – December 2020
Finland's Independence Day Event

December 6, 5:30 pm

Finlandia Foundation organizes an online celebration in honor of the 103rd anniversary of Finland’s Independence. Check out their program filled with music and speeches from distinguished speakers. 

Read more and register.

The Shop at Scandinavia House

December 1-3

Looking for Nordic themed gifts for this holiday season? Scandinavia House in NYC is offering a range of design items for personal and corporate gifts, as well as featured Nordic Holiday Gift Baskets with Scandinavian classics such as glögg, pepparkakor, knäckebröd, coffee, lingonberry treats.

Read more.

Fulbright programs for Finnish researchers


Deadline: December 6

The application round for Fulbright Finland’s Scholar Programs for the academic year 2021-2022 is open.

The Foundation offers a variety of opportunities for pre-doctoral researchers and junior and senior scholars interested in research in the United States.

The deadline for Finnish researchers is December 6. Check the details and apply for the programs through the link.

Read more

Aalto documentary at ADFF:2020


Now – December 3 

A new documentary about Finnish architect Alvar Aalto premieres for US and Canadian audiences at the Architecture and Design Film Festival's 2020 edition. 
Aalto shares for the first time the intimate love story of the Finnish architect and his wife, Aino Aalto, and highlights her importance as an equal architect colleague and visionary designer. It takes the viewer on a cinematic tour to their creative processes and iconic buildings worldwide. Watch the film’s trailer here.
The Aalto screening will feature a special intro by architect Frank Gehry and conductor & composer Esa-Pekka Salonen. After the film, ADFF's director Kyle Bergman will host a Q&A with director Virpi Suutari.
Use code “FindlandNY” for a 25% discount on the tickets!

Read more

New virtual market entry program to the U.S. for Finnish companies


December 8-9

The Finnish American Chamber of Commerce, together with official partners Embassy of Finland in Washington D.C, Consulate Generals of New York and Los Angeles, Business Finland, and the Finland Chamber of Commerce, is launching a Market Entry Program ‘Virtual Bridge’ to respond to the business needs in the current limited COVID-19 environment.

The two-day virtual kick-off and information session will be held on December 8-9, 2020 and it is free of charge for Finnish companies. The main one-week 'Virtual Bridge' program will take place in early 2021.

Full list of speakers and program.

NB! All times and dates are subject to change, please check the event site for details before attending. 

 Finland_sauna_winter_Ruka_Kuusamo_8M0A1150__600x250Photo courtesy 

Did You Know...


Photo by Riku Pihlanto courtesy

...that you can SAY IT WITH SANTA?

Ask Santa to send a special message for Christmas through

This is your chance to have a greeting sent from the real deal in Rovaniemi. 

HURRY! You must submit a proposal and the deadline is November 29.  

Click here for details.

Please Join Us!  

Finlandia Foundation National is the largest independent organization supporting Finnish culture in the U.S. No other group offers the programs and connections that FFN has developed since its founding in 1953. 

As a member of FFN, you are a part of the mission to keep alive Finnish heritage in the U.S., while building awareness and appreciation of contemporary Finland.

Please consider joining FFN through one of our affiliated groups (click here for a list), or become an individual member (click here for details). 

"Like" Us on Facebook!

Join our international Facebook community for a daily dose of fun facts, links to articles, event information, recipes and more to do with Finland and Finnish America. Just click below:

Shop Amazon? Tite


Your online shopping through AmazonSmile can benefit Finlandia Foundation. Amazon will direct .5% of your qualifying AmazonSmile purchases to FFN. To get started just click: AmazonSmile
Thank you!

Share Your Sisu
Join the new FFN Facebook group that celebrates the unique Finnish trait. 

Thanksgiving Greetings!

Dear Friends:Paster_Anne-Mari.crop.2020

This is such a very special time of year. It is our time of Thanksgiving. 

Despite the extraordinary challenges we have faced in 2020, we know that our SISU spirit will see us through!

Although it is likely more difficult than in previous years, let us take this opportunity to pause and think about all that for which we may give thanks.

On behalf of the dedicated, volunteer board of trustees of Finlandia Foundation National, I extend appreciation for your continued interest in sustaining the rich history of Finnish heritage and culture, and the connection to contemporary Finland in the U.S. 

That was the vision of the Finlandia Foundation founders in 1953, and that is why we are here today. 

We wish you and yours a peaceful, healthy and Happy Thanksgiving.

Thank YOU,


Anne-Mari Paster


ampaster @ rcn. com

Save the Dates!

Mark your calendar for a two-part webinar about education and studying in Finland, conducted with the Embassy of Finland in the U.S. and Finlandia Foundation National at
4 p.m. (Eastern) on Tuesdays, January 12 and 19, 2021. Details to come.

Meet Mikko Nissinen

Photo by Liz Vol
FFN is thrilled to share an online, casual chat with the esteemed Artistic Director of Boston Ballet, Mikko Nissinen. FFN Trustee Eeva Syvanen (who is a dancer!) visited with Mikko; the video is available at the FFN YouTube channel.

We are developing our offerings at YouTube, where you will find the book chat with Karl Marlantes about his novel Deep River, and a wide array of videos by past FFN Performers of the Year, recipients of grants and scholarships, and other organizations related to Finnish America.

Please subscribe to our YouTube channel. It's free! Once we hit 100 subscribers, we can apply for a dedicated "named" FFN channel, which will help us to share these fantastic programs with the world.  
Click FFN YouTube Channel


                                                        tuesday 2

Giving Tuesday was launched in 2012 as "a day that encourages people to do good."

It was scheduled after the traditional post-Thanksgiving "Black Friday" frenzy as a way to help non-profit groups, as well as individuals.

Please consider a Giving Tuesday gift to FFN.
Your gift is eligible for tax deduction and is doubled by a grant from the Paloheimo Foundation. 
Click here to give to FFN.

Upcoming FFN Deadlines

January 17, 2021 Grant Applications Due
February 1, 2021  Scholarship Applications Due
February 1, 2021 Lindfors Law Scholarship Applications Due

Find information on all at: 
grants ad

Tel: (626) 795-2081
Fax: (626) 795-6533
P.O. Box 92046, Pasadena, CA 91109-2046


Mikko Nissinen



Photo by Liza Voll

"Take the Best and Leave the Rest"

Mikko Nissinen, Boston Ballet Artistic Director

Finlandia Foundation National is honored to have had the opportunity to visit via Zoom with internationally renowned Mikko Nissinen, artistic director of the Boston Ballet and the Boston Ballet School, the largest dance school in North America. 

                                                          Syvanen FFN

The online visit is conducted by FFN Trustee Eeva Syvanen, (right) who is also president of the House of Finland in San Diego---and is a dancer! 

In their informal, cross-country chat, Mikko talks about how a boy from Finland rapidly rose to acclaim as a dancer, then choreographer and creative director in Boston; what he does with his free time; how his Finnishness guides his life and his work; and his advice to "Take the best and leave the rest."

One of the leading figures in the world of dance shares why he would consider banishing the word "ballet," and his views on contemporary culture and the arts in a post-Covid world: "We are not a museum. We have to adapt to a whole new culture."

Learn how he drew on his sisu to see Boston Ballet through its darkest hours, and to not only survive, but flourish: "I was never going to give up. Failure was not an option."

Be inspired by his outlook: "Life is about experiences," says Mikko. "One lifetime gets you 

to scratch a little bit of that surface. Let's not waste that. Enjoy ourselves and believe in ourselves. We can do anything we want when we put our minds into it."

It's an interesting and entertaining 45-minute program with insights about more than the world of dance. 

Meet Mikko Nissinen in this free program on the
FFN YouTube channel; click here


On November 19, 2020, Boston Ballet premieres a virtual season of six streamed programs that will run through April 25, 2021. Click here for BB@yourhome performance schedule and subscription information. 


For more about Finlandia Foundation National:

FFN office in Pasadena: Tel: 626-795-2081

The FinnFest Team Continues to Plan for the Future

As we move forward with a new format to connect and celebrate together, the FinnFest USA board continues to meet each month on Zoom to share reports and develop action plans. The mission of FinnFest USA remains strong, and we are constantly developing new ways to fulfill our mission.

Coming in 2021: Two FinnFest Virtual Series

Photo Credit: Glenn Kujansuu
FinnFest USA 2019 Detroit Speaker: Eila Stepanova
Missing your FinnFest friends? Let’s get together in the new year.
In 2021, on the last Saturday of every month except December, FinnFest USA will offer an alternating lecture and music series. Each will stream via Zoom at 11 a.m. Central time (7 p.m. Finnish time). All events are free, but donations are encouraged.
The lecture series—co-organized with the Journal of Finnish Studies and sponsored by Sam Houston State University—presents international scholars engaged with Finnish arts and culture, including Sharon Franklin-Rahkonen (January 30), Hilary-Joy Virtanen (March 27), Tuomas Hovi (May 29), Eila Stepanova and Frog (July 31), Tim Frandy (September 25), and Andrew Nestingen (November 27).
The music series—co-sponsored by the Nordic Folklife project at the University of Wisconsin-Madison—features noted performers and scholars of Finnish American folk music, including Laulu Aika, with Tom DuBois and Marcus Cederström (February 27), Lyz Jaakola (April 24), Diane Jarvi (June 26), Eric Peltoniemi (August 28), Michael Loukinen (October 30), and Carl Rahkonen (December 18).
Be on the lookout for details in the coming months, or visit the FinnFest website

FinnFest USA Website

We Honor FFUSA Board Member Yvonne Lockwood

We'd like to recognize one of our board members, Yvonne Lockwood, for receiving the U.P. Folklife Award. Emerita Curator of Folklife at Michigan State University, Yvonne has researched and written about the cultural traditions of the people of the State of Michigan, including the Finnish Americans in the Upper Peninsula.  She, along with fellow Finnish Americans, musician Randy Seppala and wood carver Peter Olson, will be honored during a ceremony on November 6th. To read more about all three and this honor, check out the article below.
Check Out the Full Article Here

Looking for More From FinnFest? Check Out Our Blog

The FinnFest team is excited to share that we will begin posting on our blog more frequently about contemporary hot topics and how these items relate to FinnFest and Finnish culture. 

With voting occurring right now, in our blog, we dive into the differences of voting in Finland vs. the United States. Follow the link below and check out the full article. 

Check Out Our Blog Here

Giving Tuesday Around the Corner

Thanksgiving comes late this year, November 26th. We want to remind our fellow followers that Giving Tuesday, always the Tuesday after Thanksgiving, will occur on December 1. At the start of this holiday season, think about supporting FinnFest USA during this international day of giving. We will be providing more details as we get closer to the date on how you can give back to support FinnFest USA.