What Is The Finland National Anthem. Photo: Getty Images
What Is The Finland National Anthem. Photo: Getty Images

What Is The Finland National Anthem

The Finnish national anthem, with words by Johan Ludvig Runeberg and music by Fredrik Pacius, was first performed in 1848 by students celebrating Flora Day (May 13) in a meadow belonging to Kumtähti Manor in Helsinki.

J.L. Runeberg, headmaster of Borgå Lyceum in Porvoo, had written the original text in Swedish, called “Vårt land” (Our Land), two years earlier. The poem was published in autumn 1846 as the prologue to Runeberg’s Fänrik Ståls sägner (The Tales of Ensign Stål), a collection of 35 heroic ballads set in the days of the War of Finland in 1808–09. As a result of this war, Sweden ceded Finland to Russia in the 1809 Treaty of Hamina.

Runeberg’s aim was to stir Finnish patriotic feeling with his epic. He is said to have been inspired to write “Vårt land” by Mihaly Vörösmarty’s “Szózat,” the Hungarian national anthem published in 1836. Until well into the 20th century, Finns responded strongly to the idealistic and political idealism of Fänrik Ståls sägner and “Vårt land.” Runeberg was promptly elevated to the status of national poet.

Take a look at the history, original lyrics, and English translation of the Finland anthem.

History of The Finland National Anthem

The original poem, written in 1846 but not printed until 1848, had 11 stanzas and formed the prologue to the verse cycle The Tales of Ensign Stål ("Fänrik Ståhls sägner"), a classic example of Romantic nationalism. The current Finnish language text is usually attributed to the 1889 translation of Ensign Stål by Paavo Cajander, but in fact originates from the 1867 translation by Julius Krohn.

There is no law regarding an official national anthem in Finland, in the way the coat of arms and flag of Finland are legally defined. Instead its position has been established gradually by convention over the years.

Children learn it in school; in formal occasions it is sung both in Finnish and in Swedish. It is played at sporting events, such as the Olympics. In the 1880s and in the 1920s there were more attempts to replace it with a Finnish language version but these ceased by the 1930s. Some Finns have proposed that the Finnish national anthem be set as "Finlandia" by Jean Sibelius, with lyrics by V.A. Koskenniemi (Finnish) and Joel Rundt (Swedish).

It is said that Pacius composed the tune in four days. It was popular throughout the 19th century, but established as national anthem only after Pacius' death.

Why do Finland and Estonia have the same anthem?

The melodies used for Finland and Estonia’s anthems come from the same piece of music.

Pacius’ triumphant melody is also used for Estonia’s national anthem but in a different key signature and with different lyrics, written by Johann Voldemar Jannsen.

It is considered to be the anthem for Livonians too, the Balto-Finnic population indigenous to northern Latvia and southwestern Estonia.

The title of their anthem is ‘Min izāmō’ (‘My Fatherland’), with lyrics by activist and teacher Kōrli Stalte.

The Finland National Anthem in Swedish Lyrics

Vårt land, vårt land, vårt fosterland,

Ljud högt, o dyra ord!

Ej lyfts en höjd mot himlens rand,

Ej sänks en dal, ej sköljs en strand,

Mer älskad än vår bygd i nord,

Än våra fäders jord.

Vårt land är fattigt, skall så bli

För den, som guld begär.

En främling far oss stolt förbi:

Men detta landet älska vi,

För oss med moar, fjäll och skär

Ett guldland dock det är.

Vi älska våra strömmars brus

Och våra bäckars språng.

Den mörka skogens dystra sus,

Vår stjärnenatt, vårt sommarljus.

Allt, allt, vad här som syn, som sång

Vårt hjärta rört en gång.

Här striddes våra fäders strid

Med tanke, svärd och plog.

Här, här, i klar som mulen tid.

Med lycka hård, med lycka blid.

Det finska folkets hjärta slog.

Här bars vad det fördrog.

Vem täljde väl de striders tal.

Som detta folk bestod.

Då kriget röt från dal till dal.

Då frosten kom med hungers kval.

Vem mätte allt dess spillda blod

Och allt dess tålamod?

Och det var här det blodet flöt,

Ja, här för oss det var,

Och det var här sin fröjd det njöt,

Och det var här sin suck det göt.

Det folk som våra bördor bar

Långt före våra dar.

Här är oss ljuvt, här är oss gott,

Här är oss allt beskärt;

Hur ödet kastar än vår lott.

Ett land, ett fosterland vi fått,

Vad finns på jorden mera värt

Att hållas dyrt och kärt?

Och här och här är detta land.

Vårt öga ser det här,

Vi kunna sträcka ut vår hand

Och visa glatt på sjö och strand

Och säga: se det landet där.

Vårt fosterland det är.

Och fördes vi att bo i glans

Bland guldmoln i det blå,

Och blev vårt liv en stjärnedans.

Där tår ej göts, där suck ej fanns.

Till detta arma land ändå

Vår längtan skulle stå.

O land, du tusen sjöars land,

Där sång och trohet byggt,

Där livets hav oss gett en strand,

Vår forntids land, vår framtids land.

Var för din fattigdom ej skyggt.

Var fritt, var glatt, var tryggt.

Din blomning, sluten än i knopp,

Skall mogna ur sitt tvång;

Se, ur vår kärlek skall gå opp

Ditt ljus, din glans, din fröjd, ditt hopp.

Och högre klinga skall en gång

Vår fosterländska sång.

The Finland National Anthem in Finnish Translation

Oi maamme, Suomi, synnyinmaa,

soi, sana kultainen!

Ei laaksoa, ei kukkulaa,

ei vettä rantaa rakkaampaa,

kuin kotimaa tää pohjoinen,

maa kallis isien!

On maamme köyhä, siksi jää,

jos kultaa kaivannet

Sen vieras kyllä hylkäjää,

mut meille kallein maa on tää,

sen salot, saaret, manteret,

ne meist on kultaiset.

Ovatpa meille rakkahat

koskemme kuohuineen,

ikuisten honkain huminat,

täht'yömme, kesät kirkkahat,

kaikk'kuvineen ja lauluineen

mi painui sydämeen.

Täss auroin, miekoin, miettehin

isämme sotivat,

kun päivä piili pilvihin

tai loisti onnen paistehin,

täss Suomen kansan vaikeimmat

he vaivat kokivat.

Tään kansan taistelut ken voi

ne kertoella, ken?

Kun sota laaksoissamme soi,

ja halla näläntuskan toi,

ken mittasi sen hurmehen

ja kärsimykset sen?

Täss on sen veri virrannut

hyväksi meidänkin,

täss iloaan on nauttinut

ja murheitansa huokaillut

se kansa, jolle muinaisin

kuormamme pantihin.

Tääll' olo meill on verraton

ja kaikki suotuisaa,

vaikk onni mikä tulkohon,

maa isänmaa se meillä on.

Mi maailmass on armaampaa

ja mikä kalliimpaa?

Ja tässä, täss' on tämä maa,

sen näkee silmämme.

me kättä voimme ojentaa

ja vettä rantaa osoittaa

ja sanoa: kas tuoss' on se,

maa armas isäimme.

Jos loistoon meitä saatettais

vaikk' kultapilvihin,

mis itkien ei huoattais,

vaan tärkein riemun sielu sais,

ois tähän köyhään kotihin

halumme kuitenkin.

Totuuden, runon kotimaa

maa tuhatjärvinen

miss' elämämme suojan saa,

sa muistojen, sa toivon maa,

ain ollos, onnees tyytyen,

vapaa ja iloinen.

Sun kukoistukses kuorestaan

kerrankin puhkeaa,

viel lempemme saa nousemaan

sun toivos, riemus loistossaan,

ja kerran, laulus synnyinmaa

korkeemman kaiun saa.

The Finland National Anthem in English Translation

Our land, our land, our Fatherland!

Ring out, dear word, oh sound!

No rising hill, or mountain grand,

No sloping dale, no northern strand,

There is, more loved, to be found,

Than this — our fathers’ ground.

Our land is poor, and so shall be

To him who gold will crave.

The strangers proudly pass, but we

Shall ever love this land, we see,

In moor, and fell, and isle and wave,

A golden land, so brave.

We love our rippling brooks, so bright,

Our gushing streams, so strong,

The whisper of dark woods, at night,

Our starry skies, our summer light,

All, all that we, in sight and song,

Have felt and lived among.

Here fought our fathers, without fear,

With sword, and plough, and thought.

And here, in clouded times, and clear,

With fortune in their front or rear,

Their Finnish hearts have beat, and wrought

And borne what bear they ought.

Who tells, of all the fights, the tale,

In which this folk withstood,

When war did rage from dale to dale,

When frost set in, with hunger’s wail?

Who measured all their pouring blood,

And all their patience good?

And it was here their blood was shed,

For us, here, on this shore;

And it was here their joys were bred,

Here, that their sighs were heaved and fled,

That people’s who our burdens bore

Before us, long before.

Here it is sweet and good, we wot,

All, too, is giv’n us here;

However fate may cast our lot,

A land, a fatherland, we’ve got.

Will there a thing on earth appear

More worthy, to hold dear?

And here’s, and here’s this fatherland,

Here every eye it sees;

And we can stretch a pointing hand,

To show, with joy, its sea and strand,

And say, “Behold this country, this,

Our Fatherland it is.”

And if we once were made to rise

To gold clouds, from below,

And if we moved in starry skies,

Where no one weeps, where no one sighs,

To this poor lonely country, though,

Our longing hearts would go.

Oh land, the thousand lakes’ own land,

Of faith, and lay, and glee,

Where life’s main sea gave us a strand,

Our fore-time’s land, our future’s land,

Shy of thy poorness, never be,

Be calm, be glad, be free!

Thy blossom, hidden now from sight,

Shall burst its bud ere long.

Lo! from our love, shall rise aright,

Thy sun, thy hope, thy joy, thy light,

And higher, once, more full and strong,

Shall ring Our Country’s song.

(Trans. from Swedish by Anna Krook, 1904.)

Lyric video of Finland National Anthem

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