Finland 100 brought Nordic heads of state together
Nordic heads of state arrived in Helsinki on Thursday 1 June 2017 to celebrate the centenary of Finland’s independence. The day was historic, since all the Nordic heads of state have gathered in Finland only once before during Finland’s independence.
The day began with ceremonies in the forecourt of the Presidential Palace at 10.30 am. President of the republic Sauli Niinistö and Mrs Jenni Haukio welcomed president Guðni Thorlacius Jóhannesson and his spouse, Eliza Jean Reid, of Iceland, king Harald V and queen Sonja of Norway, king Carl XVI Gustaf and queen Silvia of Sweden, and queen Margrethe II of Denmark. The royals and presidential couples greeted the public from the balcony of the Presidential Palace.
After the ceremonies at the Presidential Palace, the Finnish presidential couple and their guests walked from the Presidential Palace to the City Hall and greeted the public on their way. The presidential couples and royals also watched a Dancing Finland dance performance, held in the Market Square, from the balcony of the City Hall. The programme at the City hall continued with a lunch hosted by Helsinki’s incoming mayor Jan Vapaavuori.
According to the Helsinki Police Department, around 4,000 people gathered in the Market Square to follow the ceremonies.
President Niinistö, Mrs Haukio and their Nordic guests also attended the re-inauguration of the Hanasaari Swedish-Finnish Cultural Centre. Gunvor Kronman, the CEO of Hanasaari, hosted the event.
In the afternoon, the guests visited the Sibelius Monument and took part in Finland 100 moment, which was also open to the public. The guests were greeted by a group of children flying Nordic flags. Nordic presidential couples and royals enjoyed performances by Tapiola Children’s Choir and the choir of the Helsinki Music Centre. The Finland 100 event began with Sibelius’ Kanteletar: Sortunut ääni (The Broken Voice) and ended with Sibelius’ Finlandia.
The day ends with a banquet in the Presidential Palace.