In 2017, Finland celebrates a century of independence and continuous democracy. To celebrate Finland’s 100 years of independence, the Embassy of Finland together with Visit Finland and Fortum India presented a photo exhibition of the most spectacular phenomena of Finland to the Indian public – the Northern Lights. This exhibition gave the opportunity to experience their magic through incredible images captured in Finland by seven Finnish photographers .The exhibition also presented stories and impressions from nine Indians and seven Finns about living in each other’s country. . Nina Vaskunlahti, Ambassador of Finland to India, shares her thoughts on the sidelines of the Photographic exhibition happening at the ICCR, Kolkata
How important are cultural exchanges between the two countries?
I think collaboration between countries is very important. People get to know each other. The more the interaction, more the people get to understand each other’s way of thinking. Also, you find out how many things you share in common. That is something I found out while I was reading the stories published as a part of this exhibition. Initially the (both the Finns staying India and Indians staying in Finland) stories were about their first impressions of the country,finally they spoke of similar things important to all humans: friendliness, openness, welcoming approaches…Matters that matter everywhere in the world.
Could you please throw some light on the Finnish Community here in India?
There are roughly 100 Finnish companies that have established business in India. The amount of Finns living in India is low, I think we speak of only a couple of hundreds. India is becoming an ever more popular tourist destination particularly during the Finnish winter time. People travel especially to Goa. Goa is also a popular over winter long term destination for Finns who want to escape the gloomy months of the north.
What are your thoughts on Finland as a tourist destination?
Finland is a great tourist destination! It’s a country in the North. It is a big country with lots of Nature: 80 % forest, 10 % of water and we live in the rest 10 %!. We have almost 200 thousand lakes so plenty of water for swimming and sailing. We have very beautiful archipelago along the Baltic Sea coastline. There are undulating hills in Eastern Finland and the lake land area in the central Finland. Helsinki is the capital of Finland and has a very active cultural scene. Also, I think Finland is very open and liberal society and it offers a good choice for every taste.
What would be the takeway message from this exhibition?
I think the message from this exhibition would be how amazing the Nature can be. How it can sort of mesmerizes your mind and thought.