Post the October revolution and subsequent collapse of the Russian Empire, the Finnish Parliament declared Finland to be an Independent country on 6th December 1917 after a motion from the Finnish Senate to do so, thereby recognising their own Finnish identity, Finnish language, along with their colourful culture and traditions, after years of being annexed to Russia.
Without constructive Governance there then followed a short and violent civil war in 1918 between The Reds who wanted to keep their close affiliations to Russia and The Whites who with the support of troops from Germany wanted to maintain Finland’s new found independence. The Finnish White brigade won a comprehensive victory over the Red socialists, however there were still public divisions for many decades to come.
Initially it was expected that Finland would be a constitutional Monarchy under the German King, however with the German defeat in the First World War, it was decided that Finland would become a Republic with it’s own President which continued until 2000 when the considerable powers of the President of the Finnish Republic were reduced in favour of the Government.
There is an exhibition on in The Orkney Museum Broad Street Kirkwall celebrating Finland’s 100 years of independence with exhibits ranging from Orkney’s ties and links to Finland, Moomins and the Sami people to baby boxes.
Baby boxes were first introduced in Finland in 1938, which along with Childcare clinics established in the 1920’s and the inclusion of pregnant and young mothers in the health care system drastically reduced infant mortality. Baby boxes were also universally rolled out in Scotland in August 2017.
This exhibition is well worth a visit so why not take a minute and pop along and enjoy celebrating Finland’s independence with them.