A Tale of Two Countries

Thank you so much to the Finnish Institute in London for collecting and organising these stories of the friendship between Finland and Britain and for giving us permission to invite viewers and readers to enjoy them!

A Tale of Two Countries – pages were created to mark and celebrate the 100th year of Finnish independence in 2017. The project was led by the Finnish Institute in London and created together with The British Library, The National Archives of Finland, The National Library of Finland, and several other archives. 

Finnish decades of historyFinnish-British Society in the first decades of Finland’s independence​

The Finnish-British Society was founded in 1926. Then, as today, the Finnish-British Society worked in many ways to promote knowledge of British society in Finland. In the 1930s, activities included maintaining a library and reading room and organising gatherings around themes such as music, bridge, and literature. There was also an exhibition of textbooks in English, which was held in the Academic Bookstore. Today, the purpose of our activities is wider – to promote diversity, inclusiveness, and lifelong learning through English. For this purpose, the Society arranges meetings, lectures, and social gatherings but also English language training and testing.
British PolicemenBritish policemen teaching English to Finns

Remember this? Enjoy the classical language courses created by Neil Hardwick for YLE. Fearful English cops Stan and Dud ponder where that cat really is. 
The adventure begins with the search for a lost cat. It soon becomes clear that the cat is on the moon. The story is told respecting the best traditions of slapstick comedy. The vocabulary taught was only a few dozen words. For example, it was decided to teach only one preposition. Thus, an entire generation learned some things that were grammatically incorrect.
Video greetings of friends

A group of interesting individuals who live their lives between two cultures were interviewed as a part of the project.  The interesting persons interviewed include:

•Finnish conductor Sakari Oramo who has spent years working in the UK, e.g. as the chief conductor of the BBC Symphony Orchestra
• ALMA, a pop singer whose single ‘Chasing Highs’ was one of only two Finnish singles to reach the UK top 20 thus far
•Pertti Salolainen, a Finnish MP who feels as if he were half-British and how the time in Britain has shaped his thinking
•Eddie ‘The Eagle’ Edwards, the first and only ski jumper in the UK
•Neil Hardwick, a beloved theatre persona, writer, and director in Finland
A Tale of Two CountriesA Tale of Two Countries is a digital gallery project lead by the Finnish Institute in London, created together with The British Library, The National Archives of Finland, The National Library of Finland, and several other archives.