Talks

FETING THE FINNS
by CHRISTOPHER MASSY-BERESFORD

Date: Tuesday 7 November 2023

1918-2018 – 100 YEARS OF INTREPID INDEPENDENCE

This talk is about Finland’s geography, history and its exceptionally individualistic language and culture; and how during the 20th Century it emerged on the world stage led by a handful of remarkable artistic and political personalities.

The beginning of Finland’s first century consisted of a struggle to express its early independence from the clutches of Russia and the former dominance of Sweden.

Along with Iceland, Finland prefers to be classified as a Nordic country rather than Scandinavian. Alone among them it became tragically entangled in WW2. Its armed forces led by Carl Mannerheim acquitted themselves with honour but eventually had to admit defeat.

In the 1940’s and 50’s Finland’s unique position between East and West grew in importance helped by its staging of the Olympic Games in 1952 and the skilful though controversial diplomacy of Urho Kekkonen, its President from 1956 to 1981.Simultaneously Finnish design became increasingly sought after. The country prospered, acceding to the EU in 1986 and adopting the Euro in 2001.

This talk highlights the outstanding achievements of this remote country with its vast terrain, terrible winters and relatively small population.

Christophers degree was in PPE but modern languages came to be a defining feature of his commercial career and interests. He now works as a professional translator. He lives in Beckington, near Frome in Somerset.

 

Back to the previous page