“Maamme” or “Vart Land,” the Swedish and Finnish titles for the Finland national anthem, translates into English as “Our Land.” In 1848, German musician Fredrik Pacius composed the accompaniment for the Finland national anthem. Johan Ludvig Runeberg wrote the lyrics in Swedish.
When J.L. Runeberg, who also worked as the Porvoo Lyceum headmaster, published the poem that became the anthem. It appeared in “The Tales of Ensign Stål,” which consists of 35 ballads about the War of Finland that took place from 1808-1809.
Composer Pacius also used the tune of Finland’s National Anthem to create one for Estonia titled “Mu Isamaa” (My Country). This Northern European nation, which borders the Gulf of Finland and the Baltic Sea, used Pacius’ tune from 1918-1940 and reinstated it in 1990.
Students performed the Finland national anthem for the first time on Kumtähti field in Helsinki, and Pacius conducted the piece. This event took place on May 13, 1848 to celebrate Flora Day, which honors spring every year. This event also included a toast “To Finland” made by student body Chairman Fredrik Cygnaeus.
To add to the festivities, students waved a flag with a crowned lion on it. The audience began to learn the words of its first national anthem, and this reportedly put forth Finland’s identity. You might even hear some people comment that the country was “born” on this day in 1848 while several hundred people sang (at least almost) in unison.
The Finland National Anthem builds up the nation and promotes it as one of being like no other. Nothing, not the “mount that meets the heaven’s band” or the “hidden vale” or the “wavewashed strand” is loved as much as “our native North”, referring to the country’s land. Themes of joy and magnificence shine through in this song’s lines as well.
The country seemed to need this fight song, considering all the turmoil associated with the War of Finland a few decades earlier. Then, this nation first declared its independence on December 6, 1917, which occurred while World War I took place.
After that, Finland suffered long before they officially established themselves as a country free from the grips of Russian control. The establishment of the Finnish national anthem didn’t occur until three years after World War II ended. You can only imagine the mayhem and perceived threats the country endured by the time they did become more of a “free” nation.