Maiden of Finland
Esplanade Park, Helsinki, Finland
Her official title is Maiden of Finland, and it’s her job to personify the Finnish nation, to embody in human form the qualities it holds dear, like strength and independence. But her name is Aura, after the river that meets the sea in Turku, Finland’s oldest city. She’s wearing a bearskin on her head. Which is probably sensible in a country where temperatures can drop to -22, and lower. Or perhaps the bearskin is a nod to that strength and independence she embodies. And she’s resting against a huge tablet upon which are inscribed the words of Finland’ national anthem, written by Finland’s national poet, Johan Ludvig Runeberg. Runeberg may have been Finland’s national poet, but his family came as immigrants to Finland from Sweden, and he wrote in the Swedish language. Small matter, really, as the people of Finland took him to their hearts so much they named a cake after him…an almond and rum cake filled with raspberry jam. Runeberg’s a part of this monument, too, standing above the Maiden of Finland, on a large column his hand placed firmly on his chest.
Here’s a picture of the whole thing –