100 Greatest Finns (Suuret suomalaiset)
8.3 01. Carl Gustaf Mannerheim
(1867 - 1951)
The sixth President of Finland (1944-46), the Commander-in-Chief of Finland's Defence Forces and Marshal of Finland. One of the most central people in Finnish history.
10 02. Risto Ryti
(1889 - 1956)
The fifth President of Finland (1940-44). His time in office as President was marked by the Continuation War with the Soviet Union.
7.7 03. Urho Kekkonen
(1900 - 1986)
The 8th President of Finland (1956-82). Kekkonen continued the "active neutrality" policy of President Juho Kusti Paasikivi, which came to be known as the Paasikivi-Kekkonen Line. This policy allowed Finland to retain independence and trade with both the nations of the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation and the Warsaw Pact. Kekkonen was the longest-serving President of Finland.
9 04. Adolf Ehrnrooth
(1905 - 2004)
A general and the face and voice most associated with rehabilitation of the fighters who secured Finland its independence. The long era during which it simply was not progressive to value the military ended in the early 1990s, at which time his charismatic persona was at its height.
He became a figurehead for the whole veteran community—straight-talking and unapologetic. When he found out that many nationalist youths cited him as an idol, he blasted them squarely by saying that he might have in his own youth held nationalistic views, but that Finland's path was now in the European Union, a view the nationalists did not hold.
7.5 05. Tarja Halonen
(1943 - present)
The 11th and first female President of Finland, serving from 2000 to 2012. She is also the only world leader with red hair! Also known as a Conan O'Brien look-alike.
0 06. Arvo Ylppö
(1887 - 1992)
A pediatrician who significantly decreased Finnish infant mortality during the 20th century. He is credited as the father of the public child welfare clinic system in Finland. He is often referred to as the Dr. Benjamin Spock of Finland.
0 07. Mikael Agricola
(1510 - 1557)
A clergyman who became de facto founder of written Finnish and one of the prominent proponents of the Protestant Reformation in Sweden-Finland. He is often called "the father of Finnish written language".
8 08. Jean Sibelius
(1865 - 1957)
A world-famous composer of classical music of the later Romantic period whose music played an important role in the formation of the Finnish national identity.
6.3 09. Aleksis Kivi
(1834 - 1872)
An author who wrote the first significant novel in the Finnish language, Seven Brothers (Finnish title: Seitsemän veljestä). Although Kivi was among the very earliest authors of prose and lyrics in Finnish language, he is still considered one of the greatest of them all.
8 010. Elias Lönnrot
(1802 - 1884)
A philologist and collector of traditional Finnish oral poetry. He is best known for composing the Kalevala, the Finnish national epic compiled from national folklore.
2 011. Matti Nykänen
(1963 - present)
A former ski jumper, arguably the best ever in that sport, winning five Olympic medals (four gold) and nine World championships medals (five gold). Nykänen is the only ski jumper in the world to have won both a gold medal in Olympic Games, World Championships and Ski flying World Championships and finished first in the overall World Cup and Four Hills Tournament.
Nowadays he is more known as an alcoholic wife-beater. He has been in the headlines of tabloid newspapers more often than any other person in Finland.
0 012. Väinö Myllyrinne
(1909 - 1963)
An acromegalic giant who was at one time (1961-1963) the world's tallest person. Height: 247 cm (8 feet 1¼ inches).
7.8 013. Ville Valo
(1976 - present)
Singer, songwriter, and frontman of the Finnish rock band HIM.
0 014. Lalli
According to legend, the killer of Bishop Henry during the Christianization of Finland.
8.8 015. Väinö Linna
(1920 - 1992)
One of the most influential Finnish authors of the 20th century. He shot to immediate literary fame with his third novel, Tuntematon sotilas (The Unknown Soldier, published in 1954), and consolidated his position with the trilogy Täällä Pohjantähden alla (Under the North Star, published in 1959 – 1963).
8.7 016. Linus Torvalds
(1969 - present)
The developer of Linux kernel and the greatest nerd of all time.
6.2 017. Spede Pasanen
(1930 - 2001)
A popular film director and producer, comedian, humorist, inventor, TV personality and practitioner of gags.
7.5 018. Pentti Linkola
(1932 - present)
A radical environmentalist, dissident and fisherman. He has written widely about his ideas and is well-known in Finland.
Linkola is a misanthropist who blames humans for the destruction of the environment, and he has promoted ideas such as genocide for saving the environment and to keep the population in control. He strongly promotes deindustrialization.
8.7 019. Tove Jansson
(1914 - 2001)
A novelist, painter, illustrator and comic strip author. She was the author of, among other works, the Moomin books.
9 020. Veikko Hursti
(1924 - 2005)
A philanthropist who is most famous for his work in helping the poor and homeless.
8 021. Paavo Nurmi
(1897 - 1973)
A runner who won a total of nine gold and three silver medals in the 12 events in which he competed at the Olympic Games from 1920 to 1928. During the 1920s, Nurmi was the best middle and long distance runner in the world, setting world records at distances between 1500 m and 20 km.
0 022. Minna Canth
(1844 - 1897)
A writer whose work addresses issues of women's rights, particularly in the context of a prevailing culture she considered antithetical to permitting expression and realization of women's aspirations. In her time, she became a controversial figure, due to the asynchrony between her ideas and those of her time, and in part due to her strong advocacy for her point of view.
She is the first woman to receive her own flag day in Finland, starting on March 19, 2007.
0 023. Juho Kusti Paasikivi
(1870 - 1956)
The 7th President of Finland (1946–1956), who is particularly remembered as a main architect of Finland's foreign policy after the Second World War.
0 024. J.V. Snellman
(1806 - 1881)
An influential Fennoman philosopher and statesman. Father of the Markka (Finnish currency).
0 025. Hertta Kuusinen
(1904 - 1974)
An influential Communist politician, who tried to start a communist revolution in 1934.
9 026. Arto Saari
(1981 - present)
Arguably one of the greatest skateboarders in the world, whose skating style was once considered to be 'too perfect'.
0 027. Miina Sillanpää
(1866 - 1952)
Finland's first female minister and a key figure in the workers' movement.
0 028. Väinö Tanner
(1881 - 1966)
A pioneer and leader in the cooperative movement in Finland, and Prime Minister of Finland from 1926 to 1927.
0 029. Lucina Hagman
(1853 - 1946)
A pioneer of woman issues, founder of Martta organization.
0 030. Cristfried Ganander
(1741 - 1790)
A compiler of folk culture, priest and 18th century lexicographer. Ganander's greated achievement was the compilation of the first fully extensive Finnish-language dictionary which was, however, unpublished.
8.7 031. Mika Waltari
(1908 - 1979)
A popular author, best known for his magnum opus The Egyptian, which was adapted into a Hollywood film by Michael Curtis.
8.3 032. Mika Häkkinen
(1968 - present)
The most succesful Finnish Formula One driver with two championships, and according to various polls, one of the 10 greatest drivers of all time.
0 033. Alvar Aalto
(1898 - 1976)
A world wide known architect and designer, sometimes called the "Father of Modernism" in the Scandinavian countries.
10 034. Eugen Schauman
(1875 - 1904)
A nationalist who assassinated the Governor-General Nikolai Ivanovich Bobrikov, which is the most famous political murder in Finnish history.
9.5 035. Tapio Rautavaara
(1915 - 1979)
One of the most beloved singers in Finland, the Olympic Champion in the javelin at the 1948 Summer Olympics and a successful actor who supposedly was a candidate for the part of Tarzan after Johnny Weissmuller had quit his career.
4.5 036. Eino Leino
(1878 - 1926)
One of the pioneers of Finnish poetry. He is beloved and widely read in Finland today.
0 037. Jaakko Pöyry
(1924 - 2006)
An industrialist, founder of Pöyry Group.
0 038. Otto Wille Kuusinen
(1881 - 1964)
A communist politician.
(Father of Hertta Kuusinen [#25])
8 039. Juice Leskinen
(1950 - 2006)
One of the most prominent Finnish singer-songwriters of the late 20th century.
7 040. Anders Chydenius
(1729 - 1803)
The leading classical liberal of Nordic history.
0 041. Uno Cygnaeus
(1810 - 1888)
A clergyman, educator, and chief inspector of the country's school system, who is considered the father of the Finnish public school system. His accomplishments also include the initiation of high class teacher training, emphasizing the importance of women's education and most importantly introducing the use of crafts as a mandatory subject in the school curriculum.
8 042. Jari Litmanen
(1971 - present)
The first Finnish footballing superstar, widely considered the country's greatest ever, who was one of the best players in the world at mid-1990s. In Finland he is often called "Kuningas" ("The King").
The Association of Football Statisticians' (The AFS) compendium of 'Greatest Ever Footballers' listed Litmanen as the 53rd best footballer ever.
3 043. Katri Helena Kalaoja
(1945 - present)
One of the most popular singers in Finland in terms of sales. She was the first singer in Finland to sell more than one million albums.
0 044. Fanni Luukkonen
(1882 - 1947)
The longtime leader of the Finnish Lotta Svärd, a voluntary auxiliary organisation for women. During her time the organisation grew to 232 000 members, the largest women's organisation in Finland, and even the world.
6 045. Anneli Jäätteenmäki
(1955 - present)
The first female Prime Minister of Finland.
4 046. Karl Fazer
(1866 - 1932)
Founder of Fazer, one of the largest corporations in the Finnish food industry, which is particulary known for its classic chocolate.
9 047. K.J. Ståhlberg
(1865 - 1952)
The first President of Finland (1919–1925) and a nationalist liberal, who played a central role in the drafting of the Constitution of Finland in 1919.
5 048. Mauno Koivisto
(1923 - present)
The 9th President of Finland (1982-1994). The first Social Democrat to be elected as President
0 049. Helene Schjerfbeck
(1862 - 1946)
A popular painter.
4 050. Reino Helismaa
(1913 - 1965)
A singer-songwriter, musician and scriptwriter, mainly known for his humorous, yet homely songs.
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