In 2017, Finland will celebrate its centenary of independence. Norway is marking the centenary by strengthening the Norwegian-Finnish Cultural Fund and providing funding for a Norwegian sculpture.
'We congratulate our Finnish friends and neighbours on this important anniversary. The theme of Finland's centenary celebration is 'Together'. Norway and Finland stand together in many contexts and arenas – bilaterally, in the Nordic region, in the Arctic, in Europe and at the global level,' said Minister of Foreign Affairs Børge Brende.
In connection with the centenary, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs has allocated NOK 750 000 for a Norwegian sculpture, to be placed at Hanaholmen cultural centre, just outside Helsinki. Finland's Honorary Consul General in Oslo, Christian Bjelland, will be involved in the project. The sculpture will be placed in a small outdoor Nordic sculpture park on the theme of the seasons. Hanaholmen has recently been renovated and will be re-opened when the Nordic heads of state visit Finland on 1 June to mark the centenary.
Former NTNU professor Maaretta Jaukkuri is curator of the project and will play a central role in choosing a Norwegian sculptor and sculpture. She has in-depth knowledge in this area, not least due to her involvement in the project Artscape Nordland. The sculpture is expected to be in place in 2018.
'Hanaholmen is a well-established concept in the area of cultural exchange between Finland and Sweden, and it is becoming increasingly well-known in the context of wider Nordic cooperation, too. This means that our gift to our neighbours is a symbol of both Norwegian-Finnish and Nordic links,' said Mr Brende.
In connection with the Finnish centenary, the Ministry of Culture has decided to inject an additional NOK 2 million into the Norwegian part of the Norwegian-Finnish Cultural Fund. The interest on the Fund is used to support activities that enhance knowledge and foster ties between the Norwegian and Finnish cultural, social and business sectors. The Fund supports cooperation projects between Norway and Finland, primarily in the field of art and culture.
'Our centenary contribution to the Fund reflects our desire to have even closer contact with Finland, not least in the areas of language and culture. We would be delighted if more Norwegian artists and cultural actors find their way to Finland, and vice versa, as a result,' said Minister of Culture Linda Hofstad Helleland.