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Finland Celebrates 88th Independence Day
Finnish Amb. Kim Luotonen Hosts Reception in Seoul
Finnish Ambassador Kim Luotonen (second from left) poses with Mr. Bernhard Brender (left), general manager of the Millennium Seoul Hilton, Ms. Nancy Choi (second from right), president of CJ's World.

Finns living in Seoul observed the Nordic country's most important day — Independence Day of Finland in a reception in a hotel downtown Seoul on Dec. 6, 2005.

Finnish Ambassador to Seoul Kim Luotonen hosted a reception in celebration of its 88th Independence Day of Finland (1917) on the day.

The standing buffet reception held at 6 p.m. on the day at Millennium Seoul Hilton drew a large number of internatioal guests from the foreign diplomatic community in Seoul and local guests from nearly all walks of life.

Among the scores of top foreign envoys who attended the reception were US Ambassador Alexander Vershbow, German Ambassador Michael Geier, Czech Ambassador Tomas Smetanka, Honduras Ambassador Rene Francisco Umana (Chinchilla), Cambodian Ambassador Lim Samkol, and Thai Ambassador Vasin Teeravechyan.

Mr. Abdelkader Jaouhar (left), 1st counsellor & deputy head of mission of Moroccan Embassy, poses with Sri Lankan Ambassador Gunayavedalage Wijayasiri (second from left), Nigerian Ambassador Abba A. Tijjani, and Mrs. Rijjani.

Finland, a member of the European Union, is the second largest Nordic country with a population of more than 5 million people.

Since Korea and Finland established official diplomatic relations in 1973, two countries greatly value bilateral relations and partnership between the two friendly countries.

Meaning of Independence Day of Finland

Independence day is the most noticeable of the national holidays in Finland. There are parades, such as the university students' torch parades, medals are awarded, and festive functions are held.

During the early decades of independence, this day was a very solemn occasion marked by patriotic speeches and special Church services.

Cambodian Ambassador Lim Samkol (second fromright) poses with Thai Ambassador Vasin Teeravechyan (second from left), and other foreign ambassadors. At right is Mr. Min Byung-Il, editorial director of The Seoul Times.

From the 1970s onwards, however, Independence day celebrations have taken on livelier forms, with shops decorating their windows in the blue and white of the Finnish flag, and bakeries producing cakes with blue and white icing.

Today, rock stars and entertainers have been accepted as worthy interpreters of Finnish patriotism.

About Finland

Finland was a province and then a grand duchy under Sweden from the 12th to the 19th centuries and an autonomous grand duchy of Russia after 1809. It won its complete independence in 1917.

During World War II, it was able to successfully defend its freedom and resist invasions by the Soviet Union - albeit with some loss of territory.

Honduras Ambassador Rene Francisco Umana Chinchilla (second from left) poses with Puruvian Ambassador Jorge Bayona Medina (second from right), Ms. Helen Kim (left), and Ms. Julia Oscarson, a Canadian artist operating in Seoul.

In the subsequent half century, the Finns made a remarkable transformation from a farm/forest economy to a diversified modern industrial economy; per capita income is now on par with Western Europe.

As a member of the European Union, Finland was the only Nordic state to join the euro system at its initiation in January 1999.

For details or inquiries call the Embassy of Finland in Seoul at 732-6737.

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