2017 is a year of celebration for Finland. SF100, or Suomi Finland 100, is the celebration of the nation’s 100 years as an independent nation. The Embassy of Finland in Bangkok is looking forward to a year filled with events, sharing the Finnish values and strengthening the ties with Thailand.
“We are celebrating as Finnish people, but also with friends around the world. And we hope to get lots of new friends of Finland during this year. It’s a year of showcasing the journey of Finland during the last 100 years,” says Katarina Tapio, Deputy Head of Mission at the Finnish Embassy, on her hopes for the year.
“We have accomplished many good things, so we want to share those experiences and how we got here. We hope to give whatever best practices and show how we became a stable and innovative country, which I think Thailand aims to do as well.”
A chance for Finland to inspire other countries will be at the Bangkok International Book Fair, which Katarina Tapio mentions as the main event of the year for Finland in Bangkok.
From 29 March to 4 April 2017, Finland will be the guest of honour at the book fair, which should be visited by 2 million people. As the honorary guest, Finland will have a big pavilion with the theme ‘The Joy of Reading – Key of life long learning.’
At the book fair the embassy hopes to be able to show the Finnish education system, which often is mentioned as one of the best in the world. Thailand has also shown a great interest in the Finnish ways of educating, says Katarina Tapio. Thailand is working on improving their own system of education, but despite having put lots of effort and investment into it, Thais still experience a lack of improvement.
“I think they will be happy to learn from other countries – and we will be happy to share,” says Tapio.
However, the book fair will not only be about books and education. It will also be a chance for the embassy to promote Finnish business and tourism to Finland.
“We will have a lot of Finnish design on display. It will be this whole visual trip to Finland with great pictures that can maybe highlight Finland as a very interesting travel destination,” says Katarina Tapio. “There are almost 140.000 Finns coming to Thailand every year, and we would be happy if we could have the equal numbers or more coming from Thailand to Finland.”
Finnish design house Marimekko is one of the Finnish companies, that will be displayed at the Finnish pavilion at the book fair. Marimekko is know for their original prints and colours. They make both clothing items and accessories, as well as items for home decoration.
“There are lots of things that Thai love about Finnish design. Sort of funny things. ‘Sanuk’, they say in Thai about everything enjoyable and fun, and we’re trying to put that together.”
Something ‘sanuk’ that will be a part of the Finnish display, is the Moomin, that is for many know as a character from a children’s book, but is also a popular design in home decoration on mugs, plates and more.
Aside Bangkok International Book Fair as the main event, the embassy is also putting together many other events. So far, not many details can be revealed as a lot is still in the planning process. She does however guarantee that there will be a big party in December, around the independence day itself, to really celebrate the jubilee.
“We are planning to bring some great Finnish artists, Finnish art, design and Finnish food and have a nice celebration with Finns and foreign friends of Finland.”
The Embassy of Finland to Thailand will also be hosting a drawing competition as part of the celebration. A winner will be chosen from a Finnish school and one from a Thai school, and together they will get to shadow Finnish ambassador, Satu Suikkari-Kleven, for a day and experience what it is like to be an ambassador, and also to bring the two different cultures together.
“We wish to make more friends of Finland in Thailand. And to show what Finland has to offer, both regarding politics and policies, but also to show that Finland is a great country to visit and a country with great design and products. We will have more events with Finnish food and culture – design and food is what we are focusing on, but I cannot reveal the details just yet.”
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