Kuivasaari Coastal Artillery Fortress – standing guard over Helsinki


Of the coast of Helsinki, on the island of Kuivasaari (“Dry Island”), the Kuivasaari Coastal Artillery Fortress stands. Until not to long ago, Kuivasaari was a working coastal artillery fortress guarding the approaches to the capital city of Finland but the guns have now been removed from active service and … Continue reading

Maximilian Maksolly – Estonian War Artist


Maximilian Maksolly (actually Feichter, the original spelling of his first name was Maksimilian) was an Estonian painter who is now possibly best remembered for his war art from the time of the Estonian War of Independence. I touch on him in this blog largely because of his series of war … Continue reading

The Life and Art of Pekka Halonen

Pekka Halonen

Pekka Halonen was a painter of Finnish landscapes and people who would go on to become one of the more notable painters in the world of Finnish Art. This Post provides what’s probably the most detailed information you’ll find on Pekka Halonen in English (there’s not much….) as well as … Continue reading

Valaam Monastery – Step to the Skies – a documentary

Valamo Monastery

Valaam Monastery. Valamo Monastery. The heart of the Orthodox Church in Karelia and an outpost of Russia within the lands of the Finns. Mount Athos of the North – so was called this ancient monastic dwelling, which was founded a thousand years ago in the dawn of Christianity in Russia … Continue reading

Valamo Monastery – former heart of the Finnish Orthodox Church

Valaam Monastery

The Valamo Monastery is an Orthodox monastery in what used to be Finnish Karelia but is  now part of Russia, located on Valamo, the largest island and part of an island archipelago of the same name in Lake Laatoka (Ladoga), itself the largest lake in Europe. The archipelago consists of … Continue reading

Christmas in Helsinki

Christmas in Helsinki

Christmas in Helsinki begins when the lights are turned on along the street Aleksanterinkatu on the 24th of November, a traditional start to the Christmas Season and to serious Christmas shopping for those so inclined….24 November 2013 was the 64th year in a row for these lights. Shopkeepers along Aleksanterinkatu … Continue reading

Örö – visit an Island Coastal Artillery Fortress in the Archipelago


If you’re aiming to visit Bengtskär, Hanko or the southern archipelago, it’s well worth checking to see if you can visit Örö – an island coastal artillery fortress in the archipelago that offers up some unique scenery and wildlife as well as the interesting military and cultural history. Örö is still … Continue reading

Gliding in Finland in the 1920’s and 1930’s

Jämi Instructor and Ilmavoimat Reserve Lieutenant T B Nissinen demonstrates the Vaasa clubs "Anssi-Jukka" Grunau Baby glider in the the 1930's.

Gliding in Finland in the early decades of the 20th Century (and private flying for that matter) was closely associated with the Suomen Ilmapuolustusliitto (Air Defence League or SIPL as it was usually abbreviated to). SIPL had been founded in the 1920’s as a kind of Air Civil Guard with … Continue reading

Bengtskär Lighthouse Hotel – a uniquely Finnish experience

The Bengtskär lighthouse

Visiting Bengtskär lighthouse is one of those especially Finnish experiences that are worth the effort. It’s a working lighthouse far out to sea on a small islet in the Baltic Sea where you can stay as a guest. Bengtskär is the tallest lighthouse in Scandinavia and is an impressive national landmark … Continue reading

Korsuorkesteri – Finnish songs from the War Years

Korsuorkesteri 15-year anniversary concert in 2005

Korsuorkesteri – Finnish songs from the War Years Korsuorkesteri is a Finnish band that plays 1950s and 1960s dance music as well as the war-time songs of World War 2, performing about 170 gigs a year. The band’s most recent efforts are the popular Korsuhartaus church concerts. Korsuorkesteri was founded in February 1990 when Pepe Kovanen arranged a special dance program … Continue reading