*** Finland Finnish boys wear


Finish boys clothes

Figure 1.--Here we see a Finnish boy. The image is undated, but we would guess that it was taken in the 1950s. The H-bar shorts suggest a German influence. The stripped T-short looks rather American.

Finland is a northern European country located between Sweden and Russia. Those two countries have dominated Finlan's history. Its closest cultural ties are with Estonia across the Gulf of Funland. Another geographic impactis from the northerly lattitudes is a harsh winter that has also played a major role in the ciuntry's devlopment. Finland is sometimes referred to as a Scandinavian country, but this is not accurate as ethnically the Finns are not Scandinavians, maning the northern German tribes. We have little information about the country at this time. The country is today an independent country, but since the 12th cebntury conquest by Sweden was ruled by either Sweden or Russia until achieving independence after World War I (1918). Economically Finland since independence has developed a modern industrial and post industrial economy. Like the Scandinavian countrues thyhave created a welfare state, but unlike southern Euriope have done so wiyh a degree of fiscal prudence. Thus fashion trends have been influenced by those two countries. Germany has also influenced fashions. We know of no destinctive Finnish boys' fashions.


Finland is among the larger countries ones in Europe by area, but only marginally so. And much of the country's territory osat high latitudes and of marginal economic value. It is located between Sweden and Russia and both counties have played a major role in Finland's history. Finland is separated from most of Sweden by the Gulf of Bothnia. Finland in the South borders on the Baltia Sea and Gulf of Finland. Finland is located at northern lattitudes and this climatic circumstnce, a circumstance of gepgraphy has also played a major role in the country's history and economy. Finland like Sweden has no outlet on the Barents Sea as northern Norways connects with Russia. Much of southern and central Finland is covered by interconnected lakes. Much of northern Finland is part of Lapland which comprises northern Norway and Sweden and extends into the Russian Kola Peninsula. Finland is separated from Estonia by the Gulf of Finland. These two countries share ethnic, linguistic, and other cultural ties. A large area of Finland is covered by coniferous forests. This is the country's most important natural resource. Other than the forests, Finlnd has few imortant natural resources. Most notably, there is no coal or oil. Uutokumpu was Finland's main mineral resource. It was the largest copper mine in Europe for some time, but was depleted (1980s). Despite the large number of lakes, there is little water because of the flat teraine, there is np apreciable height differences.


Although bordering on Sweden, the Finns are a separate people speaking a destinctive language different from the Scandinavian (Germanic) languages. The Scandanavians were the northern Germanic tribes and their languages Germanic. Finnic is an entirely different language family--the Uralic. Before the development of DNA, language was one of the cultural artifacts used to studyethnic roots. There are different Finnic languages. Carelian in the extreme south is one such Finnic language.


A HBC reader writes, "Scandinavia includes Sweden, Norway, Denmark, and possibly Iceland. Finland however, isn't part of Scandinavia. As you mentioned, its culture and language have different origins and are actually closer to those of Baltic countries (Estonia in particular) and even Hungary." Actually here geographers differ somewhat. Geographers agree that the Scandinavian Peninsula is Borway and Sweden. Here Finland is separated by the Gulf of Boythnia. The Scandinavian cukltural group is less clearly defined. All sources inclide Norway, Sweden, and Denmark as part od Scandinavia because of linguistic, ethnic, and cultural similarities. For similar reasons Iceland and the Faeroe Islands are also included. Sources vary as to Finland. As our reader mentions there are substantial differences between Finland and the rest of Scandinavia. Here centuries of Swedish had some impact on Finland and some sources do include it as part of the region.

Historical Background

Finland is today an independent country, but since the 12th century conquest by Sweden was ruled by either Sweden or Russia. The Swedes conquered Finland in the 12th century. A level of autonomy was achieved when Finland was made a grand duchy (16th century). Russian rule is much more recent. Sweden during the Napoleonic War ceded Finland to Russia (1809). As a Grand Duchy with its own constitution and parliament, Finland was an anomally in the Russian Empire. The Tsarist regime moved to tighten its control over Finand in the late 19th century (1890s). As a result of the Russian Revolution, the Finn's declared independence (1917). Communist efforts to take control were defeated by Marshal Mannerheim. The Finns established a republic (1919). An extensive land reform program broke up the large estates and made 90 opercent of the farmers who had been tennant farmers land owners. The Soviet Union cooperated with the NAZIs in invading Poland and launching World War II. After seizing eastern Poland, Stalin looked north and demanded the demilitarization of Finnish fortifications facing Lenningrad (Mannerheim Line) and the cession of military bases. The Sovierts were making similar demands on the Baltic Republics which in a secret codicil of the NAZI-Soviet Non-Agression Pact (1939) had been relegated to Soviet control. The Finn's refused the Sovirt demand and the Soviets invaded. Stalin was stunned at Finnish resistance in the Winter War (1939-40). The Red Army sufferd heavy losses, but eventually prevailed. A peace treaty transferred sections of the Karelian Penninsula, Vyborg, and border territories to the Soviets (March 1940). Hitler noted the poor performance of the Red Army in the War. Finland joined in the NAZI invasion of the Soviet Union (June 1941). The Finns limited their operations to recoivering the lost territory. The limited Finnish participation in the NAZI war with the Soviets were a key factor in the Soviet success in stopping the Wehrmacht at Lenningrad. When the resurgence oif the Red Army, Finland was forced to capituale again to Soviet forces. The Soviets required the Finns in addition to the territories ceeded in 1940 to cede Petsamo and lease Porkkala area. They also had to expel German forces fighting in northern Finland which resulted in coinsiderable destruction.


Finland was acquired from Sweden by Russian during the Naoleonic era (1809). at the beginning of the 20th century was still a Grand Duchy within the Russian Empire. As a Grand Duchy, Finland relatively broad autonomy in its economic and many internal affairs. It was a basically agricultural province of the Tsarist Empire. Unlike some parts of the Empire, there was little industrial development. Income levels were about half of the Unites States, but comparable to the rest of Eastern Europe. Finns fought with the Russias in World War I, but the fighting never reached Finland itself. The country was involved in the Civil War and emerged as an independent republic. The country was involved in World war II when the Soviet Union invaded--launching the Winter War (1940). The country's small population and small industrial base made it difficult to resist the overwealming Soviet power. Finland joined the NAZI German invasion of the Soviet Union, with much more limited objectives. Consiferable damage was done to the country's infrastructure during the War and some of the best agricultural land was lost in the territory seized by the Soviets. The country rapidly industrialized after the War. A factor here was integration with the West and trade liberalization. This had to be carefully managed with diplomacy so as not to cause a Soviet reaction. As a esult, Finnish living standards steadily improved. Finland first joined the Outer Seven with Britain, but joined the European Union (1995) and the European Economic and Monetary Union (1999). Finland at the beginning of the 21st century was classified as a small, but highly successful industrialized country. The population shares a standard of living among the top twenty in the world. It has a highly industrialized, basically free-market economy. Per capita statistics are similar to Sweden. The core of the econolny is the manufacturing sector, including the wood, metals, engineering, telecommunications, and electronics industries. Nokia is one of the world's leading high-tech companies, specializing in cell phones. The country is a major exporter, about a third of the GSP is based on trade. Finland does not have extensive natural resources. The ptimary resources are timber and minerals (especially tin). The country has to import large quantities of raw materials and energy, especially petroleum. Agricultural is limited by the country's northerly climate, but basivally supplies the domestic market. The forestry sector does contribute to exports.


We do not yet have enough Finninish images to build a chronology of Finnish boys' clothes. We have found a few school portraits, but our archive is still very limited. A HBC reader hs sent an interesting image of modern Finnsh children participating in a recreation of the 17th century. We are not sure how accurate the depiction is, but looks reasonably accurate. Finnish artists provide some information, but so far we have not found anything earlier than the 19th century. Our primary source of informnation is photohraphs. Photography of course developed in the mid-19th century. Most of the photographs we have found so far are from the 20th century.

Fashion Influence

Fashion trends have been influenced by Sweden and Russia as those two countries ruled Finland for centuries. Trade connections were also important. Germany has also influenced fashions. Here we do not know how doirectly German fashions affected Sweden. As German fashions influenced both Sweden and Russia, the influence could have been indirect through those countries. The H-bar shorts seen here (figure 1), for example, are a German style, but were also worn by other Scandinavian and Russian boys. We know of no destinctive Finnish boys' fashions, although there are destinctive folk costumes.


Finnish boys as far as we can tell wore the same garments as other European boys, especially Scandinavian and Russian boys. Our Finnish image archive is still quite limited. We have seen some skirted garments. We note tunics in the early 20th century. We also note some sailor garments, a style that was especially popular throughout Sandinavia. We note a Tampere boy wearing a sailor suit, we believe in the 1890s. We do not yet know if there were any destinctive Finnish farmrnts or Finnish styling. We are unable to assess the various garments commonly worn at this time until we acquire some more images. Hopefully Finnish readers will provide both information and images to help build this section.


The Finns were conquered and Christianized by Sweden during the Northern Crusades (12th-13th centuries). Since that time until independence in 1918 as a republic, Finland was ruled by either Sweden or Russia. As a result, there was no actual Finnish royal line, at least in the Christian era. Finland was ruled by the Swedish or Ruissian monarchy. Sweden made Finland a grand duchy (16th century). The Grand Duke of Finland under Swedish rule was more accurztely translated as the Grand Prince of Finland (Storfurste av Finland). This was one of the titles of the king of Sweden. Occassioinaly it was a title given to the crown prince. Russia seized Fibnland during the Napoleonic Wars (1809). The title of grand duke was transfered to Russia as the head of the autonomous Grand Principality of Finland. This was a title assume by the Russian Tsar.


We do not yet have much information on youth activies in Finland, primarily because our Finnish archive is fairly limited. The most important activity is of course school. We do have some information on Finnish schools. We have found some information on Finnish choirs. As in other countries, Finnish boys enjoy a range of sports. As in other countries, the most ppoular sport is football (soiccer). Of course because of the climare, msny Finns enjoy skiing. We do not yet have any information on youth groups. The only group we know of are the Scouts.


Sweden conquered and Christinized the Finns in the Northern Crusades (12th century). There was conflict between the Swedish Kingdom supported by the Catholic Church and the Principality of Novgorod supported by the Greek Orthodox Church over Finland. The Swedish kingdom prevailed and proved to be the more successful of the two, slowly gaining control over the whole of Finland. Karelia was split between Sweden and Novgorod (and its Russian successor state. This mean that Finland was initially Roman Catholic while southern/eastern Karelia was Orthodox. Durung the Reformation, Sweden and Finland became Protestant--primarily Lutheran (16th century). Finland was conquered by Russia in the Finnish War (1808-09). Tsar Alexander I after the Russian victory over the Swedes promised the four Estates of Finland to respect the faith and the basic laws that were in force in the country. Thus the Russians did not attempt to convert Finnish Protestants.


The topic of Finnish regions is somewhat complicated. The 20 Finnish regions are more culturally based than the provinces which were purly administrative units and imposed by the Sweedes. They did affect the concentration of finnish dialects. . The regions in contrast represent cultural diversity. This includes linguistic, economic, ethnic and other differences. The modern regions are based on nine historical regions: Finland Proper, Karelia, Laponia (Lappland), Ostrobothnia, Satakunta, Savonia, Tavastia, Uusimaa, and �land. The two best known are Karelia and Laponia. Karelia, much of which was lost to the Soviet Union was a World War II battelground. Lappland is of course famed for the destinctive culture of the Lapplanders who inhabit northern Finland and Sweden.


The Finns are a Nordic people. Finland straddels the Arctic Circle north of continental Europe. Although today Finland is strongly associated with Scandnavia, the people have a completely different ethnic origin. The linguistic difference with the Finnish language was until recently the primary evidence of the ethnic origin of the Finns. Linuistic assessmenhts re useful and one if the few siurces before DNA methiods were developed. But as language is a cultural and not a ethnic matter, they can be misleading. Today with DNA studies we have a much better understanding. The Scandanavians originated with the North German tribes of antquity. The Finns and Sami (Lapps) orininated with the Uralic peoples, Artic hunting people inhabiting the central Ural mountains (8,000-5,000 BC). The origuinal inhabitants were the Sami (Lapp) people which were pushed north by the Northern Germans in the West and the Finns in the East. The popultion of Finland is largely homogenous and dominated by the Finnish people, but the orgins are more duiverrse thsn once believed. There are small minority groups, but until recently 95 percent of the populatiomn is Finnish, even today it is still bout 90 percent. The minorities, especially the Swedes have had an importanht cultural pact, but are not a large part of the population.


Perhaps the most notable demographic fact about Finland is how sparsely populated the country is. Finland is one of the largest European countries by area, but has one of the smallest populations in Europe. It has a population of 5.3 million and only 44 people per square mile. Real economic growt in the second half of the 19thcentury resulted in population growth, from 2 million in the 1860s to 3 million in he early 1910s as World War I approached. Finland remained a very rural country. About 90 percent continued to live in ruralral areas (early-1910s). 【Hjerpp】 The population is very homogeneous. Unlike Sweden not a lot illegal alienes have been allowed to enter the country. There are very few prople of foreign origin--something like 2 percent. There are two official language groups, the Finnish-speaking majority and a Swedish-speaking minority, both refecting different ethnic grouops. Population growth is about 0.3 percent per year.


We do not know much about Finnish art history and artists yet. We have virtualy no informationa about Finish artists at this time. Finland until World War I and the Russian Revolution was part of Tsasrist Russia. The only artist that we have identified so far is Karl Emanuel Jansson. Hopefully our Finish readers will provide us more information about Finnish artists.


We do not yet have much information on Finnish photography. There is a museum of Finish photography, but as best we can tell, they have not yet prepared a basic history of Finnish photography. Photography was developed in Western Europe in the mid-19th century. France and Britain were especially important. Finland was a small (in terms of population) province of the Tsarist empire. It was an agricultural region, but its location at the northwestern corner of the Tsarist Empire with Baltic ports and a border with Sweden meant that the country was more exposed to the West than most other other regions of the Empire. As was the case of most largely agicultural small countris or provinces, the first commercial photography was founded by foreigners from Russia or the West. The first professional photographers working in Finland came from Russia and the more advanced Baltic countries/provinces (Denmark, Germany, and Sweden). Estonia was also important. It was another Tsarist province, but was located across the Gulf of Finland and there are many eyhnic and cultural ties such as language. Cameras and other photographic equiment and and film was and continues to be imported. We have not yet found much early Finnish photography, but suspect that only with the appearance of 19th century albumen prints (CDVs and cabinet cards) do we see much in the way of portraiture that is a mainstay of our website.


Almost as early as the first movie screening (1895) we note Finns experimenting with film (1896). The first Finnish film, hoewever was not profuced until a decade later (1907). Very few films followed and therewere periods in which no films were produced. Finland at the time was an autonomous part of the Tsarist Empire. We are not sure how Tsaris officials viewed national film industries as Russification was a part of Tsarist policy. The overall Russian film industry, however was not heavily censored in sharp contrast to what followed in Soviet times. Most Russian Tsarist era films were lost or destroyed by the Bolseheviks. Finnish films seem to have fared better. Theis was of course during the silent era. We assumne the subtuitles were done in Finnish but do not have details. The Tsarist Empire was convulsed by World War I (1914-18) and the Russian Revolution (1917). Finland declared its independence (1917) and had to fight a war with the invading Bolsheviks (1918). All of which affected economic and cultural activity like film making. The situatiin stabilized (1920s). Finnish society and cultural activity could thaen freedly develop without Tsarist or Communist constraints. Movie making increased and were part of Finish cultural and popklar life. As withn other small countries, the talkies (1930s), meant that Finish novies could not easily be marketed abroad, except perhaps in Sweden and Estonia. Three main studios began to doninate Finnish films (1930s). After 2 years of peace, the country was again convulsed, this time by World War II beginning with the Soviet Winter War invasion (1939-40) and then the Finnish Continuation War (1941-44). Right in the middle of the two wars, 'Suomisen Family' (1941) was produced showing fmily reyrning to normality. Three months after release, Finland plunged inyo the Continuation War. The countty was devestated and only slowly recovered. The three studios made several filns, competing with each other (1940s-50s). With the advent of television, film making declined (1960s). Most screenings as a result were foreign films. Studios closed down. Domestic films were heavily political and artistic which had little appeal to most movie goers. The creative community seeking high artistic expression and becoming disdainful of the mass audience seeing them as low-brows unwirthy if high-art. The creative community lost interest in film making. A few film makers produced popular films for the mass audience which was hungary for Finnish-language entertainment. These films were strongly criticused by disdainful critics, but proved popular successes. One of the best regarded Finnish films is 'The Unknown Soldier' directed by Edvin Laine (1955). It has become a tradition to broadcast it on television on Independence Day. 'Beneath the North Star' is a another Finnish classic, based on a triolgybby Väinö Linna. The film version was also directed by Laine (1968). It shows the Finnish Civil War from the perspective of the Red Guards. It appeared as Finland was breaking away from the Soviet orbit. Some but not all of the film's content would appel to Soviet censors, but the film was entered in the Moscow Film Festival. A crime comedy, 'Inspector Palmu's Mistake' directed by Matti Kassila and sequals were made (1960s). They are generally condidered the most popular Finnish films. Over time, the artistic community changed its condescending attuitude toward film bringing about a revivl in Finnish film (1990). Some 15–20 full-length feature films are mow being made annually. Foreign influences such as action films and wuxia (martial arts) have proven popular. The Finnkino company is the primary theater operator.


We have begun to collect some information on Finnish families. The family segment of HBC provides a wealth of date about Finnish society, The family images for various decades provide interesting information about family life and social trends as well as the clothing and hair style fashions. They also provide insights as to the fashions worn by other members over time. It is interesting to see what adult and girl fashions were associated with the various styles that boys wore over time. We are collecting information on families from different regions as well as various demographic segments to provide a complete view of Finninsh society over time. We note an unidentified family duting the 1920s in a village near Keuruu (central Finland). We are not sure that they are a rural family. They look more like a city family spending the summer in a rural site. The M�kinen family looks more like a rural family. They lived near Keuru during the 1920s. The mother's scarfe was commonly woirn by rural peasant women. We note the five Finnish siblings--the Jokinen children. They were the children of V�in� and Hilma Jokinen. They live near Keuruu, a town about 270 km north of Helsinki. The photo is undated, but looks like the early-30s.


We do not yet have much information on Finnish individuals. Our Finnish archive is still very limited. We have begun to add a few Finnish individuAls to this section. A reader has provided us a portrait identified only as the 'vicar's son'. We do know the portrait was taken in Helsinki during 1894 while Filand was still part of the Russian Empire. He wears a sailor suit. We do note Aino and Osmo Kolkki about 1907-08 while Finland was still part of the Russian Empire.


Hjerpp, Riitta. "An economic history of Finland," EH.Net Encyclpedia (2008)


Related Chronolgy Pages in the Boys' Historical Web Site
[The 1880s] [The 1890s]
[The 1900s] [The 1910s] [The 1920s] [The 1930s] [The 1940s] [The 1930s] [The 1940s] [The 1950s]
[The 1960s] [The 1970s] [The 1980s]

Related Style Pages in the Boys' Historical Web Site
[Long pants suits] [Knicker suits] [Short pants suits] [Socks] [Eton suits] [Jacket and trousers]
[Blazer] [School sandals] [School smocks] [Sailor suits] [Pinafores] [Long stockings]

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Created: 4:36 PM 8/28/2004
Last updated: 9:22 AM 3/8/2021