Finnish Centenary Feast
There wasn’t a dry eye in the room when Finnish soprano Marjukka Tepponen gave a moving rendition of Sibelius’s Finlandia at Finland’s centenary celebration on 5 December. Finnish Ambassador Mrs Päivi Luostarinen recalled that a century ago, Finland was a poor agrarian country and today, despite its limited resources, it is one of the wealthiest, most competitive and democratic nations in Europe, thanks to its “smart, knowledgeable, innovative people”.
Ties with Britain pre-date independence and these would endure despite Britain’s departure from the EU, she added. “Finland and the UK will remain close European partners. Our common interests will not disappear.”
In toasting Finland Foreign Minister the Rt Hon Sir Alan Duncan said: “We will build an ever stronger trading relationship, a stronger science and technology relationship and a stronger defence and security relationship with Finland.”
PHOTOS: PIERRE DE VILLIERS