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Government to mark 100th anniversary of former president Mauno Koivisto’s birth on Saturday 25 November 2023

Government Communications Department
Publication date 24.11.2023 10.00 | Published in English on 24.11.2023 at 11.24
Press release

On Saturday 25 November 2023, exactly one hundred years will have passed since the birth of former President of the Republic Mauno Koivisto. In honour of the centenary, the official memorial to former president Koivisto will be unveiled at an event at Little Parliament Park in Helsinki starting at 17.00.

With the monument, the Government honours former president Koivisto’s memory and extensive life’s work. The work, called Välittäjä (The Mediator), was designed and created by sculptor Kirsi Kaulanen, the winner of an open design competition organised by the Prime Minister’s Office in 2021.

“The Välittäjä sculpture depicts Mauno Koivisto’s role as president and as a mediator between East and West. The work invites the viewer to walk into it. It reflects on the viewer and challenges us to consider what each and every one of us can do to promote peace, both internal and external,” says sculptor Kaulanen.

The six-metre-high and fifteen-metre-long stainless steel work stands on both sides of the main pathway leading through Little Parliament Park and invites the viewer to walk through it. The sculpture is illuminated from below with lights embedded in the ground and from above with lights installed on four ten-metre columns.

The Prime Minister’s Office commissioned the winning work Välittäjä from sculptor Kaulanen. The value of the contract was EUR 1,035,000. The Prime Minister’s Office will donate the finished work to the art collection of the City of Helsinki. All official monuments to former Finnish presidents are located in Helsinki.

The unveiling ceremony will be attended by the highest state leaders of Finland. President of the Republic Sauli Niinistö and Prime Minister Petteri Orpo will give speeches at the event, which will feature music by Sibelius Upper Secondary School Chamber Choir and The Guards Band. The event is open for the public.

Two performances will be heard at the unveiling. Music composed by conductor Juha Pisto will be played at the moment of the unveiling. At the end of the event, a song by Tapani Länsiö, Miete (Thought), featuring lyrics based on the well-known words of former president Koivisto, will be performed by Sibelius Upper Secondary School Chamber Choir.

The unveiling will continue with an event for invited guests at the Little Parliament building, where Professor Tapio Bergholm will deliver a speech in honour of the centenary of former president Koivisto.

Mauno Henrik Koivisto was President of the Republic of Finland from 1982 to 1994. He was a war veteran, a bank manager, a Doctor of Philosophy, Prime Minister and President of the Republic who led Finland on its path to EU membership.

Former president Koivisto passed away in Helsinki on 12 May 2017. His state funeral was held in Helsinki on 25 May 2017. He is buried at Hietaniemi Cemetery.

Programme for the unveiling ceremony starting at 17.00

Musical performance of Suomen laulu – Sibelius Upper

Secondary School Chamber Choir    

Opening words – Prime Minister Petteri Orpo            

Unveiling speech – President of the Republic of Finland Sauli Niinistö

Unveiling of monument
Music composed by Juha Pisto in honour of the unveiling – The Guards Band

Speech – sculptor Kirsi Kaulanen            

Musical performance of Miete (comp. Tapani Länsiö) – Sibelius Upper Secondary School Chamber Choir

17.30 End of the event at Little Parliament Park

17.40– Memorial open to the public

Inquiries: Tiina-Kaisa Laakso-Liukkonen, Chief Specialist, tel. +358 29 516 0220 and Aapo Riihimäki, Senior Communications Specialist, tel. +358 50 471 3020, Prime Minister’s Office