Honorary titles

Finnish citizens can be awarded honorary titles in public recognition of their services to society. The total number of honorary titles is approximately one hundred, the titles of 'valtioneuvos' and 'vuorineuvos' being the highest-ranking examples.

Honorary titles are awarded by the President of the Republic. The Title Board submits statements on honorary titles to the President. The Prime Minister's Office is responsible for the technical preparation of the Board's proposals.

How to apply for an honorary title

Applications for honorary titles must be prepared in writing and addressed to the President of the Republic by private persons or organisations, or jointly by both. A written proposal for the conferment of an honorary title must include the grounds for awarding the title.

Proposals for honorary titles are free-form and must include a signed commitment to pay the tax related to honorary titles, or such a commitment must be enclosed with the application, alongside the consent of the person in question for the acquisition of the necessary information from the authorities.

Commitment to pay the tax related to honorary titles (in Finnish)
Consent for the acquisition of information (in Finnish)

Instructions on the procedure regarding honorary titles

Instructions on how to prepare proposals for honorary titles (in Finnish)
Tax paid for honorary titles (in Finnish)

Signed proposals for honorary titles must be submitted directly to the Government registry or by using an electronic form (in Finnish).

Visiting address: Ritarikatu 2 B, Helsinki

Mailing address:
Prime Minister's Office/Titles
P.O. Box 23, FI-00023 Government, Finland
Fax: +358 9 1602 2165
E-mail: [email protected]

The Title Board

The Title Board consists of the chair and nine members appointed for six-year periods. The members of the board must have expert knowledge of societal and cultural affairs and business life. The members of the Title Board are appointed by the President of the Republic, and it is chaired by the Prime Minister.

Chair

Prime Minister Sanna Marin

Members 

  • Laura Kolbe, Professor, 1 May 2018–30 April 2024
  • Silja Rantanen, Doctor of Arts, 1 May 2018–30 April 2024
  • Markku Jalonen, Managing Director, 1 May 2018–30 April 2024
  • Anne Huotari, Regional Coordinator, 1 September 2018–30 April 2024 
  • Jyri Häkämies, Director General, 1 May 2021–30 April 2027
  • Lauri Kontro, Master of Social Sciences, 1 May 2021–30 April 2027
  • Susanna Huovinen, Executive Director, 1 May 2021–30 April 2027

Secretary

  • Merja Saaritsa-Lantta, Senior Specialist

Permanent Expert

  • Arno Liukko, Senior Ministerial Adviser

Honorary titles awarded

The President of the Republic awards honorary titles normally twice a year: in May and in The President of the Republic generally awards honorary titles twice a year: in May and in November.
There are 110 different honorary titles in use. They are not translated into foreign languages. The titles awarded are usually existing ones, but new titles can also be proposed. The most recent honorary titles to be proposed are korkeakouluneuvos and taideneuvos (2017), and ylisosiaalineuvos (2012).

The most common honorary title is talousneuvos, which had been awarded 1,843 times at the end of 2021. The title of vuorineuvos has been awarded around 306 times, and that of kauppaneuvos 804 times (as of the end of 2021).

The most infrequently awarded honorary titles include kamarineuvos (awarded 110 times since 1919), uittoneuvos (awarded 8 times since 1951) and lehdistöneuvos (awarded 15 times since 1990).

All in all, nearly 15,000 honorary titles have been awarded since 1918. Applications for honorary titles for women have been submitted less often than for men, and women have been awarded considerably fewer honorary titles than men.

Honory titles awarded (in Finnish, the latest)
Honory titles awarded (in Finnish, the previous)

Statutes concerning honorary titles, and translating honorary titles

Provisions on honorary titles are laid down in the Act on public expressions of recognition (Laki julkisista arvonannon osoituksista 1215/1999) and the Decree of the President of the Republic on honorary titles (tasavallan presidentin asetus arvonimistä 381/2000) issued thereunder.

Provisions on the tax to be paid for honorary titles are laid down in the Act on tax to be paid for honorary titles (laki arvonimistä suoritettavasta verosta 1388/2001). Section 2 of that Act specifies the tax related to each category of honorary title. The amount of tax is lower if the person concerned is in a full-time public-service employment relationship, a contractual employment relationship, or some other comparable employment relationship with the state, a local authority or a church, or has retired from such a post.

The Prime Minister's Office recommends that Finnish honorary titles are not translated into foreign languages. If a title is used in international contexts, it should be given in its Finnish or Swedish format and, if necessary, it should be mentioned that a Finnish honorary title is in question.

All names of public offices and organisations are highly culture-specific and can only be expressed in another language and cultural context if accompanied by an explanation. Some honorary titles, such as 'vuorineuvos', do not actually refer to the title holder's work or other activities, while others are similar to job titles: asessori, hallitusneuvos, yli-insinööri. Even if a foreign language equivalent is agreed for a job title, such a translation should never be used for a similar honorary title.

Contact information

Prime Minister's Office, Translation and language services, kielipalvelu.vnk(at)gov.fi
tfn 0295 160 528

Contact

Merja Saaritsa-Lantta, Senior Specialist 
Prime Minister's Office, Government Session Unit 0295160270