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. The Prime Minister's Office has more detailed instructions on how to prepare proposals for honorary titles.

Instructions on the procedure regarding honorary titles

Commitment to pay the tax related to honorary titles
Consent for the acquisition of information
Tax paid for honorary titles

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

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: registry(at)vnk.fi

 

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, Director General, Local Government Employers, 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

  • Annika Salminen, Presenting Officer

Honorary titles awarded

The President of the Republic awards honorary titles normally twice a year: in May and in November. In 2017, there were three events where 273 new honorary titles were proposed and the President of the Republic conferred 218 honorary titles.

In all, there are 110 different honorary titles in use. They are not translated into foreign languages. Most proposals are for a title that already exists, but a completely new title can also be proposed. The most recent new ones, introduced in 2017, are ‘korkeakouluneuvos’ and ‘taideneuvos’. Prior to that, a new honorary title was last introduced in 2012, when the title of ‘ylisosiaalineuvos’ was adopted. 

The most common honorary title is ‘talousneuvos’ which had been conferred 1,816 times by the end of 2017. The title of ‘vuorineuvos’ had been awarded roughly 300 times and ‘kauppaneuvos’ 793 times by the end of 2017.

Rarer honorary titles include that of 'kamarineuvos', introduced in 1919 (awarded 108 times); 'uittoneuvos', adopted in 1951 (awarded 8 times); and 'lehdistöneuvos', which was introduced in 1990 (awarded 14 times).

A total of over 14,000 honorary titles have been awarded in Finland since 1918. Considerably fewer honorary titles have been conferred to women than to men: 1,182 titles in all (by the end of 2017).

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

Annikka Salminen, Rapporteur 
Prime Minister's Office, Government Session Unit 0295160367