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. The processing of proposals for honorary titles, including the consultation round, may take up to nine months. Proposals for honorary titles are normally processed by Title Board twice a year.

How to apply for an honorary title

Proposals for honorary titles are submitted in writing using an online application form. Proposals may be submitted by private individuals, organisations or both together. 

All proposals must include a signed commitment to pay the tax related to honorary titles and the title holder’s consent for the necessary information about them to be acquired from the authorities (see appendices below).

The purpose of an honorary title is to recognise the life’s work of the title holder, which is described in the justifications provided in the application. Honorary titles do not confer special rights or duties. A tax must be paid for honorary titles.

The service requires electronic authentication.

Appendices to be signed

In addition to the signed appendices, the application should include the recipient’s CV and any statements of support. The appendices should be submitted as attachments to the online form.

Additional information and instructions

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

Awarding of honorary titles

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 as of 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.

Legal provisions on honorary titles

Provisions on honorary titles are laid down in the Act on public expressions of recognition and the Decree of the President of the Republic on honorary titles 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. Section 2 of that Act specifies the tax related to each category of honorary title. The tax is lower if the title holder 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.

Translating honorary titles into other languages

The Prime Minister’s Office recommends not translating Finnish honorary titles into other languages. If a Finnish honorary title is to be used abroad, it should be used in Finnish or Swedish with an explanation that it is a Finnish honorary title if necessary.

All titles used by public offices and organisations are highly culture-specific and require an explanation if used in other languages. Some honorary titles, such as vuorineuvos, do not correspond to their holder’s work or activities even in Finnish and Swedish. Others, such as asessori, hallitusneuvos and yli-insinööri, are similar to the job titles of public officials. Even if it has been agreed that a foreign-language equivalent will be used for a title, it should not be used as a substitute for the title.

Inquiries about translations

Prime Minister’s Office, Translation and Language Division
kielipalvelu.vnk(at)gov.fi
tel. +358 295 160 528

Inquiries

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