ON DECEMBER 6, 1917, the Finnish parliament declared independence from Russia. After 700 years of Swedish rule and 100 years as a Russian Grand Duchy, the sovereign state of Finland took shape.

Over the next 100 years, the young nation fought hard for its independence, fending off the Soviet Union in the Winter War and the Continuation War at the cost of precious lives and precious ancestral lands. Finland emerged from World War II as an independent state and survived the Cold War Years despite its difficult geographical position between Russia and the West. In 1994 it joined the European Union and today is a thriving, modern democracy with a solid economy and solid democratic institutions,  leading edge technology and world class educational systems, and of course,  its saunas and sisu intact.

Finland’s first 100 years in pictures: