Finland is a Northern European nation bordering Sweden, Norway and Russia. Its capital, Helsinki, occupies a peninsula and surrounding islands in the Baltic Sea.
Helsinki is home to the 18th-century sea fortress Suomenlinna, the fashionable Design District and diverse museums. The Northern Lights can be seen from the country’s Arctic Lapland province, a vast wilderness with national parks and ski resorts.
The Finnish Society of Crafts and Design was founded in 1875, when Finland was still under Russian control. The founders of the society were a group of influential people in the cultural arena and captains of industry. Examples were sought among Europe’s foremost schools of industrial arts and crafts.
At first the society maintained a school which taught manual skills and assembled a collection of international industrial arts and crafts. On the initiative of a founder of the society, Professor of Aesthetics Carl Gustaf Estlander, a major new construction project was carried out together with the Finnish Fine Arts Association. The building which resulted from this, the Ateneum, became a museum and institute of education for Finnish fine art and industrial arts.
Gradually the school grew and won an established place as the leading Finnish college in its field. In 1965 it became owned by the Finnish state and it later became a university, the University of Art and Design Helsinki. Today it is the School of Arts, Design and Architecture of the Aalto University. The society also founded the Museum of Art and Design, which after an eventful history became owned by an independent foundation in 1989. Today it is called Design Museum.