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Distributed for Haus Publishing

An Armchair Traveller’s History of Finland

In the American mind, Finland is often swept up in the general group of Nordic countries, little known and seldom gaining prominence on its own. But as Jonathan Clements shows in An Armchair Traveller’s History of Finland, it has a long and fascinating history, one that offers oddities and excitements galore: from prehistoric herders to medieval lords, Christian martyrs and Viking kings, and the war heroes who held off the Soviet Union against long odds.

Clements travels the length of the country as he tells these stories, along the way offering accounts of Finland’s public artworks, literary giants, legends and folktales, and famous figures. The result is the perfect introduction to Finland for armchair and actual travelers alike.

272 pages | 2 maps | 4 1/2 x 8 1/4

Armchair Traveller's History

Travel and Tourism: Travel Writing and Guides

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“Written in a lively and humorous style, including many personal anecdotes, this book . . . manages to be short without sacrificing too much nuance and detail. . . . In particular, the author is skilful at weaving discussions of Finland’s distinct culture into a broadly historical narrative.”

Scandinavian Journal of History

“A highly entertaining book. . . . Combines light-reading history with travel writing and uses various monuments that Clements has visited on journeys throughout his adopted homeland, highlighting key historical events and figures from pre-historic herders straight through to the creators of Angry Birds.”

Nordic Reach

Table of Contents


1. From the Fenni to Lalli: Prehistory to 1159

The Martyrdom of Saint Henry

Prehistory & Early Finns

The Vikings & Balagard

The Newborn King

2. East of Sweden: 1159–1809

The Imaginary Crusades

People of the Österland

Finland in the Northern Wars

The Swedish Legacy

3. The Russian Century: 1809–1899

Industrial Revolutions

Laestadius & Laestadianism

The Åland War

The Kalevala

National Romanticism

4. A Nation is Born: 1899–1939


Revolution: Whites vs Reds

The Jaegers and ‘King Väinö I’

Racing the Storm

5. In the Cold: 1939–1991

The Winter War

The Continuation & Lapland Wars



6. Finland in the 21st Century

Nokia & Linux

Satan & Santa

My Homeland is Finland

7. Eating and Drinking




8. Travel Logistics

National Holidays and Local Festivals

Epiphany (Loppiainen)

Easter (Pääsiäinen)

Vappu (Walpurgisnacht)

Juhannus (St John’s Eve)

All Saints’ Day (Pyhäinpäivä)

Christmas Eve (Jouluaatto)

New Year (Uusi Vuosi)

9. Gazetteer

Ahvenanmaa (Åland)


Askainen (Villnäs)

Espoo (Esbo)

Helsinki (Helsingfors)

Hämeenlinna (Tavastehus)






Kajaani (Kajana)

Kokkola (Karleby)




Lappeenranta (Villmanstrand)

Mikkeli (Sankt Michel)

Naantali (Nådendal)


Oulu (Uleåborg)

Pietarsaari (Jakobstad)

Pori (Björneborg)

Porvoo (Borgå)



Savonlinna (Nyslott)


Tampere (Tammerfors)

Turku (Åbo)

Vaasa (Vasa)

Vantaa (Vanda)

Appendix: The Lost Lands

Pechenga (Petsamo)

Petrozavodsk (Äänislinna)

Priozersk (Käkisalmi/Kexholm)


Vyborg (Viipuri)

Zelenogorsk (Terijoki)

Chronology of Major Events

Further Reading and References

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