Finnish National Costume

The Craft Museum of Finland 20.5.–3.12.2017

The Finnish National Costume exhibition is the major investment of the Craft Museum of Finland to celebrate the country’s jubilee and it tells a colorful story of the Finnish national costume, its history and present day. The exhibition is opened on 19 May 2017 and the whole museum is reserved for this glorification of craftsmanship. Spouse of the President of the Republic of Finland Mrs. Jenni Haukio is the patron of the exhibition. The exhibition is part of the program for the centenary of Finland’s independence.

The national costumes at their best are works of art – they are festive outfits that have been made with love and not counting time or money. They embrace a spectrum of skills and knowledge from the past centuries as fabrics, patterns, decorations and stitches. The national costume is a combination of parts, where knowledge from different fields of handicraft and experience are needed. Weavers, knitters, dressmakers, hatters, shoemakers, leather modifiers, bobbin lace makers, goldsmiths, textile printers, ribbon weavers and cap makers show their skills in the making of the costume.
- Leena Holst, Kansallispuku (2011)

The Finnish National Costume exhibition brings out our limitless, timeless national costumes and presents extensively the differences between the costumes in different regions as well as techniques related to the making of the costumes. Today there are approximately 400 national costume models in Finland, over half of which are from the Finnish-speaking areas and almost half from the Finnish Swedish areas. In the exhibition there are over fifty national costumes from different parts of the country. Along with the exhibition there are various events, for example lectures, costume shows, work presentations and training in open national costume workshops.

The Finnish National Costume exhibition is a major investment of the Craft Museum of Finland and the National Costume Center of Finland to celebrate the country’s jubilee and it tells a colorful story of the Finnish national costume, its history and present day. In the different parts of the museum there are various themes connected to the national costumes. In the photo compilation on the Finland wall the Finnishness is pondered from many points of view. You can lean on a milk platform and take a photo of yourself with a mannequin wearing a national costume or sit down next to a Finnish-dressed man. The charts and timeline of the exhibition help the visitors to understand the different regions and characteristics of the national costumes. The techniques of making the national costumes can be seen in videos, design drawings and finished parts of the costumes. Dolls with national costumes bring joy to the children.

The Finnish national costume came into being during the time when Finland strove to become an independent country. The national costume became a symbol of Finnish identity in the same way as the national anthem and the Finnish flag. The national costumes in the exhibition are reproduced pieces of traditional and individualistic festive outfits of the Finnish people in the 18th and 19th centuries. They are gathered together by specialists of costume history and meant for current use. The costumes are based on the people’s typical dressing styles in their regions on a certain period of time. The principles of gathering the costumes together have varied over the years. Today The National Costume Center of Finland, which functions in connection with The Craft Museum of Finland, not only takes care of preserving and displaying the national costumes, but is also responsible for checking the national costumes and gathering together new costumes with the specialists of the National Costume Panel.

The visit of the Russian emperor couple to Finland on 5 August 1885 is considered the debut of the Finnish national costume. The emperor couple was welcomed by women dressed in the copies of folk costumes and the empress was given a present, a rowing boat with Finnish handicraft. Nine young maidens dressed in national costumes rowed the boat to the Empress. Nowadays there are approximately 400 different types of national costumes in Finland, almost half of which are from the Swedish-speaking areas.

Events

Friday 16 June at 14 – 17
The Museum’s Birthday

Artisan of the Year Soja Murto – Work presentation of making a national costume

Saturday 7 October
Celebration of the Finnish National Costume

Presenting the new national costume, sales market and costume show
Mari Varonen: National Costume Road Show. There is something for everyone in the national costume tradition!

What is the National Costume Center of Finland?

The National Costume Center of Finland displays and preserves Finnish national costumes as well as other types of traditional clothing. The National Costume Center takes care of checking the costumes, provides training for the producers of national costumes and course teachers, and organizes exhibitions, work presentations, workshops and other events and guidance. The National Costume Center of Finland was established in Jyväskylä in 1991 and it functions in connection with The Craft Museum of Finland in Kauppakatu. In 2010 the National Costume Council was closed down and its functions were moved to the National Costume Center of Finland. The National Costume Panel, which formerly worked together with the National Costume Council, continues functioning as part of the activities of the National Costume Center of Finland.
craftmuseum.fi/english/nationalcostumecenter