The Bank of Finland will present banknotes of the independence era and sketches thereof at an international stamp exhibition, Finlandia 2017. At the same time, an electronic version of the book ‘Sodan ja rauhan rahat’ (‘Money of war and peace’) will be published on the Bank’s website.

The Finlandia 2017 stamp exhibition will be open at Tampere Hall from 24 to 28 May 2017 as part of the programme for the centenary celebration of Finland’s independence. The Bank of Finland’s exhibition section describing the history of markka banknotes during the independence era begins with a banknote type designed by Eliel Saarinen in the National Romantic style in 1909 and used during the first years of independence, and closes with the last markka banknote series issued into circulation beginning in 1986. The themes of the latter were the periods of Finnish history, from the time of Swedish rule to an independent Finland, and the notes were decorated by the portraits of well-known persons in Finnish culture from each era.

Besides actual banknotes, the exhibition presents several banknote sketches that have not been displayed so extensively before. Finnish banknote art has been created by our country’s leading artists, including Eliel Saarinen, Akseli Gallen-Kallela, Signe Hammarsten-Jansson, Tapio Wirkkala and Erik Bruun.

The book ‘Sodan ja rauhan rahat. Suomen erikoinen setelihistoria 1917–1945’ (‘Money of war and peace. Finland’s extraordinary banknote history 1917–1945’) was written by Antti Heinonen, former Director of Banknotes at the European Central Bank. In connection with the Finlandia 2017 exhibition, Mr Heinonen will lecture on his book, which depicts the early decades of Finland’s independence from the perspective of banknotes. In the crisis conditions of the final years of the First World War, the 1918 Civil War, the Winter War 1939–1940 and the Continuation War 1941–1944, many decisions concerning banknotes had to be made in exceptional circumstances. Therefore, the banknote history of this phase of independence includes a number of special events that are linked to the political upheavals and turning points of the period.

This work, together with Mr Heinonen’s two earlier books, covers the banknote history of the entire period of independence. The first publication ‘Viimeiset markat’ (‘The last markka banknotes’) examined the history of Finland’s markka banknotes after the Continuation War. The second book ‘Ensimmäiset eurot’ (‘The first euros’), in turn, reviewed the arrival of euro banknotes and their first decade in circulation. All three books are now also published on the Bank of Finland website .