Finnish Culture Study Programme offers a comprehensive English-language overview of Finnish culture and knowledge of the Finnish way of life tailored especially for the needs of exchange students. The study units in the programme are complete e.g. as lectures, book examinations and/or essays. 

Cultural studies perspectives on Finnish culture

How is Finnish art world formed? What are the topical issues of contemporary literature in Finland at the moment? What kinds of special features do Finnish folk and popular music have? How is gender related to power in the contemporary Finnish society? These and many other interesting questions are raised and discussed during the course Cultural studies perspectives on Finnish culture. The course is optional but highly recommendable to start your studies with. Varying lecturers from the Department of Finnish Language and Cultural Research will give you an interdisciplinary overview on the past and present of art and culture in Finland.

Finnish Folk Culture

J.R.R. Tolkien, the author of the exiting and momentously influential tales of the Middle Earth, became fascinated by Finnish language and culture. Why? – Of course because he had discovered the Finnish national epic The Kalevala. Based on archaic Finnish-Karelian folk poetry, the incredible stories, eccentric characters and mythical elements of the Kalevala have captivated and inspired enthusiasts, artists and researchers for almost two centuries. The Kalevala was born to become a cornerstone of Finnish culture, not to mention a powerful means for political struggle toward Finland's independence from the Russian regime. Also at present, Kalevala is the source of novel innovations in economics as well as in the arts; one can also discern reflections from Kalevala-inspired mentality in the everyday customs and rituals of Finns.

Finnish Visual Art, Theatre and Cinema

From stone age cave paintings via the turn-of-the-century "Golden Age" of Finnish art to contemporary art, Finnish art has played a significant role in both reflecting Finnish society and constructing notions of what being Finnish is about. Sometimes the aesthetics of Finnish visual art, theatre and cinema has treaded hand in hand with deep-ingrained cultural traditions and the political milieu of its time. Often, however, Finnish art fiercely contests cultural and political notions thus encouraging the audience to critically re-assess them. Whether it is Akseli Gallén-Kallela heroically depicting The Kalevala or performance artist Irma the Optimist creating art utilizing chaos theory and frozen chickens, Finnish art is never neutral.

Finnish Literature

Tove Jansson and Sofi Oksanen are internationally best known Finnish authors. But what else does Finnish literature include? Finnish writers have had a significant influence on Finnish culture and society from 1800's to present day. Literature has been instrumental in the formation of Finnish national identity, but it has also been an important forum for social criticism. The dialogue between Finnish and World literature has been vivid. Literary styles such as Realism, Romanticism and Modernism have acquired very specific national characteristics in Finnish literature. By reading classics and literary history you can get living picture of past and present of Finnish life and culture.

Finnish Music Traditions

The study module acquaints the student to the tradition of Finnish art music and gives a deeper insight into the traditions and development of the folk music genres in Finland, and also offers an empirical listening point. The student attends a concert of his or her choice and writes a description and analysis based on a dialogue with personal experiences and popular articles presenting different genres of Finnish music in the field of folk and popular music and Finnish instruments.

Gender and Finnish Culture and Society

Besides offering some basic knowledge about Finnish society and culture from gender perspective, the study module gives a general introduction to gender and sexuality studies, its main topics, approaches and concepts. Gender studies is an interdisciplinary field which produces knowledge about the significance of gender and sexuality in different spheres of society and culture, and in the lives of women and men. You may decide whether to take the course as an electronic exam or by writing two short essays.


Study Units

Autumn 2020 and Spring 2021

Choose 25 ECTS from the following list:

2124908 Cultural Studies Perspectives on Finnish Culture 5 ECTS

2124901 Finnish Folk Culture 5 ECTS

2124902 Finnish Literature 5 ECTS

2124906 Finnish Music Traditions 5 ECTS

2124909  Finnish Visual Art, Theatre and Cinema 5 ECTS

2124907 Gender Studies and Finnish Culture and Society 5 ECTS


Course descriptions, timetables and registration:

Course catalogue in WebOodi:

International Non-degree Study Programmes in Philosophical Faculty 2019-2020