Finnish expats celebrate the centenary of their country's independence




The Finnish ambassador to Switzerland, Liechtenstein and the Holy See, Timo Rajakangas, was present at a ball held at Villa Villette in Cham last night to celebrate the occasion of the hundredth anniversary of the republic’s independence, the country having previously been a Russian grand duchy.
 
It was actually two Finnish expats, Riikka Horvat and Leena Seemann, the former manageress of the Ascot teas rooms in the city, who thought it would be a good idea to celebrate this special occasion, which was attended by as many as 76 Finnish nationals along with their families and friends. Bearing in mind the success of the party to celebrate the 90th anniversary of the foundation of Finland as an independent state ten years ago, it was decided to organise another, not least for the fun of “getting dressed up in a formal ball gown and wearing high-heels”, as can be seen in the photograph, which shows, from the left, Leena Seemann, Lea Teperi, Riikka Horvat-Laine, Hanna-Leena Osterwalder and Katja Ramsey.
 
Both Horvat and Seemann married Swiss men, the latter having lived here since the Seventies. “We Finns love nature; and I love the winters here. They are not as hard as at home where is often so cold, and dark, too,” said the 67-year-old resident of Oberägeri, who feels very much at home here. “I accepted the local customs and was soon able to integrate,” she added, while admitting that, understandably, part of her heart would always be in Finland.
 
Horvat, who lives in Baar, has lived in Switzerland for 17 years now, the 42-year-old considering the Swiss and the Finns have much in common.
 
As of the end of 2016 there were 251 Finnish nationals resident in the canton of Zug, 180 of whom are members so the “Zugin suomalaiset” (Finns in Zug) Facebook group. “We simply invited all of them to come to the celebration at Villa Villette,” said Horvat, as she added how many Finns also meet up on the first Thursday of the month at the Hops One restaurant in Zug.
 
When organising this special centenary event, Horvat and Seemann thought it would be a good idea to invite their ambassador to intend, thinking he might just send a video message. Naturally, they were delighted when he accepted to attend in person, and felt very honoured. Once the formalities were over, the ball proper began, with much fun had by all.  
 
 
 
 
 


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