What’s the history of Finland’s national anthem ‘Maamme’, and why does it sound like Estonia’s anthem?

11 June 2021, 11:58

The history of Finland’s national anthem ‘Maamme’, and why it sounds like Estonia’s anthem
The history of Finland’s national anthem ‘Maamme’, and why it sounds like Estonia’s anthem. Picture: Getty / Cantorion

By Sian Moore

Finland’s rousing national anthem was first performed in a meadow by a group of students.

The official national anthem of Finland is ‘Maamme’, meaning ‘Our Land’ in English. It is also known as ‘Vårt land’ in Swedish.

German-Finnish composer and conductor Fredrik Pacius wrote the stirring music, a setting of words of priest and poet Johan Ludvig Runeberg.

Runeberg wanted to galvanise feelings of patriotism with his lyrics, after supposedly being inspired by Mihaly Vörösmarty’s Hungarian national anthem, which was published a few years prior.

The first performance of the anthem took place in 1848 on a meadow in Helsinki, when a group of students sang it on the spring celebration Flora Day.

Read more: Does Sweden have a national anthem, and what are the lyrics to the country’s song?

"Maamme" - National Anthem of Finland [Finnish and Swedish]

Why do Finland and Estonia have the same anthem?

The melodies used for Finland and Estonia’s anthems come from the same piece of music.

Pacius’ triumphant melody is also used for Estonia’s national anthem but in a different key signature and with different lyrics, written by Johann Voldemar Jannsen.

It is considered to be the anthem for Livonians too, the Balto-Finnic population indigenous to northern Latvia and southwestern Estonia.

The title of their anthem is ‘Min izāmō’ (‘My Fatherland’), with lyrics by activist and teacher Kōrli Stalte.

What are the lyrics to Finland’s national anthem in English?

Our land, our land, our fatherland,
Sound loud, O name of worth!
No mount that meets the heaven’s band.
No hidden vale, no wavewashed strand.
Is loved, as is our native North. Our own forefathers’ earth.

Thy blossom, in the bud laid low,
Yet ripened shall upspring.
See! From our love once more shall grow
Thy light, thy joy, thy hope, thy glow!
And clearer yet one day shall ring The song our land shall sing.

Tarja Turunen - Maamme (Finnish national anthem)

What are the lyrics to Finland’s national anthem?

Oi maamme, Suomi, synnyinmaa!
Soi, sana kultainen!
Ei laaksoa, ei kukkulaa,
ei vettä rantaa rakkaampaa
kuin kotimaa tää pohjoinen.
Maa kallis isien.

Sun kukoistukses kuorestaan
kerrankin puhkeaa;
viel’ lempemme saa nousemaan
sun toivos, riemus loistossaan,
ja kerran laulus, synnyinmaa
korkeemman kaiun saa.

What are the lyrics to Finland’s national anthem in Swedish?

Vårt land, vårt land, vårt fosterland,
ljud högt, o dyra ord!
Ej lyfts en höjd mot himlens rand,
ej sänks en dal, ej sköljs en strand,
mer älskad än vår bygd i nord,
än våra fäders jord!

Din blomning , sluten än i knopp,
Skall mogna ur sitt tvång;
Se, ur vår kärlek skall gå opp
Ditt ljus, din glans, din fröjd, ditt hopp.
Och högre klinga skall en gång
Vår fosterländska sång.