January 31, 1992
Throughout its history, Finland has been a borderland in battles between the East and West. For 600 years it was part of Sweden. An 1809 Russian victory turned it into an autonomous czarist grand duchy. Independence came a century later -- only to be followed by two devastating wars against the Soviet Union. Yet Finland persisted in defending its values and sovereignty.A milestone on this historical journey was reached last week, when Russia and Finland signed a package of three treaties governing their future state and economic relations.
February 2, 1994
When Finland's voters go to the polls in the presidential run-off election this Sunday, it is quite possible they will elect the first woman chief executive in the country's 76-year history. Even more remarkable is that Defense Minister Elisabeth Rehn, 58, comes from a small political party whose support usually is limited to the Swedish-speaking minority of just six percent.Her surprising strength over more strongly-based rivals underscores the deep disenchantment the nearly 5 million Finns feel toward conventional politicians.
July 2, 1993
Finland's cradle-to-grave social benefits system sounds pretty incredible. Most medical expenses, including long-term critical care, are covered by an insurance package provided to every one of the 5.5 million Finns. Lose a job? Not to worry. For the first 500 days, unemployment compensation is given in proportion to the salary level of the job lost; basic compensation continues indefinitely.This framework of utopian largess was dreamed up in the good old days. From the 1960s to the mid-Eighties, the Soviet Union bought seemingly unending amounts of goods from Finland, which developed one of the hottest economies in Europe.
October 19, 1994
For centuries, Finns have been vexed by uncertainty about their geopolitical position. Were they a Western outpost in the East or an Eastern beachhead in the West?In an extraordinary referendum Sunday, Finland's voters rendered their verdict. By a convincing margin, they told the government they want their country to join the European Union.This was supposed to have been a consultative vote. But President Martti Ahtisaari wasted no time in declaring the outcome "morally and politically binding" on Finland's decision makers.
June 21, 1992
How's this for an esoteric getaway? A stay at an "arctic spa" in Finland.Weekend and weeklong packages are available from Helsinki that include round-trip airfare to the spa city, accommodations, some meals and use of the spa's beauty, stress reduction and fitness programs.Three-day/two-night packages start at $218 a person, double occupancy. Eight-day/seven-night getaways start at $600 a person, double occupancy.One spa is in Kuusamo, a small town in the arctic wilderness just south of Finnish Lapland.
July 19, 2012
Calvert Hall lacrosse standout Stephen Kelly is in Turku, Finland this month as a member of the U.S. under-19 men's national team, which is competing in the Federation of International Lacrosse U-19 men's world championships. The U.S. has won all six titles since the tournament began in 1988. Kelly, a two-time first-team All-Metro midfielder, will share his experiences with a daily blog as he tries to bring home a gold medal. Hello everyone! The last couple days have been very eventful, with a lot of things taking shape for the team.