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Finns Honour National Thinker Snellman

Flags fly around Finland on Monday as the nation celebrates 'Finnishness Day' on the birthday of J.V. Snellman, who is known as the 'national philosopher'. Born in Stockholm on May 12, 1806, Johan Vilhelm Snellman was an author, newspaper editor, professor and statesman.

Long before independence in 1917, he played a key role in the adoption of Finnish as the national language and the establishment of Finland's own currency. The markka was introduced in 1865 when he was Minister of Finance in the semi-autonomous Grand Duchy of Finland. The country gave up the mark in 2002 in favour of the euro. Snellman died in 1881, decades before his dream of an independent Finland came true. His statue stands in front of the Bank of Finland on the Helsinki street that bears his name. YLE

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