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Wednesday’s papers: Royals en route, civilian aid proposal, Moomin season

Finland’s dailies all mention one of the week’s high points in their headlines this Wednesday, as delegations from all the other Nordic countries are set to arrive in Helsinki on Thursday. Other news include a proposal to mandate civilian Defence Forces workers to help out in international aid situations, and a new Moomin museum opening in Tampere.

Kuningas vilkuttaa lapsille, jotka heiluttavat Ruotsin ja Indonesian lippuja.
King Carl XVI Gustaf of Sweden and his wife, along with a delegation of all other Nordic leaders, will be in Finland tomorrow. Image: Adi Weda / EPA

Everyone knows that 2017 is the centenary of Finland’s independence – including the Nordic royal families, pictures of whom bedeck dailies today Wednesday, on the eve of their congratulatory arrival.

Tabloid Ilta-Sanomat, among others, provides a helpful map of central Helsinki showing where traffic will be diverted as the various foreign kings, queens and presidents begin their visit to show their appreciation for the 100-year-old republic.

President Sauli Niinistö and his wife Jenni Haukio will receive a glittering group of Nordic elites: Queen Margrethe II of Denmark (visiting without her now-retired husband Henrik), Norway’s King Harald V and Queen Sonja, Sweden’s King Carl XVI Gustaf and Queen Silvia and Icelandic president Guðni Thorlacius Jóhannesson with wife Eliza Jean Reid.

This is only the second time in history that the leaders of all the Nordic countries have gathered together in Finland; the last time was in 2002, when Finland was chair of the Nordic Council, then celebrating its 50th anniversary.

For anyone so inclined, the royals can be spotted at about 10:50 am on Thursday on the Presidential Palace’s balcony, walking to the City Hall at 11:20 am or at 4 pm at the Sibelius Monument in Töölö.

Civilians part of international aid

Meanwhile Tampere-region paper Aamulehti reports on a proposal to include civilian military personnel in peacekeeping operations abroad as part of the Defence Forces’ obligation to offer international crisis aid.

Volunteers would first be sought out from among the 4,000-odd civilian workers, the paper writes.

"It is the same principle for them as for soldiers," says Ministry of Defence legal chief Hanna Nordström in AL. "The obligation to serve would be enacted only when a key member is missing from a unit and that position needs to be filled."

Chair Marja-Leena Karekivi from the association of Defence Forces employees says her organisation opposes the proposed mandate, as current employees signed contracts that did not include this new proposed stipulation.

"Refusing a command to join Finnish forces abroad could result in termination of an employee's contract," Karekivi says in the paper.

Nordström says that crisis aid needs to be available at a moment's notice, and that a purely volunteer-based system could compromise precious time.

The operations that could be in store for civilian Defence Force workers are many and varied and depend on each mission; employees such as lawyers, doctors, mechanics and financial experts could be called upon to support Finnish missions in other countries.

New Moomin museum coming soon

Tourists from far and wide are welcomed in advance to the upcoming Moomin Museum in Tampere, set to open on June 17th, top daily Helsingin Sanomat reports. The old "Muumimaailma" or Moomin World centre was located in the Tampere Library for decades, but will now be receiving a rebranding and a new location of its own.

The museum, when open, will be the only one of its kind in the world. Organisers say they believe up to 200,000 visitors may well grace their new facility per year.

The final touches are being put on the museum at the time of writing, so no fresh pics of the unique new venue can yet be found in HS. The museum is intended to be a place of contemplation and historical study, says chief Taina Myllyharju.

"There will be no playing, running or yelling in the museum," Myllyharju says, adding that the original works in display are the main attraction on display.

More Moomin-based attractions are in store for the capital, too, HS writes, with cafés and shops opening up all over town, including in retail superstore Stockmann.

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