Suuret suomalaiset

Suuret suomalaiset

Suuret suomalaiset (Great Finns) was a 2004 television show broadcast in Finland by YLE (the Finnish Broadcasting Company), which determined the 100 greatest Finns of all time according to the opinions of its viewers. The viewers were able to vote during a programme which lasted from October to December 2004. The show was a Finnish spin-off of the BBC's programme Great Britons.

The list

The winner

During the final stage of voting, people had the chance to vote for the following three leading candidates: Risto Ryti, C.G.E. Mannerheim and Urho Kekkonen. The winner was baron Carl Gustaf Emil Mannerheim, a war hero, Marshal of Finland, and former president.

Top Ten

  1. C.G.E. Mannerheim (President of Finland, 19441946, and Marshal of Finland)
  2. Risto Ryti (President of Finland, 19401944)
  3. Urho Kekkonen (President of Finland, 19561981)
  4. Adolf Ehrnrooth (infantry general, a figurehead for the Finnish veteran community)
  5. Tarja Halonen (current President of Finland, 2000– )
  6. Arvo Ylppö (famed paediatrician)
  7. Mikael Agricola (Protestant reformer and creator of literary Finnish)
  8. Jean Sibelius (world-famous composer of classical music)
  9. Aleksis Kivi (author of the first significant Finnish novel, Seitsemän veljestä / Seven Brothers)
  10. Elias Lönnrot (collator of the Finnish national epic Kalevala)

Advocates

In broadcast order:

  1. Jari Tervo, author, humorist and TV personality from the show Uutisvuoto (Have I Got News For You); for Arvo Ylppö
  2. Paula Lehtomäki, current Minister for Foreign Trade and Development (Kesk.); for Urho Kekkonen
  3. Pirkko Saisio, Finlandia-winning author; for Mikael Agricola
  4. Kaari Utrio, author and feminist; for Tarja Halonen
  5. Jukka Virtanen, author, director and actor; for Aleksis Kivi
  6. Lasse Lehtinen, author, Member of the European Parliament (PES); for Risto Ryti
  7. Sari Kaasinen, musician in the traditional music band Värttinä; for Elias Lönnrot
  8. Arto Nyberg, journalist, TV personality, host of the talk show Arto Nyberg; for Adolf Ehrnrooth
  9. Pekka Kuusisto, musician, composer, prize-winning violin player; for Jean Sibelius
  10. Riitta Uosukainen, veteran politician (Kok.), first female Speaker of the Parliament of Finland; for C. G. E. Mannerheim

11 – 100

  1. Matti Nykänen (ski jumper, four-time Olympic gold medalist)
  2. Väinö Myllyrinne (tallest Finn ever, 247 cm)
  3. Ville Valo (vocalist, songwriter for HIM)
  4. Lalli (legendary Finn who killed Bishop Henry)
  5. Väinö Linna (writer, author of The Unknown Soldier)
  6. Linus Torvalds (developer of Linux kernel, advocate of open-source software)
  7. Pertti "Spede" Pasanen (film director, humorist)
  8. Pentti Linkola (environmental philosopher)
  9. Tove Jansson (artist, author of Moomin books)
  10. Veikko Hursti (helper of underprivileged)
  11. Paavo Nurmi (runner, nine-time Olympic gold medalist)
  12. Minna Canth (writer and social activist)
  13. J.K. Paasikivi (7th President of Finland)
  14. J.V. Snellman (statesman, philosopher, father of Finnish mark)
  15. Hertta Kuusinen (communist politician)
  16. Arto Saari (professional skateboarder)
  17. Miina Sillanpää (politician, first female minister)
  18. Väinö Tanner (politian, former Prime Minister)
  19. Lucina Hagman (pioneer of woman issues, founder of Martta organization)
  20. Cristfried Ganander (18th century dictionary creator)
  21. Mika Waltari (writer, author of The Egyptian)
  22. Mika Häkkinen (F1 driver, two-time World Champion)
  23. Alvar Aalto (architect, designer)
  24. Eugen Schauman (nationalist, assassinated Nikolai Ivanovich Bobrikov)
  25. Tapio Rautavaara (singer, actor, sportsman)
  26. Eino Leino (poet, journalist)
  27. Jaakko Pöyry (industrialist)
  28. Otto Ville Kuusinen (communist politician, poet)
  29. Juice Leskinen (song writer, singer)
  30. Anders Chydenius (economist, statesman)
  31. Uno Cygnaeus (founder of Finnish education system)
  32. Jari Litmanen (sportsman, footballer)
  33. Katri Helena Kalaoja (singer)
  34. Fanni Luukkonen (longtime leader of Lotta Svärd)
  35. Anneli Jäätteenmäki (first female Prime Minister)
  36. Karl Fazer (industrialist)
  37. K.J. Ståhlberg (1st President of Finland)
  38. Mauno Koivisto (9th President of Finland)
  39. Helene Schjerfbeck (painter)
  40. Reino Helismaa (singer, song writer, scriptwriter, humorist)
  41. Jorma Ollila (CEO of Nokia)
  42. Lauri Törni (infantry captain)
  43. Georg Henrik von Wright (philosopher, painter)
  44. Arndt Pekurinen (pacifist)
  45. Tauno Palo (actor)
  46. Akseli Gallen-Kallela (painter, illustrator of Kalevala)
  47. J.L. Runeberg (national poet of Finland)
  48. Kyösti Kallio (4th President of Finland)
  49. Paavo Ruotsalainen (farmer, lay preacher)
  50. Lars Levi Laestadius (founder of Laestadian movement, author)
  51. Lasse Virén (four-time Olympic gold medalist)
  52. Helvi Sipilä (deputy UN Secretary General)
  53. Yrjö Kallinen (pacifist, disarmament-orientated minister)
  54. Artturi Ilmari Virtanen (Finnish Nobel laureate in chemistry)
  55. Nils-Aslak Valkeapää (forerunner of Finnish Sami culture)
  56. Armi Kuusela (first-ever winner of Miss Universe)
  57. P.E. Svinhufvud (3rd President of Finland)
  58. Aki Kaurismäki (film director)
  59. Kalle Päätalo (writer, novelist)
  60. Paavo Lipponen (former Prime Minister of Finland)
  61. Aurora Karamzin (aristocrat, founder of Finnish Deaconess Institution)
  62. Sakari Topelius (fairy tale writer, historian)
  63. Alli Vaittinen-Kuikka (nurse, defeated the tapeworm epidemic in Finland)
  64. Simo Häyhä (soldier in WW2, considered to be the most successful sniper in the history)
  65. Jaakko Ilkka (peasant rebellion leader)
  66. Arto Javanainen (ice hockey player, most goals in SM-Liiga)
  67. Leena Palotie (gene researcher)
  68. Karita Mattila (soprano)
  69. Veikko Hakulinen (cross country skier, 3 Olympic gold medals)
  70. Helle Kannila (founder of Finnish library system)
  71. Olavi Virta (singer, entertainer)
  72. Hannu Salama (controversial novelist)
  73. Irwin Goodman (singer)
  74. Laila Kinnunen (singer)
  75. Arvi Lind (legendary news anchor)
  76. Kirsti Paakkanen (saved Marimekko, designer)
  77. Larin Paraske (oral poet)
  78. Mathilda Wrede (helped prisoners rehabilitate)
  79. Erno Paasilinna (novelist)
  80. Antti Tuisku (singer, teen idol)
  81. Annikki Tähti (singer)
  82. Elisabeth Rehn (former defence minister, top official of the UN)
  83. Esa Saarinen (philosopher)
  84. Maiju Gebhard (inventor of the dish draining closet)
  85. Kalevi Sorsa (prime minister four times between 1972 and 1987)
  86. A.F. Airo (Mannerheim's aide and consultant, second in command)
  87. Lauri Ylönen (singer of The Rasmus)
  88. Raimo Helminen (ice hockey player, 330 games with the national team)
  89. Armi Ratia (founder of Marimekko)
  90. Veikko Sinisalo (actor)

Humoristic voting and speculation on manipulated results

Everybody in the top ten can be regarded as "serious" candidates, but right after those first ten are a number of candidates that have probably been selected in a more humorous sense. Positions 11-14 are held by:

  • Position 11, Matti Nykänen – A four-time Olympic gold medalist who is also known for his later ill-fated careers as a singer and a stripper. He is a person loved deeply by the Finnish sensationalist press. Most of his scandals are caused by his aggressive behavior while drunk.
  • Position 12, Väinö Myllyrinne – The tallest Finnish person ever. In the Finnish language, the words "great", "tall" and "big" can all be expressed with the word "suuri", which is used in the name of the program. Thus, voting for Myllyrinne was a kind of joke. Some people circulated messages on the Internet that urged people to vote for Myllyrinne.
  • Position 13, Ville Valo – The vocalist of the famous Finnish alternative rock band HIM.
  • Position 14, Lalli – A mythical and possibly non-historical figure who, according to a medieval legend, killed the Swedish Bishop Henry in Finland in 1156.

After the results were published, lots of speculation started on the issue of whether YLE had manipulated the results in order to keep humoristic candidates out of the top ten. YLE has condemned the accusations but has refused to publish the number of votes that candidates below top ten received.

The person most conspicuously not appearing on the list is the international diplomat and former President of Finland Martti Ahtisaari, who is a perennial favourite in Finland for the Nobel Peace Prize.

A similar humoristic voting was for 100 greatest Romanians, where Bulă, a stock character of Romanian jokes was voted #59.

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