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News, 2/6/2017 | Ministry for Foreign Affairs of Finland

New Finland emojis spotlight Arctic expertise, Sámi identity, and gay pride

Press release 24/2017
6 February 2017

Emojit feb2

Today Finland adds seven new emojis to its wildly successful collection of Finland emojis.

February 6 is Sámi National Day, celebrated by the only indigenous people of the European Union, whose homelands stretch across northern Finland, Norway and Sweden and a corner of northwestern Russia. The Sámi flag is one of the new Finland emojis.

Another addition recognises artist and icon Tom of Finland, while five new Arctic emojis portray Arctic expertise, nature, and fun, often all in the same emoji.

Finland became the first country in the world to publish its own set of national emojis in December 2015, as part of the Christmas calendar on the country branding website, produced by the Ministry for Foreign Affairs of Finland. A set of summer emojis was added to the selection in May 2016.

Arctic emojis

Finland is the northernmost nation in the European Union, and the whole country is considered part of the Arctic Region. “Finland is one of the leading nations in the world because of its Arctic location, not in spite of it,” says Ville Cantell, Director of Communications on Europe and Neighbouring Areas at the Ministry for Foreign Affairs. “We haven’t simply adjusted to life in our Arctic conditions – we also know how to enjoy it.” The new emojis also anticipate Finland’s two-year term as chair of the Arctic Council, beginning in May.

One of the emojis, entitled “The polar bear that never existed,” shows a polar bear that has lost its way and ended up on Senate Square in Helsinki. Another emoji shows a granny on a kicksled, cutting through the grey of winter. The Northern Lights, also known as Aurora Borealis, get their own emoji, too. The Sámi flag is not available in the Unicode emojis that are included on all communications devices and platforms, so it was a natural addition to the Finland emojis.

All of the Arctic emojis, the new additions as well as several previously released ones, are available at a single address, convenient for educational purposes, for example:

The Tom of Finland emoji

In recognition of same-sex marriage, which officially becomes legal in Finland on March 1, 2017, and of the recent premiere of the biographical feature film Tom of Finland, a Tom of Finland emoji is being added to the collection.

Artist Tom of Finland (real name Touko Laaksonen, 1920–1991) made, and continues to make, a significant contribution to the advancement of human rights, to the way sexual minorities perceive themselves, and to encouraging tolerance in general. Laaksonen is often considered to be Finland’s most famous artist internationally; his work forms part of the collections of the Kiasma Museum of Contemporary Art in Helsinki, the Museum of Modern Art in New York, and the Museum of Contemporary Art in Los Angeles.

Read more about Tom of Finland here:

Finland emojis in general

The Finland emoji collection has met with great success abroad, garnering numerous international awards and reaching upwards of 200 million users.

“We’ve kept our tongue-in-cheek approach,” says Petra Theman, Director for Public Diplomacy at the Ministry for Foreign Affairs. “However, the emojis still clearly convey what Finland feels is important: biodiversity and natural coexistence – coexistence with the challenges of our environment and also harmonious coexistence with each other.”

In all, 54 emojis are now included in the Finland emojis app, available for free download in Google Play and the App Store. They can also be downloaded for all devices as images from ThisisFINLAND’s emoji page also provides a short description of each emoji. These texts are available in all of the site’s language versions (English, Arabic, Chinese, French, German, Portuguese, Russian and Spanish), and in Japanese, since emojis originated in Japan.

Finland emojis are created as stickers so that their appearance is the same on every device. The Unicode Consortium has approved two of Finland’s previously released emojis (“Sauna” and “Woolly socks”) for inclusion in the Unicode Standard. They will appear in the emoji keyboards of all devices as soon as device manufacturers and app developers update their own emoji collections (probably summer 2017).

The Finland emojis are designed by the Ministry for Foreign Affairs of Finland together with art director Bruno Leo Ribeiro.

More info: Petra Theman, Director for Public Diplomacy at the Ministry for Foreign Affairs,Tel. +358 295 351 558

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Updated 2/6/2017

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