Johan Ludvig Runeberg
GPS: N60° 10.049; E024° 56.854
The statue of Finland's national poet, Johan Ludvig Runeberg, is located in the center of Esplanade Park, in downtown Helsinki, Finland.
Johan Ludvig Runeberg (1804-77) was Finland's national poet. He is most famous for the poem Vårt Land (Our Land) which is the Finnish national anthem. Interesting, the poem is written in Swedish, not the predominate language of the country Finnish. Swedish is also an official language of Finland. It is spoken by 5% of the population.
Vårt Land was first performed on 13 May 1848. The poem was written in 1846 but not printed until 1848. It had 11 stanzas and formed the prologue to the great verse cycle The Tales of Ensign Stål ("Fänrik Ståhls Sägner"), a masterpiece of Romantic nationalism.
The sculpture Johan Ludvig Runeberg was created in 1885 by his son, Walter Runeberg. Beneath the statue of Runeberg is an allegorical female figure that personifies Finland , the Maiden of Finland. he maiden is wrapped in a bearskin. She is holding a tablet in her left hand that are inscribed with the words of the Finnish national anthem in Swedish. In her right hand she holds a laurel wreath. A stack of books lies under the tablet by her feet. The figure was completed in 1883.
Text and English translation of Vårt Land inscribed on the tablet.
Vårt land, vårt land, vårt fosterland,
Ljud högt, o dyra ord!
Ej lyfts en höjd mot himlens rand,
Ej sänks en dal, ej sköljs en strand,
Mer älskad än vår bygd i nord,
Än våra fäders jord.
O land, du tusen sjöars land,
Där sång och trohet byggt,
Där livets hav oss gett en strand,
Vår forntids land, vår framtids land,
Var för din fattigdom ej skyggt,
Var fritt, var glatt, var tryggt!
Din blomning, sluten än i knopp,
Skall mogna ur sitt tvång;
Se, ur vår kärlek skall gå opp
Ditt ljus, din glans, din fröjd, ditt hopp,
Och högre klinga skall en gång
Vår fosterländska sång.
Our land, our land, our Fatherland!
Ring out, dear word, oh sound!
No rising hill, or mountain grand,
No sloping dale, no northern strand,
There is, more loved, to be found,
Than this — our fathers’ ground.
Oh land, the thousand lakes’ own land,
Of faith, and lay, and glee,
Where life’s main sea gave us a strand,
Our fore-time’s land, our future’s land,
Shy of thy poorness, never be,
Be calm, be glad, be free!
Thy blossom, hidden now from sight,
Shall burst its bud ere long.
Lo! from our love, shall rise aright,
Thy sun, thy hope, thy joy, thy light,
And higher, once, more full and strong,
Shall ring Our Country’s song.