New Finland emojis feature Åland flag, Nordic cooperation and the call of summer

Today Finland adds six new emojis to its astoundingly successful collection of Finland emojis.

June 9 is Autonomy Day in Åland, a picturesque Swedish-speaking archipelago, population 29,000, located between Sweden and Finland. Åland is part of Finland but has a special autonomy agreement that attracts international attention as an example of how to successfully and peacefully secure the position of a minority. The blue, yellow and red flag of Åland is displayed in one of the new Finland emojis.

Nordic colours are also in evidence in another new emoji called Nordic Family. Finland, often represented symbolically as the Maiden of Finland (based on the country’s shape on the map), shares culture and a long history with the rest of the Nordic/Scandinavian countries: Sweden, Norway, Denmark and Iceland. As in any family, they maintain friendly competition, and this ensures that they all stay at the top of any international ranking. Well, Nordic cooperation might also have something to do with it.

Light and grace: Summer is calling

Finland’s national bird, the swan, returns to Finnish shores every spring, and now it’s got its own emoji, too. The swan is associated with light, grace, endurance and eternal love (they mate for life).

Light, love, a good deal of grace and perhaps even endurance are also on display at outdoor summer dances that take place on pavilions beside lakes or on village squares. This is what they call lavatanssit in Finnish. People find each other and dance tango and even more mysterious dances in the summer sunlight, which lasts all night up north.

The remaining two new emojis are Association and Education. The former refers to Finland’s 70,000 cultural and hobby associations, and the feeling of togetherness they inspire. Just about every activity has its own organisation, including choirs of all kinds:

Finland’s Education emoji is already preparing us for that first-day-of-school feeling – excited but anxious, about to make new friends and learn about the world. Every Finn has the same opportunity and right to go to school, and lifelong learning is encouraged.

Finland emojis in general

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 ThisisFINLAND.fi, produced by the Ministry for Foreign Affairs of Finland. A set of summer emojis was added to the selection on the Day of Finnish Identity in May 2016, and six Arctic emojis were added in February 2017 on the Sámi National Day, and ahead of Finland’s two-year term as chair of the Arctic Council starting in May 2017.

The Finland emoji collection has met with great success abroad, garnering numerous international awards and reaching approximately 240 million people through traditional and social media.

“Finland emojis were initially released with the wish to convey that Finland is not only functional but also fun, as well as digitally savvy,” says Petra Theman, Director for Public Diplomacy at the Ministry for Foreign Affairs. “We have been overwhelmed by the amount of awards, suggestions for cooperation, including commercial use of the emojis, and by all the ideas sent to us. This has certainly been a fun addition to everything else we do in order to convey Things you should and shouldn’t know, according to our motto.”

In all, 62 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 finland.fi/emoji or the Finland Toolbox (toolbox.finland.fi). 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 at the end of summer 2017).

This is the final update to the Finland Emojis collection. The emojis are designed by the Ministry for Foreign Affairs of Finland together with art director Bruno Leo Ribeiro.

Read other news on the city site of Helsinki.

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