Finland marks centenary with Nordic royals, presidents

AP News
Posted: Jun 01, 2017 7:39 AM
Finland marks centenary with Nordic royals, presidents

HELSINKI (AP) — A flag-waving crowd has gathered on Helsinki's main square to get a glimpse of Nordic royalties joining in celebrating Finland's 100 years of independence.

Guests, including Denmark's Queen Margrethe, King Harald of Norway, Sweden's King Carl XVI Gustaf and Icelandic President Gudni Johannesson, were received Thursday by Finnish President Sauli Niinisto.

Celebrations included a popular local pair dance, known as humppa; music by renowned Finnish composer Jean Sibelius and a gala dinner later in the day at the Presidential Palace.

The pomp was one of the highlights of year-long celebrations culminating Dec. 6 — the day Finland's Parliament declared independence from Russia in 1917. Finland was part of Sweden for 700 years before it was annexed into the Russian Empire in 1809.