The official memorial to former President Mauno Koivisto was unveiled on Saturday 25 November 2023 in Little Parliament Park in Helsinki. That same day marks the centenary of the birth of former President Koivisto. President of the Republic of Finland Sauli Niinistö delivered a speech at the unveiling ceremony of the memorial.
“A hundred years is a long time for a nation. During that time, Finland has defended and consolidated its independence, developed its economy and strengthened its international position. Moreover, it has become one of the most equal and successful countries in the world. In all these achievements, Mauno Koivisto made a strong mark on history. For this work and for the long life he lived, we owe him a debt of gratitude and respect.”
The memorial, called Välittäjä (The Mediator), was designed by sculptor Kirsi Kaulanen. According to the artist, the sculpture depicts Mauno Koivisto’s role as president between East and West. In the rising forms of the sculpture, you can also see the ascending arc of Mauno Koivisto’s career. As President of the Republic of Finland, Koivisto led Finland on its path to membership of the European Union.
President Niinistö described the artwork as having multiple interpretations and meanings. “President Koivisto was an equally multi-dimensional person. He was a dock worker, a scholar, a banker and a politician. A war veteran who understood the immeasurable value of peace. Above all, he was a great statesman, who always put the public interest first.”
The President said the sculpture also invites us to reflect on our place and action in the world, what kind of a mark we leave behind. “The times we live in need stability and continuity. We can strengthen them in many ways. Each of us can take our own responsibility. The unveiling of this memorial is also part of this. It is a link in the chain of generations, showing us the way from yesterday to tomorrow.”
Finland’s highest state leadership attended the unveiling ceremony. In addition to President Niinistö, Prime Minister Petteri Orpo gave a speech at the event. The ceremony featured music by the Sibelius High School Chamber Choir and The Guards Band.
There is an official monument to all the late Presidents of the Republic of Finland. The monuments are located in Helsinki and they have been donated to the City of Helsinki, which is responsible for their maintenance.