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The Finlandia Foundation, Pittsburgh Chapter is an organization dedicated to the support and preservation of Finnish culture.  The Pittsburgh chapter sponsors regular meetings, an annual holiday party, a newsletter, language lessons, and other cultural or social events. This group is associated with the Finlandia Foundation National, the largest private source of support for Finnish culture in the United States and encompasses the Finnish Committee, part of the Nationality Rooms Program at the University of Pittsburgh.    The chapter may also cosponsor events with the Scandinavian Society of Western Pennsylvania.  Membership is open to anyone interested in our purpose and events.

News: Finnish Nationality Classroom Fundraiser: T-Shirts, Handmade Scarves, Tote Bags and More for Sale.

Click here to download an order form (with more photos of the sale items.)

The T-shirt design is in white and black printed on beautiful blue cotton and is available in small, medium, large and extra large.  The design features the Finnish flag and big-dipper constellation.  Click here for a detailed view of the T-shirt design.  The big-dipper constellation is in reference to the classroom design titled The Big Dipper by architect Mika Grönhahl.  Mika's design for the Finnish Nationality Classroom is based on an early Finnish smoke cottage and combines tradition with modern technology.

Order your T-shirt today!   Click here for ordering information.

All proceeds from the sale of these items are contributed to the Finnish Nationality Classroom Fund

News: Design Competition Winners Announced

The winners of the competition for the best potential design of the Finnish Nationality Classroom have been announced.   First place was awarded to Mika Gröndahl, architecture student from Oulu University, for his submission titled The Big Dipper.  An overview of his design which combines traditional decor and state of the art audio-visual technology is displayed below.  The second prize winners are a design team comprised of Eero Lunden, Heikki Muntola, Olli Saarikoski and Eero Tapio from Oulu University for their Carelian inspired submission titled Piilu. The third prize winners are Jesperi Vara and Jussi Heinonen from Tampere University of Technology, for their innovative submission titled KUURAClick here to view .pdf file containing a description of the winning designs in both English and in Finnish.

The winning design titled The Big Dipper by Mika Gröndahl, is based on an early Finnish smoke cottage and combines tradition with modern technology, original materials, and a coherent theme. The colors are dark and light woods. The dialog between the traditional elements and their new interpretation is fresh and modern. Reference is made to Finnish literature, in particular the story of The Seven Brothers by Aleksis Kivi. The brothers studied the alphabet in a similar room.  Click here to download .pdf file (6.8 MB) by Mika Gröndahl describing his winning design.  To learn more about Mika Gröndahl click here.

The design competition ended in March 2006 and was open to all Finnish students of architecture and interior design.  Entries had to incorporate the technological requirements of the contemporary university teaching classroom into an architectural interior that is expressive of Finland’s past, prior to 1787, the year of the University of Pittsburgh’s founding.  Portions of the winning designs will be incorporated into the final plans for the Finnish Nationality Classroom.  Click here to download a pdf file explaining the full contest rules.   We were pleased to receive many wonderful submissions and thank all who entered the competition.

The Finnish Nationality Classroom Proposal

Finnish Committee has reached an agreement with the University of Pittsburgh to start fund raising for the construction of a Finnish Nationality Classroom to be added to the existing 26 Nationality Rooms in the Cathedral of Learning (right) at the University of Pittsburgh. The design of this new classroom will reflect the culture and customs of Finland.  The classroom will serve as a memorial where the relatives of early Finnish immigrants will learn about their heritage and remember the contributions of their ancestors and as a place where students and visitors will learn about Finland and Finnish traditions.  It will also provide a focal point for local Finnish organizations and activities.

The Nationality Classrooms at the University of Pittsburgh are a centerpiece of cultural activities in Pittsburgh.  A common question of the many visitors (more than 100,000 yearly) who tour these rooms is: WHERE IS THE FINNISH ROOM? We of the Finnish Room Committee have made it our task to correct this unsatisfying situation.

We need your support: It is an ambitious goal for us to raise the $300,000 necessary to cover all the expenses of constructing this heritage classroom.  To reach this goal, we need the support of other Finns and Finnish Americans throughout the United States.  

1. Please consider sending a contribution to support the construction of the Finnish Nationality Classroom.   Contributions may be made online, by credit card or by check.  Click here to find out more on how to contribute.   

2. You can also help by sharing this information with your friends, family, and local cultural organizations.  To help with the fundraising effort, a flyer describing the Finnish Nationality Classroom Project is available for download at Finnish Room Committee Flyer. A fundraising poster is available for download here: FinnishRoomPoster.pdf and a complimentary 30-minute video about the Nationality Classroom program, entitled “Homelands Remembered”, is available for presentations upon request.  For more information please contact Seija Cohen (  Adding a link to on your organizations website is another way to help spread the word.

Learn More:

  1. The Finnish Room Committee
  2. Our Goal
  3. The Purpose of the Finnish Nationality Classroom
  4. How to Contribute
  5. Dedication of Gift Ceremony
  6. Finnish People in Pennsylvania
  7. Finland Today

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