The Republic of Finland lies in Northern Europe bordered by Sweden to the west, Norway to the north, and Russia to the East. Europe’s eighth largest country, Finland is a boreal forest biome, hosting over 180,000 lakes and blanketed with thick forest. With a population of over 5.5 million, the country is the 25th most populated country in Europe.
Following World War II, most of Finland’s population were still engaged in mining, agriculture, and forestry. In the 1980s, the country’s economy began to boom when it exploited its strong ties with countries in the Eastern and Western Europe.
Before it switched to the euro currency in 2002, Finland’s monetary unit was the Finnish markka which was introduced by the Bank of Finland in 1860, replacing the Russian ruble. The first markkaa banknote was designed by Aleksander Fadejev and printed at F.O Liewendahl press, Finnish Literary Society press, and Tigmann press. In 1878, banknotes designed and printed in Copenhagen were released. The largest denomination of this series was the 500 markkaa which was introduced when the country switched from silver standard to gold standard. Another set of notes were issued in 1898. The obverse design was printed by Bradbury, Wilkinson, & Co while the reverse was printed by the Bank of Finland Security Printing House. Special inks, steel engraving, and special papers were used for this series of notes. Additionally, the notes bear contemporary international design and motifs detailing the monuments to Aleksander II and the country’s national poet Johan Ludvig Runeberg.
In 1922, a new set of notes were introduced. These were the first notes issued after Finland gained its independence. Designed by Eliel Saarinen, the notes depict nude people representing classicism. In 1955, notes designed by Tapio Wirkkala were released. These were the first series that feature actual specific people.
The final series of the markkaa notes bears a picture of Vaino Linna on its 20-markkaa denomination with no permission granted by the copyright holders, causing the bank to pay them 100,000 markkaa compensation.