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CELEBRATING INDEPENDENT ART Ateneum Art Museum, the Finnish National Art Gallery, opened Larger than Life on December 6, 2007 to honour Finland's 90th anniversary of independence. The new permanent collection pays homage to renowned Finnish artists such as Helene Schjerûeck and Hugo Simberg, and the exhibit's theme is the artist's role in helping to create the nation's identity. FINLAND IN FIGURES · Sovereign parliamentary republic since 1917; autonomous Grand Duchy within the Russian Empire from 1809 to 1917; part of the Kingdom of Sweden for centuries before that. · The president is elected every six years. Ms. Tarja Halonen was re-elected in 2006. · Member of the European Union since January 1995. · Consistently assessed one of the world's least-corrupt nations. · Continually at the top of the world's PISA (Programme for International Student Assessment) rankings. · Climate: four distinct seasons with warm summers and fairly cold winters. · Currency: euro · GDP 2006: 167.1 billion euros · Population: 5.3 million people · Capital: Helsinki · Languages: 92% Finnish; 5.5% Swedish · Religion: 83% Lutheran; 1% Orthodox Source: Statistics Finland VIA HELSINKI Finnair, the Finnish national airline, recently announced its ten-year plan, which is to become the most desirable intercontinental airline in the Northern Hemisphere by 2017. The airline, which is a significant air carrier between Asia and Europe, announced that it will pursue its growth strategy based on increasing demand in traffic between Europe and Asia, and also plans to increase its traffic between North America and Asia. Finnair is able to benefit from Helsinki's ideal location on the Great Circle route and offer the shortest flying times between Europe and Asia. Helsinki-Vantaa Airport offers one of the fastest transfer times of the world's airports. Finnair recently invested almost two billion euros in fleet upgrades. Juha Salminen CHEERS! Koskenkorva vodka, possibly the most popular clear spirit in Finland, recently relaunched its redesigned product line, which now includes flavoured spirits in sleek modern bo les and a new logo. Koskenkorva is produced by Finnish-state owned Altia, a wine, beer and spirit distributor in the Nordic and Baltic countries. FOCUS 2008 35 Sulho Sipilä, Interior, Woman Playing the Piano, 1931, Ateneum Art Museum

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