Elsa from Frozen

This Finn brought Disney heroes to life. They’re even more gorgeous than on film.

When graphic designer Jirka Väätäinen from Kuopio, Finland, first started his project on what Disney characters might look like in real life, he didn’t expect anyone to see them.

“One day, back in 2011, I just got this idea to entertain and challenge myself by reimagining Ursula in a more realistic way,” Väätäinen says. “It was fun so I did the same with a few other characters and posted them on the blog that I kept for my university studies.”


Ursula from The Little Mermaid

The rest is history. Someone stumbled upon his real life Disney characters and shared them, creating an online phenomenon. This year, inundated with requests for more, Väätäinen published a collection of Disney hunks. It has been viewed by literally millions of people.

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China Swedes, Forest Finns and The Great Migration: How Finnish immigrants helped build America

finnish immigrants

Currently in Finland, like elsewhere in Europe, we’re hearing much about immigration and how challenging it is for new arrivals to integrate into society. Finns themselves, of course, have a long history of leaving Finland to live elsewhere. Sometimes, as refugees from war or famine, other times to simply try and make a better life for themselves and their families. One popular destination was the United States, so let’s take a quick look at how Finns fared in the New World and how well they settled into life far away from home.

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Police confirmed the presence of 30 - 40 protesters opposing the arrival of asylum seekers in Lahti. One of them wore the robes of the white supremacist movement the Ku Klux Klan.

Finnish Ku Klux Klan clown needs to read his history. The Klan hated Finns too.

In the late evening of September 24, the vile reactions to refugees in small towns around Finland took a quick turn for the absurd… at least in the eyes of those who know their history.

Finland’s public service broadcaster YLE reports that a bus transporting 49 mostly middle eastern asylum seekers were met by a group of 30-40 individuals protesting their arrival. The mob launched fireworks at the bus and later threw rocks at Red Cross workers operating the gates of the refugee center. As picked up by international media by now, one of these clowns wore an improvised Kuu Klux Klan outfit, of all things.

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Finnish Instagrammer of the Week: Taru Latva-Pukkila

Finnish Instagramer of the week

We love Instagram and we love Finland, so what better way to combine the two than by launching a weekly series to celebrate them both. Every Wednesday, we’ll showcase a brand new Finnish Instagrammer who is showcasing the very best of super Suomi. We’ll ask them questions about their photos, get them to share their favourites and ask them to do a mini-music-movie with the ace new Finnish iPhone app, LUUP. If you’d like to have the chance to share your photos with over half a million monthly readers worldwide, be sure to hashtag your best work #InkTankFinland.

To kick off the series, we’ve got an Instagrammer whose work I’ve admired for a very, very long time. So please put your hands together the one and only Taru Latva-Pukkila, better known on Instagram (and EyeEm) as @tarulp.

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Lights, smartphone, action! 7 reasons why new filmmakers will love LUUP


Thanks to smartphones we now take more photos every two minutes, than the whole of humanity took in the entire 19th century. When you throw apps like Instagram into the mix, it’s safe to say there are more talented photographers sharing more amazing photos than ever before. Yet for mobile movies it’s a different story.

Although we’re now packing incredibly sophisticated movie cameras in our pockets, there’s not been the same explosion of movie making worldwide. Movies are, of course, tougher to shoot than photos and you need a certain level of skill to go beyond a home video look and feel. But thanks to an ace new app recently launched in Finland that could be all set to change.

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Finnish pilot ball for weather observations.

See how these amazing colour photos of Finland during WW2 bring the past to life

Finnish pilot ball for weather observations.

Rare colour photos of Finland during World War 2 show the reality of war in a way that black and white can’t.

We’ve all learned about World War II, whether reading about it in a history textbook or hearing stories passed down from a grandparent. We’ve also seen photos, grim black and white depictions from a time that doesn’t always feel entirely real to younger generations. The stories and photos become far removed from the vivid reality that is war, with many people today forgetting that those shown in black and white were real people who fought and suffered. And that’s precisely why colour photographs are so important. Colour photographs were a rarity at the beginning of WW2, with Kodachrome only making its way into use in the mid-1930s. However, rare examples of colour shots do exist, and they are nothing short of spectacular.

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6 modern movies that tell you all you need to know about Finland

Finnish cinema is a tough racket. Its scope is limited by the country’s minuscule market of 5.4 million inhabitants who speak an unusual language. Even big, mainstream movie productions rely on grants to be feasible. Unlike say, their Swedish colleagues, Finnish filmmakers don’t get a boost from a potential audience of neighbouring countries, who sort of understand the language.

Despite this, there’s a bunch of modern Finnish movies that deliver in terms of being widely understandable art. Many of those reflect very particular, recurring themes of struggles, melancholy and nature.

So, let’s get to the movies.

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