Politics of commemoration on the streets of 1920s Helsinki

Abstract

The politics of commemoration and oblivion, and different memory entrepreneurs played an important role in the newly independent Finland. The revision of street names in the city of Helsinki in the 1920s became a symbolic and ideological battlefield in public discussion and became politicized. Having functioned earlier mostly in Swedish, the city now saw a Finnish national wave, and the new nomenclature was designed especially for Finnish speakers. Independent Finland and the Finnish-speaking culture, now rising to a hegemonic position, were celebrated in the new nomenclature, as the Russian- and-Swedish sounding street names were systematically replaced.

key words: politics of commemoration, Helsinki, toponyms

Mikko-Olavi Seppälä

PhD, Adjunct Professor, University Researcher, Department of Philosophy, History, Culture and Art Studies, University of Helsinki.