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University of Helsinki  

Faculty of Arts

Contact information:

Faculty office:
Department of Ethnology (P.O. Box 59)
00014 University of Helsinki
phone +358-(0)9-19122620
fax +358-(0)9-191 22653


Welcome to the Department of Ethnology


The chair of Finno-Ugric ethnology at the University of Helsinki was established, like that of archaeology, in 1921 to celebrate the independence of Finland. It’s task was to strengthen the Finnish identity through studying Finnish and even Finno-Ugric culture, mainly material culture and customs. The museums played an important role when collecting and preserving ethnographical material for the scientific work.
The aims and methods have changed since those days and especially during the last decade, but the interest in the Finno-Ugric peoples has remained, and the connections with the museums are still valid although in very versatile forms. The Finno-Ugric ethnology of today is clearly part of the European ethnology, intensively following the international theoretical and methodological discussions and maintaining international contacts especially in Europe.
The Department prepares the students to serve the Finnish society in different areas of cultural branches and activities but also – and this is the most important thing – attempts to give them knowledge and ability to understand the culture of today as part of the historical development. The presence of the historical dimension – more or less accentuated – belongs to the scientific and educational profile of ethnology at the University of Helsinki. This implies many-sided connections and co-operation with the departments and institutions dealing with problems concerning history and culture

See also Department of Philosophy, History, Culture and Art Studies