There has been keen interaction between the Finnish and Swedish Consular Corps during recent years. In 2004 The Consular Corps of Stockholm visited Helsinki and the Honorary Consuls of the Finnish Capital organized several get-togethers and calls on interesting sites. Amongst others there was Luncheon with the Speaker of the Parliament, Mr. Paavo Lipponen, as the guest of honour, who gave a presentation about topical issues. At the consular functions in Helsinki always the Career Consuls are invited to take part in the events. Our meetings are well-liked, because we are frequently honoured by top ranking persons, like the Prime Minister, Foreign Minister, CEO’s of large companies, important officials of various administrations etc.
In 2OO5 the Consular Corps of Helsinki had the opportunity to reciprocate by visiting Stockholm. Our Swedish Colleagues had arranged a fine programme, and here as well the guest of honour was the Speaker of the Parliament, Mr. Björn von Sydow, which occasion was a Luncheon offered by the joint Swedish-Finnish-Danish-Norwegian Bank Nordea. The Finnish Ambassador, Mr. Pertti Torstila received the two Corps at his residence, and the visitors also had the opportunity to get acquainted with the Royal Castle Drottningholms Slott.
The latest cooperation between the two Nordic Consular Corps took place in September 2007, when a joint visit was made to Tallinn, the capital of Estonia. Our host was the Estonian Consular Corps, a young organization, as it is only 16 years since the Estonians regained their independence. The country has come on its feet in an amazing speed, and the former Hanseatic Town of Tallinn is already a bustling city with a lot of new buildings, it is a keen market place and has a beautiful historical Old Town. This was the meeting place for the two Nordic Consular Corps with their neighbouring Baltic Colleagues on the southern side of the Gulf of Finland. Finland has already 4OOO companies registered in Estonia and there are 3O daily tours by ship between Helsinki and Tallinn. These are relatively small ships and ferries; between Helsinki and Stockholm only two ships handle the maritime traffic daily, but these ferry vessels both take 2-3000 passengers and hundreds of cars. The sea is still the practical route from Finland to the rest of Europe, unless you choose to fly, because it is about 12OO kilometres to Stockholm by car, Helsinki being situated at the practically southernmost tip on the long peninsula comprising most of Finland. Towards the east you can take the train. That takes you in some five, six hours to St. Petersburg.
In Helsinki Honorary Consuls number 75 persons. The Consular Corps has functioned since Finland became an independent republic. That occurred in 1917, i.e. 90 years ago. But Honorary Consuls were appointed to Finland already during the time when the country was a Grand Duchy of the Russian Czar. The Consulship is an old, established and respected institution in Finland.