The Flame and the Sword – Mannerheim and the University

On 26 March 2019, the Helsinki University Museum will open a temporary exhibition, which sheds light on the close relationship between Gustaf Mannerheim and the University of Helsinki during a period of transition in Finland and elsewhere in Europe. With Finland yet to decide on its future system of government in spring 1919, General Baron Gustaf Mannerheim served as the country’s regent. Mannerheim was awarded the title of doctor honoris causa in philosophy at the first academic conferment ceremony of the newly independent Finland in May 1919 in recognition of his distinguished scholarly activities during his travels in Central Asia, as well as for his work on consolidating relations between the University and the new Government. The honour of serving as the official garland-weaver at the conferment ceremony was bestowed on Mannerheim’s daughter Sophy. Two decades later, at the end of the Winter War (1939–1940), Mannerheim, by then the commander-in-chief, granted the Cross of Liberty to the University for its efforts and sacrifices for the homeland. To commemorate the centenary of this multi-faceted conferment ceremony in 2019, institutions and individuals upholding Mannerheim’s memory and cherishing the University’s history have wished to highlight this important connection and together celebrate spring in an academic spirit.

The exhibition has been created in cooperation with the Mannerheim Museum.

Opening hours: Tue–Thu 12–18, Fri 12–16, from 27 March to 28 June 2019.