The Winter War Museum Raatteen Portti, located in Suomussalmi in the northeastern part of the country, has received a sudden explosion from abroad.
"Three weeks after this conflict was only zero. Then last week and this week there have been inquiries from Poland, the Czech Republic – which is completely new to us – and Sweden," said the museologist Reima Haapoja.
Finland’s military history has recently attracted new interest in the international media as well, and similarities have been drawn between the Winter War and Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
Recent items comparing the two contradictions have included the publisher Times, Email online and Atlantic. Finland’s crisis preparedness and its historical roots were also the subject of an extensive article Financial Times.
Near the eastern border in the Kainuu region, the Winter War Museum is visited annually by about 30,000 guests, most of whom are from Finland.
Now, however, it is receiving wider attention. Two weeks ago, Slovak radio interviewed Haapoja.
"Somewhere they had learned about the similarities between the Winter War and the Ukrainian War. They wanted to hear from us how we see it," he explained.
Haapoja himself sees similarities in the experiences of Finland and Ukraine – in the propaganda of the enemy, in the winter conditions and in the strong will to defend the homeland.
Nature remains the biggest attraction
After the start of the attack on Ukraine, Finnish tourism companies began to report their cancellations about the security of visits to Russia’s neighboring country.
"When the Russian invasion began, so many feared its effects on tourism." said Kristiina HietasaariDirector of Visit Finland, the tourism promotion organization.
According to Hietasaari, the increased concern was understandable, but now the situation has calmed down.
According to Visit Finland, military tourist destinations are not a particularly attractive attraction for international visitors, although interest has increased. The country’s attraction is still based on nature as its main attraction.
Lauri HaavistoThe exhibition manager of the Finnish War Museum says that the exhibition held on March 13, 1940, the day of the end of the Winter War, was very popular.
"On a normal winter Sunday, we have about 100 visitors. Now there were 300. There was also a lot of talk among visitors about the war in Ukraine," he said.
According to Haavisto, some were enthusiasts of military history, while others represented a new kind of visitor. When the summer is at the peak of the museum, Haavisto expects the upswing in visitor numbers to continue.
"It depends, of course, on how the situation in Ukraine develops, but I think that will be reflected in this," he told Yle.
Source: The Nordic Page