Finland’s honours system: conferral of decorations as a mark of public recognition and respect

In February 1918, soon after Finland had gained its independence, General Mannerheim, Commander-in-Chief of the Finnish Military Forces, proposed the establishment of an order of knighthood (the Cross of Liberty) for the purpose of acknowledging gallantry and civic merits. The peacetime practice of awarding honours to citizens who have distinguished themselves in the service of Finland became established in 1919 during Regent Mannerheim’s term.

The President of the Republic confers:

  • decorations of Finland’s three Orders upon both Finnish and foreign citizens
  • honorary titles mainly upon Finnish citizens.

In addition, the Finnish honours system includes other decorations established by decree, most of which are conferred by the respective government minister for the administrative branch in question.