Nordic Sailors Sharing Joy, Experiences, and Knowledge

March-April 2024




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Spring Greetings

Spring is returning to New England, and so are you to this monthly newsletter—I warmly welcome both and wish Happy Easter to everyone who celebrates! For those who are new here, my name is Henrik Totterman; I am the Finnish Honorary Consul for the City of Boston and the States of New England (MA, ME, NH, VT, RI).


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Blue & White - Stellwagen Bank outside Boston, MA in 2023

The NEF—This newsletter is designed to build bridges between New England, Finland, and Scandinavia. It's the chart for our shared past, present, and future adventures. I created this newsletter based on popular demand among Finnish New Englanders, and I want to engage with you in trade, education, and cultural matters. This edition marks a significant milestone as we are now a community of over 2000 subscribers on Linkedin, with many more subscriptions to my email send-out and those following the blog. This growing interest is a testament to our shared commitment, and I'm excited to see where our journey takes us.

Below is a summary of collected insights, including our recent visit to Vaisala, Finnish executive brilliance in the Greener-Factor talent competition, and reflection from past months of Nordic-New England community building. I have also included an information sheet on Vermont, the following New England State under review, as we approach the summer. However, the highlight of this edition is the April 9 invitation to Insights from International Climate Negotiations. This is an excellent opportunity for us to connect and learn together. See you there! Enjoy The NEF!


Economic and Trade Relationships

Recent Visit to Vaisala in Woburn, MA

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A joyful gathering of Boston area professionals at Vaisala

Thank you, Yani Bettencourt, Maria Uusimaa, and Ville Alasmaa, for your great hospitality, knowledge-intensive networking, and impressive Vaisala presentation. Few companies were born globals from Finland, with MIT as your first client in 1936 (!!) — An impressive journey ever since!

Feedback from participants:

  • Ilkka Penttilä, Director, Shrewsbury Plant at Valmet Flow Control Inc.: " It was a nice evening with good people and great company! The hosts and organizers!"
  • Henna Capone, President Finlandia Foundation Boston: Thank you, Bettencourt, Maria Uusimaa, and Ville Alasmaa, for allowing us to bring the community together! From Mona Lisa to Mars, I am inspired by what Vaisala innovation can achieve! Keep sharing the stories!

As we move forward, please share with me upcoming events, potential business visits, and exciting people with the scoping of this newsletter in mind. We are always excited to share expertise and experience in our NEF community.


Educational and Research

Brief note: Check out an insightful report from ETLA on "How Do Intangible Capital Stocks of Finland, Sweden, and Germany Compare?” Abstract in English, report in Finnish.

The Greener Factor - Talent Pitching & Mock-Interviews

In true #UN Global Compact spirit, The Greener Factor was launched last week with a panel of seasoned executives, including Client Partner Monna Lohkovuori at FranklinCovey. Monna is originally from Finland and an alumnus of the Helsinki University Master’s in Psychology program. We shared a great evening of collegiality and insights at #Hult Boston. The talent pitches and job interviews brought forth exceptional talent, heartfelt stories, and bright futures in running greener businesses with true #ESG objectives and passion.


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From Left: Henrik Totterman, Monna Lohkovuori, Sundaresh R, and Jan Schnorr. Back row: Contestants in the Greener-Factor Talent Pitching Competition at Hult International Business School.



Cultural Exchange and Public Diplomacy

Insights from International Climate Negotiations: Tuesday, April 9

Join an engaging speaker event co-hosted by Finlandia Foundation Boston, the Honorary Consulate of Finland in Boston, and Hult International Business School.

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You can join us for professional insights and networking.


Welcome to our event, where we explore the complexities and challenges of international climate negotiations together, focusing on Finland's influential role and future direction. We will gain insights into the daily experiences of climate negotiators at the COP and the evolution of UN climate negotiations, and we will learn more about other avenues for individual and collective impact.

  • Registration and Audience: The Finlandia Foundation Boston event is open to the Boston professional community. See you there, remember to register.
  • Date and Time: April 9, 6:00-est. 8:30 pm
  • Place: Hult, One Education Street, Cambridge, MA.
  • Program: Mix & Mingle, Fire Chat, Interactive Q&A, and Networking Reception.
  • Special Guest Speaker: Matti Goldberg has 15 years of experience in global climate negotiations, contributing to landmark instruments like the Paris Agreement. He is an independent consultant focusing on climate policy and has worked with organizations such as UNFCCC, UNDP, and The Climate Desk/FutureCamp GmbH. Holding a Master’s degree in international relations from the Ludwig-Maximilian-University of Munich, he recently defended his PhD thesis on The Role of Epistemic Resources in the Making of the Climate-Security Nexus at the Technical University of Darmstadt, published by Routledge Inc. in November 2023.


Community Engagement

In Memoriam: Edwin E. Kaarela, February 14, 1928 — February 29, 2024

Attorney Edwin Eino Kaarela, 96, of Westminster, passed away on February 29, 2024. Edwin was incredibly proud of his Finnish heritage and served at the Finnish Consulate in Fitchburg for many years. My sincere condolences to family and friends. Click here for the Obituary.

Boston Nordic Community

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From Left: Torben Orla Nielsen of Denmark, Ann-Kristin Lund of Sweden, Henrik Totterman of Finland, Tonje Gulbrandsen of Norway, and Kerry Lavin ED Scandinavian Cultural Center & Library


Congratulations to Finland 🇫🇮 for being named the happiest country in the world for the 7th consecutive year in the 2024 World Happiness Report. Overall, the Nordic countries continue to dominate the top rankings, with Denmark, Iceland, and Sweden securing the 2nd, 3rd, and 4th spots respectively. Attention: Now the billion-dollar question is to get Finland 🇫🇮 back to being among the world’s most competitive countries. Similarly, in light of the ranking results, we need to find ways to boost happiness, especially among youth in the USA and elsewhere (!!). Attention: Across the world, let's check in on people more often, especially those who might be lonely.

March 23rd was the Nordic Day 🇩🇰🇫🇮🇳🇴🇮🇸🇸🇪🇺🇸, which we Honorary Consuls of Denmark, Finland, Norway, and Sweden celebrated among friends of the Boston Scandinavian Cultural Center & Library, hosted by Kerry Lavin and her talented colleagues. Question: Did you know the library was founded almost thirty years ago with books written in Finnish and Scandinavian? It's worth a visit and membership.

In line with the Nordic Spirit, it is incredible to experience how neighboring countries grow together, do good together, and are happy while embracing and supporting other nations and cultures worldwide. One example of togetherness is the grand opening of the joint Nordic consular premises in Los Angeles roughly two weeks ago.

The Nordic countries share many common values, including equality, social security, sustainability, democracy, education, and innovation. Since 1952 (!!), Nordics have had the right to move freely within the Nordic region without a passport thanks to the Nordic Passport Union, later the EU Schengen Agreement. Now, all Nordic countries are promoting stability and peace as members of NATO.


Exploring New England: The State of Vermont

Each month, I summarize and benchmark high-level facts and information from one of the New England states; this month, we focus on beautiful Vermont.

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Concluding Remarks

I hope you find the third issue of this newsletter insightful. Do you have any feedback or suggestions for content considering the above broad sections? The publishing date for my following newsletter is Sunday, April 28, with any materials due on Wednesday, April 28.

All the best,

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Honorary Consul of Finland to the City of Boston and the States of Massachusetts, Maine, New Hampshire, Rhode Island, and Vermont. 




Selected Dates (for planning purposes):

  • January: New Year's Day (Uudenvuodenpäivä): January 1.
  • February: Shrove Tuesday (Laskiainen): February 13 (2024), Kalevala Day (Kalevala päivä): February 28th.
  • March: Nordic Day (Nordens dag): March 23, Easter (Pääsiäinen) Mar 31 (2024).
  • April-May: May Day (Vappu): April 30/May 1.
  • June: Runon ja suven päivä (Day of Poetry and Summer): June 6, Helsinki Day (Helsingin päivä): June 12, Midsummer (Juhannus): weekend of June 24.
  • July: Sleepyhead Day (Unikeonpäivä): July 27.
  • August-September-October: Aleksis Kivi Day: October 10.
  • November: All Saints' Day (Pyhäinpäivä): first Sat of November, Finnish Swedish Heritage Day (Ruotsalaisuuden päivä): November 6.
  • December: Independence Day (Itsenäisyyspäivä): December 6, Jean Sibelius Day: December 8, Lucia Day: December 13, Christmas (Joulu): December 24.