Statue of Johan Ludvig Runeberg

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Johan Ludvig Runeberg
Johan Ludvig Runeberg staty 01.png
Statue of J. L. Runeberg
LocationEsplanadi, Helsinki
DesignerWalter Runeberg
Inauguration date6 May 1885

The Statue of Johan Ludvig Runeberg is a statue dedicated to the Finland-Swedish author, national poet and priest Johan Ludvig Runeberg (1804–1877), designed and sculpted by his son Walter Runeberg (1838–1920). The statue is located in the Esplanadi park in Helsinki.


Runeberg is depicted aged around of 55, dressed in a priest's coat. His right hand is on his chest, as if he would deliver a speech.

By the foot of the pedestal there is a young woman wrapped in bearskin, symbolising Maiden of Finland. She is holding a laurel wreath and an inscription with the words of three verses of the Finnish national anthem in Runeberg's native language Swedish.[1]

The words from three verses of the Finnish national anthem, in Runeberg's native language Swedish.
Swedish original English translation

Vårt land, vårt land, vårt fosterland,
Ljud högt, o dyra ord!
Ej lyfts en höjd mot himlens rand,
Ej sänks en dal, ej sköljs en strand,
Mer älskad än vår bygd i nord,
Än våra fäders jord.

O land, du tusen sjöars land,
Där sång och trohet byggt,
Där livets hav oss gett en strand,
Vår forntids land, vår framtids land.
Var för din fattigdom ej skyggt.
Var fritt, var glatt, var tryggt.

Din blomning, sluten än i knopp,
Skall mogna ur sitt tvång;
Se, ur vår kärlek skall gå opp
Ditt ljus, din glans, din fröjd, ditt hopp.
Och högre klinga skall en gång
Vår fosterländska sång.

Our land, our land, our Fatherland!
Ring out, dear word, oh sound!
No rising hill, or mountain grand,
No sloping dale, no northern strand,
There is, more loved, to be found,
Than this — our fathers’ ground.

Oh land, the thousand lakes’ own land,
Of faith, and lay, and glee,
Where life’s main sea gave us a strand,
Our fore-time’s land, our future’s land,
Shy of thy poorness, never be,
Be calm, be glad, be free!

Thy blossom, hidden now from sight,
Shall burst its bud ere long.
Lo! from our love, shall rise aright,
Thy sun, thy hope, thy joy, thy light,
And higher, once, more full and strong,
Shall ring Our Country’s song.
(Trans. from Swedish by Anna Krook, 1904)


The memorial offers no evidence of the identity of the person it depicts, since it was considered to be self-evident at the time.[1]

Picture from the unveiling ceremony on May 6th 1885.


A year after the poet's death, a committee with Zacharias Topelius as secretary commissioned a memorial from Walter Runeberg. The sculptor was working in Paris at the time. His draft was approved in 1882 and cast twice in bronze in Paris.[1]

The statue of Runeberg was unveiled in front of 20 000 people on May 6th 1885, eight years after the poet's death. A second statue of Runeberg was unveiled on May 30th the same year in his hometown Porvoo.[3]


  1. ^ a b c "Johan Ludvig Runebergin muistomerkki : Walter Runeberg". HAM (in American English). Retrieved 2021-02-17.
  2. ^ Swedish and Finnish songs, retrieved 2021-02-17
  3. ^ "RUNEBERG, Walter". Biografiskt lexikon för Finland. Retrieved 2021-02-17.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)

Coordinates: 60°10′03″N 24°56′51″E / 60.16749°N 24.94760°E / 60.16749; 24.94760