With 21 Grands Prix wins Kimi-Matias Räikkönen, nicknamed ‘The Iceman’, thrived as the most successful Finnish racing driver with regard to Formula One race wins. He was the winner of the 2007 Formula One World Championship competing for Scuderia Ferrari. He took 103 podium finishes and with this became one of the five drivers who have taken more-than 100 podiums.
Valtteri Bottas is a Finnish racing driver who competes in popular promotions like Formula One, where he is currently competing for Alfa Romeo. Over the course of his career, Valtteri Bottas has won several prestigious awards like the Sky Sports Award and Lorenzo Bandini Trophy. In 2019, he was named AKK-Motorsport Driver of the Year.
Mika Häkkinen was 5 when his parents got him a go-kart for racing near their home. He later grew up to be one of the 3 Finnish F-1 drivers to earn a World Championship. Noted for his speed, he earned the nickname The Flying Finn.
Jean Sibelius was a Finnish violinist and composer. Widely regarded as Finland's greatest composer, Sibelius' music is credited with having kindled nationalism in Finland during the country's struggle for independence from Russia. His work has inspired other important composers like Douglas Lilburn. The International Jean Sibelius Violin Competition, which is held every five years, is named after him.
Keke Rosberg is a Finnish retired racing driver best known for winning the Formula One World Championship in 1982. Rosberg was the first Finnish champion in the history of the Formula One World Championship. Keke Rosberg has also achieved popularity as the father of the 2016 F1 World Champion Nico Rosberg.
Carl Gustaf Emil Mannerheim was a Finnish statesman and military leader who served as the leader of the White Guard during the Finnish Civil War of 1918. He also played a key role during World War II where he served as the Chief of Defense of Finland's defense forces. Thanks to his achievements, Mannerheim is regarded as Finland's greatest statesman.
Eero Saarinen was a Finnish-American industrial designer and architect best remembered for his impressive designs for monuments and buildings. He is credited with designing important structures, such as the Washington Dulles International Airport, the TWA Flight Center, and the Gateway Arch. He is widely regarded as one of the 20th-century's most prominent American architectures.
Finland’s 46th prime minister, Sanna Marin has also previously been the country’s minister of transport and communications. A Social Democratic Party member, she was dragged into a controversy after a video of her partying and dancing became viral in 2022, with critics accusing her of drug abuse.
Teemu Selänne is a Finnish retired ice hockey player who played as a winger. Dubbed the Finnish Flash, Teemu is the highest scoring player from Finland in the history of the National Hockey League (NHL). In 2017, he became only the second Finn after Jari Kurri to be inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame.
Teemu Pukki is a Finnish football player who has played for the Finland national team in important tournaments like the UEFA European Football Championship and Baltic Cup. He also plays in prominent leagues like the English Football League and is currently playing for the Norwich City Football Club.
Finnish basketball player Lauri Markkanen is best known for his present stint with the NBA team Cleveland Cavaliers. The 3-time Finnish Player of the Year has also played for the Chicago Bulls earlier. Known for his near-7-foot frame, he has also been an NBA All-Rookie First Team in 2018.
Joonas Suotamo is a Finnish actor and retired basketball player. Although he started his career as a basketball player, Suotamo has gained much popularity for his portrayal of Chewbacca in the famous Star Wars film series. He played the role in movies like The Last Jedi and The Rise of Skywalker.
Lauri Törni was a Finnish-born American soldier who served in the Vietnam War as part of the U.S. Army Special Forces. He died during the war due to a helicopter crash in 1965. In the 1990s, several books were written about Lauri Törni, making him a war hero. He was inducted into the USSOCOM Commando Hall of Honor in 2011.
Finnish architect Alvar Aalto initially had his studies interrupted by the Finnish Civil War, which saw him fighting for the White Army. His first architectural design was for his parents’ house. He had experimented with furniture and glassware, too. His works showcase a move from classicism to functionalism.
Matti Nykänen was a Finnish ski jumper widely considered to be the greatest male ski jumper of all time. Over the course of his career, he won five Winter Olympic medals and nine World Championship medals. He won the International Masters Championship for veteran ski jumpers in 2008. He had a tumultuous personal life and faced several legal issues.
Ville Valo is a Finnish musician and singer-songwriter. Valo is best known for his association with the gothic rock band HIM, where he performs as the lead vocalist. He is also credited with co-founding the band and has won many awards as part of the band. Ville Valo is also considered a sex symbol by many publications in Finland.
Tuuka Rask a Finnish professional ice hockey goaltender. He currently plays for the Boston Bruins of the National Hockey League (NHL). Highly skilled, he won the Vezina Trophy as the league's top goaltender during the 2013-14 season. He also played for the national team at the 2014 Winter Olympics. His brother, Joonas Rask, is also a professional ice hockey player.
Finnish F-1 racing driver, who has driven for teams such as Caterham-Renault, Lotus F1, and McLaren. He was the 100th driver to win a F-1 Grand Prix. Though he has competed in the Australian and Brazilian Grand Prix, he scored his only win at the Hungarian Grand Prix in 2008.
One of the most influential artists of the 20th century, Touko Valio Laaksonen, better known as Tom of Finland, is remembered for his paintings of the human body and his depiction of homoerotic desire. In his later life, his struggle with emphysema made him switch from pencil to pastels.
Paavo Nurmi was a Finnish athlete who specialized in long-distance and middle-distance running. Nicknamed the Flying Finn, Nurmi dominated important distance running events in the early 20th century. He won nine gold medals and three silver medals across three Olympics in 1920, 1924, and 1928. Paavo Nurmi also set 22 official world records during his career.
Sauli Niinistö went from being a lawyer and a rural police chief to leading Finland as its 12th president. Part of the National Coalition Party till 2012, he was the first conservative head of state in Finland since the 1950s. He has also led his country as its minister of justice and finance.
Alexi Laiho was a Finnish guitarist, vocalist, and composer. He was the founding member of the melodic death metal band Children of Bodom where he performed as the lead vocalist and lead guitarist. He also played the guitar for other popular bands like Sinergy, Kylähullut, and The Local Band. A celebrated guitarist, Laiho is credited with reintroducing flamboyance and melody to metal music.
Finnish retired hockey player Jari Kurri is not just a 5-time Stanley Cup winner but also the first from his country to be part of the Hockey Hall of Fame. An Olympic bronze medal winner, he managed the Finnish team post-retirement. He is married to former Miss Finland, Vanessa Forsman.
Popularly known as The Nordic Nightmare, Finnish boxer Robert Helenius was born in Sweden and moved to Finland with his parents at age 2. He was 5 when he began training in boxing and grew up to win a silver at the 2006 European Championships. He has played for both Sweden and Finland,
Finnish TV host Sauli Koskinen soared to fame after winning Big Brother 2007. He has also been a reporter and blogger for Ilta-Sanomat and has hosted his own show, Saulin Paras Kaveri. The openly gay entertainer had dated American singer Adam Lambert for almost 3 years before their split.
Saara Aalto is a Finnish voice actress, singer, and songwriter. She achieved national prominence in 2012 when she finished second in the popular reality singing competition, The Voice of Finland. She gained international recognition in 2016 when she finished second in The X Factor UK. Saara Aalto represented her country at the 2018 Eurovision Song Contest.
Finnish ice hockey goaltender Pekka Rinne has been a silver medalist at the 2014 World Championships. He has been part of the NHL team Nashville Predators and has won the Vezina Trophy, too. A 4-time NHL All-Star, he also won the King Clancy Memorial Trophy in 2021.
Finnish musician Tuomas Holopainen, who established the symphonic metal band Nightwish, was just 7 when he began training in the piano. Though he initially studied jazz and classical music, he was later inspired by harmonic film music. He is also known for his love for nature.
Henri Toivonen was a Finnish rally driver who became the youngest driver ever to become the World Rally Champion in 1980. The record was later broken by his countryman Jari-Matti Latvala in 2008. Henri Toivonen is also known as the son of Pauli Toivonen, who won the 1968 European Rally Championship title.
Darude is a Finnish record producer and DJ whose music is characterized by its uplifting style. In 2019, he and Sebastian Rejman represented their country at the Eurovision Song Contest with the song Look Away. Over the course of his career, Darude has won many prestigious awards, such as Finnish Grammy Awards and Golden Turntable DJ Award.
Lukáš Hrádecký is a Finnish football player who plays as a goalkeeper for the Finland national team and Bundesliga club Bayer Leverkusen. Starting from 2016, Hrádecký was adjudged Finnish Footballer of the Year for three years in a row. In 2020, Lukáš Hrádecký helped his national team qualify for the UEFA European Championship for the first time.
Sara Maria Forsberg is a Finnish singer, songwriter, and YouTube personality. She trained for a few years in a music academy in Jakobstad and began her career by posting videos on YouTube. In the mid-2010s, she signed to Capitol Records and released her debut single. She currently releases music as an independent artist.
Lasse Virén is a Finnish retired athlete who specialized in long-distance running. He is best known for his performance in the 1972 and 1976 Olympic Games, where he won two gold medals at each Games. Lasse Virén is also known for winning a bronze medal at the 1974 European Championships in Rome.
Finnish racing driver Mika Salo was once a prominent member of Formula One. Post-retirement, he has worked for Finnish MTV3 Formula One as a commentator and has also been a host on Test Drive by Mika Salo. He has been featured on Driven to Extremes, too.
Finland’s 11th president, Tarja Halonen was also the first Finnish female politician to hold the post. Initially a lawyer at the Central Organization of Finnish Trade Unions, she stepped into politics as the parliamentary secretary of Finnish prime minister Kalevi Sorsa. She has also been Finland’s minister of justice and foreign affairs.
Known for his signature bandana and his unique style of spinning his drumsticks, Jukka Nevalainen was 11 when he started playing drums and 17 when he joined the Finnish symphonic metal band Nightwish. He later left Nightwish, though he stated he would continue supporting the band behind the scenes.
Tommi Mäkinen is a Finnish former racing driver. He is widely regarded as one of the most successful World Rally Championship (WRC) drivers of all time; he won four World Rally Championship titles during his career. After retiring as a driver, Tommi Mäkinen established himself as a racing executive.
Finnish ice hockey forward Kasperi Kapanen is best known for his stint with the NHL team Pittsburgh Penguins. The son of former ice hockey player Sami Kapanen and the grandson of Hockey Hall of Famer Hannu Kapanen, he has won gold medals at the Winter Youth Olympics and the World U20 Championship.
Martti Ahtisaari is a Finnish politician who served as the tenth president of Finland; he was in office from 1994 to 2000. In 2008, he was honored with the prestigious Nobel Peace Prize for playing an important role in resolving long-lasting and serious conflicts, such as the ones in Namibia and Iraq. In 2008, he was also awarded the Delta Prize for Global Understanding.
Finnish rock singer Lauri Ylönen and the founder of the band The Rasmus was just 5 when he began playing the piano. Apart from his quirky hairstyles, he is also known for wearing crow’s feather in his hair. Also known as Lintu, he has toured all over Europe with The Rasmus.
Sami Hyypiä is a Finnish former football player who was an important member of the Finland national team. At the time of his retirement, Hyypiä was Finland's second most capped player after Jari Litmanen with 105 caps. Sami Hyypiä successfully established himself as a manager after retiring as a player.
One of Finland’s greatest hockey players of all time, Saku Koivu has been part of the Finnish World Championship-winning team in 1995. He has won 4 Olympic medals, including a silver. He is a cancer survivor and has been part of the International Olympic Committee Athletes' Commission.