Football was #1 topic about Finland in world press in 2021

Participation in the European Football Championships attracted the most attention for Finland around the world last year, according to a media review by the Ministry for Foreign Affairs. At the same time, the top themes of previous years continued in the global press: Finland’s societal strengths, happiness and the response to the Covid-19 pandemic.

Gender equality, good governance, climate action, education and technological expertise are strengths repeatedly highlighted in the Foreign Ministry’s annual media monitoring. The Finland in the World Media report is a compilation of the observations of Finland’s media visibility made by Finnish missions abroad and the results of quantitative media monitoring. The report provides an overview of the themes and content related to Finland that have figured in international media over the past year.

Sports raises Finland’s profile

Of all the events in 2021, the European Football Championships brought Finland the most media coverage. In particular, the dramatic health incident of a Danish player during the Denmark-Finland match and the sympathy shown by Finnish fans created intense publicity, particularly in Europe. According to the analysis made by the Finnish Embassy in Copenhagen, its media visibility in Denmark was unprecedented: “The event made an impact on practically everyone in Denmark – from the man-in-the-street to the Crown Prince.”

Finnish athletes received the most attention in foreign media. F1 driver Valtteri Bottas was by far the most frequently repeated Finnish name, followed by eight other male athletes representing a wide variety of sports. Golfer Matilda Castren, the 12th most often cited Finn, was the highest-ranking female athlete in the statistics.

Covid-19 still a global talking point

Finland’s response to Covid-19 has received extensive media coverage since the beginning of the pandemic. Covid-19 reporting included positive news items portraying Finland as a country with a low incidence rate and as a generous contributor of global aid. Finland was perceived as a country that had tackled Covid-19 with great success. According to the articles on the subject, the reasons underlying this success included trust, good health literacy, administrative transparency, a long tradition of crisis communication, high levels of digitalisation in schools, widespread public acceptance of Covid-19 measures, collective discipline and geographical location.

Happiness – a trump card for Finland

In 2021, Finland was ranked the happiest country in the world in the World Happiness Report for the fourth time running. Extensive reporting on the subject highlighted points such as civil liberties, security, a low level of corruption and a functioning democracy. Other factors associated with happiness included the welfare state, nature and gender equality. As in previous years, Prime Minister Sanna Marin was often cited in the same context as happiness and equality, and she received the most media visibility among Finnish politicians.

Media report offers tools for promoting the country image

The information provided in the Finland in the World Media report is based on media monitoring and the assessments made by Finland’s 74 foreign missions and their partners. Aside from the data provided by the missions, this year’s report also includes a quantitative analysis based on global data compiled using media monitoring software.

The Foreign Ministry’s media monitoring efforts are used to gauge Finland’s overall reputation and to clarify the country’s image. “Aside from providing an overview, the report offers an efficient tool for those involved in promoting Finland’s image - the Ministry for Foreign Affairs, Business Finland, cities and regions - to monitor the results of our long-term media efforts," says Laura Kamras, Director of the Unit for Public Diplomacy at the Ministry for Foreign Affairs.

The latest international nation brand surveys show that Finland is better known than ever before, which is reflected in high scores in various comparative studies. For example, Finland ranks 15th out of 60 countries in the renowned Anholt-Ipsos Nation Brands Index, the highest ever.

This is reflected in the Foreign Ministry’s 2021 Country Brand Review published earlier, which addresses the evolution of Finland’s country brand in broader terms than just media coverage.

Additional information:

Media contacts and interview requests

  • Director of the Unit for Public Diplomacy Laura Kamras, tel. +358 295 351 558
  • Communications Coordinator Harri Kilpi, tel. +358 295 351 342
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