The country that paid its debts


Finland’s reputation as a reliable debtor was established in 1932, when Finland paid the instalment in full and on time to the United States on a food loan received in 1919.

In 1931, US President Herbert Hoover had granted its European debtor countries a year-long moratorium as part of an arrangement of international economic relations. Finland was the United States’ only debtor country that continued to pay its debt to the end. Between 1933 and 1936, almost 3,000 stories were published in American newspapers on Finland’s debt repayment and on Finland.

Finland continued to meet its regular instalments until the 1940s, when a few years’ moratorium was called because of World War II. At that time, Finnish and US authorities also discussed whether it would be possible to invest the money repaid by Finland into something that would benefit Finland. This aim was met through the ASLA grant fund established in 1951. The last repayment on the debt was made in accordance with a renewed, faster schedule in 1976.

The very first seasonal exhibition at the Museum ran from 22 August 2003 to 31 August 2004.