The Väinö Tanner Foundation was founded in 1961 primarily to find ways of helping students in higher education. The idea was first born in the student and youth organisations of the political party to which Väinö Tanner was closely affiliated. Tanner approved the idea, so a number of energetic people were recruited from associations in the labour movement who specialised in education, culture and financial assistance to set up the Foundation. In the early years, financial aid also came from many Finnish organisations which subsidise cultural activities.

Over the first 25 years the Foundation concentrated on the construction and maintenance of student flats. Eventually, when student accommodation became more readily available and better organised, the Foundation relinquished ownership of most of its student flats in the late 1980s in order to concentrate on subsidising actual studies.

Thus the return on assets from the sale of the flats was converted into grants and scholarships to provide financial aid to post graduate students and promising young researchers and artists. The Foundation succeeded in calling in distinguished representatives from the fields of arts and
sciences to serve as experts in the Foundation. The selection of candidates for scholarships were made on the basis of the picture formed of the potential of each applicant. In other words, no party political factors had any bearing of the selection process. The key denominator was that there were sound reasons for 'investing in the chosen candidate'.

Between 1989 and 1999 the Väinö Tanner Foundation granted financial aid to over 200 talented young researchers for their academic studies. It is with pride that the Foundation has been able to witness the later success of these researchers - proof that offering scholarships was a worthwhile endeavour. The Foundation has likewise assisted numerous talented artists. The Foundation's studios in Mazzano Romano in Italy have provided a highly praised working environment for over 200 Finnish and Estonian artists and writers.

The first ever 'Muutostekijä' incentive award was granted by the Tanner Foundation in 1992 to Stefan Lindfors, a versatile Finnish designer. Four years later Tomi Mäkelä, a highly promising Finnish medical expert, received the incentive award. Both recipients of the award have proven capable of meeting the demanding criteria set out for the award winners. 'The purpose of the award is to endeavour to break down the walls of cultural convention'.

The Väinö Tanner Foundation has always striven to anticipate and respond to contemporary challenges in Finnish society. In 2000, again the Foundation adopted a new course by introducing a Tanner award and by setting up an organisation now known as the Tanner Academy.


Highly respected experts from different fields of Finnish society were called in to join the Tanner Academy, creating a prestigious framework for the operation of the Academy.

All winners of the Tanner award are granted a honorary title of Tanner Academician. Membership in the Tanner Academy is lifelong. A list of new members is published on the 12th of March, the day Väinö Tanner was born.

The Väinö Tanner Foundation aims to make every effort to ensure that the Tanner Academy can become an esteemed and respected national forum able to offer a versatile and meaningful dimension in Finnish culture and social debate.

Renowned experts, both foreign and Finnish, are regularly invited to lecture in their field of expertise at the Academy. The theme of the lecture held in 2004 was on the new
challenges and prospects in Finnish child day care, while that in 2003 dealt with the outlook in and social impact of biotechnology.

Appointment of Academicians

The board of directors of the Foundation summons and appoints the new members based on the proposals presented by the Tanner Academy. Members of the Tanner Academy


Manager Jyrki Jauhiainen
+358 (0)50 340 9112

Väinö Tanner Foundation
Kapteeninkatu 11 D 35
FI-00140 Helsinki