Finland Celebrates a Sea That Has Many Faces

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November 3, 2011 – The commemorative coin passes the message from one generation to another of what is important to us. The campaign for the protection of the Baltic Sea has got a new symbol on 31 October. Voters from around the world chose the design by Kajaani high-school student Essi Kulju, “Life in the sea”, for the Baltic Sea-themed collector coin.

The design for the ethical commemorative coin was chosen by public vote from a selection of entries from high-school students for the second year in a row. This year, high school students from many countries around the Baltic Sea were invited to send their designs in for the competition. The competition entries included some magnificent designs sent in from as far away as Russia.
The public were able to vote for their favorite design from 15 June to 22 August on Mint of Finland’s website. Traditionally the Collector Coin Committee, which is organized by the Finnish Ministry of Finance, has chosen the winning design but this time vote was given over to the public.

The winner of the Ethical collector coin design competition is the design by Essi Kulju, second-year student of the arts at Kajaani senior high school.

Essi Kulju, who is a second-year student of the arts at Kajaani senior high school, created a design that won an overwhelming majority of the public vote. Kulju says that her design reflects the cycle of life, and she modestly tells that the victory came as a surprise to her. However, Kulju’s teachers were not at all surprised.
“The artwork is simple and fresh – it conveys a young person’s fresh outlook on life. The coin’s obverse side shows how people use the Baltic Sea while the reverse side speaks of the importance of the sea to nature,” noted Jaana Toivonen and Hannele Pussinen, art and craft teachers at Kajaani senior high school.

It was the second year in a row that the Ethical collector coin design competition was won by an art student from Kajaani senior high school. Last year, the public voted for another Kajaani resident Roope Määttä’s design as the winning look for the Children and Creativity collector coin.
What’s more, second and third place also went to budding Kajaani artists. Second place in the Protecting the Baltic Sea collector coin design competition went to Henriikka Hänninen for her entry, “Cycle”. Third prize was claimed by Aino Soininen for her piece, “Playing with water”.
Headmistress of Kajaani senior high school Anna-Maija Palo says that the secret to her school’s success is an encouraging and supportive teaching style. “Our teaching in art and crafts has been praised for the fact that our students are encouraged to find their own style. We don’t want to pigeonhole our students into certain styles,” says Palo.
Kulju’s competition-winning design will be minted onto the coin and she will receive a prize of 2,000 euros. The prize for second-placed Hänninen is 1,000 euros and third-placed Soininen will get 500 euros.

Other collector coins by the Finish Mint you can find here.