Day of Finnish Architecture and Design Date in the current year: February 3, 2024

Day of Finnish Architecture and Design There are quite a few occasions in Finland that are celebrated by flying the national flag. One of the most recently established Finnish flag flying days is the Day of Finnish Architecture and Design. It is observed on February 3 to commemorate the birthday of renowned Finnish architect and designer Alvar Aalto.

Alvar Aalto was born on February 3, 1898 in Kuortane. Upon graduation from school, he enrolled in the Helsinki Institute of Technology to study architecture. Aalto’s studies were interrupted by the Finnish Civil War, where he fought on the side of the White Guard, but later he continued them and graduated in 1921.

While still a student, Aalto designed a house for his parents in Alajärvi. His first independent project was a piece for the Industrial Exposition in Tampere that he completed and presented in 1922. And this is how the career of one the most renowned Finnish architects and designers began.

Throughout his career that spanned over five decades, Aalto was a proponent of Gesamtkunstwerk, which can be translated as “a total work of art”. He would design not only the exterior of the building, but also its interior surfaces, furniture, textiles, and various objects such as lamps and glassware. Although Aalto’s work also included paintings and sculptures, he didn’t consider himself an artist, thinking about them as a natural extension of his architectural pursuits.

In addition to working in his native Finland, Aalto designed buildings and interiors in Croatia (then Yugoslavia), Denmark, Estonia, Germany, Iceland, Iraq, Italy, Sweden, Switzerland, and the United States (including Finland’s pavilion at the 1939–40 New York World’s Fair). To recognize his accomplishments and contribution to architecture and design, Aalto’s birthday was designated as a flag flying day in his home country.

There are two types of flag flying days in Finland: official and customary. Official flag days are public holidays and special occasions when the national flag must be flown from public buildings by law. Customary flag days are special occasions celebrating someone or something when it is recommended to fly the Finnish flag. They can be found in the Finnish State Calendar compiled by the University of Helsinki.

The birthday of Alvar Aalto has been observed as the Day of Finnish Architecture since 2012, but it took almost a decade to establish it as a flag flying day. In 2022, the celebration was expanded to include design, and the Ministry of Interior of Finland recommended that the national flag be flown on the occasion of Aalto’s birthday in support of an initiative put forward by eleven Finnish architecture and design organizations.

Flag hoisting isn’t the only way to celebrate the Day of Finnish Architecture and Design though. In fact, the celebration lasts for several days filled with events focusing on architecture, design and their importance for the Finnish identity and society. These events include exhibitions, seminars and webinars, social media campaigns, and more.

Remind me with Google Calendar


Cultural Observances, Anniversaries and Memorial Days



Day of Finnish Architecture and Design, observances in Finland, flag flying days in Finland, Alvar Aalto