The Embassy of Finland strengthens American-Finnish relations, protects Finnish citizens in the United States, and promotes Finnish culture and heritage. While representatives of Finland have worked in D.C. since 1921, the Finnish Embassy has been at this site on Massachusetts Avenue since 1994. The building has been awarded the Finnish Embassy the prestigious Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Platinum certification from the U.S. Green Building Council. The Finnish Embassy is open on most weekends for visitors to explore exhibits and tours are available on select dates.
Seeing the United States as a
companion country, the Finnish
Embassy works to strengthen American-Finnish relations. These relations began
in 1919 after Finland declared independence from the Russian Empire in 1917.
The United States briefly suspended relations during World War II, in which Finland
allied with Nazi Germany to receive assistance in the fight against the Soviet
Union. After reestablishing relations in 1945, Finland provided the United
States with an important ally during the Cold War. Since then, the United
States and Finland have maintained a strong partnership and that has benefited
both countries’ economic, diplomatic, technological, human rights, and
The Finnish Embassy serves a number of important
purposes. Diplomats communicate information
about Finland's policies and legislation to American politicians. At the same time, the Finnish Embassy
collects information on American positions on global issues. This information shapes Finland's understanding of American decision-making
and informs their own decision-making processes. The Finnish Embassy protects and defends the rights of Finnish citizens in the United States, while also
promoting culture and heritage. The Finnish Embassy hosts cultural events and tours, which are open to the general public. There are also consulates general in New York and Los Angeles.2
Finland has had a
representative body in Washington, D.C. since 1921.
Representation began as a legation and was upgraded to
an embassy on September 10, 1954. After multiple
moves around D.C., the embassy arrived at its
current location, 3301 Massachusetts Ave. NW, in
1994.3 This location situates Finland among the diplomatic and
architectural greats of Embassy Row. At the same time, the building's
innovative, contemporary design sets the Finnish Embassy apart from its neighbors.
The building, according to the Finnish Embassy, is a refreshing exercise in understatement with a combination of boldness,
self-confidence and simplicity.4 Its clean lines, open space, and industrial appearance reflect the Finnish
people’s resourcefulness. The building was also designed with guests in mind. The
space is easily customizable for exhibits, events, concerts, and dinners. Most
uniquely, the Finnish Embassy is home to a sauna, a common expression of
hospitality in Finland. The Diplomatic Finnish Sauna Society of D.C. organizes exclusive
monthly gatherings of politicians, lobbyists, diplomats, and occasionally reporters
to exchange ideas and promote Finnish culture.5
The Finnish Embassy
building embodies Finland’s Earth-conscious ethos. Finland was named the most
environmentally-friendly country in 2016 according to the Environmental Performance Index. The Finnish Embassy building uses environmentally
friendly materials and methods such as natural lighting, occupancy sensors, and high efficiency
faucets. The building is maintained with low-impact cleaning supplies and no
smoking or plastic cups are allowed. Staff take advantage
of on-site recycling and composting programs and often bicycle and drive of hybrid vehicles.
The Finnish Embassy has been awarded historic honors for these efforts. It was the first embassy to receive the Environmental
Protection Agency's Energy Star for efficiency. In 2010, the building was awarded LEED Gold Certification by the U.S. Green
Building Council. In 2015, this certification was upgraded to Platinum level,
also the first for an embassy in the United States. Finland is leading
the way in green energy and sustainable design, which the United States Embassy
in Helsinki, the only other Platinum certified embassy in the world, is also embracing.
These efforts reflect the strong relationship between Finland and the United