Decorations of the Order of the White Rose of Finland awarded in Queensland, Australia
In the city of Brisbane last week, Ambassador Backström had the honour of awarding the decorations of the Order of the White Rose of Finland to Mrs Kaisu Niukkanen and Mr Aate Koskinen on behalf of the President of the Republic of Finland, Mr Sauli Niinistö.
During the Second World War, Mrs Niukkanen volunteered in the Lotta Svärd, a Finnish voluntary organisation for women mobilised during the war to replace men conscripted into the army.
The women received the moniker “lotta”. However, Mrs Niukkanen was also known as a “pikkulotta” (small lotta), joining as a young girl between the ages of 8 and 16.
Mr Koskinen fought at the front in the Second World War, telling the Ambassador that he still requires medical attention for his wounds after a grenade exploded in a treetop nearby.
Decorations of Finland’s three Orders are awarded on a comprehensive and wide-ranging basis to citizens who have distinguished themselves in services to the country in different fields. While the orders of knighthood trace their origins back to the Middle Ages, today’s orders of merit, which are merit-based and with multiple categories, developed gradually from the end of the seventeenth century.