Vellamon kanssa ongelle – eli kuinka merenneitoa kansalliseksi kuvitellaan


  • Aila Viholainen



This article addresses the discussions on Finnish nation-building. The author analyzes studies made around the folk poem Vellamon neidon onginta / Fishing of the Maiden Vellamo (a mermaid) and visual representations connected with the material. The author aims at looking into the ways in which the mermaid-motive is used in generating national imagery or feeding a national imagination. The Vellamo discourse consists of fifty texts published in 1883–2008. The author’s professional interest focuses on deconstructing intersections of cultural representations and nationalizing discourses: tracking the formation, reproduction and transmission of national narration. The analysis is carried out by contextualizing the material into multidisciplinary discourses derived both from the study of nationalism and the diverse cultural history of the mermaid. The analysis reveals how Vellamo has been engaged in the formation of national identity for both sexes and by researchers of both sexes. Interpreted as a historical document, the Vellamo-figure has been applied to create the prospective national history and civic religion. It has been employed both as an intellectual and emotional force to increase the national imagery and bonding to it. Mermaid Vellamo as a flexible hybrid creature has enriched the reservoir of national memory. Thus the article can also be read as a case study of the construction of national collective memory





Viholainen, A. (2009). Vellamon kanssa ongelle – eli kuinka merenneitoa kansalliseksi kuvitellaan. Elore, 16(2).