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Lotta Svärd

The Lotta Museum

Located at an historical villa by the Tuusulanjärvi lake, the musem exhibits the work of the largest women’s voluntary national defence organization in the world during war and peace.

The Lotta Museum offers an introductory video, which covers all of the major themes of the main exhibition, Lotta Svärd – 100 Years of Societal Responsibility.

The introductory video must be booked in advance. The payment is 20 € + entrance fee (per person).

Contact the Lotta Museum’s customer service team at: info(at), tel. +358 (0) 09 274 1077

Establishment of the Lotta organization

The Civil Guard Organization was a voluntary organization engaged in civil defence work in Finland from 1918 to 1944. In 1927, it formally became a part of the Finnish Defence Forces. Local Civil Guards formed home troops whose wartime responsibilities included mobilisation on the home front. Civil Guard men of service age operated in the units of the Finnish Army.

The Civil Guard activities also encouraged women to participate in civil defence work, and women became responsible for ensuring that the local Civil Guard men were ready for action, primarily in terms of clothing. Women’s sewing clubs were established in many towns and villages and attached to the local Civil Guard.

By the end of 1919, there were almost 200 women’s divisions. Commander-in-Chief of the Civil Guard, Didrik Von Essen, began planning a nationwide women’s organization to bring together all the activities of the women’s divisions in the Civil Guard. The women’s divisions of the Civil Guard became a nationwide association in 1921.

Lotta Svärd and the tales of ensign stål

The name of the Lotta-Svärd Association was inspired by a poetic work written by Johan Ludvig Runeberg, The Tales of Ensign Stål. One of the poems is about a soldier’s wife, Lotta Svärd. Lotta Svärd follows her husband to the battlefields during the Finnish War (1808−1809) and adopts the task of caring for and encouraging the soldiers.

In his speech in 1918, General C.G. Mannerheim likened the women who took care of auxiliary duties during the war to Lotta Svärd.

”Sisters of Mercy and the Lotta Svärds on the battlefields, and women working tirelessly at home in order to provide equipment and food for the soldiers, Finnish women have worked hard everywhere, in all sectors…”

The association was registered in the Register of Associations under the name Lotta-Svärd Association. In 1941, a rule change was approved, and the name of the association was changed. The hyphen and the word association were removed. From now on, the name was Lotta Svärd Organization. Unofficially, the name Lotta Organization had already been used before the Winter War.