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Keywords:

  • Finland;
  • nation building;
  • tourism brochures;
  • visual representations

Abstract.

Tourist destination promoters compose visual images and arrange them in brochures in order to communicate a coherent and attractive story. In a changing socioeconomic and political context, the city officials of Helsinki recognized a need for systematic promotion in the 1950s. In this article I examine 127 images published in ten tourism brochures produced by the Excursion Section of the Sport and Excursion Office of Helsinki between 1954 and 1963. The data-driven, content-analytical study shows how the images served a political identity project aimed at creating a sense of national solidarity among the Finns and to show international audiences that Finland is a modern nation. As a means of gaining acceptance in the West, support of citizenship education included emphasis on national symbols and signs of well-being and visualization of urban tourism.