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Ministry for Foreign Affairs of Finland

History - Embassy of Finland, Dar es Salaam : Embassy : History


P.O.Box 2455
Dar es Salaam, Tanzania
Tel. +255 22 2212 400 (+255-754-631 688)
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Finland recognised Tanganyika on 9 December 1961 and  diplomatic relations between Finland and Tanzania were established on 14 June 1965. The first Finnish missionaries arrived in Tanzania in 1948 to work in health and education.

Cooperation between Finland and Tanzania officially started in 1962 with the Nordic-Tanganyika Project established in Kibaha. Finland, together with other Nordic countries signed an agreement to construct the educational training centre.The school was completed in 1968. The project employed about 40 Nordic experts and administrators, seven of them Finnish experts. Finland and Norway both contributed 16%, Denmark 23% and Sweden 45%.

Bilateral Development Cooperation and the Establishment of the Embassy

The Agreement for Bilateral Development Cooperation between Finland and Tanzania was signed in 1968. The first expatriates worked in government offices in Tanzania.

In June 1968 the Government of Finland established an office in Dar es Salaam dealing with development cooperation and diplomatic affairs. The office operated under the leadership of the Embassy of Finland in Addis Ababa.

President Nyerere visits at Uyole, MbeyaIn March 1969 the Government of Finland made a decision to contribute administrative support to the joint Tanzanian-Nordic project: the Agricultural Development Project, MARTI-MBEYA. The support was estimated fairly high and due to the economic and political liabilities, Jaakko Iloniemi suggested that the Embassy of Finland in Dar es Salaam be led by  diplomatic representative.  In April 1970 Erkki Hedmansson was appointed as First Secretary in Addis Ababa and also as Chargé d'Affairs a.i. in Dar es Salaam.

The Embassy of Finland in Dar es Salaam officially became independent on 1 March 1971 under the leadership of  Ambassador Seppo Pietinen.  He presented his credentials to President Nyerere on 10 April 1971. The number of home based staff at the Embassy increased with five people during the following two years. After the end of the tour of Ambassador Pietinen, Martti Ahtisaari became the new Ambassador of Finland in Dar es Salaam in 1973.

There were approx. 370 Finnish citizens residing in Tanzania at the end of 1974, many of them working for international organizations and as priests and doctors of the Finnish Evangelical Lutheran Mission and other religious organizations. At present there are approx. 190 Finnish citizens in Tanzania.

The Chancery

In 1968 the office dealing with development cooperation  had rented five rooms in the TANESCO (Tanzania National Electric Supply Co Ltd ) building. The new Embassy started and continued operations in the same  premises for the following three years. In June 1974 the Embassy rented new premises at the National Insurance Corporation building along Independence Avenue. The offices were furnished with furniture and textiles from Finland. Also residential apartments were rented in the same building for the home based staff.

The current Chancery which is jointly owned by the Governments of Finland and Sweden was built in 1997.

High level visits

The first high level visit from Finland to Tanzania was made by the Minister for Foreign Affairs, Ahti Karjalainen in February 1974. According to Ahtisaari, Karjalainen was "modestly interested in development cooperation". The visit was an important media event, which received wide publicity in the Tanzanian media and radio.

During the same year in November  a cultural event was organized at the Ambassador's residence for Tanzanian and the diplomatic community's ladies. The event  promoted Finnish design, folk music and dancing. During the visit of Minister Karjalainen it was decided that another  cultural event called Finland Week would also be organised. It took place in November 1975.  A delegation of  Finnish ministers, the national football team and the famous Cumulus-band all  attended the Finland Week.

The Embassy of Finland became a popular destination for visitors in the mid 1970s. Many Finnish newspaper and radio journalists who made programmes on development cooperation visited the Embassy. Also representatives of ministries and companies were regular visitors.

President Julius Nyerere of Tanzania made his second visit to Finland in May 1976. His first visit to the Nordic countries was in 1963.

President Nyerere visiting Finland in 1963.The Convention between Finland and Tanzania for the Avoidance of Double Taxation and the Prevention of Fiscal Evasion with Respect to Taxes on Income and on Capital was signed in May 1976.

The current Ambassador is also accredited to Burundi, Rwanda and the Democratic Republic of Congo.

Finnish Ambassadors accredited to Tanzania:

Henrik Blomstedt, Ambassador (Dar es Salaam/Addis Abeba)  1966-1969

Joel Pekuri, Ambassador (Dar es Salaam/Addis Abeba)           

Seppo Pietinen, Ambassador (Dar es Salaam)               1971-1973
Martti Ahtisaari, Ambassador (Dar es Salaam)              1973-1977
Richard Müller, Ambassador (Dar es Salaam)               1977-1980
Risto Kauppi, Ambassador (Dar es Salaam)                  1980-1983

Ilkka Ristimäki, Ambassador(Dar es Salaam)              


Unto Korhonen, Ambassador (Dar es Salaam)             

Kari Karanko, Ambassador (Dar es Salaam)                1988-1993
Ilari Rantakari, Ambassador (Dar es Salaam)                1994-1997
Ritva Jolkkonen, Ambassador (Dar es Salaam)             1998-2002
Jorma Paukku, Ambassador (Dar es Salaam)                2002-2007
Juhani Toivonen, Ambassador (Dar es Salaam) 2007-2011
Sinikka Antila, Ambassador (Dar es Salaam) 2011-2015
Pekka Hukka, Ambassador (Dar es Salaam) 2015-

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Updated 9/1/2015

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