Free to publish 13 Nov 2017 at 14.00

Visit Finland and Apocalyptica create music from Finnish DNA Authenticity and extremes make Finland a desirable destination

On Monday 13 November in Helsinki, Visit Finland hosted the world premiere of The Symphony of Extremes, a unique new piece based on Finnish DNA and composed by Eicca Toppinen from Apocalyptica. The song and its accompanying video fuse art, science and travel in a completely new way, emphasising the Finnish mindset and the land’s strong contrasts.

Finland’s centenary and numerous recent accolades in tourism have brought along considerable attention. In fact, Finland is a hot destination right now, as the country’s tourism is growing the fastest in Scandinavia. Overnight stays from abroad grew a stunning 15% in early 2017*.

“Finland is an appealing destination, especially thanks to the authenticity and extremes that visitors can experience here. These extremes are everywhere: in the people and seasons, our light and darkness, cold and heat – as well as water in all its forms”, head of Visit Finland Paavo Virkkunen from Finpro explains.

He sees that distinctive marketing is exactly the right way to set Finland apart from neighbouring countries.

“We wanted to tell Finland’s story through an experiment that unites art, science and travel. This symphony is a brilliant example of Finland’s innovative spirit. Also, music brings people together: we want to reach altogether new audiences through the campaign”, Virkkunen explains.

A story of fascinating extremes

The Symphony of Extremes was composed by Apocalyptica frontman Eicca Toppinen. The song combines cellos with metal music.

“It was extremely intriguing to compose a song based on the Finnish genotype. It took time to find the right approach, since the DNA sequences don’t really sound like anything by themselves. The end result combines DNA in many forms, even as riffs. We wanted to create a distinctly Finnish feel to the song, which I hope the audience can pick up as well. This highly rewarding project is our tribute to Finland’s centennial”, Toppinen says and adds that Apocalyptica will also perform the symphony live at their shows.

The music video is designed to showcase Finland as a uniquely appealing destination. It is a combination of impressionistic cinema and diverse visuals of nature in Finland. The video inspires the mind and imagination, creates new associations and builds a coherent story that interlinks Finland’s nature and national character.

A union of art and science

The symphony required DNA samples to be gathered from Finland’s extremities: Nuorgam, Hattuvaara and the Hitis archipelago. The nitrogenous bases found in the samples have been converted into sounds with the help of Jonathan Middleton, guest professor at Tampere University, who has developed a specialised program for the task.

Also on hand were experts Päivi Onkamo, professor of genetics at University of Turku, who specialises on DNA in and around ancient Finland, and Janna Saarela, head of research at the Institute for Molecular Medicine Finland, who was in charge of gathering and analysing the DNA samples.

“The finished symphony is incredible, and we’re extremely happy to be part of this union of science and art”, Saarela rejoices.


Mervi Holmén, Senior Advisor, Visit Finland, Finpro,, +358 29 469 5655

*) Source: Statistics Finland, Accommodation statistics

Visit Finland is a national authority on tourism and an active force in promoting international travel to Finland. Visit Finland supports the travel industry and helps businesses and groups develop products and services for the international market. Visitors from abroad brought in €3.9 billion in revenue comparable to export in 2016. Visit Finland is part of Finpro.

Finpro helps Finnish SMEs reach international markets, encourages foreign direct investment in Finland and promotes tourism. Finpro consists of Export Finland, Visit Finland and Invest in Finland. Finpro is a public organisation with 240 experts working at 37 offices in 31 countries and 6 regional offices in Finland. Finpro is part of the Team Finland network

Finpro – growth for Finland