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UW Scandinavian Studies chair honored with Finnish knighthood

Story by
Russell Yost
November 2019
Andrew Nestingen Scandinavian Studies Lion of Finland

Andrew Nestingen (right), chair of the UW's Department of Scandinavian Studies, receives the Knight First Class of the Order of the Lion of Finland from Stefan Lindström, Finland's Los Angeles-based Consul General. Media credit: Connor Klentschy; instagram @connor.klentschy

Andrew Nestingen, the UW’s chair in Scandinavian Studies, can now add the honor “Knight First Class of the Order of the Lion of Finland” to his list of accomplishments. During a ceremony in UW’s Allen Library, Finland’s Los Angeles-based Consul General, Stefan Lindström, bestowed the knighthood on Nestingen on behalf of Finnish President Sauli Niinistö.

Order of the Lion of Finland

Detail of the cross and ribbon of the Order of the Lion of the Finland. The rosette indicates "Knight First Class." Media credit: Connor Klentschy; instagram @connor.klentschy

“These Orders recognize the work of men and women who represent the interests of Finland and its people and culture in their local communities,” said Matti Suokko, Finland’s honorary consul for Washington State. “Andy leads a department that has become a cornerstone of the Finnish community in Seattle.” 

Nestingen’s connection to Finland began as an exchange student 30 years ago. As part of the UW’s Finnish Studies program, Nestingen focuses his research on the study of Finnish literature and culture, Nordic cinema and Nordic crime fiction.

First established following Finland’s independence in 1917, the Order of the White Rose of Finland and Order of the Lion of Finland honor both Finnish and foreign citizens to acknowledge “gallantry and civic merits.” The awards are hand crafted in Finland and the shape and style of the awards denote the level of decoration.

“Andy’s trailblazing leadership of Scandinavian Studies is held in high esteem by Finland and other Nordic countries,” said Lindström. “It is a question of promoting Finnish and Nordic values – and in this case, what happens in Finland doesn’t stay in Finland.”