In this article we shed light on the position of Finland in conversations on the movement of unprovenanced cultural objects, within the national, the Nordic and the global contexts. Finland’s geopolitical position, as a “hard border” of the European Union neighbouring the Russian Federation, and its current legislative provisions, which do not include import regulations, mean that it has the potential to be significant in understanding the movement of cultural property at transnational levels. In particular, we outline a recent initiative started at the University of Helsinki to kick-start a national debate on ethical working with cultural objects and manuscripts. We analyse exploratory research on current awareness and opinion within Finland, and summarize our current work to produce robust research ethics to guide scholars working in Finland. Although Finland has a small population and is usually absent from international discussions on the illicit movement of cultural property (save a few exceptions), we argue that it is still possible—and important—for scholars and others in Finland to affect policy and attitudes concerning art crime, provenance, and the role of stakeholders such as decision-makers, traders and the academy.
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