The Government decides that KI may return remains to Finland

The Swedish Government has decided that Karolinska Institutet may return the Finnish remains in KI’s anatomical collection. The issue of returning the Finnish remains was raised by the committee for the return of Finnish remains in 2018.

The remains from Finland were brought to KI in the 19th century and included in the anatomical collection created by KI professors Anders and Gustaf Retzius.

Most of the Finnish remains are archaeological, and were collected by three KI researchers from desert cemeteries in Finland during a trip in the summer of 1873. KI has apologised for the behaviour of the three researchers.

KI pursued the issue of return

The issue of the Finnish remains has been complicated as there is no practice for returns between independent nations. In October 2022, KI President Ole Petter Ottersen sent a letter to the Swedish government emphasising that KI wants to return the remains to Finland.

Maria Josephson

Maria Josephson. Photo: Peter Josephson.

“We welcome the government’s decision and look forward to working with the Finnish authorities to carry out the return in a dignified manner,” says Maria Josephson, Medical History and Heritage, KI.

There are no fixed dates yet for when the return will take place.

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