Nordic passport battle continues with Finland’s 100th anniversary design

Last updated: 26 January 2023


We recently wrote about a new trend in passports – security features tied into incredibly beautiful designs. These new passports in places like Norway and Sweden are not just providing unparalleled levels of security, but can also genuinely be considered as works of art.

Not wanting to be left out, Finland is also joining its fellow Nordic countries in having a beautiful, yet highly secure, ePassport. From January next year, new passports marking Finland’s 100th anniversary as an independent country will be rolled out, and the new design was recently revealed to the public. It was also displayed at the ICAO conference in Montreal.

Finland passport
A unique embossing on the back of the passport highlights “Finland 100”

Developed by Gemalto and the National Police Board in Finland, the passport will continue the artistic trend set by Norway and Sweden. The Finnish Police involved the citizens in the design process, asking them for ideas during the Nordic Travel Fair in January 2016.

From thousands of submissions, a Lapland theme was chosen, and several suggested elements have been incorporated into the final design. Finland’s national bird, the swan, which also appears on the country’s National eID cards, plays a big part. On the visa pages, a swan appears in the corner of each page, so that if you flip through the pages you see an animated swan flying through the air. To accompany the visuals, a poem by Finnish National poet Eino Leino is placed on the inside cover, and the Sami people of Northern Finland are represented by a poem written in microtext.

Finland passport
Lapland nature with animated swans in the lower corner

But it’s not all about looking good. Finland’s new passports will be some of the most secure in the world, incorporating a range of innovative features.

For example, the user’s photograph is replicated five times within the passport, using various techniques such as the Sealys Window Lock where a negative ghost image is laser personalized into a metallic foil hidden in a transparent window. This means that simultaneous manipulation of the user’s portrait and ghost image after issuance is impossible without leaving visible traces.

Finland passport
Window Lock placed to the right of the user’s photograph

As with Norway and Sweden, UV light also reveals several hidden elements to the Finnish design, further strengthening its resistance to copying. Put it under a UV light and the Northern Lights, snowflakes, a bear, and of course, another swan, will all appear.

Finland passport
Various images will show up under UV light when you flip through the passport

The passport also incorporates a printing technique called the moiré effect which creates the effect of a 3D image on a flat page. Using this technique, the passport features a pattern of blue and white squares which appears to float when viewed from different angles.

Finland passport
A blue and white pattern which appears to float around

Finally, the new passport also incorporates Sealys Edge Sealer, where the holder’s personal information is laser engraved on the edge of the polycarbonate page.

Finland passport
Edge Sealer on the polycarbonate data page

As well as focusing on document security, the Finnish Police have also made significant efforts to make applying and collecting passports more convenient. Citizens can apply online, confirm their identity via national ID cards or BankID and upload their chosen digital photo directly from the photo studio to the police application. The applicant will be notified when the passport is ready to be picked up from one of 700+ Matkahuolto collection points all over the country.

Finland is raising the passport game, in terms of artistic merit, user security and convenience. For more information, check out our 7-step guide to passport security design, and for more on Finland’s anniversary celebrations, head to

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