On 9 August, we raise the flag in honour of Tove Jansson – the artist whose love for the sea inspired a donation of more than one million euros for the Baltic Sea and for saving our marine heritage

On 9 August, we honour Finnish art and Tove Jansson. The artist’s beloved Moomin characters and her relationship with the sea have been the inspiration behind the #OURSEA campaign, organized by Moomin Characters and the John Nurminen Foundation. The campaign managed to raise more than one million euros for the Baltic Sea. Moreover, information on the Baltic Sea, its status and culture, was disseminated globally amongst the international Moomin community.

The significance of the Sea and nature has been a key theme of Tove Jansson’s art from the very beginning. In 2020, we saw the 75th anniversary of the publication of the first Moomin story, i.e. the Moomins and the Great Flood, which takes place in the setting of a natural disaster.

“We are absolutely delighted with the support received by the #OURSEA campaign, and the fact that we have had so many active participants, from kids to grownups and from small organizations to large corporations. For Tove Jansson, my aunt, the Baltic Sea was a great source of inspiration, and it has been truly heart-warming to see the enthusiasm with which people have joined in, in spite of the exceptional times we live in”, say Sophia Jansson, Creative Director at Moomin Characters.

More than 150 companies and other organizations have joined forces to build the #OURSEA campaign, ranging from various cultural institutions all the way to cities, schools, and associations from the Baltic Sea area and even further away.

“The range of campaign participants and the fact that we have exceeded our target of raising €1 million are very touching signs of how important the Baltic Sea is to a great number of people. The donated amount, built up from many smaller streams, helps us to solve the challenges that threaten the Baltic Sea – eutrophication, loss of diversity, and cultural drain”, says Annamari Arrakoski-Engardt, CEO of the John Nurminen Foundation.

Tove Jansson’s summer cottage in Klovharu island. © Moomin Characters™

Baltic Sea info package to all Finnish schools

Another goal of the #OURSEA campaign was to encourage children and youth to take action on behalf of the Baltic Sea. During the campaign, more than 6,000 scouts completed Baltic Sea-themed activities, at the same time learning more on the status and protection of the Baltic Sea. Otava Learning, on the other hand, participated by donating the Pelastetaan Itämeri (Let’s save the Baltic Sea) educational content set, created by experts, for the use of schools.

“Work at schools and within various recreational activities is of key importance when we tell the story of the Baltic Sea, and solve the challenges of its protection. Children and youth are our hope for the future, but we must also make sure that we will not leave the future generations tasks that are impossible to complete – we cannot leave them a Baltic Sea whose wellbeing and unique culture has already been irrevocably destroyed”, says Arrakoski-Engardt.

From pilot project to large-scale solution – #OURSEA boosts an important Baltic Sea protection project

One of the most serious environmental problems faced by the Baltic Sea is eutrophication, caused by excessive phosphorus and nitrogen loads to the sea. Agriculture is responsible for almost 70% of the total phosphorus load with a human origin that ends up in the Baltic Sea; in the Archipelago Sea catchment area, the figure is 87%.

Manure from areas with a nutrient surplus and related phosphorus runoff to waterways are significant causes of these nutrient discharges. In areas that focus on animal farming, there is too much nutrient-rich manure compared to what is needed by the crops, whereas crop farms elsewhere need to use artificial fertilizers.

With funds from the #OURSEA campaign, the John Nurminen Foundation launched the Manure Recycling project, which provides solutions for agricultural discharge problems. During the project, the Foundation will support manure phosphorus transportation. At the same time, we will collect information on what kind of incentives would be required to direct more of the manure also in the future to the locations where it is most needed.

“This imbalance means that we need changes and new environmental compensation methods, such as a subsidy for those who receive the manure phosphorus, encouraging the use of manure phosphorus on crop fields with a low phosphorus balance”, explains Arrakoski-Engardt.

Manure accumulation is not only a problem of Southwest Finland and the Archipelago Sea. The separation of livestock and crop farming and the growing sizes of livestock farms lead to regional accumulations of manure all over the world.

The battle against cultural diversity loss

With funds raised by the #OURSEA campaign, the John Nurminen Foundation seeks to inspire and encourage new audiences to engage with marine contents.

“Not only does the Baltic Sea comprise a unique nature and ecosystem, it also boasts a cultural heritage which is as vibrant and versatile as is its history and inhabitants. As culture is mainstreamed and traditions lost, we also risk losing thousands of years of tacit knowledge and understanding of the sea. The same sea that on so many occasions also inspired the art of Tove Jansson. This is why we fight also against cultural diversity loss”, says Arrakoski-Engardt.

With the support of the #OURSEA campaign, the Foundation implements e.g. exhibitions, events, and podcasts that showcase the Baltic Sea.

More information:

  • On 9 August, we raise the flag for Tove Jansson and Finnish art
  • Tove Jansson is an important and internationally renowned visual artist and author. Her works have been translated to more than 50 languages. Although Jansson is best known for her Moomin books, she was also a notable painter and illustrator.
  • The #OURSEA campaign took place from 1 January 2020 to 31 July 2021. Donors from various countries, companies, and communities participated in the campaign. Many Moomin Characters licencing partners supported the campaign with merchandise.
  • The donated sum of € 1,168,966 will be used to raise awareness on the status of the Baltic Sea, and to support the work the John Nurminen Foundation does to protect the Baltic Sea and its cultural heritage. Up until now, the donations have already been used to support the Fertilizer shipping project, Coastal reed project, Manure recycling project and Sea of memories project. The donation will be celebrated on Baltic Sea Day, 26 of August, as part of the Opening of the Baltic Sea Day.
  • Moomin Characters Oy Ltd is the official body responsible for Moomin copyright supervision. Between the years 1945 and 1980, Tove Jansson (1914–2001) wrote and illustrated nine novels, four picture books, and hundreds of comics featuring the Moomins. Books on the brave, adventurous, but always family-oriented Moomins have been translated to over 55 languages, and continue to be in print around the world. Together with his brother Lars Jansson, Tove Jansson founded Moomin Characters Oy Ltd. in the 1950s to supervise Moomin copyrights. The company is family-owned to this day.
  • The goal of the John Nurminen Foundation is to save the Baltic Sea and its heritage for future generations. The Foundation has been awarded for its work as a communicator of information and producer of marine content. The goal of the Foundation’s Clean Baltic Sea projects is to improve the condition of the Baltic Sea with tangible measures that will reduce the load and environmental risks directed towards the sea. The work is steered by measurable results and impact.


Roleff Kråkström
Managing Director, Moomin Characters
Tel. +358 (0)400 549 692

Annamari Arrakoski-Engardt
CEO, John Nurminen Foundation
 +358 (0)400 477 878
annamari.arrakoski-engardt (at) jnfoundation.fi

Tove Jansson loved the sea and the Pellinki archipelago. © Moomin Characters™