Specialist in Finno-Ugric languages
Country of origin: Finland
Associated place in Tartu: Vabriku 3
Lived in Tartu: 1920–1925
Idyllic Tartu, of which I have spoken so often, offered the greatest rapture with its Toome hill, its luxuriant gardens, the scent of jasmines and roses, and enchanting dusky summer nights, to say nothing of the warm friendly people.
Photo: National Archives, EFA.197.4.7034
The Estonian-language University of Tartu of the Republic of Estonia, opened in 1919, appointed scholars from abroad to fill chairs for which Estonian professors of the required calibre could not be found. Of the Finns who came here, Lauri Kettunen stands out. His connection to Estonia goes back before 1919 – he had been here many times, was acquainted with many leading members of the Estonian community and as Finnish envoy coordinated the activities of volunteers in the War of Independence. Kettunen studied Baltic Finnic languages, especially Livonian, Votic and Estonian, delivered the first Estonian-language lecture in the Learned Estonian Society and attended the founding of the Mother Tongue Society.