Minister of Culture and Sport Paavo Arhinmäki
I am 34 years old and come from Helsinki. I live in the Herttoniemenranta district to the east of the city with my wife and our hound. My youthful haunts were Pasila, Kallio, Alppila and Vallila; I grew up with the smell of old wooden railway sleepers.
I started in politics in its broadest sense when still a child and have been involved in it ever since, in one way or another. In primary school, I organised a strike when our school cafeteria ran out of food; and I chaired our student unions in comprehensive and upper secondary schools.
I entered party politics in my twenties when I was asked to stand as a candidate for the Left Alliance in the 1996 local elections. I did not get enough votes to be elected to the city council but was, nevertheless, appointed to the Helsinki education board.
I have studied sociology at university. As a student, I got to know Stockholm, one of my favourite cities in Europe.
I chaired Left Youth from 2001 to 2005.
I was elected to Helsinki City Council when I was 23, so I have been on the Council since 2001. In 2007, I was elected to Parliament. We threw ourselves into campaigning taking in everywhere from shopping centres to local pubs. In 2009, I was elected to lead the Left Alliance.
I love the arts and football, and particularly modern art and sport in general — fortunate in my current position as Minister of Culture and Sport. I am interested in graffiti as an art form and have personal experience of it. At the same time, art museums and galleries are also important spaces for me.
My favourite authors are Nick Hornby, Irvine Welsh, Kjell Westö and Miika Nousiainen. I personally enjoy writing, too, but consider it best to leave fiction to those who have mastered it. Instead, I write columns for a number of papers.
I listen to a great deal of music and to British pop music in particular where my favourite is Oasis. Some Finnish rap artists and Maija Vilkkumaa and Eppu Normaali's old songs are also close to my heart. I also go to the theatre a lot.
In football, I support Käpa, AIK and Chelsea. I have been to almost 200 different football stadiums outside Finland. In my leisure time, I play football, I go to the gym and I jog.
I dream about a Finland where money does not restrict children's and young people's access to cultural and sport activities. Everyone should have opportunities to take part in sport, and culture should be brought to new places where it can reach people of all ages.
I have done other work besides politics. I have worked for the union of vocational students SAKKI, in the Helsinki parks department, as an assistant in a school for children with physical disabilities and I had a summer job as a journalist for the newspaper Kansan Uutiset.
I am a vegetarian; I became one for ethical reasons in the late 1990s.
I am also a cyclist. On busy days, sitting in the back seat of my ministerial car, I miss those when I can still ride towards the city centre along Itäväylä and Sörnäisten rantatie, past the Suvilahti power plant.