Minister of Justice Anna-Maja Henriksson
Anna-Maja Henriksson (nee Forss) was born on 7 January 1964 in Kvarnbacken, Pietarsaari. A bilingual town on the coast of Ostrobothnia, Pietarsaari remains her home town. She comes from a large family, being the youngest of seven siblings. Her father, Lars, was a sales representative and her mother, Majlis, a nurse.
In 1982, Henriksson passed her matriculation examination at Jakobstads gymnasium upper secondary school, before moving to Helsinki to study law. In January 1987, she graduated as a Master of Laws from the University of Helsinki. Soon afterwards she was offered a permanent position as a lawyer with the bank called Pedersörenejdens Andelsbanken. She has remained in this position since, although in 1989 she trained on the bench in the Vaasa Court of Appeal, gaining the title of varatuomari (Master of Laws with court training) at the age of 25. Henriksson’s enjoyment of her profession is based on her keen interest in family law and in helping people find just the right solutions.
Anna-Maja married Janne Henriksson in 1991. Within a year, their first daughter was born, followed by another in 1995. Henriksson has always lived in a bilingual environment. Her mother Majlis, originally from Kalajoki, was also fully bilingual. This has continued in Henriksson's own family in which she speaks Swedish. Her husband, who comes from Lepsämä, speaks his native language Finnish in family settings.
In autumn of 1996, Anna-Maja Henriksson's curiosity and interest in social affairs led her to engage in local politics when she was elected to Pietarsaari Town Council as a representative of the Swedish People’s Party. Four years later she became Chair of the Town Board. She held this position for eight years, after which she chaired the Town Council for two and a half years. From 2003 to 2004, Henriksson was a Special Adviser to Coordinate Minister for Finance Ulla-Maj Wideroos at the Ministry of Finance. In this position, she gained insights into the way Finland is run and how the Government and Ministries operate.
This proved useful when Henriksson was elected a Member of Parliament in her first parliamentary elections, on 18 March 2007. During that term in office, she was Vice Chair of the Legal Affairs Committee and a member of the Employment and Equality Committee. Outside Parliament, Henriksson acted as Chair of the Swedish Assembly of Finland (Folktinget) from 2009 to 2011. In 2010, she was also elected Vice Chair of the Swedish People’s Party, in which position she remains today. In her second national elections in 2011, Henriksson received the third highest number of votes in the Vaasa electoral district. She was re-elected to Parliament with a total of 8,392 votes. After a long set of talks on forming a government, she was appointed Minister of Justice in June 2011. Henriksson is also responsible for matters concerning the Åland Islands.
Anna-Maja Henriksson loves spending spare time at the summer cottage with her family and friends. Since her childhood, she has spent her summers on the same archipelago island, a tradition which she is continuing with her own family. In addition, she is a true sports fan, supporting local football teams FF Jaro and FC United. Her favourite sport on TV is ice hockey.
Henriksson also likes to do exercise herself. She goes jogging in the summer and cross-country skiing in the winter. She also likes badminton and downhill skiing. In her youth, her hobbies included swimming, athletics and a variety of ball games, for example volleyball at third series level. Since her early years, Anna-Maja Henriksson has been a team player, someone who understands that every member of a team is needed and no chain is stronger than its weakest link. In politics, where team play and cooperation are so important, Henriksson relies on the same principle.