President Martti Ahtisaari 1937-2023

Former President of the Republic of Finland and Nobel Peace Prize laureate Martti Ahtisaari passed away on 16 October 2023. He was 86 years old. Ahtisaari was born in Vyborg on 23 June 1937.

Martti Ahtisaari was President of the Republic of Finland from 1994 to 2000. He was Finland’s tenth president.

Press release: President Martti Ahtisaari 1937–2023 | Office of the President of the Republic of Finland
In Memoriam: Martti Ahtisaari 1937–2023 | CMI

State funeral of former President of the Republic Martti Ahtisaari

The state funeral of former President of the Republic Martti Ahtisaari took place in Helsinki on Friday 10 November. The funeral service was held at Helsinki Cathedral. Ahtisaari was laid to rest at Hietaniemi Cemetery.

The state funeral was broadcast live on channel TV1 of the Finnish Broadcasting Company YLE, on the online service YLE Areena and on Radio Suomi.

Recordings of former president Martti Ahtisaari’s funeral | Yle Areena

Recording of the radio broadcast of former president Martti Ahtisaari’s funeral | Yle Areena

Funeral service

The funeral service for former president Ahtisaari at Helsinki Cathedral will begin at 13.00 and end at 14.30.

The service will be conducted by Bishop Emeritus Eero Huovinen with assistance from Bishop Teemu Laajasalo and Dora Puhakka. President of the Republic Sauli Niinistö will deliver the eulogy.

Commemorative speech by President of the Republic of Finland Sauli Niinistö | Office of the President of the Republic of Finland

The funeral service will feature songs and performers with a special meaning for the Ahtisaari family while also honouring tradition. 

At the funeral service, serving generals and admirals will act as pallbearers. 

Members of the public are also welcome to attend the service. Entrance to the Cathedral will take place from the Senate Square side of the building starting at 11.30. Guests are asked to arrive so as to be seated by 12.15 at the latest. Please note that seating is limited in the Cathedral. Members of the public are requested to leave large belongings at home and be prepared for a security check. It is not permitted to take photos or videos inside the Cathedral.

Funeral cortege

After the service, the funeral cortege will leave Helsinki Cathedral at about 14.45. The cortege will be led by the mounted police and will proceed as a motorcade from Helsinki Cathedral to Hietaniemi Cemetery, stopping outside the Presidential Palace for one minute. 

Citizens are warmly welcome to watch the cortege as it proceeds along the following route: Unioninkatu, Aleksanterinkatu (towards Meritullintori, around the Main Guard building), Pohjoisesplanadi, Unioninkatu (around the Presidential Palace), Aleksanterinkatu, Mannerheimintie, Arkadiankatu, Pohjoinen Rautatiekatu, Mechelininkatu and across Hietaniemi Cemetery from the Old Chapel gate to the New Chapel.

Funeral cortege for former president Ahtisaari from Helsinki Cathedral to Hietaniemi Cemetery. Route: Unioninkatu - Aleksanterinkatu - around the Main Guard building - Pohjoisesplanadi (Presidential Palace) - Unioninkatu - Aleksanterinkatu - Mannerheimintie - Arkadiankatu - Pohjoinen Rautatiekatu - Mechelininkatu - through Hietaniemi Cemetery along the main promenade - New Chapel.

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Bells will be rung by all churches in Helsinki for the duration of the cortege, around 45 minutes. Once the cortege approaches Hietaniemi Chapel, the bell ringing at the other churches will cease and the bells of Hietaniemi Chapel will be rung.

There will be exceptional traffic arrangements in the Helsinki city centre during the cortege. The police and the City of Helsinki will provide more detailed information about the arrangements.

Information about traffic arrangements | Police of Finland


Former president Ahtisaari will be laid to rest at Hietaniemi Cemetery in the same area where other presidents’ graves are also located. The burial will begin at about 15.45 and will last half an hour. The burial will be attended by former president Ahtisaari’s next of kin and the highest state leadership.

The pallbearers will be alongside President Ahtisaari’s son, Marko Ahtisaari, the former Aides-de-Camp of President Ahtisaari.

Information about military honours | Defence Forces

Memorial ceremony

After the burial, a memorial ceremony for former president Ahtisaari will be held in the Government Banquet Hall for around 300 invited guests. Prime Minister Petteri Orpo will deliver words of tribute at the ceremony, which will begin at 16.30.

Words of tribute by Prime Minister Petteri Orpo at the memorial ceremony for former president Martti Ahtisaari

Frequently asked questions