Direct to content
Ministry for Foreign Affairs of Finland

History - Embassy of Finland, Cairo : Embassy : History


3 Abu El-Feda Street,13th floor
11211 Zamalek, Cairo, Egypt
Tel. +20 2 2736 3722, Fax. +20 2 2737 1376
English | Suomi | Svenska |  |  | Instagram


Finland recognises Egypt

Finland recognised Egypt on April 8, 1922 and in the same year an honorary consul representation was established in Alexandria. The relations between Finland and Egypt were straightforward but communication was rather insignificant and was restricted to shipping in Alexandria. In 1930 the countries signed a temporary trade agreement. Trade relations were boosted when the ship, Suomen Joutsen, sailed to Egypt in December 1933 to showcase an export exhibition.

Atle Asantin valtuuskirje, KairoAmbassador Atle Asanti with President Gamal Abdel Nasser.

In 1939, Consul General Ernst Sohlberg was appointed to one of the most important junctions of the eastern Mediterranian, Alexandria, but the posting lasted only for two years. The World War II changed the political situation and in January, 1942 Egypt terminated the diplomatic relations with Finland. The embassy of Sweden represented Finland's interests during the war.

After the war the diplomatic relations were re-established in February 15, 1947. However, it took eight years before Ambassador Asko Ivalo was side accredited from Rome to Cairo. In 1956 Finland's participation to the aftermath of the Suez Crisis was central as Finland sent in peacekeepers to the region.

Embassy is established in Cairo

The relations between Finland and Egypt were taken to a new level in 1959 when the mission chancellery known as the commercial department was promoted to an Embassy on July 1, 1959. The first designated Ambassador in Cairo was Atle Asanti who presented his credentials in October 1, 1959.

In September 1959 the Embassy moved to its permanent premises at 2 Aicha El Taimouria, Garden City and a villa as a residence for the Ambassador was bought in 112 El Nil Street, Dokki. The Embassy immediately began establishing relations with the local officials, diplomatic corps, businesses and the press.

Trade relations and peacekeeping

The beginning of the 1960's was the time of regularizing the operations of the embassy. Trade relations developed positively and tourism from Finland to Egypt grew slowly. In April 1963 the Embassy moved to new premises in the district of Zamalek to 2 Malek El Afdal Street where it operated till the year 1981. In 1965 Finland and Egypt signed an agreement preventing double taxation.

El NilAmbassador's residence on El Nil Street.

In January 1967 president Urho Kekkonen visited Egypt. The visit of the Finnish president got a lot of positive publicity in the media and stimulated the countries' interest to one another. Several economic delegations traveled from Finland to Egypt in order to explore possibilities for cooperation in the field of trade and culture. However. the growing political unstability of the Middle East hindered the development of the economic relations. After disengaging the military operations, Finland distinguished in peacekeeping activities which earned the gratitude and appreciation of Egypt.

The trade relations started reviving again with forestry products, sawn timber, paper and cellulose consituting the bulk of the trade. Egypt was the most important export country in Africa for Finland. The first visit of the Minister of Foreign Trade took place in 1971 when Olavi J. Mattila travelled to Egypt.

Development cooperation and deepening communication

The development cooperation between Finland and Egypt started in 1975, when the funds were used to the electrification of six rural villages carried out by Nokia Oy. Egypt was chosen to be the country of agenda of development cooperation in 1980 and the main branches of the cooperation were agriculture and food industry, industrial, energy and infrastructure projects as well as telecommunication and healthcare.

In January 1977 Keijo Korhonen was the First Minister of Foreign Affairs to visit Egypt. Two months later C.G. Aminoff, the Minister of Foreign Trade, came to Egypt to sign an agreement concerning economical, industrial and technical cooperation.

Egypt became an important tourist destination for Finns. In October 1979 an air traffic convention was signed and a month later flights  between Helsinki and Cairo were established. In 1980 the countries signed an agreement on protection of investments and three years later a cultural agreement was concluded.

Suurlähetystö, Malek el AfdalFinnish Embassy on Malek El Afdal Street.

The Embassy of Finland operated on El Kamei Mohamed Street in Zamalek between 1981 and 1989 before moving to the current location.

Finnish Heads of Mission in Cairo

Mr. Asko Ivalo (Rome)1954-1959
Mr. Atle Asanti                 1959-1962
Mr. Osmo Orkomies        1962-1966
Mr. Soini Palasto                    1966-1969
Mr. Pekka Malinen                  1969-1974
Mr. Joel Pekuri                   1975-1978
Mr. Björn-Olof Alholm            1979-1980
Mr. Olli Auero              1980-1984
Mr. Mauri Eggert                  1984-1987
Mr. Antti Hynninen                  1987-1989
Ms. Elisabeth Tigerstedt-Tähtelä1990-1992
Mr. Garth Castrén                   1992-1997
Mr. Aapo Pölhö                        1998-2002
Mr. Hannu Mäntyvaara            2002-2005
Mr. Hannu Halinen                    2005-2009
Mr. Roberto Tanzi-Albi2009-2013
Ms. Tuula Yrjölä2013-2016
Ms. Laura Kansikas-Debraise2017-

Print this page

Updated 7/27/2017

© Embassy of Finland, Cairo | About this site | Contact information