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Finland's national writer Print
Finland’s national writer Aleksis Kivi (Stenvall) was born in the village of Palojoki in Nurmijärvi on 10 October 1834. The house where Aleksis Kivi lived was built in 1824 by his father Erik Stenvall, a tailor, right in the centre of the village.

Aleksis Kivi’s parents had four sons, of whom Aleksis was the youngest, one daughter, and one foster son. At times, Erik Stenvall’s apprentices also lived in the family home.

Aleksis Kivi began to attend a travelling school in his home village at the age of six. The school was run by Malakias Costiander, the first school master of Nurmijärvi, who was known for his literary pursuits. He noticed that Kivi was gifted, and it was largely thanks to him that Kivi was sent to school in Helsinki at the age of 12.

Kivi was 23 when he took the matriculation examination in 1857. He enrolled at the University of Helsinki in 1859 and pursued studies there intermittently until 1865. Kivi’s mother had hoped that her son would become a clergyman, but Kivi mostly attended the lectures given by Lönnrot and Cygnaeus on Finnish and aesthetics. He did not complete a degree.

In 1863 Kivi moved to Siuntio which was his primary residence until the spring of 1871 when he was admitted to Lapinlahti Hospital for depression and other mental health problems. Kivi wrote almost all of his works in Siuntio.

In March of 1872 Kivi moved to Tuusula, where his brother Albert began to take care of him. Albert received five barrels of rye from the municipality of Nurmijärvi for providing this care. Aleksis Kivi died on 31 December 1872. He was buried in the old Tuusula cemetery.

Aleksis Stenvall.
A drawing by Albert Edelfelt from the 1870's.
Aleksis Kivi´s Birthplace.