The Moomins are from Finland
If you haven't heard of the Moomins, you're missing out. It could be compared to Mickey Mouse and friends in the US, but its creator actually rejected an offer from Walt Disney to acquire the Moomin brand. Swedish-speaking Finnish author and illustrator Tove Jansson created the family of trolls called Moomins in the 1940's. Resembling hippopotamuses, they live in Moominvalley and go on adventures with other anthropomorphic friends and neighbors. There is Moominmamma, Moominpappa, and their son Moomintroll, along with friend favorites Snufkin, Sniff, Snork, Little My and many more. Nine books have been written about the Moomins along with comics, television shows and even a movie. Today the Moomins can be found on the wings of Finnair, the mugs of Arabia, the textiles of Finalyson, and many other products of iconic Finnish brands.
Tove drew her first Moomin on the bathroom wall of her family's summer house during a philosophical argument with her brothers as a child. It was this summer house in Pellinki of Northern Finland that inspired the landscape of Moomin Valley, which mirrors the fertile greenery of the archipelago. The stories are not just for children, as many have deeper moral meanings, relatable life experiences and commentary on greater social issues. In fact, the first printed Moomin appeared in an anti-Hitler cartoon Jansson drew for satirical Finnish magazine Garm in 1938. Jansson's first Moomin novel, Moomin and the Great Flood, was written at the end of the Second World War and explored the theme of family separation; both of her brothers were enlisted. Many of the characters draw inspiration from people in Jannson's own life. Moominpappa shares traits with her own storm-chasing father, and tomboy Too-Ticky was based on Jansson's life partner and graphic designer Tuulikki Pietila.
Finland has even dedicated a theme park to the fictional family called Moomin World in Naantali, Finland. Here, visitors can meet the characters and tour the famous blue tower Moominhouse, Snufkin's Camp, Moominpappa's Boat and other outdoor fairy-tale settings. A second Moomin World is set to open in 2017 in Japan, where the cartoon characters are very popular. Fans can also visit the Moomin museum in Tampere, Finland.