The capture of the old
November 30, 2021
The conquest of the Old was an event in which the day before the 100th anniversary of the University of Helsinki Student Union, the student opposition took over the Old Student House, which was considered a place of celebration, on November 25, 1968 at 5.13 pm and demanded changes to the university's administration and teaching.
The conquest of the old was part of the radicalization of the European student movement and was partly the result of the student riots in Paris earlier that year. A small handcuff was born during the takeover, and a few right-wing students who opposed the abduction threw smoke bombs into the ballroom, but otherwise the takeover went smoothly and with great enthusiasm. The occupiers had agreed on security measures with the police and the fire brigade. The occupiers also criticized the student union's distance from ordinary students and its finance committee, which was considered to be over-cooperating with commercial banks. However, Kekkonen arrived at a party that had to be transferred to the Conservatory and, in his speech, surprisingly expressed his support for the students who had conquered the Old. After fire talks were held in the Old Student House almost around the clock, the occupation ended in the peaceful atmosphere of November 26 after the occupiers cleaned the house before leaving home. Among the occupiers were several well-known future figures such as Maarit Sinervo , Matti Viikari, Matti Wuori, Peter von Bagh, Liisa Manninen, Johan von Bonsdorff, Marianne Laxén, Marja-Leena Mikkola, Jaakko Laakso, Pentti Saarikoski, Pentti Saaritsa, Kari Aronpuro, Jarkko Laine, Jussi Kylätasku, Jaakko Pakkasvirta Ilkka Taipale, Matti Salo, Kai Linnilä, Kati Peltola, Valdemar Melanko, Kimmo Kevätsalo, Atte Blom, Erkki Tuomioja, Ilkka-Christian Björklund, Hannu Taanila, Jyrki Vesikansa and Risto Volanen
According to Jan Erola, the radicalized student movement became politicized partisan soon after the Old Conquest at the turn of the year 1968–69. The communists were finally divided into two camps, the majority of the islanders following the chairman Aarne Saar, ie the islanders and the fierce left-wing marchers, and the militants led by Vice President Taisto Sinisalo. Young people also changed their perceptions of the church, the homeland, and society. The idea behind the conquest of the university's administrative reform towards student democracy did not materialize until 1991. According to Kolbe, the conquest of the generation that caused the events quickly became a myth. . A few of those who participated in the conquest of the Old, Erkki Tuomioja, rose to parliament in the next elections in 1970, and many other radical leaders held prominent and well-paid positions and positions in the early 1970s. Compared to the student riots in Paris in the spring and early summer of 1968, the capture of the Old was a faint aftermath, and the then Prime Minister Mauno Koivisto acknowledged the movement of the Finnish student youth.