Who is Moominpappa based on?

Moominpappa is an adventure-loving father. He is an endless source of exciting stories and wisdom, or at least he thinks he is - and his family lets him. He is a restless soul and a deep thinker. But who is Moominpappa based on? Did someone in Tove Jansson’s life inspire the character?

It is natural for an artist to infuse their work with influences from their life and what is going on around them. This applies to the Moomin stories also: catastrophic events in Moominvalley written during the Second World War, Nordic culture at the core of the Moomin family’s lifestyle, and philosophical discussions that reflect debates in science and politics. 

It could also be seen that each Moomin character represents a piece of Tove Jansson’s life. Many character theories are mere interpretations, but there are some references that Tove mentioned herself in interviews. Some clear connections between the main characters and people important to Tove at the time can be made. So, who may have influenced Moominpappa?

Who inspired Moominpappa?

Moomintroll has often been referred to as the alter ego of Tove, despite many other characters also having personal traits similar to hers. It is a natural assumption that the parents of the Moomin family would reflect Tove Jansson’s own parents – and she has mentioned this herself.

Tove’s father, Viktor “Faffan” Jansson, made his career as a sculptor. According to Tove herself, he was a melancholic man, except when it was time for celebrations and adventures – much like Moominpappa

Tove, Viktor and Per Olov Jansson


Faffan liked organising cheerful parties and going out on adventures, often to watch a storm.

Other things he shared with Moominpappa are a great love towards the sea, friends – and whisky.

Tove’s brother Per Olov Jansson says in Helen Svensson‘s book Resa med Tove: “My father Faffan was not sculptor for me, but he was the one who discovered the best mushroom places, knew all the courses to navigate to the fishing places, pulled longlines and pulled the pikes from the water, knew how to skin the eel, was the best friend with all the pilot station pilots and, best of all, loved the storms. “

…Sounds a lot like Moominpappa!

Get to know Faffan’s story in more detail here.

Which Moomin character are you?

Do you see some Moominpappa in yourself? Or perhaps there are familiar qualities in many of the characters? Take the Moomin character quiz and find out!



Who is Snufkin based on?

Who is Snufkin based on? Find out who inspired Tove Jansson to create the outdoorsy, philosophical character of Snufkin.