3 March 2018

Nature through the eyes of the Moomins – always respecting wilderness


The Moomin family and their friends live an adventurous life in the idyllic and peaceful Moominvalley. Living in harmony with nature is one of the strongest themes and nature has a significant role in the Moomin stories. Although Tove Jansson wrote the Moomin stories during the 1940s-1970s, respecting nature is very current and actual even today.

Seasons, natural disasters, as well as other natural phenomena, guide the happenings in Moominvalley and all of the inhabitants possess a deep love and respect for nature. For example, Hemulens spend their time collecting plants or butterflies and the music of the adventurous Snufkin is inspired by the landscape around him. Snufkin wanders the world fishing and playing the harmonica and he carries everything he needs in his backpack, as he believes that having too much stuff makes life overly complicated.

A river runs through the beautiful Moominvalley, which lies between the sea and the mountains. When spring arrives, the valley bursts into bloom, as does Moominmamma’s treasured garden. But as in real life and in the Moomin stories, everything isn’t always so harmonious – Moominvalley is often confronted by the natural disasters and horrible weather conditions from storms, floods and volcanoes to comets. Luckily everything always falls into place, sooner or later.

Although the Moomins love their stunning valley they often set out on journeys of exploration in the forests and also to the seaside. Moomins and their friends love to spend long days on the beach in the sunshine and to swim in the sea waves. Moomins (especially Moominpappa) see the sea as a sign of freedom – the new beginnings and endless possibilities lying behind the horizon.


Inspired by the Nordic nature

The Finnish archipelago was one of the favorite destinations of the author Tove Jansson who together with her partner Tuulikki Pietilä spent over 30 summers on the island of Klovharu. The island life was inspirational for the artists and the way of living in the Moominvalley is lot influenced by the harsh Finnish nature and the life the couple lived close to the sea.

During the years Tove Jansson used to change some of the illustrations and texts for different editions and language versions of her Moomin books. For example, in the latest version of the book Comet in Moominland from 1968 there are several major changes: the nature descriptions have been changed to be more like nature is in the Nordics and for example, instead of silk-monkey Sniff saves the cat.

As Philip Ardagh states in the marvelous book ‘The World of Moominvalley’; “Nature is a mighty force, sometimes to be enjoyed, sometimes to be feared but always to be respected. And the Moomins understand this.” 



Photos: Moomin Characters

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