Press Release

Finland Becomes Eleventh ESO Member State

7 July 2004

Finland has become the eleventh member state of the European Southern Observatory (ESO) [1]. The formal accession procedure was carried through as planned and has now been completed. Following the signing of the corresponding Agreement earlier this year (ESO PR 02/04), acceptance by the Finnish Parliament and ratification by the Finnish President of the Agreement as well as the ESO Convention and the associated protocols in June [2] and the deposit of the instruments of accession today, Finland has now officially joined ESO.

ESO warmly welcomes the new member country and its scientific community that is renowned for their expertise in many frontline areas. The related opportunities will contribute to strenghtening of pioneering research with the powerful facilities at ESO's observatories, to the benefit of Astronomy and Astrophysics as well as European science in general. ESO also looks forward to collaboration with the Finnish high-tech industry.

For Finland, the membership in ESO is motivated by scientific and technological objectives as well as by the objective of improving the public understanding of science. The Finnish Government is committed to increasing the public research funding in order to improve the quality, impact and internationalisation of research.

Membership in ESO offers unique facilities for astronomical research which would not otherwise be available for Finnish astronomers. Finland is also very interested in taking part in technological development projects in fields like ICT, optics and instrumentation. For young scientists and engineers, ESO is a challenging, international working and learning environment.

Finland has already taken part in the educational programmes of ESO, and as a member this activity will be broadened and intensified. In Finland there are also several science journalists and a large community of amateur astronomers who will be very happy to take part in ESO's outreach activities.


[1] The ESO member States are now Belgium, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, Portugal, Sweden, Switzerland and the United Kindgdom.

[2] The ESO Convention was established in 1962 and specifies the goals of ESO and the means to achieve these, e.g., "The Governments of the States parties to this convention... desirous of jointly creating an observatory equipped with powerful instruments in the Southern hemisphere and accordingly promoting and organizing co-operation in astronomical research..." (from the Preamble to the ESO Convention).


Richard West
Garching, Germany
Tel: +49-89-3200-6276

Pia Ekqvist
Opetusministeriö - Ministry of Education
Helsinki, Finland
Tel: +358 (0)9 1607 7484
Cell: +358 (0)400 669 675

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About the Release

Release No.:eso0423
Legacy ID:PR 18/04
Name:ESO Member States
Type:Milky Way : People