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Johan Ludvig Runeberg

Born February 5, 1804, Pietarsaari. Died May 6, 1877, Porvoo

Master of Philosophy 1827, Imperial Academy of Turku

Home tutor 1822–1826
Docent of Eloquence 1830, Imperial Alexander University
Teacher 1831–1836, the Swedish-language Helsingfors Lyceum
Lektor in Roman and Greek letters 1837–1857 and rector of the Gymnasium at Porvoo 1847–1850

Photo: Wikimedia Commons
Written by Tero Juutilainen
Translated by John Calton

Teacher and disciplinarian

Johan Ludvig Runeberg taught in various places. Perhaps one of his best known pupils is the author Zachris Topelius, whom he helped to prepare for the matriculation examinations.  In his capacity as lektor at the Porvoo Gymnasium, Runeberg was also a member of the chapter of the diocese of Eastern Finland, and was ordained as a priest. Many of the portraits of the poet show him in priestly garb.

The school in Porvoo had a reputation for poor discipline, but with Runeberg’s arrival, order began to be restored. This was done with the assistance of a leather strap or a stick, rapped across the knuckles or the palm of the hand. Runeberg was said to be strict, but fair. The teacher was the authority and the pupils had no business questioning him. Still, he was fair and the pupils adored him. Runeberg retired from teaching in 1857.


  • Raija Majamaa & Marjut Paulaharju, J. L. Runeberg. Suomen runoilija. Hämeenlinna: Karisto , 2004.
  • Matti Klinge, ’Runeberg, Johan LudvigNational Biography of Finland. Accessed 19 December,2014. (in Finnish)
  • Wikipedia, ’Johan Ludvig Runeberg’. Accessed 19 December, 2014.
Photo: Albert Edelfelt's painting, Turun taidemuseo.​​


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