Cultural Counsellor Veijo Baltzar, a travelling Roma by his roots, is a Finnish author and all-rounder of culture. He represents the world's leading Romani authors who has done a life's work for the Roma people through his cultural and societal activity. In addition to being an author, Veijo Baltzar is a playwright, theatre director, poet, visual artist, performing artist, pedagogue, scientist and a social-political activist.
Veijo Baltzar’s artistic production comprises over 72 literary works, including novels, plays and musicals, an award-winning film, librettos and TV screenplays. Baltzar has taught for several occasions at Theatre Academy Helsinki. In 1976, he founded Drom, the first and only professional Roma theatre in the Nordics, and acted as its manager, teacher and director.
Veijo Baltzar has discussed Romani culture and brought forth its richness in his art for 50 years. He has acted as interpreter of Roma culture, creating dialogue between the Roma and majority cultures in Finland and internationally. Baltzar’s novels and theatre works have created a personal point of view for the Roma people, giving them visibility and making their culture known to the majority population, while raising and developing awareness among the Roma of their roots and spiritual and intellectual origins.
In 2002, in order to strengthen the position of Roma literature world-widely, Baltzar founded the International Roma Writers Association (IRWA). Baltzar makes actively visual arts. The exhibition Miranda – The Roma Holocaust launched its European and World Tour in Spring 2017 in the frames of international EU-funded project Through Miranda’s Eyes 2016-2018. Today he is known as a forerunner in multicultural issues and policies.
Veijo Baltzar is a significant opinion leader in Finland and internationally. He is a social activist, scientist-philosopher and cultural-political actor. In his latest works such as Towards Experiential Philosophy (2012, translated to English 2014) Baltzar is presenting brave, but constructive critique towards European policies of multiculturalism and ethnic relations. Towards Experiential Philosophy introduces Baltzar’s vision of renewing European societies through primarily making change in systems of education.
In 2014, Baltzar organized an international 2-day minister-level conference at the Parliament of Finland The Conscience of Europe, in which he published his 24 law-initiatives for renewing EU’s policies of multiculturalism. The initiatives were sent to European Commission.
“Veijo Baltzar personifies the cultural and social emancipation of Finnish Roma that took place in the 1970s.”
Ambassador of Finland to Hungary Mr. Petri Tuomi-Nikula
”Veijo Baltzar is a great Finnish and European cultural figure. In addition to his diverse literal and artistic achievements, he is a dynamic cultural and social activist. Baltzar is one of the few Finnish personalities, who possess capacity in European cultural life, especially as the promoter of multiculturality.”
Former Prime Minister of Finland Mr. Paavo Lipponen
“Baltzar reminds me of ‘wandering intellectual’, one of the most important thinkers in the Czech intellectual tradition and history from 16th century, Jan Amos Komenski. Baltzar challenges many concepts, such as the Western liberal understanding of human rights by pointing to its narrowmindedness, and brings forth in a valuable way elements that are important in developing multicultural societies, and even international peace”.
Former Minister of Foreign Affairs, Mr. Petr Drulák
Prizes and awards