The United States and Finland have pleasant relations, healthy tourism, and strong trade relations. Since 1954, the U.S. has maintained an embassy in Helsinki, with Americans frequenting the country for travel. However, could there be a hidden force keeping America and Finland closely tied? Could there be something, or someone, ensuring our Finnish relations remain in check? Actually, there is, and he is Finland’s U.S. Ambassador, Bruce Oreck.
Oreck is not your typical Ambassador. In fact, he has been a rather controversial figure in the United States. Who is Bruce Oreck? According to PBS, Oreck is the former Oreck vacuum vice president. He also happens to be a professional body builder. The man representing the United States in Finland is seen as somewhat of a controversial, yet legendary, figure in the United States. His formidable appearance and sense of humor have landed him in hot water in recent years over nothing other than Christmas cards.
Starting in 2009, he began creating Christmas cards that made some Americans shake their head. From flexing a bicep that has torn from his business suit, to sitting in a sauna with bare-chested Finnish men, Oreck is not afraid to show his wacky side. Check out some of the “controversial” Christmas cards below.
Regardless of his unusual appearance, it seems that Finland loves him! 2Paragraphs reports that Finnish citizens have come to his rescue when talking about his “image.” One Finnish citizen wrote “Finns just love him.”
“Ambassador Bruce Oreck is excellent and highly respected person here in Finland. Most of the Finns just love him…In Finland we have been very lucky, US ambassadors have been great persons all, but I personally think that Mr. Oreck is the best!”
Still others point out that he is doing more for U.S. and Finland relations than posting humorous Christmas cards.
“I found American embassy’s library here in Helsinki. It is open to all and there is a lot of books of American society, economy and history…[Oreck fosters] a good interaction with Finnish people, I think it helps U.S. citizens working and visiting in Finland.”
What do you think? Do you agree with the citizens of Finland? Does the U.S. need more oddball ambassadors like Oreck?