State artist pensions have a long history in Finland; they were awarded for the first time in the 1830s. At that time pensions were working grants by nature because they were allocated only to artists of high national importance and renown. The artist’s age had no impact on pension decisions. In fact, they were lifelong working grants awarded by the State.
Artists’ pensions kept their grant-like status until the 1960s. In its report in 1965 the Government Committee on the Arts suggested emphasising the nature of pensions because so many older artists lived under very poor conditions. In 1974 the Council of State announced the Decision on Extraordinary Artists’ Pensions (75/1974), in which the regulations for supplementary pensions for senior artists were set for the first time.
According to this decision artists’ pensions finally became artists’ old age pensions.