I’ve had this idea of a Finnish magic school for a while, and I got inspired by asheathes’ beautiful gifsets depicting wizarding schools around the world. So I gathered some pictures (since I’m too lazy to learn gif making and finding pics is easier) and wrote up what I’ve been thinking about, mostly as a reference for myself if I ever got around actually using this idea for something. It would be amazing to organize a larp in which all the characters would get sorted without the players knowing which House they go to in advance - maybe one day…
Without further ado, let me introduce to you:
Kyöpelinvuoren Noitaopisto - Kyöpelinvuori Witch Academy
Kyöpelinvuori Witch Academy is a very old magic school in the Finnish Lapland. It was originally for witches only since at the time it was founded, women were thought to have far greater magical abilities than men. Wizards were mostly left uneducated or sometimes home schooled. Nowadays the school accepts male students, although they are still a minority, but has kept its old name. Muggles have occasionally overheard careless witches talking about going to Kyöpelinvuori but mistakenly assumed that it was a place where Witches’ Sabbaths were held. This is why you can sometimes hear a muggle talking about witches flying on broomsticks to Kyöpelinvuori, even though witches are believed to be folklore these days. Because of the matriarchal history of the magical community in Finland, there are no mentions of wizards in Finnish muggle mythology.
The school is located inside and on top of a nondescript fjeld in the wilderness of Lapland, near the lake Inari. It’s built in a single floor and every classroom and hallway has a glass roof to maximize the amount of natural light. Of course, artificial lighting has to be used during the long polar night when the Sun doesn’t rise at all. The fjeld is enchanted so that the glass roof can’t be seen from afar and occasional hikers planning to go over the fjeld decide to walk around it instead for some strange reason. The spell only works on humans, so sometimes reindeer and other animals will walk on the roof, much to the students’ delight. The interior of the school is very modern, mostly black and white, and geometrical, creating a stark contrast to the untouched nature outside. The school has also adopted all kinds of useful muggle inventions, since all Finnish witches and wizards live amongst muggles and interact with them a lot.
The reason why the school can be hidden in such plain sight is that all of the traffic takes place through the floo network. Finland has never had a culture of boarding schools, so everyone goes home for the night and the school doesn’t have dormitories. To accommodate hundreds of people using the the floo network at the same time every morning, there is a big, round entrance hall in the middle of the school lined with fireplaces that are labeled and assigned so that only about a dozen people use the same fireplace. The hall has four doorways, each of which is imbued with a spell similar to the ones in Gringotts that activates if someone enters with ill intent. The northern doorway leads to the library that reaches deeper in the ground in order to fit the huge bookshelves. Beyond the southern doorway lie the dining hall and the teachers’ quarters. The classrooms are through the western and eastern doorways.
On either side of the library there is a common room of a House, and similarly there are two common rooms next to the dining hall. Many students like to do their homework or just spend time in their common room before going home after school. There are four Houses: Kontioiset, Sudentassut, Lumisulat, and Viikaniinit. Their symbols are a copper bear on forest green, a silver wolf on black, a golden swan on white, and a tin rabbit on purpure, respectively. The students wear a badge with their House sigil and often have accessories in their House colours, but the school doesn’t have a dress code. The symbol of the school is a white reindeer on blue, which can be seen in the form of reindeer head and antler motifs scattered around to bring life to the otherwise simple and angular interior design.
In addition to the subjects taught in Hogwarts (except for DADA that’s integrated to Charms, Divination, and Muggle Studies), the school teaches ancient Finnish singing and ritual based wandless magic, traditional Saami magic and culture, and shamanism. Students learn how to carve and enchant powerful amulets from reindeer bone, how to construct and use a witch’s drum, how to heal wounds by mixing herbs and chanting, and even how to enter the spiritual realm and communicate with animals. There are many native spells that are in Saami languages or ancient Finnish. However, new spells and forms of magic are developed all the time, as the Finnish magical community doesn’t want to get stuck in the past, even if it values traditional magic and strives to preserve it.