History of Moomin Arabia

From children’s plates to worldwide collector’s frenzy and coveted lifestyle-items.


The Finnish Ceramic Heritage of Arabia

Founded 150 years ago in 1873, Arabia’s ceramic production began in 1874 and has been a significant part of Finnish design culture ever since. Arabia's products are known for their excellent quality, durability, and distinctive design.

The company has collaborated with several famous designers, such as Kaj Franck, who created some of Arabia's iconic designs that are still popular today. The Kilta collection, that later became the beloved Teema, provides the form factor for the Moomin tableware as well.

Arabia's various ceramics have been an essential part of Finnish households for generations and continue to be highly sought after by collectors worldwide. The company's commitment to quality and design has made it a symbol of Finnish craftsmanship and a significant contributor to Finland’s design heritage.


First Arabia Moomin Products

Objects decorated with children's patterns, toy tableware and eating implements made for children have been part of Arabia's range throughout the factory's history. The first Moomin products joined the fold in the 1950s.

Beforehand, Tove Jansson had drawn her first Moomin characters in the 1930s. In 1945, the first Moomin book, “The Moomins and the Great Flood” was published in the original language Swedish. Her signature style consisted of bold lines and striking, vibrant colors. She also effortlessly combined the everyday nature with fantasy worlds. It was timeless stories and great truths about life and happiness that captured the imagination of adults and children alike. Tove Jansson designed the first decorations of Moomin dishes, while her Mother, Signe ”Ham” Hammarsten Jansson, designed the ceramic figurines.​

The second coming of Moomin Arabia products began in the 1990s. The lineup then included four figurines: Moomintroll, Snorkmaiden, Moominpappa and Moominmamma. Sought-after features like the Arabia bottom stamp were already introduced then. Too-Ticky and Little My followed soon after in 1992.


From curiosities to collector’s items worldwide

In the 1990s, with the introduction of mugs, the popularity of the collection exploded. Around the same time, Arabia’s designer Tove Slotte started working with the Moomin collection. She got the approval in a nervous meeting with Tove Jansson and took off from there.

The Christmas Greeting mug in 1997 presented a more narrative, more colorful scene that set the example for future mugs. It was also the first mug considered a ‘seasonal’ specialty. It was followed by the introduction of the now-iconic classic character mugs in 1999.

As the collection grew, it began to receive attention from collectors in Finland and worldwide: especially in the Nordics and Japan. The enthusiasm was boosted by the launch of several hard-to-get limited editions such as the 2004 Fazer Mug (with a batch of only 400 mugs) and the Moomintroll Daydreaming (with only 2500 pieces published).

In 2018, the first Moomin’s Day limited edition designs were published and quickly sold out. More recently, the 2022 Moominvalley Park Japan special edition mug sold out in just a few days after becoming available in Europe for a limited time.


Mooments of Magic and work towards a better future

Since the beginning, over 100 high-quality Moomin tableware and ceramic decorative items have been released. The authentic combination of Moomin stories, beautiful illustrations, Arabia’s Nordic design heritage and highly functional quality has proved lasting.

Moomin Arabia has wanted to contribute towards building a better world, too. The year 2022 saw the introduction of the much anticipated Alphabet Collection, with a bigger multipurpose 0,4 litre size and a different, typographic illustration style. The collection highlights the importance of literacy and encourages children to experiment with the alphabet. The Red Cross collaboration, Mooments of Kindness, embraced kindness and helped finance children’s friendship initiatives. The donated amount to Red Cross totalled 355 755 €!

In 2023, Moomin Arabia expanded to textiles such as bedsheets and towels. The magical qualities of Tove Jansson’s original stories and characters are woven in. The cozy collection is available at moominarabia.com and selected Iittala stores and resellers.


"And there in the valley they spent the whole of their lives, apart from a few times when they left it and travelled for a change."

The Moomins and the Great Flood (1945)
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