Lars Swanljung was born in 1944 in Vaasa as the eldest of five siblings. In 1964, Swanljung began studying dentistry at the University of Helsinki. After that he worked as a dentist in Korsnäs, Ostrobothia, and then in Espoo near the capital, until he established a private dental clinic in Helsinki together with his friend.
Swanljung’s interest in collecting began from vinyls and films, encouraged by his father Kaj.
In 1988, Swanljung participated in a pop art exhibition opening at Galerie Forsblom in Helsinki, where he and his wife purchased two works. Since then, Swanljung has been regularly buying visual art. In 1999, Swanljung’s collection of contemporary art was for the first time on public display, first at Tikanoja Art Museum in Vaasa and then in Espoo.
In addition to popular culture and art, Swanljung had a passion for the Greek language and culture, as well as for the other Mediterranean countries. In 1997, he was knighted and awarded the Greek Order of the Phoenix.
Swanljung has contributed to the cultural life of Finland in many ways. He retired in 2014. During the same year, he was chosen as the recipient of the City of Vaasa’s Culture Award and awarded the title of Friend of Contemporary Art of the Year. The honour was awarded by the association Friends of Kiasma, who recognise annually a person or an organisation that has made a major contribution to contemporary art.