Hugo Alvar Henrik Aalto was born on 3 February in 1898 in Kuortane, Finland. His father, Johan Henrik Aalto, was a Finnish-speaking land-surveyor and his mother, Selma Matilda was a Swedish-speaking postmistress. Alvar was the eldest of their four children. When Aalto was 5 years old, the family moved to Alajärvi, and from there to Jyväskylä in Central Finland. His desire to become an architect was influenced by his father and his grandfather, who were a forest officer and technical inventor.