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Swedish Speaking Finns
Julia Borellaon 7 October 2013
Transcript of Swedish Speaking Finns
The Situation Nowadays
Most dominant belief system is Protestant Lutheranism
76.4% of the population is registered as Lutherans, 21% as non-religious
Despite this, Finns aren't that religious in general
Red and Yellow, based on the colours of the national arms of Finland
It's been in use even before Finland gained independence
It isn't very well known about in the Finnish-speaking population, and not even all Swedish-speakers know about it
The largest minority in Finland nowadays (≈5%)
Made of native swedish speakers
More commonly called "Swedish Finns" or "finlandssvenskar"
Have their own flag, own political party and speak their own language
How did they get to Finland?
How did their stereotype form?
What is the future of them in Finland?
A long history that goes back hundreds of years
Finland was a part of the Swedish empire starting from around the 12th century
After the 13th century Swedish colonization grew a lot, clear areas occupied by Swedish speakers
Along the west and southern coasts
Most Swedish Finns were farmers and fishermen, but the Swedish Finns made up the elite
Swedish was the main language spoken
Continued to be true throughout Russian occupation (1809-1917)
By Ella Nyström, Erika Sirola and Julia Borella 9B
In the second half of the 19th century the Swedish language was gradually overtaken
Finland declared independence 1917
By the end of the century nationalist movement was successful
Swedish-speaking minority protected
Level of Integration
Famous Swedish speaking Finns
1880 the number of Swedish-speakers was around 294 000
It increased steadily until 1900's
1940 there were 354 000 Swedish Finns in Finland
Since then it has continued to decline
eg. 1987 number was at 296 000
2012 there were 290 977 Swedish Finns
% of total Pop.
Variety of reasons affecting the decrease in Swedish speaking Finns
Steady increase in Finnish speaking pop. means relative size of Swedish Finns also going down
1880= 14.3% 2012= 5.5% (4.9% without Åland)
Main reasons include frequent marriages (with Finnish people) and emigration
Emigration has mainly happened during the mid 1900's (eg. 1950's) due to difficult times after WW2
The Great Migration
Mostly to USA and Sweden
They're ideal destinations because of "American Dream" and Sweden was their old home
History & Numbers
Level of Integration
Political & Economic Influence
The Situation Nowadays
• Cultural Support
• Stereotypes, Discrimination & Racism
Political & Economical Influence
Stereotypes,Discrimination & Racism
• http://svenskfinland.fi/ • http://www .thelocal.se/28470/20100819/
• http://www .pohjola-norden.fi/fi/tietoa_pohjoismaista/suomi/vaaestao_kulttuuri_ja_uskonto/?id=186
• http://www.stat.fi/tup/suoluk/suoluk_vaesto_en.html#structure • http://finlander.genealogia.fi/sfhswiki/index.php/Swedish_Finns
• http://www.mongabay.com/reference/country_studies/finland/SOCIETY .html
• Lönnqvist, Bo. Suomen-Ruotsalaiset. Jyväskylä: Gummerus, 1981. Print.
• Pentikäinen, Juha, and Marja Hiltunen. Cultural Minorities in Finland. 2nd ed.
Helsinki: Printing Team Sivén Oy, 1995. Print.
• Kerkkonen, Jaakko, trans. Suomen Kulttuuri-vähemmistöt. Helsinki:
Yliopistopaino, 1997. Print
In general Swedish-speaking Finns are very well integrated in to Finland
Haven't had many difficulties integrating from a historical and cultural point of view
Helped push Finnish forward in the 1800's as the language of administration and creative arts to help distance the country from the Russian influences.
As result, Finland became bilingual by law and 17th paragraph of constitution of Finland states:
Finland has two national languages: Finnish and Swedish.
Swedish-speaking “privileged minority”.
Still ongoing idea that Swedish is language of Finland's historical upper class
Swedish- speakers statistically over-represented among “old money" families as well as within the Finnish nobility.
Gave them strong political power, but actually majority of the Swedish-speaking Finns have traditionally been farmers and fishermen from the Finnish coastal municipalities and archipelago.
Public authorities have to apply both language groups equally, but depends on how the Swedish language and it's speakers are viewed when daily political decisions are taken.
Swedish speakers are great at forming associations, clubs and organizations.
Strongest political force is Swedish People's Party (SFP) formed in 1906
Swedish Assembly of Finland (Foktinget)
Swedish-speaking Finns also have huge political influence on Finland particularly through their influence in major corporations.
”The Swedish-speaking population is actively involved in economic life,” says Dag Wallgren, Managing Director of the Society of Swedish Literature.
For many centuries big businesses concentrated in cities controlled by the Swedish upper class also adopted the Swedish language.
Halfway through 20th century large decline in number of swedish speakers in Finland
In 1968 Swedish became compulsory subject for every student in Finland.
Today all students educated in the second national language.
During the last decade many swedish-finnish families have chosen to put their kids in Swedish school rather than a Finnish school
But subject of compulsory Swedish in secondary schools for Finnish-speakers also been a source of frustration in some parts of Finland as some people feel it isn't as useful as it used to be.
Recent article in the Helsinki Times reported that “the Finnish Parliament will re-evaluate the obligatory Swedish in schools because over 50,000 citizens signed an initiative about it.”
Daycare centers and schools make up an important part of the Swedish network
For Swedish- speaking population in Finland, the right to daycare and educate in their own language is essential for keeping the language and culture alive.
In Finland, each child has the right to daycare, pre-school teach and school in their own language, Finnish or Swedish no matter where they live in the country.
University or college education is also available in Swedish at upper secondary schools, vocational colleges and high schools.
The largest university in Finland, the University of Helsinki, is bilingual.
Also the opportunity for people to study Swedish at numerous municipal adult classes and open colleges, or to take summer courses at universities.
With help of many trusts and funds, Swedish speaking community benefits from wide variety of cultural activities.
Ten daily newspapers are published, of which Hufvudstadsbladet is the largest with a circulation of about 52,000.
The second biggest, Vasabladet, is published in Ostrobothnia and has a circulation of about 24,000.
Political papers such as Arbetarbladet and Ny tid and a large number of periodicals are also published in Swedish.
Within the Finnish Broadcasting Company YLE, there is a separate Swedish unit and according to legislation, the Finnish- and Swedish-speaking people have to be treated equally in the programming.
Radio programs in Swedish broadcasted on two channels, Radio Vega and Radio Extrem.
FST 5 is the TV-channel for the Swedish-speaking population of Finland
There are also more than one hundred museums in the Swedish-speaking regions of Finland and theater is performed on six permanent stages.
Here are just a few examples of the many famous Swedish speaking Finns who have had a significant political, cultural and/or economic influence on the country throughout the years.
Johan Ludvig Runeberg
(1804 –1877) was Finland's national poet and his poem "Vårt land" (Our Land, Maamme in Finnish) became the Finnish National Anthem.
Carl Gustaf Mannerheim,
(1867-1951). Military commander and politician, who led the Finnish defence against Soviet invasion in 1939, helping Finland win the independence. Voted The Greatest Finn of All Time.
Tove Jansson, (1914-2001).
Finnish novelist, painter, illustrator and comic-strip author. She is best known as the author of the Moomin books. In 1966 Jansson won the Hans Christian Andersen Award for her contributions to children's literature.
Jean Sibelius (1865-1957)
was a Finnish composer of the late Romantic period. His music played an important role in forming of the Finnish national identity.
Linus Torvalds, (1969- )
won the 2012 Millennium Technology Prize from the Technology Academy Finland "in recognition of his creation of a new open source operating system for computers leading to the widely used Linux kernel."
Swedish speaking Finns
Swedish was the predominant language during Swedish rule in Finland
There are near to 300,000 people nowadays that speak it as a mother tongue
Taught in many schools as a compulsory language course
Most Swedish-speakers reside on the southern and western coasts of Finland
Åland has the most densely populated Swedish-speaking population
Swedish is close to the other Scandinavian languages
Flag of Scania, which is composed of the three southernmost provinces in Sweden and Bornholm, an island in Denmark
The flag itself is a combination of the Danish and Swedish flags
Reaches back all the way to the 1100's, where it started out as the flag of the archbishop of Lund
Regarded as the minority flag of the Swedish-speaking Finns
Instead of putting up a flag on a flagpole, those who stll want to showcase the flag wear it as a pennant striped with the flag's colors, or hang it on the walls of their houses
Rich and snobby, superior, better dressed, more attractive, Swedish, they don't allow Finnish-speakers into their "cliques", they don't give jobs to Finnish-speakers, they control all the power in Finland, they force people to learn Swedish, they have an easier time getting into school because the requirements aren't as hard, they're loud, at pubs they feel the need to sing drinking songs in unison but they don't get dunk, they all have summer cottages based in the archipelago
Considered a bit more outgoing, open and international (good English skills) than their Finnish-speaking counterparts
Most of the discrimination comes from the Nationalist party of Finland
Anti-immigration, anti-EU, against teaching of Swedish in schools and they want the Finnish culture to be ”pure”
Mostly against Swedish-speakers and the language
Used to be a language of the upper class
Older Finns think that they've been abusing the land and country the Finnish-speakers deem their own
Swedish-speakers don't really think of themselves as a real minority
Most have two Finnish parents, with Swedish roots only very early in their family trees
They don’t consider themselves as being anything less than Finns by identity, even though they may speak Swedish as a mother tongue
Though the Finnish government (except the nationalist party) support the Swedish-speakers, in Finnish culture and society they are still known as a minority