Who are the Finland-Swedes?
A linguistic minority in Finland who maintain a strong identity, a distinct subgroup of the Finnish people or a distinct nationality of its own?
Welcome to Svenskfinland. These pages feature information about Finland’s minority culture, the Finland-Swedes.
The Finland-Swede’s culture is centuries old and dates from the reign of the Swedish kingdom, through the times of Russian rule, up to its status today as a protected linguistic minority. The Swedish spoken by Finland-Swedes consists of distinct dialects that are understandable by other Swedish speakers and those who speak other Scandinavian languages. The majority of Swedish-speaking Finns are bilingual. Depending on whom you ask, the Finland-Swedes are either an ethnically determined subgroup of Finns or a distinct nationality with its own culture, history and language.
About 275,000 people in mainland Finland have Swedish as their mother tongue, as well as practically the entire population of the Åland islands, meaning that around 5.5% of Finns are Finland-Swedes. The Swedish-speaking population tend to be located in certain areas of Finland, particularly along the southern and western coasts. This community is, of course, quite small, leading to the so-called “duck pond” or ankdammen phenomenon – the situation where you meet one Swedish-speaking Finn in Helsinki and another in Oulu, and they both end up being related or went to school together. The idea of six degrees of separation finds its apotheosis in Finland-Swedish society, except it would be more accurate to say three degrees instead of six.
This relatively small community is bound up in many traditions; including those related to everyday Finnish culture and those that are entirely distinct among Finland-Swedes. They, of course, feel part of Finland yet tend to be aware of belonging to a distinct group within the wider society. Certain customs such as the annual round of crayfish parties or kräftskivor in the autumn are rigorously adhered to in the Finland-Swedish community.
This website has been created to provide information about the Finland-Swedish people, their culture and way of life. At the top of the page you can find a link bar directing you to the main topics. We have tried to provide informative and easy-to-digest information to give our visitors an accurate and up-to-date idea of what it means to be a Finland-Swede. To the site
Please feel free to explore our website and discover something of the history and customs that have formed a unique people.