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Thread: Finland-Swedes

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    Finland-Swedes

    The status of Swedish minority is unparellaled in global context, Swedes in Finland not only live longer and die happier (Hyyppä & Mäki, 2001) but also earn more money and at top of the enjoys affirmitive action in regards to university admissions.


    Here´s a nice article of the Germanic enclave in Finland.



    Source:

    http://www.iht.com/articles/2005/12/25/news/finland.php


    Finland, a Battle of tongues.

    EKENAS, Finland: In most parts of the world, language is usually a fiery and divisive issue, one that pits the powerless against the powerful, the small against the big.

    The Basques battle the Spanish. The Flemish tussle with the Walloons. The Québécois scuffle with the rest of Canada.

    But Finland, a country with an unshakable sense of fair play, offers a counterbalance to that sort of acrimony. If anything, Finland bends over backward, with little dissent and at great cost, to make its 260,000 Swedish speakers feel comfortable.

    No sooner did Finland win its independence from Russia in 1917 than it ensured in its Constitution that Swedish speakers, who still controlled much of Finland, would be granted equal rights culturally, educationally and socially. It was a gesture of comity and pragmatism that overlooked the fact that for five centuries Sweden had controlled Finland and scorned the Finnish language, which the Swedes deemed mysterious and second-class.

    The result of that constitutional mandate, few would disagree, is that Finland is home to the world's most pampered minority group, the endangered Swedish-speaking Finn. Even as their numbers and influence dwindle - from a high of 14 percent of the population in 1880 to 5 percent today - their rights, for the most part, continue to flourish.

    "We have it very good here," concedes Henrik Creutz, a Swedish-speaking Finn and a board member of the Swedish People's Party, who is quick to note that almost all Swedish speakers also speak Finnish, most of them very well. "There are lots of language minorities in Europe, but they don't have a lot of power."

    Finland has two official languages, Swedish and Finnish. One language takes precedence over the other, depending on how many of the people living in a given community speak Finnish or Swedish as their mother tongue. Mostly, the country is made up of Finnish-language communities; only about 4 percent of the 432 Finnish communities are considered Swedish only.

    Another 10 percent are bilingual, 21 of them with a Finnish-language majority and 23 of them with a Swedish-language majority, like Ekenas, a coastal jewel of 14,500 residents.

    Wander the streets, cafés, marinas, schools, health centers and government buildings of Ekenas, and the chitchat is all Swedish - actually a dialect of Swedish. More than 80 percent of the residents in Ekenas speak Swedish. As in all other bilingual communities, the government offers Swedish speakers their own schools, day care centers, health care centers, local government councils, newspapers and television and radio shows. Signs are all written in Swedish at the top, Finnish at the bottom.

    Swedish speakers also have their own political party in the Finnish government and a host of cultural institutions. Walk into a courthouse, a women's shelter, a nursing home or a government office in any bilingual community, and Swedish speakers, by law, must be served in Swedish, if they request it. A 2004 law requires it. All documents and brochures must be translated into Swedish.

    Finland even has a kind of reverse system of quotas and affirmative action for Swedish speakers at the university level; reverse because Swedish speakers tend to be wealthier - Swedish speakers control many of the major industries - and healthier than Finnish speakers.

    Swedish speakers have their own Swedish-language business school and their own quotas to study medicine and law at the University of Helsinki. For example, of the 230 laws students at University of Helsinki, at least 18 must be Swedish speakers.

    On this point, at least, some Finnish speakers begin to grumble, arguing that Swedish speakers have an easier time getting into these fiercely competitive schools because of the quotas. Swedish speakers disagree: They maintain that without the quotas, Finland would be unable to abide by the law and produce the doctors, lawyers and business people to serve the Swedish-speaking population.

    While the idea of peeling back the Swedish speakers' broad rights is almost unthinkable in Finland, a growing number of Finns are beginning to question, or at least complain about, other parts of the historic language law as well.

    Heikki Tala, the chairman of the Finnish Alliance, which is fighting to make Finnish the sole official language of Finland, characterizes the status quo as a vestige of a bygone era. Finnish deference to it, he added, is a hangover from Finnish country-bumpkin days.

    "There is still a feeling that Swedish speakers are the civilized ones and we are the peasants," Tala said.

    Most upsetting to Finns is the fact that they are required to take Swedish in school. Last spring, irate Finnish-speaking students struck a first blow at the Swedish-language requirement, when the government, despite aggressive lobbying from powerful Swedish speakers, agreed to drop Swedish from the difficult matriculation exam that leads to university admissions.

    Riita Uosukainen, a former speaker of the Finnish Parliament, argues that some laws simply go overboard. "People in Finland don't want to take rights away from Swedish speakers," she said. "It's in our Constitution. We are proud of it. But Finnish speakers don't want to be told that they must learn Swedish. Finnish people also have rights."

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    Senior Member Leof's Avatar
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    Haha, notice that they call swedes, "swedish speakers" and finns just finns. This new mandate in the mulicult that race doesn't exist is so hoakey I can't believe the media is actually taking them serious.

    This is a decent article. The act that the Swedish population here is reminded constantly of their minority status against a society with a strong cutural identity puts the Swedish population here in a situation where they are obliged to identify with their swedish background and identity. These same swedes who battle for their own rites to have the swedish language in all facilities would be on the opposite side of the subject if they were born and raised in liberal Sweden.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Leof View Post
    Haha, notice that they call swedes, "swedish speakers" and finns just finns. This new mandate in the mulicult that race doesn't exist is so hoakey I can't believe the media is actually taking them serious.

    This is a decent article. The act that the Swedish population here is reminded constantly of their minority status against a society with a strong cutural identity puts the Swedish population here in a situation where they are obliged to identify with their swedish background and identity. These same swedes who battle for their own rites to have the swedish language in all facilities would be on the opposite side of the subject if they were born and raised in liberal Sweden.
    Actually, I agree,

    the minority status have created very strong self-awareness for the Swedish minority especially in rural regions where the linguistic boundary has been traditionally very strict and intermingling very little.

    I remember few years ago when one (Finland-) Swedish activist claimed that there are more than language which seperates Finns and Swedes in Finland, this caused a great fury among Finns and surprisingly also among many "liberal" Finland-Swedes, especially among those Swedes in Finlands cultural elite. The most prestiguous Swedish institutions in the country do not want to hurt the feelings of Finns and thus they´ve even proposed an official title for the Swedish minority in Finland, the "Swedish-speaking Finn".

    Anyway, I remember someone having a thread "Germans in Belgium, the nest protected minority", compared to Swedes in Finland, their status is a joke.

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    Senior Member Aragorn's Avatar
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    Wouldn't it not be best when the Swedish minority receive Autonomous status, something like an autonomous Swedish region?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Wittekind View Post
    Wouldn't it not be best when the Swedish minority receive Autonomous status, something like an autonomous Swedish region?
    Don't they already have one? I'm thinking of the Aland Islands.

    Aland is like the Faroes as an issuer of distinctive postage stamps, including a series on tattoos - one was vaguely runic and another was of an actual 'tramp stamp'.
    The sitters in the hall seldom know
    The kin of the new-comer:
    The best man is marred by faults,
    The worst is not without worth.
    -- The Havamal, #133 (trans. Auden and Taylor)

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    Quote Originally Posted by Wittekind View Post
    Wouldn't it not be best when the Swedish minority receive Autonomous status, something like an autonomous Swedish region?
    That's an idea but I don't think it would work too well. The Swedes are concentrated around the southern and western tips of Finland in a gradient that go's for nearly all swedes to a 50/50 segregated community so it would be difficult to establish a sort of national border. You have the right idea I feel though. I think the Finns should have the option of taking swedish in school but not be required and that the Swedes can continue to retain their Swedish languistics and heritage despite being minorities in a finnic region.

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    Maybe the "Finlandswedes" should take a test too, I heard they ain't Swedish ethnically, only linguistically.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Fallen Angel View Post
    Maybe the "Finlandswedes" should take a test too, I heard they ain't Swedish ethnically, only linguistically.
    No. They are ethnic Swedes to my knowledge. One substantial emigration of Swedes to Finland happened in the middle-ages.

    I have heard that historically, Social life where segregated but things have changed somewhat in modern times? Some of the Finnish on Althing should give more content answer.

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    It's an interesting contrast to see how the Swedes are perceived in their former Baltic colony of Finland, to how the Russians are perceived in their former Baltic provinces in Estonia, Lithuania and Latvia.
    I am Ripper... Tearer... Slasher... Gouger.
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    What's the whole point of this thread? There's lots of Finnish -Swedes living in Sweden? I don't see what's the fuss about it. Aren't the Finish-Swedes getting the same privileges too? Big deal!
    Jeg er over gjennomsnittet bitter, og liker stort sett ingen andre enn meg selv


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