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Thread: Are the Finnish Nordic or Baltic?

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    Are the Finnish Nordic or Baltic?

    Would you describe the Finnish as being a Nordic ethnicity or a more Baltic/Eastern European ethnicity? I'm not expert, but from what I've seen of Finns they look physically distinct from Swedish and Norwegians, and physically look more to the Russian/Eastern side of things than they do Nordic. Also, their language is an Eastern European language, very similar to Estonian, and related to Hungarian. However, politically they are very much in line with the Nordic countries, and some would say culturally they are very similar too.

    Would it be accurate to say the Finnish are an Eastern European ethnicity living a Nordic culture due to interrelations with the Nordic states?

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    The Finns are a special case. Linguistically they are not Nordic & in appearance they are more like the other Baltic peoples. But they have long historical ties to Sweden, are Protestant & their outlook is towards the West not the East. They are not Nordic but they, along with the Estonians & Latvians, shouldn't be lumped in with the Slavs either.

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    Finns are essentially an Osteuropid and Nordeuropid/Nordoid people, with Lappid, as well as other European admixture here and there.

    In the South and South-West in particular there are regions which were and most likely still are more on the Nordoid side, whereas the same can't be said for the rest of the country and the cities are, like elsewhere too, mixed with elements from the rest of the country.

    Insofar "the Finns" are more on the Osteuropid/Baltid side somewhat, but have also a strong Nordoid component and individual Finns can be found of most typical Northern and Eastern European forms.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ćmeric View Post
    their outlook is towards the West not the East.
    That's really the bottom line for me. Whatever their genetic patchwork may be, they are Westerners as far as I'm concerned.

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    Quote Originally Posted by MetallicPain View Post
    Would you describe the Finnish as being a Nordic ethnicity or a more Baltic/Eastern European ethnicity? I'm not expert, but from what I've seen of Finns they look physically distinct from Swedish and Norwegians, and physically look more to the Russian/Eastern side of things than they do Nordic. Also, their language is an Eastern European language, very similar to Estonian, and related to Hungarian. However, politically they are very much in line with the Nordic countries, and some would say culturally they are very similar too.

    Would it be accurate to say the Finnish are an Eastern European ethnicity living a Nordic culture due to interrelations with the Nordic states?
    They are not an "Eastern European" ethnicity in any possible broader meaning of the phrase. They are not Slavs, not at all in any way.

    The Finns are perhaps best viewed as their own metaethnicity. "Finnic". (Fenno-Ugric or Uralian is too broad, like calling oneself "Indo-European").

    The Finnic peoples thrived in their corner of Europe and even further for millennia, but began to decline badly once Russia became a powerful state and crack-down on them and try to russify them. Many of the lesser Finnic nations simply "died out" in the past centuries / russified. Today there are only two Finnic nations, Esthonia and Finland, and several badly-declining small Finnic nationalities in Russia. The latters' situation in Russia is sort of like the AmericanIndians of today: the Finnics in Russia either live on "reservations" or at least with a reservation-mentality. Their number of native speakers has been declining for a long time, and Russia encourages that.

    I, like AEmeric and SlinanGael, consider the Finnics to be a brotherpeople to us. They are perhaps the closest to us of all European metaethnicites in some ways, as they also share our religion [Protestant], their temperament is basically Scandinavian, their outlook is "Western", and most importantly they look to us for support and brotherhood at all times past and present.

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    Being the eastern reichshalf for some 600 years and subjects of the Swedish crown, the Swedish protestant state-church and a civil society more or less a replica of the Swedish kingdom into which it was incorporated, has certainly made its mark on what is today Finland. The Swedish aristocracy living in Finland had alot of influence even after the territory and people was lost to Russia, which meant that the western ties remained. Russia has also historically played the role of enemy and threat for both nations and ethnic groups whilst Sweden has been the natural ally, especially as our partition was not one of internal struggle but of loss (Swedish rule over Finland did not have to deal with the birth of nationalism, something Tsarist Russia on the other hand did).

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    According to my Finnish flatmate and also my best mate their a mixture, and they dislike being called either Swedish or Slavic!
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    They are neither, I would describe them as Finnic or Fennic, that being an ethno-cultural entity that they share with Estonians. Originally also Fennics would have been the Ingrians in between, but I hear they have largely been swallowed by the spectre of a neighbouring Russia.

    Though many proper words in Finnish are swear words in Estonian and vice versa.

    As far as mythology would be concerned, name-wise one'd be prima facie, at least in the earlier stages, looking towards more of a Fenno-Baltic rather than a Fenno-Germanic culture, considering the similarity in names such as a thunder god, probably an early version of Ukko (the proper thunder god): Perkele (Finnish) > Perkunas (Lithuanian) > Perun (Slavic).

    Other gods and myths tend to be more Germanic in outlook however, such as: There is a female goddess of the underworld (Louhi/Loviatar), the god of war even seems to be etymologically similar to the Germanic one (Turisas) eventually the moon is devoured (The Finns actually know to entities throughout the ages which could have performed this: Rachkoi and Capeet - though both are interestingly mentioned by Agricola but neither are mentioned in Kalevala if I recall correctly.) Another similarity to the Germanic mythology is the existence of many landwights (collectively labelled as Menningeiset) and forest spirits(to mind comes the likes of the evil female forest spirit Ajatar/Ajatarra), many giants and many trolls.

    On the other hand there are some incredible Finnish Gods, such as Pekko/Pellonpekko (the god of growing barley) or Rongoteus (the god of growing rye), who seem to be on-par with the Vanir and tend towards a more Germanic than Slavic direction (Germanics have traditionally been more known for beverages containing barley or bread containing rye) but are indeed deeply Finnish in their outlook and description. There are also several forest gods, it can be reckoned that ancient Finns were even more protective of their sacred woodlands (Tapio, Hiisi).

    Linking back to the cultural affinity with Estonians on the mythology basis woud be the fact that Kalevan poika is identical to Estonian national hero Kalevipoeg.

    From a historical perspective it would be correct to claim that they probably share more of a link with Germanic countries and their culture (thus some influences - some words have also made their way across the Gulf of Bothnia). So, in general they will look more towards their Western neighbours than their Eastern neighbours, though they do frequently scorn the fact that they all have to learn Swedish for a few Finnlandswedes!

    The mentality of Finns is also very "Swedish": They may seem brief in explanation, cold and distant, and generally talk little when in interaction with each other - but at the same time tend to be warm and hospitable on a general basis to others, without losing their not rare fierce pride at being independent from the two former superpowers at either side.

    All in all - whilst influences and equivalents will be there, I suppose that it is safe to say that Finns, maybe alongside with Estonians, are their own entity within the larger European group.
    -In kalte Schatten versunken... /Germaniens Volk erstarrt / Gefroren von Lügen / In denen die Welt verharrt-
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