Introduction to Finland Diary

Finland just might be the world's most interesting country that Americans know least about. It has the best school system in the world, some of the most liberated women (the president is female), more cell phones per capita than anyone else, one of the world's best high-tech companies (Nokia), remarkable information technology of many kinds, great music from rock and jazz to classical. The Finns are proud of their generous welfare state, which provides, among much else, free health care and free education at every level.

Finland is quite big, the size of Kansas and Iowa combined, but sparsely populated -- 5.2 million souls, or about 10 percent smaller than metropolitan Washington, D.C. For three weeks, Lucian Perkins and I will be traveling around the country to try to figure it out. Lucian takes pictures and occasionally writes about what he sees; I will concentrate on words. We will try to figure out how the Finns have been so successful in so many different ways and why Finland appears to be one of the most modern and most adaptable societies anywhere.  We'll also see if we can find some chinks in their armor, on the old but reliable theory that nothing is perfect.

We will add something to this Finland Diary every day. We'll also produce stories that will appear here and in the Washington Post newspaper starting on Tuesday, May 24. And we hope to hear from readers as we travel and talk to Finns. Please post your questions, comments and recommendations here, or send them to us in our official back-channel: finlanddiary@washingtonpost.com. We'll respond whenever we can.

To introduce Finland, I've conducted an e-mail interview with Pekka Himanen, 31, a young philosopher who has become quite famous in Finland, and quite well known in the U.S. for his work at Stanford and the University of California. His books have been published in 20 languages. They include The Information Society and the Welfare State: The Finnish Model, co-written with Manuel Castells, a renowned, Spanish-born sociologist of the information age who is now a professor at the University of Southern California. Their book is readily available, published by Oxford University Press. No one Finn can speak for Finland, of course, but Himanen seems like a good representative of the burgeoning new information-age intelligentsia that has remade Finland in the last generation.



--Robert G. Kaiser

Q. The World Economic Forum has ranked Finland's as the most competitive economy in the world. Finnish education probably is the best anywhere, judged by results of comparative tests given to students in many countries. You Finns have more cell phones per capita than any other people on Earth.You are making extensive use of the Internet, and are among the most computer-literate nations. Nokia and Linux are both Finnish inventions. You have a wonderful system of musical education that has produced an inordinate number of world-class musicians, singers and conductors in the classical field, as well as an impressive crop of jazz and rock performers.
   So what's going on in Finland? Why are you doing so well--especially given the fact that just 50 years ago, you were a poor and quite backward nation?


Finnish author and philosopher Pekka Himanen welcomes guests in his Helsinki apartment. (Lucian Perkins - The Washington Post)
View Enlarged Photo

A. The three things that people should know about the modern Finland are Nokia, Linux, and HIM [the Finnish "Love Metal" rock band, most of whose songs are in English, and whose Web site can be found at http://www.heartagram.com]. They sum up the Finnish change. Nokia mobile phones are part of the conscious policy of investing in innovation. Finland invests more as a percentage of GDP to research and development than the United States. But Linux tells an important difference: The Finnish idea is to be inclusive so that development benefits all and not only few.

Linux is a free operating system that anyone can use. It's very close to the idea behind our welfare state: free and high-quality education available for everyone so that everyone has equal opportunities in life. Finnish IT success and the education/health systems were developed hand in hand so that there would be a virtuous cycle between them: good education producing more innovators whose success makes it possible to fund the welfare state. HIM is a story about our cultural identity. People should listen to their "Funeral of Hearts" to get a sense of Finnish identity. [You can hear an excerpt from it here, and also read the song's lyrics: http://www.heartagram.com/music]. We have a history of suffering through winters and you can hear both melancholy in their music as well as special Finnish energy. All of these successes from IT to music have been important for forming a new Finnish cultural identity: not a poor country anymore but a creative leader in many fields.

Q. Finnish women seem to be more fully liberated than even American women, or any others. Even the elected president of Finland is a woman. Why?

A. The main idea is equal opportunities: women don't have to choose between having children and work. Society should make this possible, which it does through a universal right to cheap child care run by college-level educated people. The long maternal leaves plus the child care available to everyone as a right usually surprises my many foreign friends. But it's good to notice that it's not only women who have accomplished this. Finnish men have supported this. They are strong enough to have strong women as their partners.

Q. The rich countries of "old Europe" and North America have chronic problems with their educational systems, but Finland's seems to be working beautifully. Why is Finland so good at educating its young people?

A. In Finland, the link between the quality of education and poverty was realized quite early. In the late 19th century Finland was a very poor country with very little education. And it was poor precisely because of the lack of education. The development of Finland has come through investing in the education system.

Of course, the absolute amounts invested in a system don't tell you much. For example, Finland's health care system absorbs 7% of our GDP [gross domestic product, the total economy], whereas in America health care costs 14% of GDP. The U.S. has different systems for the poor and everyone else, and they are not efficient. In education the key isn't how much is invested, it's the people. The high quality of Finnish education depends on the high quality of Finnish teachers. You need to have a college-level degree to run a kindergarten. You need a masters-level degree to teach at a primary school. Many of the best students want to be teachers. This is linked to the fact that we really believe we live in an information age, so it is respected to be in such a key information profession as teaching.

Q. When Finns talk among themselves, do they discuss the relative strengths of their society compared to others? How do they explain their successes to each other?

A. Generally we don't talk about such things.

Q. Nokia has been one of the most creative and successful companies anywhere in the last decade. It has also become by far the most important company in the Finnish economy. What are the secrets of its success? Why did Finland turn out to be the natural home for cell phones?

A. It's not a coincidence that Finland became the home of mobile phone revolution. But it's not what you usually hear: that because we have a cold winter and you have nothing else to do, or that because it's so difficult for the Finns to communicate otherwise! It's a combination. The high level of investment in technological research and development, which has been the government's policy since the early 80s. And, the nonhierarchical structure of Finnish companies like Nokia. This makes these companies more dynamic to act against their more hierarchical competitors.

Q. Linux, the free alternative to Windows, was invented by a Finn, Linus Torvalds. Was that a coincidence? Is there something particularly Finnish about Linux?

 A. Linus [Torvalds] is not an exception. The Internet Relay Chat was invented by a Finn, the first graphical Web browser (before Netscape and Mosaic) was developed by Finns, etc. It's the education system. Studying at the Finnish universities is free and you also get a monthly student grant. So you don't have immediate pressures to just graduate and guarantee a safe career. Linus and others have space for playing with ideas and this is seen as an important feature of the academic life in Finland. It took Linus eight years as a student at the Helsinki University to get his master's degree, but he created Linux!

Q. Some Finns drink a lot of vodka; Finnish men have a high suicide rate. Unemployment is higher in Finland than in the U.S. Is the rosy picture of successful Finland misleading? What's wrong with Finland?

A. This is the darker side of our history. As I said, we have a history of suffering. Think about Finland where it can get -30 degrees Celsius [22 below zero Fahrenheit] in the winter. And think of it before modern technology. It was a real challenge to get through the winters. You can easily forget that when you visit Finland at this time of year when people are happy bathing in the sun in the summer.

Suffering creates both the positive capacity of empathizing with the suffering of others, which is the basis of ethics and caring--and the Finnish welfare state. But it can also turn into self-destructive melancholy. We still have this but as I said, Finland is transforming greatly through the new culture generated by thing like Nokia, Linux, and HIM.

Q. And a related question: Linus Torvalds now lives and works in the U.S. You yourself spent a couple of years in California in your 20s, in Berkeley. Why is America so attractive to talented young Finns like you and Torvalds? Do we have something Finland lacks?

A. Of course. Finland doesn't have the same kind of multicultural space where people from very different backgrounds can interact. And multiculturalism is also important for creativity, as one can see in Silicon Valley. Also, Finnish society doesn't incite entrepreneurial behavior as much as American society does. I enjoyed my American time very much and I think that most Europeans who criticize America do so because they haven't really seen it. For me, the main reason to go to America, however, was paradoxically to work with my colleague Manuel Castells who had moved there from Spain!

Q. Finland has a welfare state; all education and medical care are free, pensions are quite generous, and a spirit of egalitarianism appears to be strong. Many other European countries are coming to realize that their welfare states are too generous--they can't really afford them. What about Finland? Do you face the now-common demographic crisis confronted by so many other Europeans, an aging population and an insufficient number of younger workers to support the welfare state?

A. Finland is facing this challenge. But it's possible to solve. We introduced the concept of "a virtuous cycle" in my book with Castells. If we are able to expand the kind of creativity that we've seen with Nokia or HIM, then we get enough income to continue to fund the welfare state, which provides a basis for getting new innovators on a socially sustainable basis. Another thing is to learn from America: Finland needs to open its borders more for people and encourage an entrepreneurial culture.

Q. Taxes in Finland are high--they take about 45 percent of your gross domestic product (the comparable U.S. figure is just over 25 percent). A gallon of gas costs about $5.50 in Finland. How do Finns feel about paying high taxes? Do Finns, like Americans, dream of getting rich? Do rich Finns live like rich Americans, in big houses with servants and such? Do you have Finnish conservatives who think their government is too big, taxes them too much, and restricts their freedom?

A. It's interesting that when the Finns are asked what are the most important things for the government to do, health and education rank highest. Finnish tax rates are quite high, but not the highest in Europe. As long as Finns feel they get a good return on their tax Euros in terms of public services, they are willing to pay. They generally see taxes as a fair price to pay for a society that provides equal opportunities, and because everyone benefits directly from our public services. Everyone has been educated in public schools and universities. Everyone has used the public health services. These aren't just services for the poor. If you don't allow your democratically-elected government to tax the economy to provide equal opportunities in life for everyone, no one else can do it.  But comparing tax bites as a percentage of GDP is misleading. To compare yourselves to Finland, Americans should add to the 25% you pay in taxes all the costs of health insurance and health care, higher education, savings for pensions and so on--in other words, all the expenses that Finns don't have to pay, once they've paid their taxes.

Finns want to get rich for the same reasons other people do--to be wealthy. But the difference between the richest Finns and he poorest is not as big as elsewhere. Finns wouldn't consider it fare if, as in the U.S., the CEO earned 350 times more than the factory worker. The rich don't need to move into gated communities. Their children will go to school with people from very different social backgrounds, to they don't become a totally isolated elite.

Decreasing taxes comes much lower in priorities here. Even the Finnish "Republicans" don't run for a radical tax cut, although naturally there are politicians who think that the government is too big. In the surveys, "getting rich" is not among the highest priorities for the Finns. Usually people talk more about health and family as the most important things in life.

Q. What or who moves Finns emotionally? Does the society allow for emotional reactions to individuals, ideas, fashions, forms of art or popular culture?

A. Mostly Finns are moved by the same things as people everywhere: love, etc. But if we think about cultural things then the Finns continue to be very much moved by music. The Finnish Top 10 has always music made in Finnish and that is very Finnish in its nature. It's a marriage of the Finnish language and our mentality. Finns can also get very emotional hearing the music of Sibelius, our greatest classical music composer (especially the Finlandia hymn). A surprising thing -- keeping in mind that many people abroad have the impression that the Finns don't express their emotions--is that tango is very popular in Finland. Argentina meets the stiff Nordic people there. On a larger scale, things that are linked to the national identity can move people a lot: for example, when Finland won the ice-hockey world championship in 1995, hundreds of thousands gathered to celebrate in the streets of Helsinki. People still sing the songs that are still associated with the victory. Often, Finnish reality is very different from the stereotypes that people have about the Finns.

Q. American society is divided on a number of contentious issues. Can you tell us briefly what the situation is in Finland in regard to:

* Abortion?

A. The Finnish view is that women have a right to decide on their bodies. There's no controversy on abortion.

* Euthanasia?

A. Passive euthanasia--that is, not keeping people alive hopelessly--would be acceptable to many Finns. Active euthanasia would be more divisive.

* Prayer in schools, and the separation of church and state generally? Does religion play any role in public life?

A. No prayer in school. Finnish politicians don't refer to religion. You would never hear a Finnish politician say "God bless Finland." Finns want these things to be separated.

*The teaching of evolution or creationism in the schools?

A. All schools teach the evolution theory, the Christian theory of creation is naturally also taught but not as an alternative to science but rather as an allegorical story.

* Gay marriage, and gay soldiers in your military?

A. Gays can marry but not in the church. They don't yet have all the same rights as heterosexuals do. No issue on gay soldiers.

* The death penalty?

A. Finland is strongly against death penalty, which is not part of our system.

* Gun control? Can citizens own rifles? Pistols?

A. We don't think that owning a gun is a constitutional right or that it would have something to do with individual's freedom. The Finnish thinking is that the number of guns is linked to having a more violent society. But you can own guns on certain conditions, for example, for hunting, which is quite popular in the countryside.

* Immigration. Do you have immigration? From where? How are immigrants treated? Do foreigners seek to become citizens of Finland? Is that possible?

A. We have immigration in relatively small numbers so compared to the US Finland is a very homogeneous society, which I think is a limitation. Immigrants can become citizens of Finland but here our attitudes should get much more open.

We will be meeting Himanen in Helsinki and look forward to further exchanges with him. We may ask him to answer another round of questions at the end of our trip, based on what we see and hear in Finland.
--Robert G. Kaiser

By Robert G. Kaiser |  May 23, 2005; 10:00 AM ET  | Category:  Culture
Next: Modest Finland

Comments

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Very interesting discussion.

Posted by: cecile Ruel | May 23, 2005 01:12 PM

In November 2001, I had the opportunity to work in Lahti and spend a weekend in Helsinki. I was truly blown away by the country of Finland and its people. Helsinki was a wonderful city to just walk and walk. All the travel books that said (warned) that Finns are a little cold and reserved were so wrong. Everyone I interacted with - from the people I was working with to store clerks - were warm and helpful even if we only shared about eight common words.

I hope to go back again some day (although in the summer next time!).

Posted by: Joe | May 23, 2005 01:36 PM

Good luck on your trip! As you may find out (emails, comments), finns are VERY interested in what others think of them. Having lived in Finland for 10 years (ages 10-19), and with my family still living there, I'm always curious to see what finns say about themselves.

I think the changes in Finland are much more drastic than Prof. Himanen described in his initial email Q&A, but I'll be interested to read your blog entries and stories.

Hyvaa matkaa!

Posted by: Mikko | May 23, 2005 01:40 PM

I'M A FINNISH NAMED PERSON FROM MINNESOTA, WISH I WOULD HAVE LEARNED MORE ABOUT THE FINNISH PEOPLE WHEN I WAS GROWING UP. MY GRANDPARENTS CAME FROM FINLAND WAY BACK. ANYWAYS IM 100% BLOODED FINN, AND PROUD OF IT.
THANKS TERRY E. RYTKONEN

Posted by: TERRY E RYTKONEN | May 23, 2005 01:43 PM

Making comparisons between this country and Finland is an exercise of very limited utility. Like comparing Vermont and California.

Posted by: kurosawaguy | May 23, 2005 01:53 PM

What an excellent first chapter in your blog. As a Finnish citizen permanently living in the US, your first arcticle was probably the best intro to Finland I've read anywhere.

For once a story about Finland without the "obligatory" reference to the wife carrying competition :)

However, to truly understand the Finnish, you have to explore our very difficult struggle during World War II, and the way Finland sacrificed and rebuilt itself after the war. Prior to the war Finland was a very low tech, poor and illiterate country. It's only after the war Finland started its development into one of the wealthiest countries in Europe.

Our achievements in sports (Paavo Nurmi, Mika Hakkinen, ski jumping) are a great sense of pride and also played a major part of putting Finland in the world map before and after World War II. There was a time when Finland took more Olympic gold medals in wrestling and (middle) distance running than other countries combined. For a poor, backwards, small country in the outer regions of Europe, this was about the only way to make our mark. It was as if David beat several Goliaths, repeatedly every four years.

Posted by: Tero Paananen | May 23, 2005 02:13 PM

I enjoyed reading Prof. Himanen's introduction to this Journey. Having lived in USA -as a born, raise and educated Finn- now close to 15 years, I often have difficulties summarizing these areas. Job well done! I also look forward following your journey through Finland, especially my native Lapland.

Posted by: Koikkalainen | May 23, 2005 02:13 PM

Keep up the good reporting, Greel!

Posted by: Pelican | May 23, 2005 02:40 PM

Made a trip to Finland last December for a retreat, had a few days to explore. Nearly everyone spoke English and very easy to talk to. Stayed in a hostle in Helsiniki at first then was invited to stay at an apartment of a friend of mine there.

There is such a sincere peaceful energy to the place, was a very cool trip.

Posted by: Darrin | May 23, 2005 02:43 PM

Please report on the status of the indigenous peoples, especially the Sami. I know that historically they have been treated rather shabbily in Sweden, but have not heard anything about those in Finland. Is their right to retain their language, culture and traditional land respected?

Posted by: kurosawaguy | May 23, 2005 02:48 PM

I enjoy very much readnig your Finland Diary in washingtonpost.com, and I am excited to hear that you will post story on this every week.

I am not a Finn but have quite a few of Finnish friends, as I am fascinated by the people and the culture. The Finns are honest, nice, and have an excellent sense of humor!:)

A little story to share: May 1st is the International Labor Day and the Finns have this huge celebration called Vappu (Wappu). Whoever has graduated from high school will wear those hats 6pm sharp on Vappu's Eve. So it's quite a scenary and party in Finland--you will see hundreds of Finns drinking on streets with those funny white hats on:) So this year, my Finnish friends in Boston came up with this funny idea of putting the hat on the duck statues at Boston Common. I would like to submit the photo if interested.

There's also an article about Finnish culture that I would like to submit but the email (finlanddiary@washingtonpost.com) is not working. Please check and let me know if there's an alternative email address to comment.

Posted by: Sue | May 23, 2005 02:51 PM

You two seem to have a knack for taking fascinating journeys together.

How long did it take for you or you two to come up with the idea for this trip? How long has it been in the works? How much research did you or other members on staff at the Post put into the trip? How planned is your trip? How much time have you alloted for serendipity?

Will you be doing some compare/contrast reporting with lifestyles/social conditions/government in Finland vs. U.S.? (Is it as one poster shared..that comparing the two countries is of very limited utility, like comparing Vermont and California?)

I hope your reporting, Bob, will be thought-provoking, hopefully on a daily basis. I recall your trip to the Ohio delegation at the Republican convention. I thought it not as strong a piece as your mapcap dash to find a New York City fireman to interview. In hindsight, Ohio played a quite important role on election night.

I am curious whether Finland has a gastarbeiter "problem" like Germany? Is Finland doing anything interesting in the high tech biosciences? Are they doing any research in the many realms of high tech that may be considered "bleeding edge" given the high level of credentials required of their teachers, as explained in your inital reporting today?

I really hope that "ol' Tex" Lucian will deliver some great photos, as he did for the Republican/Democratic conventions last year.

This jaunt of yours shall certainly enliven connecting to the Post electronically for the next three weeks--for me at least!
Tack sa mycket.

Posted by: U.S. Svenska flicka | May 23, 2005 02:55 PM

I lived in Finland for 7 years. Finland has the least corrption among officials compared to all countries of the worls. Life could be a bit expensive at first glance, but housing is affordable and that usually balanced the budget well. The Finns struck me initially as very isolationists and cold, this changed after few months once I began to understand Finland better. I realized that the Finns are among the most honest personalities in the world. I am proud of the time spent there and will always treasure the memories and the wonderful friends. Have a wonderful trip and don't let the shyness of the Finns be a barrier, if you manage to break it you will see how warm hearted they really are. If you are offered KoskenKorva or Salmiakki, make sure you have a ride home :)

Posted by: Talal | May 23, 2005 02:57 PM

Very interesting introduction. I'm looking forward to future entries.

Posted by: Cameron | May 23, 2005 03:03 PM

Ah, going to Finland at this time of year - your job is a nice one. Having travelled to Finland many times for business, I can say that I love it. Two points about the article however: religion does not play a huge role in Finnish life anyway, so it is not terribly enlightening to learn that there is a separation of politics/religion. That is not true in America, so the comparison is meaningless.

Second, some Finns do not have the broadest view toward foreigners, I have found. And it is easy to achieve the best education in the world when you don't have to cater to immigrants. It is totally homogeneous, as the article correctly points out.

Hopefully you visit Oulu and Tampere - two very different places (and cultures) compared to Helsinki.

And honest? Let me tell you a short story. While shopping in Hki, I lost my wallet fat with American bucks in it, and plenty o' Euros. After much panicking and a frantic call to my wife back in the States for no apparant reason, I retraced my steps and remembered the last place I took out my wallet - the jam and gift store on the other side of town. The owner had closed up, but hearing that I was there she rushed back and returned my wallet. She had been calling every hotel in Hki looking for me. Nice, huh?

Posted by: harry | May 23, 2005 03:32 PM

I have been a Finnophile ever since a summer ('87) spent there as an exchange student with the Törmänens of Kempele (near Oulu). It's a beautiful country. It is VERY homogenous, and this does make it very different from the US--the "Vermont vs. California" comparison is apt. Still, I remember it fondly and often.

Posted by: Mike | May 23, 2005 03:43 PM

Wonderful beginning to what i'm certain will be a fascinating diary!
My Finnish Grandmother eloped with my French/Mohawk Grandfather, much to her parents' chagrin, and i have cousins among the Saami. i hope your coverage will include the lives of the Saami within Finland's borders: not only the prejudice and stereotyping they endure, but also their strong and vibrant culture.

Posted by: Karen | May 23, 2005 04:47 PM

Bravo! Your jaunts around the world are easily one of the most interesting features to read (and look at) in one of the world's most interesting papers.

As to Finnish education, I recommend visiting Helsingin Suomalainen Yhteiskoulu (http://www.syk.edu.hel.fi/), a high school in Helsinki that features the International Bacceloreate (IB) program. Here is where you will meet dozens of bright young Finns that beat the pants off almost all others in those OECD educational studies -- but that's not all that you will notice. Visit the cafeteria of this elite school and you'll see that there is only one dish on the menu: soup. It's not that the Finns are poor or "boring." It's just, well, smart and practical: healthy, cheap, warm and tasty. What else do you need? Second thing you'll notice: not one overweight (or even unattractive) kid in the school of hundreds. Not one. The IB coordinator herself is one of those countless impossibly bright, attractive young Finns sipping soup with everyone else.

Also, you gotta try that Finnish reindeer meat. Love it.

So this doesn't turn into a total ***-kissing affair, I sampled some of that "HIM" music and found it needed salt. The professor really needs to listen to some Squirrel Nut Zippers. Fast. Also, what is wrong with this sentence: "Finns wouldn't consider it fare if, as in the U.S., the CEO earned 350 times more than the factory worker." Tsk, tsk.

Lastly, a recommendation for the world travellers' next stop: the most interesting place that people think they know but don't: Liverpool.

Posted by: Jerome | May 23, 2005 05:12 PM


I loved reading your Finnish Diary. I am a second generation Finn - my parents both having been born in Finland. The only family that I now have live in Helsinki and Tampere - I live in Los Angeles. I smiled as I read your comments about the Finnish temperament, ingenuity and rather humble approach to business and life in general because they are so true. I see these qualities in myself and certainly in my cousins when I speak with them. I never took the time to admire these qualities in my parents who while in their twenties and still single with $25 in their pockets left Finland in 1929 for Canada and a better life. Sadly they lived through some of the toughest times in Finland especially in 1918 during the Finnish Civil War but they never lost their Finnish "sisu", a word known to every Finn. I am extremely proud of my heritage and I so appreciate your first hand reports of your days in Finland.

Posted by: Mirja Bishop | May 23, 2005 05:49 PM

As a Finn who has been living in the US with my American husband for the last 8 years,I thoroughly enjoyed your Finland Diary sofar.

I often am engaged in conversations with American friends who seem to have a hard time believing that any "government run" services might be efficient, modern and of equal or [gasp!] higher quality than something you would get on the private market. I really liked the fact that you pointed out that Finns actually do get a lot for their taxes, and that it is not always the amount of money that determnes the quality, but often the investment in education and people. I do think the comparison looking at what we in the US have to pay for insurance, health care, education, elderly care, child care etc was relevant and spot on!

One very essential part of our Finnish national identity that we are particularly proud of, and that I hope you will be blogging on, is that we have two official languages, Finnish and Swedish, and although only about 6% of the population considers Finnish-Swedish their first language, we generally take pride in knowing both languages and we treasure this cultural diversity. A good way to feel the pulse of how harmoniously our cultures blend would be to visit the plains of Ostrobotnia and report to us on the beautiful city of Vasa, the magnificent archipelagio and perhaps catch some of the concerts during the world famous Korsholm Music Festival, especially in the charming little village of Solf!

Thank you for your refreshingly open-minded reporting! I am very much looking forward to following your adventures.

Posted by: Marjo Aho | May 23, 2005 06:34 PM

After my first posting, and after reading several nice comments about the well balanced life in Finland, I would like to add that Finnish government also got many things to get better about. As a small busienss owner in USA, I find it amazing that someone can actually get off the ground with a small business in Finland. The lack of encouraging system, helping small companies become bigger (and providing additional jobs for people) is almost non-existing. Both of my parents (living in Finland) are business owners and I run a small company here in USA. We often compare things (taxes, etc), those daily things to business owners no matter where you live and operate. I could never imagine having to start up my operations in Finland after hearing about my parents experiences - this is mostly about the overwhelming taxation during the first few years. Facts I hear make me wonder how on earth companies ever get started in Finland ..... maybe this is where that *sisu* comes in play. I very much hope to read about small business owners and how they struggle with their first years of operation. Basically, if you can pull it off in Finland, you can pull it off anywhere ....

Posted by: Koikkalainen | May 23, 2005 07:12 PM

Q. Some Finns drink a lot of vodka; Finnish men have a high suicide rate. Unemployment is higher in Finland than in the U.S. Is the rosy picture of successful Finland misleading? What's wrong with Finland?

I would like to add a comment to the above question concerning the unemployment in Finland. The situation has not been like this always, quite on the contrary. One clear reason to this is that there used to be a very lively export trade with the Russias: clothes, machinery etc. In return we got gasoline, natural gas and so on. The downfall of Russia put this business into a temporary halt affecting many companies and creating unemployment in business areas which used to have a steady flow over the Eastern border. Much of the current unemployment is a result of this and as a reminder of this, the Russian goverment still owes a fairly large sum to Finland of the unpaid goods. As a ground level example of what we experienced in the industry (I used to work as an engineer) was that suddenly the former buyers simply ceased to exist and when we delivered the goods (machinery) they were left unopened and unprotected. Anyway, the unemployment has been getting smaller and hopefully continues to do so.

---

About the vodka; I don't have any statistic at hand but if we measure the consumption in pure alcohol it does not significantly differ from similar figures in Europe.

Back in the history Finland also had a Prohibition but when it was repealed the selling of alcohol was not totally liberated. Even today, you can buy beer but not vine or stronger beverage from a general store. As a layman, my wild guess is that the politics in this matter (similar with Sweden) has an unexamined psychological impact in this whole question.

Posted by: Risto Apajalahti | May 23, 2005 09:28 PM

Q. Some Finns drink a lot of vodka; Finnish men have a high suicide rate. Unemployment is higher in Finland than in the U.S. Is the rosy picture of successful Finland misleading? What's wrong with Finland?

I would like to add a comment to the above question concerning the unemployment in Finland. The situation has not been like this always, quite on the contrary. One clear reason to this is that there used to be a very lively export trade with the Russias: clothes, machinery etc. In return we got gasoline, natural gas and so on. The downfall of Russia put this business into a temporary halt affecting many companies and creating unemployment in business areas which used to have a steady flow over the Eastern border. Much of the current unemployment is a result of this and as a reminder of this, the Russian goverment still owes a fairly large sum to Finland of the unpaid goods. As a ground level example of what we experienced in the industry (I used to work as an engineer) was that suddenly the former buyers simply ceased to exist and when we delivered the goods (machinery) they were left unopened and unprotected. Anyway, the unemployment has been getting smaller and hopefully continues to do so.

---

About the vodka; I don't have any statistic at hand but if we measure the consumption in pure alcohol it does not significantly differ from similar figures in Europe.

Back in the history Finland also had a Prohibition but when it was repealed the selling of alcohol was not totally liberated. Even today, you can buy beer but not vine or stronger beverage from a general store. As a layman, my wild guess is that the politics in this matter (similar with Sweden) has an unexamined psychological impact in this whole question.

Posted by: Risto Apajalahti | May 23, 2005 09:29 PM

Thank you. You really made my day. I wish you all the best from the sunny and warm Helsinki (25 C degrees).

In your articles you have found the modern Finnish spirit. Great work!

Posted by: Jukka Siukonen | May 24, 2005 03:47 AM

The e-mail adress isn't working, so I'll just post these comments up here:

I noticed a few errors in Pekka Himanens post. Of course not everyone
is an expert even on their own country.

Firstly, on prayer in schools: there is in fact quite alot of prayer
in schools, though I understand that this is becoming less so as
younger generations of teachers start work. There is mandatory
religious education in schools and often days are started with prayer
or religious singing. Wether or not children participate is decided by
the parents though participation is automatic and if children's
parents do not wish for children to participate they must take part in
special classes emphasising philosphy and different world views.

Participation in these classes is higher in the large cities and
propably zero due to peer pressure in rural areas. My friend is a
history teacher at a local highschool near Turku and he teaches a
class of four to five students these classes.

On guns: though I do not have a source to quote, apparently there are
more guns per capita in finland than in the united states, though this
may include all kinds of guns. I am sure there are fewer hand guns. It
is perfectly legal to own a hand gun if you belong to a gun club.
Anyone can join, I think the age limit is 16. Shotguns and rifles have
few restrictions, I'm not sure you even need a permit for a shotgun.

American gun laws are very strict compared to Finnish laws. Attitudes
in cities are quite anti-gun, though in the countryside guns are very
common.

There are some shootings every now and then, though 99% of the time
the people know each other. Most gun crime appears to take place in
rural areas or in people's homes.

Oh, and one more thing, on the welfare state. This is very contested
right now. An overwhelming number of Finns support the welfare state
and every political party claims to support it. However, the methods
vary, with the right wing parties claiming liberalization is the
answer and the left wing parties being more concervative on the issue,
wanting to atleast slow down the outsourcing of services. The
political mainstream however is quite homogenous with mostly
rhetorical and powerbase differences between left and right and real
life policy going in the same direction of greater liberalization.
This is exemplified by the fact that the last three governments have
been coalition governments with a broad political base.

Of course people's political views vary much more.

Just thought you might want to know.

Misha Dellinger, Turku

Posted by: Misha Dellinger | May 24, 2005 04:24 AM

I've been to Finland twice in the past three years, during the summer of course. It is a marvelous country with extraordinary people. I myself, marvel at the egalitarian ethos as compared to our winner takes all structure. The people are great and selfless, the sharp honesty can take some getting used to. All in all, I've always wondered of expatriot jobs there :)

Posted by: Bill | May 24, 2005 04:59 AM

Errr.... no religion?

Firstly, Finland has a State Church, or actually two. The Evengelic-Lutheran and the Greek Catholic (=Orthodox) churches. They have a right of taxation, meaning you "belong to church" = you pay automatically ~1,2% tax off your pay. Businesses also pay a "community tax" regardless of denomination, so the Jewish barber and the Moslem butcher as well as the Roman Catholic baker and the atheist barowner all pay "church tax" to the Lutheran and Orthodox coffers.

And what comes to religion in school; its 12 years of obligatory religion classes - depending on your denomination - parents can opt for "ethics" if they don't "belong to the Church" but theres no escape.

A contrast however to the USA; where everyone "goes to church" in Finland your average male goes to Church when he gets married and after he's dead. The attendance figures are maybe 10% whereas the "belong" figure is closer to 85%.

Posted by: Hank W. | May 24, 2005 05:36 AM

" its 12 years of obligatory religion classes"
But those classes are not confessional, or at least they should not be. They should not be worshipping but learning about religion.

But Hank is right, Finland has a state church, and it's quite integral part of our society.

Posted by: Markus | May 24, 2005 06:02 AM

On the immigration thing.

Finland has for the past hundred years or so been exporting people in search of a better livelihood, so one can compare Finland to countries like Iceland or Ireland rather than Germany, Sweden, UK let alone USA or Canada. Apples & oranges.

If we look into the statistics, as from the "Pocket Information 2001" by the Poulation Register Centre (theres a 2003 out as well)we can come up with a few breakdown numbers.

The amount of resident "foreiginers" i.e. people who are not citizens, is 1,8%.

Of these the largest group by citizenship is Russians, 20.000; and Estonians, 10.000; Swedes 7.000 explained probably by the fact these are neighbouring countries, the fourth group being Somalian, 4000; and Iraqi 3100 which is explained by refugees from these countries. The other big citizen groups are Great Britain, Germany, USA -some 2000 each.

The percentage of foreiginers per city is pretty parallel with the size of the city as well as its position on the map, as the largest, Helsinki with 550.000 inhabitants has 25.000 foreiginers; Espoo with 200.000/6.000 both in the South, Oulu with 120.000 inhabitants has 1.600 foreiginers in the North.

While classification by race or nationality is illegal, the classification by "citizenship" as in by passport can be done. When you talk about the whole population, as in residents you can make a
classification by the language a person speaks. Now the probability of a person from Estonia speaking Estonian or a person from Vietnam speaking Vietnamese may well be 90% accurate, however this doesn't apply to world languages such as French, English or Arabic. So the breakdown by
nationality, race or somesuch can only be made with wide generalizations.

Now if we look at the mother tongue breakdown we see a somewhat interesting development. Besides the three "domestic" languages that have some sort of official recognition; Finnish 4 780.000 speakers,
Swedish 290.000 speakers and Sámi 1.700 speakers, the other big languages are
Russian with 30 000 speakers, Estonian 10.000, English 7000, Somali 6.500, Arabic 5.000 and Albanian, Chinese, German, Vietnamese and Kurdish with some 3000 speakers each.

Also if you say that 1,8% foreiginers of the population is "very little" we'd say it is "extreme". At least compared with the figures of very stabile
0,3% in 1980
0,3% in 1985
0,4% in 1990 after which it started to rise with 0,1% per year to 2001.

In 1980 the population of Finland was 4 700.000, 12.000 foreiginers. Now *you* can ask yourself if Finland was not a "homogenized" country?

The smaller minorities, the Tartars and Roma in Finland have never numbered more than a few thousand, and for example the Sámi have been classified historically more by their livelihood and culture rather by their language and Swedish-speaking minority then again by their language, as their livelihood and culture is indistinguishable from the Finnish speakers.

BTW The foreign population of Finland was until the 2nd World War bigger than that of Sweden. Go figure.

Posted by: Hank W. | May 24, 2005 06:09 AM

Quote: American gun laws are very strict compared to Finnish laws. Attitudes
in cities are quite anti-gun, though in the countryside guns are very
common.

Actually, the finnish laws are a lot stricter. You need a permit to own or carry a fire arm. You even need a permit for specific ammunition if you want to buy any.

Yes, the hippies in the cities are anti-gun but most of the people still have relatives living in the country and have more reasonable attitude. A quite common hobby is hunting. Think about poor Bambi.

Every gun owner is registered and every gun is registered. Even shotguns. If you want to borrow a gun you need a permit. The permits are only issued if a person has a good reason i.e. a hobby, not personal protection.

In the US they have .45 rounds next to LEGO boxes.

Posted by: Arttu Kamppila | May 24, 2005 08:10 AM

Finland does have some of the most liberated women in the world. Here, women even work in construction and road crews with the hot asphalt and even doing the grass cutting in the summer and landscape maintenance of the city. But then again, they may also be Russians on guest worker visas. I can't tell the difference between finns and russians when they're dressed in work clothes. Russian women tend to dress up much more than finnish women. Meaning, the Russian women will wear better makeup, nicer clothes and generally show more style. Finnish women like to keep it simple. But please don't make it sound as if Finland is the only country in the world with female leaders. Even Pakistan had a female prime minister. Also India, Latvia (or lithuainia) and a handful of others. Finland was not the first.

It is true, finland is huge, but nobody wants to live in most of it. This past weekend, my friends and I were saying that Finland is becoming a huge park. Compared to the rest of europe, Finland is like one large national park. Everyone is moving to the south, mainly to Helsinki and Espoo. Most of the land seems to be owned by the forest industry for their paper mills. You would think everyone would have a large house with 4 acres of land surrounding them, but the reality is that most people live in Row houses or in apartment buildings.

That is what makes living in finland difficult, its geography. You have sea to the west, sea to the south, Russia to the east so it might as well be a sea because visas are expensive and too much hassel, and the artic to the north. So we really feel like we live on an island very seperated from europe. The long winter nights also drive people mad contributing to the fact that finland has one of the highest suicide rates in the world. Finns have an extremely short memory that helps them survive in this land. They forget bad memories quickly. If you watch finnish movies and television, they rarely display winter scenes. They convince themselves that it is not really so long. The ones that do not succeed in this attempt suicide. Everyone in this country knows someone who has attempted suicide. That is what makes it such a great place to get away to if you just want to forget about the world.

Finland has been able to clean up their industries by doing something extremely simple. Outsourcing those industries to Russia and eastern europe. The major dirty work that goes into making phones, electronics, forestry products, etc.. those are done in other countries. Finland doesn't even make its own matches anymore.

I know that Finland has been ranked as the most competitive economy in the world, but I really find it hard to believe and so does the Helsinginsanomat which can be read in the article "Seven myths about finland". http://www2.helsinginsanomat.fi/english/archive/news.asp?id=20031111IE1

Unemployment is really high here. And last I heard, Finland is no longer number one in mobil phones per capita. When your land line costs you 20 euros per month, PLUS per minute charges no matter where you call... there really is no reason to have a land line phone when you can have a mobil phone of which an average bill is 20 or 30 euros per month. People in finland, and the rest of europe for that matter, don't realize that in other parts of the world, as in the states, a land line isn't very expensive and local calls are free.
Linux may have been a finnish invention, but it was based completely on UNIX which was an american invention.

Something that is amazing about finns is that even though they don't have a lot of money, they will spend most of it on the latest gadets. Most everyone in Finland makes around 20,000 euros per year, people with masters degrees, engineers make a maximum of 4,000 euros per year, and that's after many years of experience. The cost of living in Finland is probably 30 percent higher than in the US. So, if you walk into a finnish house, you will not feel like you have walked into an american house. A lot of their furniture will be hand me downs or they have just cashed in on a inheritence. Housing costs are the same in Tampere as they are in southern california.

And like I said before, when I am paying 30 to 50 percent income taxes and 20 percent (VAT) sales taxes, I find it difficult to call my health insurance and welfare benefits "free".

Finns and many others kick this word "FREE" around a lot. Free education. No, its not free, our taxes are paying for it. Free university, no, our taxes and industry partnerships are paying for it. If they would charge a little, maybe there would be more interesting research programs as in the states. But to be nice, Finland's university resources are INCREDIBLE compared to France, Spain or any of the other southern european countries. The exchange students from those countries can't believe their eyes. American students think the labs are a little under equipped but satisfactory.

This man, Pekka Himanen, says Finnish society is all inclusive. What a load of c**p. Finnish society is all inclusive of all higher educated finns. Highly educated finns do not mix with lower educated finns. Since they were 14, they divide their society among vocational schooler, high math students and low math students. They rarely mix with each other. And any minorities in the country are completely marginalized. But since it is impossible to not pay taxes, all EU citizens and permanent residents have a right to the welfare benefits. But if you're here on a worker visa and paying 50 percent taxes.. you have no right to welfare.

The biggest factor behind finnish success has been LUCK and excellent workmanship. They found a niche that was being ignored and they have milked it.

It was reported that even most unemployed mothers leave their children in day care centers. A fantastic idea here is the 3 year long maternity leave. But I must admit, for the employer, it is very difficult. They have to provide the first 3 months full salary and they have to find a replacement who after some time, will have to be fired because the mommy will come back to work. I have a friend who was working, then became pregnant. When she was nearing her third year of maternity leave, she became pregnant again, and the whole cycle repeats. How long can something like that be funded? My own family, my finnish wife just had our first child, and we are returning to California soon. SO her first year of maternity leave checks will help us a lot in California where I will be working as an engineer making 60,000 dollars per year (5,000/month). But you would be surprised at how easy it is to become accostumed to paying high taxes. That's just life.

Do you know that if you are self employed, the only pension you are entitled to is the one you create for yourself. You'll get nothing from the state. But its a different story for employees. Is that "all inclusive" finland? A big part of life in scandinavia is "envy". People here envy successful people. They talk about them behind their backs. Everybody guns for the top dog.

Please don't get me wrong, I'm not saying finland is a horrible place to live, it just isn't for me. The snow service is especially horrible. Slippery sidewalks and roads are simply accepted, so falling is accepted as part of life. I just can't live that way. When I slipped and broke my leg, there were people around me and nobody helped me get up. I think that Finns have come to depend so much on their welfare system, that they have forgotton how to help anyone themselves. They simply expect the government to take care of it.

But Pekka is right, you cannot compare contries simply by GDP. It was stated that Finns pay 45% in taxes and americans pay 25%. Does that include VAT(sales tax)? I doubt it. So, using my own situation of $60,000/yr, I will pay $300 per month health insurance. So health insurance is 6%. 7% pension. Higher education, mine cost $3000 per year (I stayed at home with mom and dad like a smart kid). So I finished in 4 years, $12,000. How do I put this into the percentages? My pre-university education was also free.

USA Finland
Income tax 25% 45%
Health ins 6%
Pension 7%
------------------------------
38% 45%

Sales tax 8% 20%
------------------------------
46% 65%

Okay, now it bothers me how much taxes I pay. Especially when I see the number of drunks and free loaders living it up in Finland.

Its true though, most finns do not want to be rich. And I don't think most americans want to be rich either. But our definitions of comfortable and independent are very different. Americans with families do not feel comfortable and independant unless they have a house with over 100 sq meters (1000 sq ft), they must own a suv or minivan to comfortably travel with the kids, and everything else varies. Finns can cram their families into a tiny car and live in a 75 sq meter house comfortably and generally feel they are living a great life. And everything in their house will be very simple and gathered over many years of saving up.

If you have ever watched EUROVISION, it is a wonder that this article states that finland produces many great musicians. Finland has repeatedly failed to even qualify for Eurovision over the years.

The brain washing campaign of the government in Finland has been extremely successful. And Finns are great at supporting their own. They will pay 3 euros for a finnish grown cucumber even though it is next to a 50 cent cucumber from Spain. They buy finnish brands no matter how tasteless they are and will only say great things about anything finnish. It is for these reasons that you must be sceptical of all statistics in finland. They do not like to air their dirty laundry as americans do.

Finns are desperate for respect and recognition, after having been in the shadows of Sweden and Russia for the past 500 years. Finns like to say that their culture is 1000 years old, but.. they refer to the Sami culture, which is a completely different blood line of shorter, darker people. They still show re-runs of the 1995 ice hockey world championship where Finland won top prize. How nostalgic can you be?

A funny thing about religion. They say there is no relgion in school and that no politician says "God Bless Finland", but the fact is that all holidays in finland are from the Lutheran religion, and it has been reported in the helsinginsanomat that the lutheran church is extremely favored by taxes. Other religions were even called second class religions. But generally, finns are not religious and consider people who go to church to be "strange". And I'm sure they study religion in school because I have Bahai friends who go to the local school to give classes. I just read that there is 12 years of obligatory religion lessons. Religion lessons are for learning about your religion. That's how it works everywhere in the world. Nobody worships during religion lessons, well, maybe a little.

Lots of people in finland own hunting guns. I even know of a guy that shot at burglars running away from his house. Hand guns are rare. Which I think is a good thing. That's something I really admire and enjoy in europe. I rather be robbed with a knife than with a gun.

Finns generally do not like or accept immigrants. But they are coming none the less and I predict finland will have a serious civil upheavel in the future as middle europe is currently having with their far right groups.
Finland does have some of the most liberated women in the world. Here, women even work in construction and road crews with the hot asphalt and even doing the grass cutting in the summer and landscape maintenance of the city. But then again, they may also be Russians on guest worker visas. I can't tell the difference between finns and russians when they're dressed in work clothes. Russian women tend to dress up much more than finnish women. Meaning, the Russian women will wear better makeup, nicer clothes and generally show more style. Finnish women like to keep it simple. But please don't make it sound as if Finland is the only country in the world with female leaders. Even Pakistan had a female prime minister. Also India, Latvia (or lithuainia) and a handful of others. Finland was not the first.

It is true, finland is huge, but nobody wants to live in most of it. This past weekend, my friends and I were saying that Finland is becoming a huge park. Compared to the rest of europe, Finland is like one large national park. Everyone is moving to the south, mainly to Helsinki and Espoo. Most of the land seems to be owned by the forest industry for their paper mills. You would think everyone would have a large house with 4 acres of land surrounding them, but the reality is that most people live in Row houses or in apartment buildings.

That is what makes living in finland difficult, its geography. You have sea to the west, sea to the south, Russia to the east so it might as well be a sea because visas are expensive and too much hassel, and the artic to the north. So we really feel like we live on an island very seperated from europe. The long winter nights also drive people mad contributing to the fact that finland has one of the highest suicide rates in the world. Finns have an extremely short memory that helps them survive in this land. They forget bad memories quickly. If you watch finnish movies and television, they rarely display winter scenes. They convince themselves that it is not really so long. The ones that do not succeed in this attempt suicide. Everyone in this country knows someone who has attempted suicide. That is what makes it such a great place to get away to if you just want to forget about the world.

Finland has been able to clean up their industries by doing something extremely simple. Outsourcing those industries to Russia and eastern europe. The major dirty work that goes into making phones, electronics, forestry products, etc.. those are done in other countries. Finland doesn't even make its own matches anymore.

I know that Finland has been ranked as the most competitive economy in the world, but I really find it hard to believe and so does the Helsinginsanomat which can be read in the article "Seven myths about finland". http://www2.helsinginsanomat.fi/english/archive/news.asp?id=20031111IE1

Unemployment is really high here. And last I heard, Finland is no longer number one in mobil phones per capita. When your land line costs you 20 euros per month, PLUS per minute charges no matter where you call... there really is no reason to have a land line phone when you can have a mobil phone of which an average bill is 20 or 30 euros per month. People in finland, and the rest of europe for that matter, don't realize that in other parts of the world, as in the states, a land line isn't very expensive and local calls are free.
Linux may have been a finnish invention, but it was based completely on UNIX which was an american invention.

Something that is amazing about finns is that even though they don't have a lot of money, they will spend most of it on the latest gadets. Most everyone in Finland makes around 20,000 euros per year, people with masters degrees, engineers make a maximum of 4,000 euros per year, and that's after many years of experience. The cost of living in Finland is probably 30 percent higher than in the US. So, if you walk into a finnish house, you will not feel like you have walked into an american house. A lot of their furniture will be hand me downs or they have just cashed in on a inheritence. Housing costs are the same in Tampere as they are in southern california.

And like I said before, when I am paying 30 to 50 percent income taxes and 20 percent (VAT) sales taxes, I find it difficult to call my health insurance and welfare benefits "free".

Finns and many others kick this word "FREE" around a lot. Free education. No, its not free, our taxes are paying for it. Free university, no, our taxes and industry partnerships are paying for it. If they would charge a little, maybe there would be more interesting research programs as in the states. But to be nice, Finland's university resources are INCREDIBLE compared to France, Spain or any of the other southern european countries. The exchange students from those countries can't believe their eyes. American students think the labs are a little under equipped but satisfactory.

This man, Pekka Himanen, says Finnish society is all inclusive. What a load of c**p. Finnish society is all inclusive of all higher educated finns. Highly educated finns do not mix with lower educated finns. Since they were 14, they divide their society among vocational schooler, high math students and low math students. They rarely mix with each other. And any minorities in the country are completely marginalized. But since it is impossible to not pay taxes, all EU citizens and permanent residents have a right to the welfare benefits. But if you're here on a worker visa and paying 50 percent taxes.. you have no right to welfare.

The biggest factor behind finnish success has been LUCK and excellent workmanship. They found a niche that was being ignored and they have milked it.

It was reported that even most unemployed mothers leave their children in day care centers. A fantastic idea here is the 3 year long maternity leave. But I must admit, for the employer, it is very difficult. They have to provide the first 3 months full salary and they have to find a replacement who after some time, will have to be fired because the mommy will come back to work. I have a friend who was working, then became pregnant. When she was nearing her third year of maternity leave, she became pregnant again, and the whole cycle repeats. How long can something like that be funded? My own family, my finnish wife just had our first child, and we are returning to California soon. SO her first year of maternity leave checks will help us a lot in California where I will be working as an engineer making 60,000 dollars per year (5,000/month). But you would be surprised at how easy it is to become accostumed to paying high taxes. That's just life.

Do you know that if you are self employed, the only pension you are entitled to is the one you create for yourself. You'll get nothing from the state. But its a different story for employees. Is that "all inclusive" finland? A big part of life in scandinavia is "envy". People here envy successful people. They talk about them behind their backs. Everybody guns for the top dog.

Please don't get me wrong, I'm not saying finland is a horrible place to live, it just isn't for me. The snow service is especially horrible. Slippery sidewalks and roads are simply accepted, so falling is accepted as part of life. I just can't live that way. When I slipped and broke my leg, there were people around me and nobody helped me get up. I think that Finns have come to depend so much on their welfare system, that they have forgotton how to help anyone themselves. They simply expect the government to take care of it.

But Pekka is right, you cannot compare contries simply by GDP. It was stated that Finns pay 45% in taxes and americans pay 25%. Does that include VAT(sales tax)? I doubt it. So, using my own situation of $60,000/yr, I will pay $300 per month health insurance. So health insurance is 6%. 7% pension. Higher education, mine cost $3000 per year (I stayed at home with mom and dad like a smart kid). So I finished in 4 years, $12,000. How do I put this into the percentages? My pre-university education was also free.

USA Finland
Income tax 25% 45%
Health ins 6%
Pension 7%
------------------------------
38% 45%

Sales tax 8% 20%
------------------------------
46% 65%

Okay, now it bothers me how much taxes I pay. Especially when I see the number of drunks and free loaders living it up in Finland.

Its true though, most finns do not want to be rich. And I don't think most americans want to be rich either. But our definitions of comfortable and independent are very different. Americans with families do not feel comfortable and independant unless they have a house with over 100 sq meters (1000 sq ft), they must own a suv or minivan to comfortably travel with the kids, and everything else varies. Finns can cram their families into a tiny car and live in a 75 sq meter house comfortably and generally feel they are living a great life. And everything in their house will be very simple and gathered over many years of saving up.

If you have ever watched EUROVISION, it is a wonder that this article states that finland produces many great musicians. Finland has repeatedly failed to even qualify for Eurovision over the years.

The brain washing campaign of the government in Finland has been extremely successful. And Finns are great at supporting their own. They will pay 3 euros for a finnish grown cucumber even though it is next to a 50 cent cucumber from Spain. They buy finnish brands no matter how tasteless they are and will only say great things about anything finnish. It is for these reasons that you must be sceptical of all statistics in finland. They do not like to air their dirty laundry as americans do.

Finns are desperate for respect and recognition, after having been in the shadows of Sweden and Russia for the past 500 years. Finns like to say that their culture is 1000 years old, but.. they refer to the Sami culture, which is a completely different blood line of shorter, darker people. They still show re-runs of the 1995 ice hockey world championship where Finland won top prize. How nostalgic can you be?

A funny thing about religion. They say there is no relgion in school and that no politician says "God Bless Finland", but the fact is that all holidays in finland are from the Lutheran religion, and it has been reported in the helsinginsanomat that the lutheran church is extremely favored by taxes. Other religions were even called second class religions. But generally, finns are not religious and consider people who go to church to be "strange".

Lots of people in finland own hunting guns. I even know of a guy that shot at burglars running away from his house. Hand guns are rare. Which I think is a good thing. That's something I really admire and enjoy in europe. I rather be robbed with a knife than with a gun.

Finns generally do not like or accept immigrants. But they are coming none the less and I predict finland will have a serious civil upheaval in the future as middle europe is currently having with their far right groups.

Hi, I'm a mexican american living in finland for the
past 3 years. As Michel had stated earlier, it is
VERY difficult to find a job in finland, especially if
you are a foreigner. I myself even with a bachelors in
mechanical engineering ended up working in a english
preschool. In this country, if you are a foreigner,
everyone basically assumes that you are a refugee.
Especially if you have dark features. Gypsies aren't
even considered human. I would be surprised if they
are accounted for in the census. They say gypsies
don't go to school, but they don't look like gypsies
until they are married, at that point, they decide
whether or not they will wear their traditional
dresses and from then on, they wear them all the time.

But let me tell you the true reason why finnish
students do so well on tests. Teachers are a small
part of the reason, the big reason is CULTURE. That's
right, there is nothing more important to a finnish
family than the education of their children. The
parents talk about their children's studies all the
time, they help their children study, they proof read,
they make special tests for them, they send them to
extra intensive courses just before the big end of
year exams. You see, in this country, you're either
educated or you are "amatti" un-educated.

Finland has a holiday called Vappu on May 1st. On
this day, everyone who graduated from highschool (not
vocational school) wears a white hat. By law, you
only have to attend school up to the 9th grade.
People begin schooling at the age of 7 years old,
therefore being a bit more mature. At the age of 14,
they are expected to decide if they will do
highschool(who can go on to university) or vocational
school(to learn a trade like plumbing, janitor, road
repair, truck driving,super blue collar work). Then
the kids in highschool need to decide if they will
pursue high math(for engineering and accounting) or
low math(for liberal arts, hotel and tourism, etc..).
At this point, the grand divide begins. Most students
of high math only mingle with other high math
students. Low math only mingle with low math students
and the same with vocational school students. Then,
the students who go off to university rarely would
date or even imagine marrying someone who did not have
a university degree. They call the people who go off
to junior college(vocational school) "AMMIS" and it's
not a compliment.

So this is one big reason for why they do so well in
school. In the schools, there is absolutely no
respect for teachers. They call their teachers by
their first names or they make up degrading nicknames
for them and say it to their face. Many of the
finnish teachers that I know go off and get drunk just
as much as any teachers I know in Los Angeles.
Actually, since getting drunk at a party in finland is
almost "required", I am sure Finnish teachers are
drunk more often.

Another major factor has to be the fact that most
finns only have one child. So this child receives a
lot of attention and investment. The low birth rate
also aids in their low child mortality rate. It's
easier to hit a target with a rifle than with a
machine gun.

I seriously doubt that the finnish teachers deserve
most of the credit. It's like a doctor in Florida
taking credit for the great tan everybody in Florida
has. It's the culture!

At this moment, I have completed my masters of
Material Science in the University of Tampere. This
has to be the easiest system in the world. In all of
my classes, there was only a final exam for each
class. Rarely did most students ever show up to
lectures. Copies of old exams are available in the
department offices. And the new exams tend to repeat
the same questions as the old ones. So it is nearly
IMPOSSIBLE to fail an exam. But it is also VERY VERY
difficult to get a perfect or near perfect score.
Compared to my Bachelors from Cal Poly Pomona where we
had almost weekly quizes, mid-terms, then final exams
plus homework that was a part of your grade. But
maybe at masters level everywhere in the world, life
gets this easy.

They also practice in highschool by using many old
exams.

In Los Angeles, in my schools, that was always
considered cheating. If anyone was caught with old
exams in the university, something bad happened to
them. And teachers were not allowed to make copies of
books of anything. We had to buy them or check them
out of the library. But in europe, it is not illegal
to copy something if it is for educational purposes.
That is why we do not need to buy books in europe for
univeristy courses. The teachers give us copies of
books and notes and handouts to study from.

So these are some of the factors that go into those
high scores. So if you want those high scores for
your children, now you know what you have to do.


Oops.. sorry.. I had too many windows open, I hope this posts on the correct page.

Posted by: Eddie | May 24, 2005 09:26 AM

Hello Robert and Lucian,

I have just discovered your Finland Diary! I very much enjoyed the interview with Finnish philosopher Pekka Himanen, and the comments from others.

I wonder if you know about Finlandia University. Established in 1896 as Suomi College, it is the only university in the United States established by the Finnish. We continue to actively explore, preserve and promote our Finnish roots here in the Copper Country, as does the greater community. We are located in Michigan's upper peninsula on the Keweenaw Peninsula in Hancock, MI. The landscape here is said to be very much like Finland's. Over 38,000 persons of Finnish ancestry live in our service area, 25.6% of the entire population of the region.

The university also has many ties to contemporary Finland. The Finnish Ambassador to the U.S., Jukka Vultassari, delivered the commencement speech to our Class of 2005, and in 2003, President Tarja Halonen had the same honor. This week, several of our staff members are participating the Finnish Expatriate Parliament. In fact, our president, Dr. Robert Ubbelohde, is the only non-Finnish heritage member of this body.

I hope that you'll visit www.finlandia.edu to learn more about us.

Karen Johnson
Asst. Dir. of Communications
Finlandia University
601 Quincy St.
Hancock, MI 49930
906-487-7348
karen.johnson@finlandia.edu

Posted by: Karen Johnson | May 24, 2005 09:52 AM

Washington Post published today, May 24, the 'Finland Diary: A Country That Works', focussing on the school system. The story is good, but there is at the bottom of the page a 'Brief History of Finland', which would need some checking/revision: Main points: 1)1918. The summar states that the leftist were in supported in 1918 civil war by Soviet troops; there were no Soviet troops at that time, but remnants of the Czar's army in Finland; 2)First elections for Finnish Parliament took place in 1906, not in 1919; 3) 1920/30s, there were political tensions, but you would not call it a period of 'instability'; 4)1939.
It would not be correct to say, that Soviet troops easily defeated the Finns.
Advise to read history of Winter War;
5) 1941. Finland did not ally itself with Germany. Finland was waging its own separate war with the Soviet Union;
6) 1944. Soviet troops did not invade Finland. The whole point was that the Soviets were not able to cross the 1940 border. Advice reading the history of 1941-1944 war; 7) 1947 Paris peace treaty confirmed loss of territory as agreed in the armistice of 1944; there was no further loss of territory in 1948 treaty;
8) Finland pursued neutrality from the end of World War II, it did not begun to follow a neutral cours in the 1960s.
It is sometimes better to leave out these type of 'bullet type' historical summaries
as they are bound to include inaccuracies.

Posted by: Ossi | May 24, 2005 10:31 AM

"Please don't get me wrong, I'm not saying finland is a horrible place to live, it just isn't for me. The snow service is especially horrible. Slippery sidewalks and roads are simply accepted, so falling is accepted as part of life. I just can't live that way. When I slipped and broke my leg, there were people around me and nobody helped me get up. I think that Finns have come to depend so much on their welfare system, that they have forgotton how to help anyone themselves."

Doesn anyone else see a contradiction here? First he complains about snow service, then about dependence of Finns.

"If you have ever watched EUROVISION, it is a wonder that this article states that finland produces many great musicians. Finland has repeatedly failed to even qualify for Eurovision over the years."
Yeah, Eurovision is the indicator of quality, sure. You had some good points in your post, but remarks like this doesn't give you much credibility, you just sound bigoted.¨

"Nobody worships during religion lessons, well, maybe a little."
Holy Christ! (and I'm not even religious, but this is just too much...)

Posted by: Markus | May 24, 2005 10:36 AM

Hehehe.. ah Markkus.. i must admit, when I start talking about finland I do get wound up.

It's a great country, I've enjoyed my quiet years here, my easy going job with interesting research project has been very nice too, incredible flexibility, I love my finnish wife, her family is also very nice to me. I've really enjoyed canoeing in the lakes and trying to catch fishes. Can you believe, I haven't caught a good fish in almost 2 years!! I almost caught a nice size pike last night but he got away.

But I really hope that Finland starts importing more food or bringing down taxes on food so that the restaurants and kebab shops can start serving real meat instead of that ground meat.

Have you been to St Petersburg? Isn't it amazing the difference in variety in their supermarkets compared to Finland? And unbelievable that the entire population of Finland can live in a city only 300 kilometers away from Helsinki.

Hey, and Eurovision. ABBA got their start on eurovision, so you cannot say it is wrong to use it as a measure of quality. But anyways, eurovision is always fun to laugh at and criticize. Do you really think Greece deserved to win this year? Yuck.

Me bigoted? Nooooooo.... just trying to keep it real.

And yes, you do not worship during religion lessons. I have studied many different religions and I was not worshipping at the time. When I took my catecism classes for my roman catholic faith, I was not worshipping, I was learning the history of the church, its laws, and so on. We would also learn to memorize the prayers. So when I was working to memorize them, I wasnt really worshipping, I was memorizing.

You know, we had my baby's baptism a couple days ago, and I was AMAZED that my wife could recite her prayers from memory because she told me she has only been to church maybe 30 times in her life.

Anyways, enjoy the summer! While it lasts.. hopefully we don't get any rain like last year. Last year's weather completely destroyed me... I can't live through that again.

Posted by: Eddie | May 24, 2005 10:59 AM

It was with pleasure (and a smile) that I read your words about Finland. I am not Finnish by birth, but feel part Finnish through music, nature, and most of all, the friends I have met there. My first 10 trips to Finland have proven to me that this land is a special place. Getting to know the people and NOT just being a tourist is the way to discover the real Finland. I look forward to reading your Finland diary, hoping you will include more stories about the impact music has on the lives of the Finns. Finnish folk music is among the most beautiful music to be found anywhere in the world.

Posted by: Karen "Lulu" Foley | May 24, 2005 12:44 PM

We had a computer glitch that mistakenly disabled our e-mail address, finlanddiary@washingtonpost.com. You can send us private mail to this address now. It is working again. Sorry we had this problem.

Posted by: Bob Kaiser | May 24, 2005 12:53 PM

I have question: What is that sulfuric smell in Oulu? Whenever I visit it in the fall, the smell is pervasive.

I love Finland, especially Helsinki and that great esplanade down the middle of the boulevard.

But it is right about starting a business. A fellow Nokia employee once told me that there is some kind of regulation that a 2-3 person company still has to pay full benefits.

But what is that smell in Oulu? Any Oulu residents want to comment? Thanks!

And Finnair is great - still free drinks vs. stingy American Airlines.

Posted by: vision | May 24, 2005 01:15 PM

"But what is that smell in Oulu?"

They call it "the smell of money". Paper mills and all, you know.

Posted by: Markus | May 24, 2005 02:14 PM

Great first article, can't wait to read the rest. I am an American who lived in the eastern port city of Kotka, Finland for about 10 months during the mid-nineties. The people are very friendly and kind in most situations, although there are a few "right-wing" types who don't take kindly to foreigners, especially non-white ones.

You should really, really consider doing a followup to this story during the long, dark winter because I don't think you can tell the full story of this beautiful country without experiencing this phenomenon first hand.


IMHO, cell phone penetration in the U.S. is only now approaching what Finland's was back in 1996. The public library system was a great resource and free internet access helped me to keep in touch with home on the cheap!

Poster "Karen" (I believe) is right...the Finns are probably the most fit people I have ever met. Per capital, I have never seen so many people of all ages exercising as I did there. This may go a long way in explaining why Health Care costs in the U.S. are devouring our GDP while Finland can manage to fund theirs through taxes.

Many of the young Finns that I met do cast a longing eye towards America and most, if not all, expressed a desire to move there in search of "opportunity". I don't know if this has changed since my stay there.

Funny you mentioned vodka: all of my friends there didn't care much for Russians and boycotted drinking vodka in favor of cognac!

Taxes: Ouch!

Overall, that trip was one of the best experiences of my life and I can't wait to go back. Looking forward to the rest of yoru series.

Posted by: Chris | May 24, 2005 02:16 PM

"I have question: What is that sulfuric smell in Oulu? Whenever I visit it in the fall, the smell is pervasive."

I'm pretty sure that the smell is coming from the Stora Enso Paper Mill. It is the smell of money they say. Although, at the moment all of our paper mills are shutdown because of some strife with collective labor agreement.

Posted by: Juhana H. | May 24, 2005 02:22 PM

My wife is pure Finnish, with parents Niemennen and Palomeckki, and grandparents born in Finland, but I am a "Laplander" of Scottish/Irish descent, and our son, age 22, is an interesting blend of heritage, but very much in love with the Finnish culture, especially saunas and coffee.
We returned to the motherland in the heat-wave summer of 2003, touring both Helsinki and the lake country (and the Ittala glass factory).
It was a near-religious experience for mother and son and I was privileged to be a part of it. There seemed to be some genetic thing going on with our son (Ryan) and his love for all things Finnish. He was the one reminding us that we were never to refuse either a sauna or coffee from a Finn. This was put to the test with our older cousin in her apartment during one of those 90+ degree (Fahrenheit) afternoons after lunch, when the cousin asked if we would like coffee.
My wife and I just couldn't do it, but he spoke right up in the affirmative and the two Finnish cousins had a grand old time perspiring together.
Another dramatic event was the train trip to St. Petersburg, wherein the Finnish segment and the Finnish personnel were all bright and cheery, but the atmosphere took a turn for the worse when we crossed the Russian border. We were glad to see the Finns again on the return trip!!
Ryan was also fascinated by Finnish Socialism that seemed to work very well and also the modern art museums.
The Finnish people are wonderful and our stay was far too short. We want to return when we can spend a week in a cabin on a lake.

Posted by: Del Boyles | May 24, 2005 02:31 PM

I would recommend you undertake an exploration of how the Finns enjoy the outdoors, and how this may relate to their overall medical - and economic - health. One outdoor sport that many Finns enjoy is orienteering, and every year several Finnish men and women rank in the top 10 worldwide in this sport that is both mentally and physically challenging. Every summer, the world's largest orienteering relay race takes place in Finland, celebrating a story of seven brothers. This day & night race attracts around 10,000 participants, in either 7-man relay teams (Jukola teams) or 4-woman teams (Venla). I was lucky enough to be on the first American team to ever compete in the Jukola and the experience, both on and off the course, gave us all a great appreciation for Finnish culture, nature, and recreation. For more information, you can contact their national federation: Suomen Suunnistusliitto 00093 SLU, Finland; Käyntiosoite: Radiokatu 20, Helsinki Puh: 09-3481 21*, Email info@ssl.fi, URL www.ssl.fi/.
For those who may not know, orienteering is an outdoor sport in which you find your way as quickly as you can around a course consisting of various checkpoints, akin to a scavenger hunt, and is often a key part of adventure races. In the greater Washington DC area, the Quantico Orienteering Club holds 2-3 events/month during its Sept-June season, suitable for all ages and skill levels.

Posted by: Greg Lennon | May 24, 2005 02:38 PM

"Have you been to St Petersburg?"

Only when it was still called Leningrad.

"Isn't it amazing the difference in variety in their supermarkets compared to Finland?"

Are you saying that they have a higher standard of living there?

"and I was AMAZED that my wife could recite her prayers from memory because she told me she has only been to church maybe 30 times in her life."

Yeah, finnish schools used to be very religious, but it has changed.

"Last year's weather completely destroyed me..."

Mentally?
(Ok, sorry, that was a cheap shot.)

Posted by: Markus | May 24, 2005 02:58 PM

Both of my grandparents were Finns from Turku and an island(?) off the western coast. I would like to share a Finnish joke that my uncle always used to tell: "the Russians were always bragginhg about how they invented everything: the radio; the tv; etc. and yes even the toilet. To a Finn that may be true, but the Finns 'boast'that they put the hole in it. (Some of the intense 'disklike' that existed between the Finns and Russians'" Kitos...

Posted by: Ken Lehtonen | May 24, 2005 03:06 PM

Joke:
What do you call an outgoing Finn?
Answer: Someone who looks down at *your* shoes when he talks.

OK bad joke, but a running one in US Nokia offices. Hey, Finns get all the promotions/never get laid off at Nokia. But it's their company, so cannot expect better I suppose.

Worst Biz Trip ever: January in Hki. Best trip ever: June in Hki. A land of contradictions!!

Best ideas if visiting: Take boat trip to Talinn, Estonia! Or, take Friday night Silja-line booze cruise to Stockholm.

Posted by: vision | May 24, 2005 03:08 PM

In Finland they do teach religion as a subject for a whole 12 years. The whole point of the education is not to make Christians - The whole point is to teach people about all the religions in the world equally. Of their pros and cons. Everyone can choose what to believe freely. This, I believe, is the very opposite the the conservative US system.

Since first or second year no one is told to pray, not once. After a few years, at least 60% of the education or so is based on other religions than our own.

Posted by: Furious student | May 24, 2005 03:18 PM

What Mr Himanen says about school prayer and the separation of church and state is not accurate at all. Having gone through all the 12 years of the Finnish school system, I can say that it is not a particularly secural one. In primary school there definitely is school prayer, and you can be excused if your parents so desire. Religion is in the background of the society; it's a taboo.

In addition, there is no gay marriage in Finland. There are civil unions, but they are obviously not the same as gay marriages. This is an issue that's not discussed in the media in Finland anymore.

Based on my personal experience, a major difference between Finland and the U.S. is that in Finland, issues aren't simply talked about as they are in the States.

Posted by: G | May 24, 2005 03:31 PM

As for gay marriage, I do not think for a minute that Finland is an "open" society in that way. It is funny how many Finnish men joke that all Swedes are gay.

Posted by: jugjur | May 24, 2005 03:39 PM

"The whole point is to teach people about all the religions in the world equally."
Well, it's not that rosy, I'm afraid. At least the first six years of religion classes focus in christianity, which of course is quite understandable considering the effect christianity has had on our society/history.

Posted by: Markus | May 24, 2005 03:44 PM

"Having gone through all the 12 years of the Finnish school system, I can say that it is not a particularly secural one."

When was that? You know the law/practice has changed quite recently?
Also, you should be cautious drawing conclusions like that based only on your experience. Times have changed, I schools differ from each other to some degree.

Posted by: Markus | May 24, 2005 03:50 PM

Some comments regarding Eddie's colorful outburst. Eddie, I think your personal view was extremely important in that it pointed out that by no means is Finland necessarily a dreamland to live in but it certainly is a good and safe place if you are looking for these properties. Your post did contain an exhausting amount of factual errors, but I try to go through the most flagrant of them as briefly as I can:

- There are very little Russian women working or even Russian people living here so they most likely are Finnish women what you have seen. Women are in general highly respected here and accordingly Finland was the first country in Europe to allow women to vote in 1906.

- Paper industry most certainly does not own most of the land. Most of the land is owned by common farmers and other individuals i.e. estate owners

- Long winter nights is too simple a reason for suicides, personally I like long winter nights. Finland is ranked 10th in the statistics: http://www.aneki.com/suicide.html

- Most Western European countries have established enterprises Estonia, Russia, Latvia etc. after the collapse of communism and so did Finland. "Cleaning up the industry" is a misnomer.

- Linux: Very little in this world is not based on nothing. Linus created the open concept which then was adopted and further developed by the community. The community is who granted the honor of the invention to Linus, so obviously there was a reason for that.

- Salary/cost of living: if we can believe these sites: http://www.aneki.com/richest.html and http://www.aneki.com/expensive.html living in the US is more expensive than in Finland though the average income in US is higher. Finland has been improving and out-ranked Sweden in GDP a couple of years ago.

- The taxation is high but is similar or lower than in Sweden. Including what has been said earlier we should not forget that the country is large with a small population compared to it's size. There are fewer people sharing the costs that come from maintaining the infrastructure including roads, government expenses, army etc.

- I must say that the degrading comments about the universities was almost insulting. There was a recent international study about schooling in different countries and if not best Finland was in the high top rank. I'm sure you can find the results from the net if you are interested in factual information. I personally hold a Masters Degree in Engineering and certainly disagree with everything you say. High standard tech university education is what is required for the telecommunications technology, paper manufacturing and machine development, electronics, process engineering, biochemistry of which we get most of our income.


You stated:

" Finns are desperate for respect and recognition, after having been in the shadows of Sweden and Russia for the past 500 years. Finns like to say that their culture is 1000 years old, but.. they refer to the Sami culture, which is a completely different blood line of shorter, darker people."

Lets have a brief review of the early history of the Finns, maybe this will enlighten some of the issues.

The Finns - not referring to the Sami - have a long history as a nation but not as an independent state. I won't go further than the year 1340 as I would have to dig it up myself. At that particular year the Pope Benedictus XII excommunicated a bunch of Finnish farmers living in Sääksmäki (a place) as they had declined to pay the fourth squirrel skin to their local bishop. This incident is recorded in the church books. From this we can conclude that there already existed an infrastructure, farming, a church organization and even regular communications to and from the Vatican i.e. a culture, and these things do not develop quickly.

It is true what you say that the Finns have been living between the Swedish and Russian Empires, both states ruling the country by turns. There simply was not enough Finns at that time to confront these strong Empires even if they ever wanted to. The Swedes collected taxes, took men to arms but also gave something in return. The Russians mostly harassed, robbed and murdered the people living close to the border thus creating a deep and persistent hatred towards them in the national memory of the Finns.

In this context it was at the end of the Age of Enlightenment (the 1800 century) and in the beginning of the 1900 century, affected by the philosophical thoughts of the Romantic Period, that learned Finns became interested in the original culture and roots of the Finns and started collecting folklore and document it. One of the results is the Kalevala. The refinement of the Finnish language had started a couple of hundreds years earlier by men of Faith who translated the Bible into Finnish according to the teaching of Martin Luther who said that "each man should know his Bible".
Documentation of culture of the Finns was an ongoing work until even until recent days.

The was a brief history of Finland on this site of the recent history and the WWII (which I haven't read) but obviously partly incorrect and corrected in Ossi's comment so I won't go into that.


Eddie stated: "Finns are desperate for respect and recognition"

This is a generalization which certainly is not true in general. But, I'm also a firm believer in that a strong history of any nation can build the self-esteem of it's inhabitants even if these inhabitants personally never did anything to earn it. Eddie is quite right in that the Finns - a small nation - have nothing particular to brag about in their history but there is nothing to be shamed of either.

As a closing statement I would think that the word "Survival" would describe the destiny of the Finns pretty well. Survival through the ancient history, Survival as a recognizable nationality, survival in the WWII and currently - Survival in the economical battles using modern arms like schooling, hard work and, how can I not mention, the Finnish "sisu".

Posted by: | May 24, 2005 04:19 PM

I think one of the keys to Finland success is its homogeneity.

Finland, like Japan is very homogenous and enjoys low crime and high educational standards.

I know it's not popular to bring this up in the mainstream press but these facts cannot be denied.

I if were a Finn I wouldn't be too excited about creating a multi-cultural society.

Just look at what's going on in the Netherlands and the UK these days not to mention Detroit, Michigan.

Posted by: biznet | May 24, 2005 04:19 PM

In response to Markus's comments:

I base my previous comment on school prayers and religion at schools on my having gone through the Finnish school system. I graduated from upper secondary school two years ago, so I have a pretty recent picture of what's going on.

I understand that schools differ quite a lot. However, I don't consider having gone to particularly conservative schools, as they were all in the Helsinki metropolitan area.

All in all, I became rather disillusioned with Finland (for many, many reasons) and decided to move away - these days I live in Britain.

Posted by: G | May 24, 2005 05:08 PM

Thanks for this interesting blog! I can hardly wait what your next blog entry tells us about our lovely Finland :)

Posted by: Johanna | May 24, 2005 07:30 PM

From the posts I've skimmed through while reading this interesting page about my country I must say that Eddie's post has most flavour. There are some things I agree with and some that I disagree with.

First of all, there is no real grand division in our school system. After the ninth grade people usually decide between high school and vocational school by their average school results, people who managed to be somewhat interested about their eduacation (and not the more important matters, girls, motorbikes, alcohol..teenage in it's worst) usually go for the high school, which is generally given as the door for better quality of life, going for high school also gives you some extra years to decide what you want to do for the rest of your life. From high schools you can attend universities or upper vocational schools (dunno what's the correct name in english), from vocational studies you usually go straight to worklife or to the upper vocational eduacation. It's also possible to attend both at the same time, which is getting more popular these days. Your social status doesn't affect the choise a lot, since high taxation provides good social security and gives everybody a chance for higher eduacation.

Your statement about students mingling with people of similiar eduacation is basically not true. In high schools you usually have 3 lessons of math from total of 25 lessons a week (depends on how hard you study of course) and on all the other classes people from long and short math are in the same courses. And it definately isn't true that people mingle amongst people depending on the math their reading. It generally speaking isn't true that people from high schools and vocational schools don't mingle with each other either. Usually people hang around people they got to be friends with during 7-9th classes in school, and when choosing between vocational and high schools friends always have some effect. After 9th grades people don't interact with each other so much between schools, so if you didn't make friends before it, you propably won't do that after either.

And the word amis (btw. not AMMIS) doesn't really have much to do with going to vocational school anymore, it's a word used when talking about young people with certain lifestyle. And yes, the word has a negative sense.


In Finland we also have the separation of church and state. Sure all the holidays are from church holidays, it's called history. There hasn't been use for changing the common holidays. Schools usually celebrate events like christmas for the obvious reason of 99,9% percent of students and teachers being christian. This usually shows as a special meal and some kind of a party during school before the holiday vacation begins.

In religion lessons most of the lessons are about christianity during 1-6th classes and other religions on 7-9th classes. It gives a good basis for understanding the society finnish people live in and the motives that still are bubbling under people's minds. It also gives some information about history and something to compare other religions with.

It's weird that you mention maternity leave being 3 years in a negative sense, sure it can be a stupid situation for the employer when there are cases of mothers popping out an unit once every couple of years, but the whole idea is that wimen don't have to choose between children and career.

And finnish students don't lack respect for teachers, calling them by the first name is not and incompliment, it's a finnish way to talk to someone. Usually when new students meet their teachers the teacher says the name he/she can be called with, usually either that or just "teacher". About the lack of respect, that's untrue. The thing is that respect is something you deserve and if the teacher can't make the classroom quiet and therefore cannot teach anything, he won't be getting any respect from the students either.

"Lots of people in finland own hunting guns. I even know of a guy that shot at burglars running away from his house."

From which he propably some very heavy sanctions, gunlaws are very strict and using excessive force against anybody results in heavy penalties, you can get sanctions by pointing an empty gun at a burglar you caught red handed robbing your house.

"Finns generally do not like or accept immigrants. But they are coming none the less and I predict finland will have a serious civil upheaval in the future as middle europe is currently having with their far right groups."

Immigrants aren't generately very popular, it's true. Reasons vary, one of them is that they get very generous social aid, other is that we have 200 000 unemployed people and the couple of immigrants who come here take the jobs, partially true but the jobs immigrants usually end up with are those finnish people wouldn't take anyway. Then you buy a sensation newspaper and read about teenage girls getting raped by immigrants, it's easy to get very reserved about foreign people in that way. That's what it's all about, being suspicious and reserved about foreign people, it's not like finns dislike foreigners, more like the opposite.

The only group of people that are really dissed are gypsies, partially for their own fault. They're pretty separated from rest of the society, and everybody in Finland at least know somebody who has had negative interactions with them. Their situation is pretty much constant though..

About the rightwing people, yes there are some. Usually young, stupid people who are laughed at by the rest of the nation. They also have a nickname "isänmaanpuollustajat = fatherland deffenders" Yes the typo is there for a reason.

So yeah, that's my point of view. But don't believe me, come and see.

Posted by: Grin | May 24, 2005 07:42 PM

Hello

I`m delighted with the diary.
I really don´t know anything about finns so you have made my day.

Posted by: Victoria | May 24, 2005 07:56 PM

As Bill Clinton would not have said, "Its the northern European population and cohesive system undestroyed by mass immigration and treasonous elites, stupid."

And yet the Washington Post authors have to concoct polite ways of politely tiptoeing around the obvious truth.

Posted by: JM | May 24, 2005 08:00 PM

Just a small addition to my previous longish comment to Eddie. You said:

"The biggest factor behind finnish success has been LUCK and excellent workmanship. They found a niche that was being ignored and they have milked it."

Finland was the only nation who ever paid it's war indemnity in full after the WWII. Besides that Finland had to declined to received Marshall aid because the Soviet demanded so. A great deal of the war indemnity consisted of ships and machines. At that time Finland did not have enough capacity to build what was demanded within the time schedule. However, everything was delivered - and as far as I can remember quite promptly as well. As a result of this effort in which the whole nation took part as one, Finland developed from an agricultural country into an industrial country in an astonishingly short time. In a sense we living today could call this as 'LUCK' but I'm sure our parents at that time did not think so.

On the other hand, if we follow your logic and call 'LUCK' all good the business opportunities others have ignored, it would be fair to say that all good businesses are 'LUCK' not only the Finnish, wouldn't you agree?

Posted by: Risto Apajalahti | May 24, 2005 09:23 PM

Sort of following on from JM

Regarding immigration Pekka Himanen says : "our attitudes should get much more open."

Why should they get more open?

Its a genuine question. What will Finland gain from immigration? High unemployment doesnt indicate Finland needs more unskilled workers. The suberb educational stats speak for themselves - Finland is not suffering a shortage of skilled workers.

So what is this "need"? Could it be for "diversity"? And what exactly are the benefits of "diversity", generally they are held to be self-evident, so much so that its thought to be vulgar to outline them. Well I hate to sound vulgar and *whisper* its not polite to say it, but I dont know the benefits? Im constantly told about them but no-one will tell me what they are!

Anybody care to try? Oh, and no, you are not allowed to include foreign cuisine.

So what is this bright, diverse, future going to do for Finland?

Posted by: Bernard | May 24, 2005 09:44 PM

"Finland is not suffering a shortage of skilled workers."

Maybe not yet, but the "pension boom" is not far and when it hits, we just might be short of them. There have been lots of headlines in the last year saying that there will be a shortage of skilled labor in the near future.

Posted by: Jukka | May 24, 2005 10:15 PM

It's been great to read your diary from Finland. I'm a Finn living in Annapolis Maryland. I've been dissapointed on the knowledge that most Americans have (don't have) about Finland. I've came to face people who will ask oh is Finland a city, state or country?
Once i went to a bar here with few friends and we sat on a table with couple of American guys. My friends were Asians and so the American guys asked us all where we are from. As i said i'm from Finland the other guy looked at me and asked isn't that the country where everybody walks naked on the streets? I couldn't but laugh and ask if he would be able to go out naked when it's -20 celcius degrees outside.
I hope to see some nice pictures from your tour and read more intresting articles.
Enjoy the Finnish spring/summer!

Posted by: Eevis | May 24, 2005 10:57 PM

To G:
"I graduated from upper secondary school two years ago, so I have a pretty recent picture of what's going on."

The law has changed since that. Also, it's been almost 8 years since you were in primary school, right?

"However, I don't consider having gone to particularly conservative schools, as they were all in the Helsinki metropolitan area."

You're right, most conservative schools are in the rural areas.

"I became rather disillusioned with Finland"
Disillusioned in the sense that you have no illusions or that you became disappointed?

Posted by: Markus | May 25, 2005 01:22 AM

On the topic of gender equality, as a woman I do not feel any more liberated in Finland than I did in America, and for other reasons, my husband and I are moving back to the U.S. this autumn. I feel very strongly about these perspectives because there are so many essays out there about the shortcomings of countries that acknowledge that they have not achieved gender quality yet, but as far as I know there haven't been so many articles questioning the so-called equality that some countries think they've achieved. Finland is not behind the USA in this issue, but neither is it very far ahead...


Here is something I've written on the subject:


In the beginning, one of the things that attracted me to Finland was its stellar rating as a top nation in the world for gender equality, second only to Sweden or perhaps Norway. It was easy to imagine Finland as a land where women make most of the decisions, where they get due recognition for all of their hard work both at home and in the career setting, and where they have access to the same opportunities and salary levels as men. However, in my nearly five years of living in Finland, I've found these claims to be misleading at best, and often questionable. I consider myself to be in a good position to talk about this issue because, as a foreign woman married to a Finn and living in Finland, I am able to see the society from an outsider's perspective, and notice things that Finns, or particularly Finnish women, might not be able to see, or might choose not to see.

I can only compare Finland with the USA because those are the only two countries in which I've spent a considerable amount of time. Also, I will stay away from statistics because, although they are fun to use, I think that they are often depended on too much. They can also be misleading, and regardless of what kind of picture they paint of a particular place, I still tend to go by what I see with my own eyes in everyday life.

First off, it is very important to take into consideration that both countries (and I could go out on a limb by saying that all countries) have regional differences in general attitudes and habits. I do not think that any particular region or town in either country should be used to represent the nation as a whole, even though this seems to be a common and accepted practice. Many times I have been involved in discussions with people who have lived in both countries and proclaim that "In the USA it's like this and in Finland it's like that", to which I often reply, "Well, A is not necessarily so in the place where I come from in the USA, nor is B often true where I live in Finland".

Feminism is one of those issues that seem to bring out strong regional differences, as so many stories of independent, headstrong, capable women come from southern Finland, particularly in the capital Helsinki area. The further north you go, the more evidence there is of male chauvinism, co-dependence in romantic relationships, gender discrimination in the workplace, and disrespect towards feminist values. Since it is common for foreigners visiting or living in Finland to draw most of their conclusions from what they see in the Helsinki area, they tend to assume that that is consistent throughout the entire country.

In Finland, most women work full-time away from home and are expected to do so, even though in the recent past there has been an increase in the number of those who are staying home. Finland likes to brag about the high percentage of women in the workforce, but if we peel back the layers of the issue, there is slightly more to the story than that. Finland's economic system makes it nearly impossible for a two-adult household to survive on one income, so many Finnish women have little choice but to work, even if they would rather be homemakers. Additionally, if a woman of any age is unemployed, the social security system pays an allowance for various circumstances, such as studying to earn a degree, taking non-degree classes as part of a job search, having children, or as a stipend for doing housework if her husband's income is below a certain level. Many advocates of socialism have raved about the ingenuity of this system, but it only gives the illusion of women's independence, and is roughly the equivalent of a husband giving his wife money out of his own paycheck in the American system. So the end result is the same; a woman who does not work still gets money, but does it matter whether that money comes from the government or directly from her spouse? In my view, it does not matter. The concept of a homemaker definitely does exist in Finnish culture, but it is covered up with various labels, such as "maternity salary", and "home allowance". From a gender equality perspective, it all comes down to the reasons why women work. Is it because they want to or because they have to for the sake of the family's financial stability? Or maybe a little of both? Finnish women often consider themselves to be powerful and independent because they are expected to work. But they are forgetting that in some places being expected to work is considered to be a sign of financial uncertainty, and that not all women use work as a liberation device.

Theoretically and on paper, all women in Finland do have access to the same career prospects as men, but in reality the gender divide is much the same as it is in the U.S. Women are more likely to get lower-paid, blue-collar jobs regardless of their education, and they still dominate "traditional" female sectors such as nursing, teaching, childcare, cleaning, cooking, beautician work, office reception duties, and cashier work. Men are more likely to become engineers, bus drivers, construction workers, plumbers, car repair technicians, police officers, lawyers, and airline pilots. Where I live in Oulu, I once had a haircut done by a cosmetology trainee at the local technical college. In a room full of students, there was not one male stylist to be found. Of course, you will find women who are employed in male-dominated sectors and vice versa, but in many of the cases that I am aware of, the female professional seemed to have secured her job because of her personal connections to the industry, not because of her own motivation or area of education.

Expanding on that, in 2004 I attended a day-long women's entrepreneurial seminar in the city where I live. Representatives from the local public business service center gave an excellent and honest speech on the challenges faced by Finnish business women. The gist of the speech was that, as much as we'd like to think things have changed over the course of history, women are still a minority in the business world, and most business that are started and run entirely by women either remain very small, or they fail. Women tend to get smaller business loans than men, and are more likely than men to have their loan applications denied, perhaps partly because the decisions are made by male-dominated review committees who may doubt women's abilities to make a return on the investment. And indeed, the very fact that there are small business loans for women in Finland indicates that there are inequalities, otherwise there would be no need for special treatment. There were four female entrepreneur guest speakers at the seminar, and I was expecting accounts of their own ingenuity and persistence in building their businesses, but it soon became clear that three of the women had not even started their businesses themselves, but rather inherited companies from their parents, causing me to wonder if they really owed their success to their own motivation and expertise, or if they owed it to existing family connections and wealth that most likely originated from the father or grandfather. And so, as I left the seminar, I found myself thinking, "Well, that's great for women who come from entrepreneurial families, but what about those who do not; what chances do they have, realistically?" Could it be that the old saying "behind every successful woman is a man" holds true in Finland too? Some time later, I heard about a centuries-old business club in our city that is exclusive to men and apparently still does not accept female applicants; how ironic that I first heard about the club from a fellow guest at the city hall reception held in honor of Finland's national Women's Day.

Then there are the smaller things that blend in to everyday life, yet stand out as obvious when considered from a larger perspective. Women still do most of the housework, and in some more conservative areas and farming communities, men are not expected to be involved in cooking or cleaning at all. Despite the strengths of the socialist welfare model, young women seem to have a harder time getting established as adults and paying the bills if they are single, and when a couple gets married, it is more likely that the woman will change or give up her current lifestyle to accommodate the man's needs and career goals, than vice versa. For hobbies and personal interests, men are more likely to be found in hardware stores, electronics emporiums, and automotive supply shops; whereas women tend to frequent fashion outlets, craft shops, and interior decorating boutiques. Once, during a visit to my favorite fabric store, the proprietor helped a man who had wandered into the shop find the address of the place he was looking for. After he had left, the proprietor said to me, "I knew he must be looking for some other store because I hardly ever get male customers in here."

I've come to the conclusion that neither country has achieved absolute gender equality, but the measures of equality or inequality are interpreted differently in each society. What an American woman considers necessary to be liberated may not be the same as what a Finnish woman considers necessary, but both may consider themselves to be as equal as possible in their respective cultures.

Posted by: Caroline | May 25, 2005 01:27 AM

Himanen was partly wrong with his description of finnish gun politics.

Himanen said "The Finnish thinking is that the number of guns is linked to having a more violent society". This is simply not the case. There are over two million licensed firearms and an estimated quarter-million unlicensed firearms in Finland. Ownership of fully-automatic weapons is not prohibited, but shooting with them is regulated, and there are estimated to be roughly 30,000(?) full-automatic weapons in private ownership. With a population of around 5 million, this gives Finland a per-capita ownership rate of full-automatic weapons nearly ten times that of the United States.

One reason for the high amount of gun owners are the military reservist's who have bought for themselves pistols, target rifles, shotguns and semi automatic assault rifles for practice shooting. This has been passively supported by the government, as it gives to the reservists possibility to practice shooting with military style weapons without requiring government spending.

However buying a gun for self defence is not possible in Finland. Other interesting fact is that sound suppressors, a firearm accessory strictly regulated in many other jurisdictions, are also widely available in Finland.

Posted by: Hannes Vauhkonen | May 25, 2005 01:38 AM

"Anyway, the unemployment has been getting smaller and hopefully continues to do so."


The reason why the unemployment rate falls is because a lot of unemployed individuals leave Finland, give up looking for work, or enroll in state-funded job search programs; it does not mean that more jobs are being created. So just because someone is not listed on the unemployment register, does not mean that they are making a living. Other nations' statistics do this as well, but the point is that many people in Finland would not be in these "limbo" statistics if they could find enough work in the first place. In many cases in Finland, collecting benefits has become a replacement for real work, which is creating a very fragile situation for the economy.

But just to balance things out a bit, I'll say that my experience in Finland has been very valuable and I've learned a lot of lessons about life. But I do think that reports and propaganda about Finland need to be a tad more multi-sided and talk about some negative things too, so that at least optimistic foreigners moving here can know what to expect. Finland is not any better or worse than any other country: the problems here are simply well hidden.

Posted by: Caroline | May 25, 2005 02:31 AM

To Caroline:
"It was easy to imagine Finland as a land where women make most of the decisions... I've found these claims to be misleading at best"

No big suprise there. Not exactly my idea of gender equality ("women make most of the decisions").

"but does it matter whether that money comes from the government or directly from her spouse?"

Yes it does, because you'll get that money even if you divorce your, let's say violent, husband.

"After he had left, the proprietor said to me, "I knew he must be looking for some other store because I hardly ever get male customers in here."... I've come to the conclusion that neither country has achieved absolute gender equality, "

Do you really think gender equality is gender similarity? I'm not willing to give away my freedom to "be found in" harware stores etc. to balnce the ratio of customers.

Posted by: Markus | May 25, 2005 02:36 AM

To Caroline:
"It was easy to imagine Finland as a land where women make most of the decisions... I've found these claims to be misleading at best"

No big suprise there. Not exactly my idea of gender equality ("women make most of the decisions").

"but does it matter whether that money comes from the government or directly from her spouse?"

Yes it does, because you'll get that money even if you divorce your, let's say violent, husband.

"After he had left, the proprietor said to me, "I knew he must be looking for some other store because I hardly ever get male customers in here."... I've come to the conclusion that neither country has achieved absolute gender equality, "

Do you really think gender equality is gender similarity? I'm not willing to give away my freedom to "be found in" harware stores etc. to balnce the ratio of customers.

Posted by: Markus | May 25, 2005 02:37 AM

I agree with H. Vauhkonen.

"Himanen said "The Finnish thinking is that the number of guns is linked to having a more violent society". This is simply not the case."

Guns are linked to hobbies (hunting, shooting), not to more violent society. Finns don't buy guns to shoot people (even they sometimes do shoot them), they buy them for hunting and so on.

Posted by: Markus | May 25, 2005 02:45 AM

Oh Eddie, Eddie, Eddie!! You have committed the one unforgiveable sin - you have dared to hint at something negative about Finland. I should have thought that you would have learnt by now that everything is wonderful and rosy here in kallis suomen maa (in-joke here -can be read to mean beloved Finland or expensive Finland).

We Finns love to fool ourselves into thinking everything is perfect here.

Well, some comments:

Nokia - I'm sick of hearing about this wonderful Finnish miracle. It is NOT a Finnish miracle - we own about 6% of the company, and the last decent thing they made was their amazing rubber boots - my pair is almost 30 years old!! Their cellphones are overpriced, overhyped junk - my family owns siemens and motorola phones as we got sick of replacing the nokia phones every 3 months or so when they seized up

Generous welfare state - yeah right!
You pay about 25 dollars for each of your first three visits per year. Medicine is highly expensive. (back in the 70s it was a generous welfare state but no longer). The queues are long - I live in an Eastern suburb where we have been 3 doctors short for nearly 2 years and it takes upwards of 3 months to get a time to see the doctor - about 6 months to see the dentist.

Pensions? I'm self-employed (actually I'm a one-man company) and the only pension I will get is what I pay for myself - this is earnings-related - and I will not get a full pension until I'm 68

Oh yeah! nobody told you that Finland is very much against old people. I've read a government memo stating that doctors should carefully consider prescribing expensive treatment/medication for old people as it was not cost-effective meaning the government would not get their money back through taxes paid by the old. and the idea of not paying pensions till 68 is to get old people to work longer, thus saving money.

Women are equal? Well if you ask them they'll tell you about the glass ceilings in business.

Education? Student grants do not cover expenses and so you have to work unless you've got really rich parents. This is why it takes so long to get a degree. The government has recognised this and is trying to speed things up, but...

Hank W is wrong about 'church tax' - you only pay it if you are registered as a believer. 20 odd years ago there was a stigma attached to opting out as I did, but not any more. But 20 years ago the priest refused to baptise children if he did not like the name - considered it non-traditional or foreign.

Finnish society is very divided - more so now than 20 - 30 years ago. I live in an Eastern suburb which is used as a dumping ground for immigrants, unemployed and poorly-educated. Don't believe me, read the official reports or see how we elected Tony Halme a rabid rabble-rouser who believes in Finland for the Finns, etc. by a landslide.

Things have deteriorated badly in Finland due to two things:

1. We lost our cash cow when the Soviet Union collapsed

2. We joined the EU.

We joined it mainly because we have a huge inferiority complex for historical and geographical reasons, and were so delighted that somebody actually wanted us. Now we wish we could get out as we're rapidly losing our Finnishness.

Posted by: arvo asiakas | May 25, 2005 02:47 AM

arvo,
"we have a huge inferiority complex"

I'm reading your post and I wonder why?

It's true we have huge problems here in Finland too, but just for once, could we ease off and enjoy and celebrate the things we've done right. (Of course, this blog is not all about how great Finland is, but still.)
There's plenty of time for that negativeness too.

Posted by: Markus | May 25, 2005 03:02 AM

What the Finns did not tell to you and you did not ask is Finland's political system.

-There is a particular political party allways in the government dispite the results of the parlamentary elections.

-There is no single Finnish language political party in the parliament,but they all are officially bilingual in addition to an officially Swedish language party.

In other countries it would be called democratical gap but not in Finland where the population is over 90 % Finnish speaking!

-The parliamentary election means nothing else but the people elect new partners for the one political party in Finnish government. (That has led to a political passivity among the voters)

-There is no parlamentarism in the western sense of the word but the role of the opposition is to wait for their turn in the government as political partner for the political party who is allways in the government.

-That fact has led to a situation where the politicial parties who are in the opposition withdraw from critizising the ideology of the particular political party,because it will be their partner in the government in any case.

(Parlamentarism does not work the way it should work)

-In no other country,I suppose,it was possible that the leading figure of a opposition party (Mr. Kanerva) proposes his political party to be united to a political party who is in the government. That took place just in the winther. It did not rise any eyebrows among the Finns.

-Finland suffers still of the relics of Intra-European colonialism. That has led to a situation where the political-economil olicarchy being earlier Swedish speaking and now bilingual dispise the fact that the people of Finland are Finnish speaking.

For example president Ms. Halonen has suggested several times to the Finns that they had to speak Swedish in stead of Finnish. And as an example,just a year ago Finnish People's Pension Institution (Kela) sent to c. 200 000 Finnish househoulds a letter where it adviced the addressees not to speak Finnish but Swedish to the officers of the public service!

-The official bilingualism of the state is a sort of "state religion" allthought it is just a juridical state of affairs and does not meet the reality of Finland.

-Political-economical olicarchy tries with the help of juridics to force the reality to something else like in former Soviet-Union. (I envy Ukraine in ourdays. They are far ahead in democracy,because there the government changes in the true meaning of the word unlike in Finland)

-A Finn cannot graduate from the university without having successfully completed the obligatory Swedish language course which is a must in order to serve in a state byreaucracy. In other words every single university student is prepared to work at the public service!
(Lack of entrepreneurs among the university graduates is a well-known phenomena as a result of this policy)

That is the strategy of Finnish universities to meet the challenges of globalization and there is no autonomy of the universities in the question.

-It is illigal throughout the entire education system to study any other language in stead of Swedish for the Finnish speaking pupils and students!

-There is a limit in the liberalism among the Finnish decision makers and oligarchy.
They can tolerate marriage with the same sexes,freedom of religion,alternatives in the army service but there the liberalism ends if a Finn wants to study for example French,German,Russian,Spanish in stead of Swedish.

Just check the opinions of the president,educational decision makers,political elite,economical elite you will suprise. You will suprise the lack of liberalism in the question!

If my English is bad it is due the fact that I was not permitted to study English in stead of Swedish at the school at the 1960's. It was permitted only in the evening school because I studied in so called folk-school. Now the situation is better because the kids are permitted to study English in addition to Swedish. In my time compulsatory Swedish was "the world language" for the decision makers of the educational system. Luckily in my town,there was an evening school where I was permitted to study English. I could not start to study English before the age of 16 because it was the age limit for the evening school. And in the day school it was not permitted to change Swedish for English or any other language for that matter.

Posted by: A dissident | May 25, 2005 03:20 AM

"-It is illigal throughout the entire education system to study any other language in stead of Swedish for the Finnish speaking pupils and students!"

What? We study other languages too. It's true, there still is obligatory swedish lessons, but that is changing, I hope.

Posted by: Markus | May 25, 2005 03:40 AM

As a reply to Ossi's comments: "5) 1941. Finland did not ally itself with Germany. Finland was waging its own separate war with the Soviet Union;"

This is an opinion not a fact. Older generations of Finnish historians and politicians (as President Halonen showed a few weeks ago) cherish the idea of a separate war. This was a very convenient and politically correct way to explain why a democracy such as Finland could fight alongside Germany against the Soviet Union, which was backed by the western democracies.
However, Germany supplied Finland with arms, fuel and food. There were German forces participating the so-called separate war during the whole period 1941-44. Moreover, Luftwaffe's air support was instrumental in deterring the soviet counter-attack in 1944. Many younger Finnish historians and most non-Finnish historians consider that co-operation at this extensive level is an alliance. And it is perfectly comprehendable behavior on behalf of the Finnish government in 1941 to ally itself with Germany. The Finns had suffered from the Soviet invasion in 1939. Parts of the country had been ceded to the Soviet Union. In contrast, Hitler's Germany was at the height of its power. As a result, the best way to "buy insurance" against future Soviet incursions and reclaim the lost territories was to ally with Germany.

Posted by: Jani | May 25, 2005 04:05 AM


It is a fact that 95% of Finns speak Finnish as our first language. We Finns are proud of our own culture and accomplishements. We are grateful to Russia for granting official status to our language, Finnish, during Russian rule. Sweden would never have given any such status, and in fact the racist Swedish People's Party continues to try to stifle Finnish, while promoting Swedishness to the whole country. That is plainly stated in their goal: "strong Swedishness".

To say that Swedishness is an "essential part" of Finnish identity is simply wrong and is a lie perpetuated by the elitists and members of Swedish people's party. These lying elitists are spreading false and racist propaganda that Finns cannot be civilized or cultured unless they first learn Swedish. They are lying that Finland is a bi-lingual country. How can a country be bilingual if 95% of the populations speaks Finnish and only 5% Swedish? This is ridiculous. Clearly it is bilingual only on the lawbooks, and the lawbooks will soon be changed.

For Marja Aho, trying to frame a human rights crime as "cultural diversity" is misleading, to say the least.

It is sick. If you compare aspects of the ongoing "swedification" of Finland with previous South African apartheid policies you will find many similarities.

Poll after poll, for over ten years, have shown that about 70% of the Finnish population oppose compulsory swedish language for our children.

Compulsory swedish is a thorn in Finlands side. But the few remaining corrupt elite, in the Swedish people's party, are struggling to keep it there.

Posted by: Anti-apartheid | May 25, 2005 04:25 AM

Hi Markus. Do you know what is "in stead of". It is indeed against the law to study *in stead of Swedish* any other language.
You don't simply get your degree and it concern all education from basic schools to the universities.

Mr. Henrik Lax who is a presidental candidate of Swedish political party just last winter threathened Finns of unemployment if they don't study Swedish.
That kind of threat-policy is everyday-futter against them who want freedom of choise in the language education.

Many home-pages are closed where the debate of the complusatory Swedish has flourised. Latest example of State Broadcasting Company,YLE,sencured the debate of it. Not to mention other actions against the debate of freedof of choice.

Some circles want to challenge the basic rights of freedom of speech.

Finnish shyness is often mentioned and the Finns are really shy to tell about this.
Read my first contribution.

Why persons who work for the freedom of choice in the language education are threathened by police!
As an example,my home-page which is against mandatory Swedish was ordered to be closed by a high level person who personally took contact to me.
I understood to close it in order to avoid loosing my job.

Posted by: A dissident | May 25, 2005 04:33 AM

Eevis - Im British, and Americans dont know that much about us either. Shared language, history, family ties etc So dont be too surprised if Finland is a bit harder still.

Posted by: Matt | May 25, 2005 04:48 AM

A sort of half-official policy of Finland is to demonize Russia ja glorify Sweden.

In fact Finland has never been at war against Russia. (They were Sweden's wars against Russia.)

Still the Finnish kids are thaught
*at schools* that Finland has had X-many "heroic wars" against Russia. So a democratical education system can also falsify history. In fact number of wars between Finland and Russia is xero.

It was first Russia who gave for the Finnish language,spoken by the vast majority of the Finns, equal rights in the education.

Under Swedish rule no Finnish education was promoted, just the contary, education in Finnish was oppposed. The oligarchy what Sweden left behind herself after leaving Finland continued similar politics
against the interests of Finns.

Sweden proper,what was left after 1809 of Sweden, continues similar politics against the Finnish speaking Swedes, as Sweden practised until 1809 in present area of Finland. (They are c. 315 000)

For example: Nokia was established as a result of Russia's regional policy where a company established by the River Nokia got tax-holiday for 50 years.

The teachers of mandatory Swedish language are in a similar postion in Finnish educational system as were the teachers of mandatory marxism-leninism in the educational system of Soviet Union. Both are the necessary condition to hold a vacancy in a state administration.

Finland is the easternmost member state of Europan Union and therefore many in the west normal phenomenas like parlamentarism in the western sense of the word are still unknown issues. Read my former contribution.

Last but least: As far as I understand, Washington Post is a high class newspaper. Its pages cannot be reserved only for hypocritical touristical advertisements and murmuring.

Posted by: A dissident | May 25, 2005 04:56 AM

Arvo Asiakas, you committed a dire sin, you dared to challenge the status quo. Eddie, for the most part you are correct. I'm glad to see that the Potemkin village erected by Pekka Himanen and supported by the earliest comment posters is finally coming down. Finland is a lovely country, but like everywhere else it is not without its flaws. And like most other European countries, the widely-praised welfare state has its dark underbelly.

Like some of the others here, I am an American with a Finnish spouse, and so I can only compare Finland to the U.S., as they are the two countries I know best.

One huge flaw that cannot be overstressed is the staggering unemployment rate, which presently stands at 8.7%. Just imagine, in the last U.S. presidential election, Bush came under intense criticism because American unemployment hovered around 6%. (Right now it's a mere 5.2%. Don't hear too much about it in the press now; I wonder why?) Finland (and most of the rest of Europe) would kill to have an unemployment rate that low. Sadly, unemployment has been so high for so long in Finland that it is more or less accepted as a fact of life.

But the thing that stands out most to any American visiting Finland is the overwhelming homogeneity of the country. I'm one of those who believe that it's actually one of Finland's strengths. It's certainly one of the chief reasons their welfare state has worked as well as it has thus far. It's also a principal reason why crime is relatively low.

But I fear that in time, it will break down the work ethic that most Finns have inherited from their parents, who grew up in harder times. And Finland will see increasing numbers go on the dole out of sheer laxity and opportunism.

This homogeneity is not only racial and ethnic, but philosophical and political as well. People not only look very similar, they think very similarly too. I'm generalizing, of course. But it's remarkable how hard it is to find a dissenting opinion from the status quo in Finland.

This is almost laughable in Himanen's responses. He frequently says, Finns all think this way, or they all believe that. No American would ever make such generalizations about political opinions across the country, as they are so diverse.

For example, regarding the death penalty, Himanen says, "Finland is strongly against death penalty, which is not part of our system." Yawohl, mein commandante! Would he mind citing a single public opinion poll to support this view? I've learned that in the case of many European countries that ban the death penalty, a majority of the population actually supports a death penalty. It's just one example of the huge gulf between the political elite and the average citizen that persists in most EU member-countries.

There are several other examples of Himanen's whistling past the graveyard of Finland's growing problems. How about this response to the issue of suicide? "We still have this but as I said, Finland is transforming greatly through the new culture generated by thing like Nokia, Linux, and HIM." Yes, Himanen, all suicidal Finns need do is listen to HIM. How about their album "Razorblade Romance"? Or their songs "Join Me in Death," Razorblade Kiss," and "Death is in Love With Us"? That'll cheer 'em right up. But wait, maybe Linux's Linus Torvalds will rescue them. Oops, he lives in the U.S. now.

Another laughable response from Himanen is regarding the coming demographic crisis in Finland. You know, how Finns aren't having enough kids (more to the point, they're not creating enough jobs) to support baby boomers who are going to retire soon and are ready to lap up those fat benefits they've been promised. Here's his answer:

"Finland is facing this challenge. But it's possible to solve. We introduced the concept of 'a virtuous cycle' in my book with Castells. If we are able to expand the kind of creativity that we've seen with Nokia or HIM, then we get enough income to continue to fund the welfare state, which provides a basis for getting new innovators on a socially sustainable basis."

[Yes, that's the answer: more bands like HIM! They'll finance the baby boomers' retirement.'

"Another thing is to learn from America: Finland needs to open its borders more for people and encourage an entrepreneurial culture."

The problems, as others here have pointed out, are: 1) Massive red tape hampers anybody trying to start a new business in Finland (I've seen this from Finns I know); and 2) When unemployment is at near 9% and you offer immigrants generous social benefits, bringing in more immigrants isn't going to boost your economy any, if anything it's more likely to sink it more.

Eddie's remark about the effect of a welfare state on a nationality's charitable instinct is dead-on. My Finnish wife frequently remarks about how she is amazed at all the charities and other volunteer organizations that Americans like to participate in, to a much greater degree than Finns do. Now, most Finns would say that it is natural that these groups would be more prevalent in the U.S., as America has less generous government services. And yet can't you see how such a mindset would change a people's attitude toward volunteerism and helping one's neighbor, over time?

It's good that others have pointed out the problems with the Finnish health care system, which many liberal Americans claim to envy. They haven't been educated about the long wait lists to see specialists, which can take several months, or the co-pay fees (like in the much-reviled HMO), or how many Finns pay big bucks to find better care outside the state-provided system. Most Finns and Americans both are also not aware of the safety net that is available to Americans without health insurance. I for one know all about it, as I had a serious illness at a time when I had no insurance. And I was taken care of by the state without charge. Unless an American is thrust into a similar situation, however, they just believe the propaganda they read in the papers.

And yes, most Finns, in my experience, share the same hypocrisy regarding "diversity" and "multiculturalism." By day all mouth the politically correct platitudes, but get any Finn drunk one night (not much arm-twisting necessary) and he will almost always rail against gypsies, Russians and other immigrants. This is true among young and old alike.

The shyness of the average Finn is no myth, it's a reality. Getting a Finn to talk is like pulling teeth -- especially if you're a foreigner. Before my first visit, my Finnish wife told me that most Finns know English, they're very curious about foreigners, etc., etc. But I found it quite difficult to carry on a two-way conversation. In America, I'm considered a rather shy person. But in Finland, I felt like the proverbial bull in a china shop (albeit Arabia china). Of course, the longer you know most Finns, the more open they will become. But it can be very frustrating for most Americans, even this usually shrinking violet.

I don't want anyone to assume that because I criticize certain aspects of Finland that I dislike it. No, I am very fond of Finland. I am especially fond of my wife. It's a wonderful country. My criticisms are meant to help Finns to see their problems from the perspective of an outsider, and hopefully to help them see their way to some solutions. Maybe you don't care to hear an outsider's views; fine. You're obviously welcome to run your country how you want to. That's what's so great about our differences: America is the way it is because it's what the people here generally (though not universally) prefer. Same with Finland, I'm sure.

One last point. Furious student wrote: "In Finland they do teach religion as a subject for a whole 12 years. The whole point of the education is not to make Christians - The whole point is to teach people about all the religions in the world equally. Of their pros and cons. Everyone can choose what to believe freely. This, I believe, is the very opposite the the conservative US system."

I'm not sure what disinformation "furious student" is listening to. But they do not teach religion in public U.S. schools. I would bet any Finn one million Euros that Finnish students pray more in Finnish schools than American students do in public U.S. schools. Heck, American schools aren't even allowed to have Christmas parties or Christmas trees. I've been to Finland at Christmas, I know how ingrained it is in the culture. Personally, I think that's a wonderful thing; don't lose it, like we are rapidly doing here in the U.S.

Posted by: Alistair | May 25, 2005 05:30 AM

Arvo - you are correct in that you pay personal "kirkollisvero" (church tax)only if you "belong" to the church; but what I was referring to with the professions is, that enterpreneurs like you who pay the 26% "yhteisövero" (community tax) which is in part funding the congregations, and you cannot "opt out" of paying the tithes to the church as a business. So when you pay "yhteisövero" you are in part supporting the local ev-lut congregation regardless you are a free-thinker or not.

Posted by: Hank W. | May 25, 2005 05:47 AM

Concerning Finland's role in the WWII,two points:

-Soviet Union agreed a separate peace with Finland the year 1945. Is it not an evidence of a separate war against SU?

-Finland had 4 million inhabitants.

Do you realli think that Finland had to fight *at the same time* against both totalitarian states,Nazi-Germany and Soviet Union who had together perhaps 200 000 million inhabitants!

Even USA was not capable to do that.

In stead,Finland indeed fought against both totalitarian states. First SU and then Nazi-Germany,but not at the same time.

Do people indeed demand that such tiny nation like Finland had to fight against both of them at the same time!!!

C'mon. Some sense.

Posted by: A dissident | May 25, 2005 05:52 AM

There are serious flaws in Finnish systems in relation with language politics.

92% on finns are finnish speaking. 5% are swedish speaking. Each finnish speaking finn has to study 3-6 years of swedish before gaining any kind of school diploma. In addition there are mandatory swedish language test in all universities.

Swedish speakers have similar system but the trick is that basically everyone is bilingual with finnish language at the
same level than finnish speakers. There are quotas for swedish speakers into universities which are almost as large as the swedish speaking matriculation exam graudates. Sometimes the quotas are in form of language test that only finnish speakers have to take. In result the system is very unfair for a finnish speaker.

Also some history. Finland was quite severely colonialized for few hundreds of years and these so called Finn-Swedes
as they call themselves have absolutely nothing to do with sweden. They are finnish families that had to change their
name, identity and language to swedish. But by representing themselves as Swedes they demand the rights of immigrants
the same way as Swedish Finns which are real immigrants, not just people who have changed their names.

Then for the politics. As mentioned in other writings there is the politica freak known as "Swedish peoples party" which has for some reason an eternal place in Finlands governent. The same party has been a member of the government since
70's and elections in Finland are basically a system to elect new partners for this party.

A.O.Freudenthal lived in late 1800's. He was a good old fashioned racial theorist who very openly declared that
finns are lower race than swedes. The Swedish peoples party still today holds Freudenthal as their spiritual
father and it reads in their homepage with these words.

And the spirit lives on. In Porvoo there is a school called Lyseonpuiston koulu where it is forbidden to speak a word
of finnish language. Any pupil caught in doing this will be threatened to be thrown out of the school. In Pietarsaari
there is a scool called Ristikarin koulu. In 2003 it was to be divided between finnish and swedish speaking children
but again the Swedish peoples party tried their everything to throw the finnish speaking children out of their own school
because they see finnish language in general as detrimental to any swedish speaker.

Nowday there is a new language law. It states that in any public post the skill to speak swedish is the number on priority.
Imagine this in a place where 92% speak finnish. And the law applies to the whole country.

Language politics is a very forbidden subject in Finnish society and anyone speaking openly angainst in is in real threat of losing their jobs. Few days ago a famous finnish writer Arto Paasilinna
informed that he is going to publish critics of the language politics in international writers conference called PEN. Yesterday there were demands to ban all his books from swedish speaking schools. So this is how things look in finland.

Posted by: Help | May 25, 2005 05:54 AM

Thanks for your articles, which give new perspectives also to us Finns!

About those posts above by Finns who have never lived in North America - I suggest you ignore them. Every Finn has an access to the net, so you'll get lots of irrelevant crap of some simplistic agenda (like hating Swedish language).

I happen to recogize one writer - Hank W (hello Henry), who is an outstanding and intelligent writer of forum for English speakers living in Finland. http://www.finlandforum.org/bb/

I'm really enjoing your articles!

Posted by: Markku | May 25, 2005 05:55 AM

One very special thing of Finnish public word. Any and literally any criticism is instantly labeled as "senseless hating of swedish language". About a year ago there was a discussion about language politics in government controlled otakantaa.fi. From about 1000 postings about 950 screamed for change to the present situation. Nothing happened of course and the site has been closed down since and Finlands EU-Member of parliament, also member of the Swedish peoples party declared that the writers of otakantaa.fi are mentally ill. The same guy did threaten all finns of losing their jobs if they dont't learn swedish language.

So Washington Post, if you recieve a ton of mail saying that there are senseless haters of minority of insane haters of swedish language then know that things are not that simple.

Posted by: Help | May 25, 2005 06:12 AM

Dear Reader, please not take what "A dissident" says about Finland, its political status regarding "a particular political party" and multilingual issues as true.

His knowledge comes from the 60's, by his own admission. The schooling today is quite different. In 1971 I was able to select between english and swedish as my FIRST foreign language at school on the third grade and onwards. I selected english. Swedish became next automatically on the next grade. Additionally, from then on, I could have opted for german, french, russia - even latin!!

Swedish is the second official language of Finland. Constitutionally every finnish citizen is entitled to receive public services in one of the official languages of Finland, finnish, swedish or Saami. This is why swedish is taught at school by default. (Even that obligation is being removed now.)

"A dissident":s comments are strongly exaggerated, if not completely untrue and very much look like those of an extreme right-wing, ultra nationalist pigot. There is a war-time, german-based abbreviation apt for such opinions, but I will leave that out from here...

Posted by: Jukka Lindgren | May 25, 2005 06:13 AM


Markku wrote:"About those posts above by Finns who have never lived in North America - I suggest you ignore them. "

"you'll get lots of irrelevant crap of some simplistic agenda (like hating Swedish language)."

Mr. Kaiser, the above are two prime examples of tactics used by the swedish apartheidists. Trying to supress the discussion, and clouding the issue. In Finland supression is in the form of active censorhip. Unfortunately for the apartheidists, this won't work with your American newspapers.

In Finland the issue is clouded through accusations of "hating Sweden." Anyone who opposes the crime of compulsory Swedish-teaching to the whole populuation is said to be a racist against Swedes and Sweden. In reality it is the Swedish People's party who are the most openly racist of all. Investigate their founder, Alex Freudenthal and his opinions about Finns. Investigate what Ida Asplund, the chairperson of Swedish Society has said about Finns. Investigate the threat that Henry Lax, a presidential candidate of the Swedish people's party, has made against Finnish young people in the Finnish parliament.

Why would Markku try to suppress and cloud this important issue? The issue is very important to us Finns financially, politically, and culturally. Why try to insult those who wish to openly discuss it?

The issue of distorted politics and language apartheid in Finland is rising more and more to the surface in Finland all the time.

I hope Washington Post will investigate the facts, e.g., forbidding Finnish speaking in Pietarsaari. Also, unlike Markku, I won't suggest that you ignore his posts or any which favor swedification of the Finnish people. Instead, I hope you will note that no valid justification for swedification will ever be presented by them, they will never address the crimes against Finnish people in e.g. Pietarsaari or Aland, and they will use ad-hominem attacks to try to explain their position.
They are the common communication from Swedish apartheidist criminals, who masquerade as Finns.

Posted by: Anti-apartheid | May 25, 2005 06:39 AM

"It's weird that you mention maternity leave being 3 years in a negative sense, sure it can be a stupid situation for the employer when there are cases of mothers popping out an unit once every couple of years, but the whole idea is that wimen don't have to choose between children and career."


That is the way that it's supposed to work, but in reality Finnish companies are starting to realize that high-level competitiveness and a policy of tending to everyone's needs cannot co-exist. There are more stories in the news these days about pregnant employees being fired, and potential employees asking applicants if they plan to have any more children, because if they do it's much more expensive and risky for the company. These actions are supposed to be illegal, but they are happening more often regardless. Also, one sneaky way that companies have avoided this burden is to have the "employee" set up a business, from which the company buys services, sort of like a freelancer or subcontrator. In this way, the "employee" becomes responsible for their own welfare, and if things go wrong, they have little to fall back on. This is one reason why entrepreneurship is not very well respected among Finnish women of childbearing age, because they fear the loss of benefits, and a reason why Finns in general are among the least likely to want to become entrepreneurs when compared to other Europeans. I should know- I have a small business here in Finland and in the beginning a lot of people tried to convince me that I would be doing myself a disservice by becoming an entrepreneur.

Posted by: Caroline | May 25, 2005 06:48 AM

Damn, well said Alistar!

- Phil
www.finlandforthought.net

Posted by: Phil | May 25, 2005 06:51 AM

"The schooling today is quite different"

Exaclty the same. 3-6 years of swedish in a country that is one of the most monolingual countries in the world. The laws declaring Finland as bilingual were made almost a hundred years ago and today thery are nothing more than a joke. It does not make us laugh because it gives very uneuqal future for diffrerent language groups.

"Swedish is the second official language of Finland"

Here is the typical phrase which should silence all criticism. 5 million monolingual finnish speakers and 250.000 biligual, very bilingual, finnish-swedish speakers. By this all kinds of laws are defended resulting in unequal situations.

"an extreme right-wing, ultra nationalist pigot"

Here again is the very dangerous method of labelling political dissidents and it may very well resulting in losing ones job. In politics criticism against the Swedish peoples party is a political suicide because the party will be again in the government. Finnish speaker gets almost instant nazi-label for example saying that i want to decide which foreign languages i want to study (swedish is in practice totally foreign language to finnish speakers)

The main newspaper of Finland, Helsingin Sanomat, has a policy of total silence in language politics exluding some irrelevant news. Also the government television media has a similar policy and if one wants to know anything about the Swedish peoples party the only information can be obtained from swedish section of government media or newspapers written in swedish.

So anyone disagreeing with language politics is very alone and very likely to get some nasty labers such as racist, insane, hater. Even though the only problem is finnish speakers own right to decide their OWN language selections.

Posted by: Help | May 25, 2005 06:52 AM

As a sidenote: "Finns joke all Swedish men are gay" - its actually in Denmark and Norway Swedish men are called "bøsser" as well, so I think its more of a "nordic male thing" calling Swedes gay than just Finnish. I mean if all your 3 neigbours call you gay maybe theres some cultural thing involved?

Posted by: Hank W. | May 25, 2005 07:04 AM

Great blog, hopefully you'll enjoy your stay.

The only problem I see in Finland that like you mentioned, it really is a homogeneous country. While this is a good thing for most of the time, it can be a curse sometimes.

Like in politics, where Helsinki metropolitan area is treated usually pretty unfairly by other parts of the country, where farming is still thought to be the top-notch job.

Coming to think of it, better not think about it.

Keep up the good work!

Posted by: Mikko Grönroos | May 25, 2005 07:16 AM

I think "amis" is = "chav" in the UK. To the US its a bit harder to compare, a bit like "trailer trash" but not so blatant.

Its a lot to do with lifestyle. And remember Finland is "small" populationwise; so what is "amis" in Vantaa is definitely not how/what "amis" is in Jyväskylä.
(For a Vantaa teen kids from Jyväskylä would be "country hicks" anyhow.)

Posted by: Hank W. | May 25, 2005 07:17 AM

The Swedish peoples party holds Axel Olof Freudenthal as their spiritual father

http://www.sfp.fi/fi/page.php?pageid=44

Some of his principles:

"Because of their race and origins Finns were unable to create any own culture before Swedish conquest"

"We know from histori that peoples who belonc to the turanic race have no special abilities in independent progress in civilization or farming"

"No other people in europe have shown so little tendency in independent status than the finnish or turanic race"

"As for the intelligence the finns can not match to any other people"

"The Swedish farmer consideres his Finnish counterpart as lower being. A sort of imbeccil that is behind him in every ways"


Above statements are listed from L.A.Puntilas doctoral thesis. Now one must rememer that even it is very widely proven that the swedish speaking minority is in fact finnish families that had to change their name, identity and language, the Swedish peoples party insists that ther are Swedes and not Finns. This results in confusion in both groups.

One real confusion is the fact that during colonial times publishing in finnish language was forbidden and anyone doing anything in the society had to swedify their names and learn swedish. Nowdays they are wrongly decipited as being part of this finn-swede "race".

So this is hurting the average finn because they are being laughed at because all great men from past are said to be "finn swedes" and not "finns". This is of course not true but less than a month ago a swedish teacher from Kokkola declared being civilized equals being swedish speaking.

Posted by: Help | May 25, 2005 07:21 AM

to arvo,
"Hi Markus. Do you know what is "in stead of". It is indeed against the law to study *in stead of Swedish* any other language."

Sorry, didn't notice that. Yes, you're right about that.

Posted by: Markus | May 25, 2005 07:34 AM

Swedish Popular Party gave Freudenthal-honorary medal the year 2004 to former member of parliament Mr. Gunnar Jansson.

Gunnar Jansson is famous for his statement in the State television (seen by my own eyes):"The discrimination of the Finnish speaking persons is correct if it is done friendly". (But "black" for "Finnish speaking" and you understand as an American perhaps what it is all about)

Concerning mandatory Swedish. Still once more: "It is forbidden to study any other langauge in stead of Swedish."

Mandatory Swedish is politics,not pedagogy.
The arguments for it are completely political,not pedagogical.

Finnish educational system has invented a political term for Swedish. It is called by the educational bureaucrats "a native language education" in spite of the fact thatit is pedagogically completely foreign language to the Finns.

Funny thing is that its symbol is the flag of a foreign country-Sweden! The home-page of Ministry of Education also used to have as a symbol for "the native language" the flag of Sweden. It was removed away when people made fun of Ministry's politics of "a native language" with the help of Swedish flag;)

The aim is: In addition to own mother tongue Finnish, two languages which one can freely choose.

The one who demands that is called a faschist by those who are for mandatory Swedish. Thus the freedom of choice is turned to be "faschism" and obligation is turned to be "freedom."

That is Finland!

Before internet-age the sencorship of Finnish media was so tight that the debate of basic freedoms was very limited. Now internet has opened the gates and the Finnish nomenklatura cannot prevent Finns to discuss of their own issues.

Let us taken an example. State Broadcasting Company organized still about 10 years ago a tv-debate of the mandatory Swedish. Guess who were invited to the tv-studio. The Swedish speaking persons and the Finnish speaking persons,the objects of the system had to sit in the audience.

No one saw anything strange in such a journalism because State Broadcasting Company represents state.

If that was enough. A Finn can critizise the fact the Italian leading political party,Berlusconi's party has an own tv-channel.

Swedish Popular Party has also an own tv-channel among the channels of State Broadcasting Company. The only political party who has an own tv-channel. The party has a permanent mandate in the government regardless of the results of the election!

Posted by: A dissident | May 25, 2005 07:39 AM

The Swedish peoples party has an own TV-channel, quotas to the other TV-channels resulting that any day at the prime time at least one of the two finnish speaking channels is actually swedish speaking.


Two radio stations, several newspapers in swedish and the fear of being labeled as nazi or hater prevents other media from disagreeing.

The Swedish peoples party's parlment members have also some privileges. MP Mikko Elo asked last year why the Swedish peoples party mixes up with the finnish speaking education. MP Christina Gestrin yelled that Mikko Elo vomiting bile over the minority. Usually everything that MP's say is published on the parliaments internet-page but for this occasion it was censored and only published in swedish.

Posted by: Help | May 25, 2005 07:53 AM

Alistair, good points there, but...

Even not a big fan of Rifkin, he has argued quite convincingly that there's some flaws in comparing EU's (and Finland's too) and USA's unemployment rates.

"(Right now it's a mere 5.2%. Don't hear too much about it in the press now; I wonder why?) Finland (and most of the rest of Europe) would kill to have an unemployment rate that low."

This is not a rhetorical question...
If Finland had as many prisoners as USA, I wonder what our unemployment rates were?

Posted by: Markus | May 25, 2005 07:53 AM

Dear Robert G. Kaiser and Lucian Perkins,

First of all, thank you for visiting Finland and letting the world find
out more about our country. I'm very flattered about you visiting here and
especially my home city, which is Jyväskylä. The gallery you have on the
internet is very nice. Just one thing poped up that was a bit wrong. You
wrote that bicycles are popular in Jyväskylä and that is right as
thousands of students can't afford any other transportation. You also
wrote that bikes are rarely locked here. That's wrong! I don't know where
you've got that information (maybe just expecting us to be so honest? how
fattering :)) but my view is, that almost all the bikes on the streets are
always locked. That is because bikes are expensive in Finland and they get
stolen easily. You'de lose your bike very soon, if you left it unlocked!
Especially in the center, and on a busy weekend like last one.

That's about it.
Have a great time on the rest of your tour!
Hopefully you get a lot of interesting experiencies!

Sincerely,
Liisa Välijärvi
student from Jyväskylä
(lijovali@cc.jyu.fi)

Posted by: Liisa | May 25, 2005 07:58 AM

About the Finnish health care system:
I was too laze to read through all the posts so dont know if anyone mentioned this: there was a study sometime ago, including several countries including the u.s., in which the finnish health care system was found to have the biggest gap between the quality of the care between the rich and the poor.

There is a good private system and a non-working state system which co-exist. Simply put: doctors are greedy for money so they prefer to go to the private system and only idealists, of whom there are not many and the lesser skilled work in the public system. One has to wait long, half a year for dentist (so have 5 bad teeth, 2.5 years theyre ok), even longer for some operations etc. One also has to pay even in the public system if one has income, to some, the money is too much, many old people cannot afford medication. Apparently there are working and free systems throughout europe but not so in finland.

Posted by: Samppa | May 25, 2005 07:59 AM

http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/americas/4481261.stm

INCARCERATION RATES
US: 726 people per 100,000

Posted by: Markus | May 25, 2005 08:00 AM

"is right as
thousands of students can't afford any other transportation"

-It also is safer to use a bicycle.

"f you left it unlocked" (bike)

- Every year at least one has been stolen from me, despite the u-lock.

Posted by: Samppa | May 25, 2005 08:03 AM

Mr Himanen gives too black and white view about Finland in some cases. First, he said that there is no controversy about abortion in Finland. That´s not truth. There is a legal right for abortion in Finland but many Finnish think that abortion is wrong. There has been also discussion in publicity what is an approvable final time for abortion. Mr Himanen is also wrong when saying that Finnish politicians never say "God bless". For examble former president of Finland, Mr. Martti Ahtisaari said so in traditional New Year´s speech of president.

Posted by: tuomas | May 25, 2005 08:10 AM

Fortunately there are only a few fanatics Swedish-possessed, like 'A Dissident' or 'Help'. There can be the same person behind these nicknames.

Finnish parliament voted 179-3 about the new language law in 2003. These 'fennomaniacs', as many call them, spread the word that the parliament was pribed by the Swedes.

The chairman of Finnish Alliance says there are many reasons for Finnish people to hate Sweden, Swedish and Swedishness.

Posted by: Urja | May 25, 2005 08:18 AM

There were comments earlier about immigration. Looks like Finland has enough issues with Finland/Sweden without adding any new groups to the mix.

Posted by: Mr X | May 25, 2005 08:20 AM

Dear Urja. Please do not label other writers as haters or liers. Please "allow" open an discussion.

Posted by: Help | May 25, 2005 08:27 AM

Thanks for a great blog! As a Finnish expat in central Europe this almost makes me cry ;) This is definitely something to show to my colleagues and friends when they wan't to know something about Finland.

In Monty Python's words:

Finland, Finland, Finland,
The country where I quite want to be,
Your mountains so lofty,
Your treetops so tall.
Finland, Finland, Finland.
Finland has it all.

Finland has it all.

Posted by: Monty | May 25, 2005 08:31 AM

A few days ago there was a news item in
Helsingin Sanomat (Finlands biggest daily newspaper),I don't remember it word to word
but it reported that a squirrel had died
because someone accidentally cut down it's
hometree.We are a nation in mourning.

Posted by: Mauri | May 25, 2005 08:33 AM

Thanks for the great articles on Finland. I have lived in Finland for about 10 years and have come to appreciate the overall quality of life that Finland provides. Finnish society has flaws but the rest of the world can certainly learn a lot from the Finnish way of life.

Posted by: Ro | May 25, 2005 08:48 AM

Urja,can you reveal what is the definition of a civilized person by the standards of Swedish Popular Party.

I am sure that the Americans want to laugh,too.

Posted by: A dissident | May 25, 2005 08:49 AM

Urja,don't be so shy because you are Finlander.Unlike me who is Finn.

So who a civilized person according to the standards of Swedish Popular Party:)

Posted by: A Dissident | May 25, 2005 08:54 AM

As readers might have noticed some extremists here are trying to promote the idea that the small Swedish-speaking minority is harassing the Finnish speakers. The Truth is that Finland is bilingual (by constitution) and owes most of its' success to the multicultural society. The Swedish-speaking minority founded almost all of Finland's culture and businesses. Some individuals have a very hard time accepting this. Swedish speakers developed even the Finnish language (wrote it down and created the grammar). It was an effort to break free from the old motherland Sweden.

Usually the Finns' knowledge of the Swedish language correlates very closely with his success in life. I guess stupid people neither learn Swedish nor anything else. Some people have a hard time accepting that they are not very successful. Then there are of course politicians who try to make an issue out of this language question. These politicians have never succeeded in elections. Swedish speakers have to study Finnish and Finnish speakers Swedish.

It's ridiculous to say that the 5% Swedish speaking minority is a threat to the Finnish language. Everyone can for them selves think how much sense such a claim makes.

Finland is a great country. What makes it so great is the people. The people is one, but speaks two different languages. Most people still know the other language as well. Most people even speak excellent English and some fourth language (mostly German or French). How many one-language countries have succeeded better?

Posted by: Landet heter Finland | May 25, 2005 08:55 AM

Caroline, that was a beautifully written essay on life of women in Finland. It is very true. My wife is from Kouvola and her mother refuses to let the men do any work in the house. Outdoors work is another matter. And I can't count how many times I have seen a couple arrive at a store, the girl pays, packs the bags, carries the bags and beer to the car and drives the boyfriend. Finnish women are a man's dream come true. But of course, I love my wife for many other reasons. The home-made pizza is a big one.

Arvo, Hyvin Hauska!! That was halarious! Yes, saying something bad about finland is practically illegal here. Heck, its almost heresy as you can see from Markus' reactions. But I completely understand Markus. Nobody likes to hear their country be severly criticized. I live through it practically every day in this anti-american country. But life goes on.. and soon I'll be moving back to California. Not for the money, but for the quality of life.

Hey, is Tony Halme that wrestler that was elected to your parlament and he recently shot somebody and himself, but survived then became a born-again christian?

Alistair... can you believe I was actually feeling guilty for attacking the "Potemkin village erected by Pekka Himanen"? yeah, I felt bad after reading those angry responses from finns.. I felt as if I had insulted my own wife and her family.. but at the same time I felt that things had to be said, but maybe I could have put a little more sugar on the words. Some guy forgot to put his parking break on when he parked his car and so his car rolled down a hill and into my car as I entered the parking lot, so I may have been in a bad mood.

When I was looking for work in Tampere, the employment lady told me the regional unemployment rate was 15%.

Multiculturalism is dying in Europe. The Nazi's may make a come-back.

I know many finns that support the death penalty for child killers.

It is SO REFRESHING to hear a finn speak the truth. They hold it inside too much. Oh God, that was just so good, I'm going to save it to my archives.

This blog has become VERY educational for me and I thank everyone for positive and negative comments! Returning to Finland for visits will always be nice and I know I will cherish the moments. but more than 2 months and I'll go crazy.. hehehe

Heippa!

Posted by: Eduardo Hernandez | May 25, 2005 09:04 AM

Just a short note: Abortion in the USA and in Finland means something completely different - Finland has restrictions on who can get one, when it can be done, and how it can be done. I didn't understand the fuzz about abortion in the US until I found out these differences. I am pretty sure that many Finns who accept abortion in Finland would be against it in the US. That is why there is no controversy in the issue in Finland. It's all about details.

Posted by: K | May 25, 2005 09:09 AM

Intresting reading this blog is.
And I sense many great thought.

But I think the writers should study our WWII history more in order to get in to the Finnish culture better.

WWII history is stil very near to us Finns because everybodys father or grandfather like mine, fought there and lost something.

Example recent big voting about "The Biggest Finn" ended up that in top4 there were on places 1., 2. and 4. war herous
(360 000 Finn voted)
( http://www.yle.fi/suuretsuomalaiset/tulosseuranta/ )

And another intresting gallup was done recently witch result was that ~80% of finns would defend our country and try preserve our way of life, with cost of their own life, even if the outlook of war would be "not good".

Posted by: StudentJanne | May 25, 2005 09:10 AM

Could you tell which places are you planning to explore in Finland? There are so many different kinds of areas, like west-east Finland, northern Finland, Ahvenanmaa, or the only "city" here, Helsinki (large enough to call a city :)

perhaps you could follow some people's work day in a hospital or at office or at bus or some other place? market squares (or malls, like itäkeskus in helsinki) are a good places to spot people.

in helsinki, remember to ride the metro (yes, it's wonderfully simple) and tram, take the day trip to tallinn like all finns (or visit Ahvenanmaa?), remember that there are people living in Suomenlinna (it's not only a unesco world heritage site but a "living village"), go to see houses in front of parliament house, they are going to tear them away to build a new music house in the middle of town, go to see kamppi, where they are building a bus terminal, and noticed that all the busses won't fit there.. over the terminal, there will be luxus-priced apartments, without any luxury. nice places are also hietaniemi beach, central park, seurasaari island museum, zoo, islands around helsinki...

Posted by: tj | May 25, 2005 09:11 AM

Dear Mr. Robert G. Kaiser

We hope you enjoy your visit in Finland. Your story is very interesting.

One of the most interesting and not-understandable question in Finland is our government's "relation" to the ceded Karelia.

Practilly 98 % of all politicians are even afraid of speaking of the return of Karelia. We were not guilty for the wars, but our politicians still behave as they were. Ex. president Koivisto says that polls and discussions of the return may even cause war between Finland and Russia.

ProKarelia is an NGO. We want to get Karelia back, peacefully, on the win-win princile with Russia. About 40 % of the Finnish people support this idea. My fair guess is that in the fall about 50 % want to get Karelia back. - But still not the politicians.

Have you ever earlier met politicians who do not want even to speak of an important matter, when there are lots of voters and also the media is interested? This sounds mad for me.

President Putin condemned Molotov-Ribbentrop pact of 1939. He spoke of the Baltic countries. But Finland was a part of this pact, also. Senator Richard Lugar knows the Karelian dilemma.

Welcome to have a cup of coffe and discussion over this matter.

Have a great time in Finland! Best regards

Veikko

Posted by: Veikko Saksi | May 25, 2005 09:18 AM

Himanen has a little Helsinki-biased view on certain issues. Let me correct him little:

* Prayer in schools, and the separation of church and state generally? Does religion play any role in public life?

A. No prayer in school.
-But there are, it varies from school to school. It's not an issue.

A:You would never hear a Finnish politician say "God bless Finland."
-But we have heared. Both presidents Ahtisaari and Halonen end their New Years address in thos words. Yet this is not an issue.

A:Finns want these things to be separated.
-Somehow we still have official State Churches. Yes, generally Finns keep spiritual life private, but state and church are one.

* The death penalty?

A. Finland is strongly against death penalty, which is not part of our system.
-Only on official level. According to polls, almost half of the population would have death penalty in law.

* Gun control? Can citizens own rifles? Pistols?

A. We don't think that owning a gun is a constitutional right or that it would have something to do with individual's freedom.
-That might be a urban view, but we should remember that Finland has more guns per capita thau USA. There will be a revolution if government try abolish guns.

A: The Finnish thinking is that the number of guns is linked to having a more violent society.
-This is almost bullshit and very urban view. Majority of Finns are familiar with guns (mostly rifles, not pistols) and hunting is very popular hobby among rural men. Over 80% of males are trained to use rifle by compulsory military service.

In general I'd say Himanen has liberal political view which gives this bias to his stories. It's not big and most of these views were agreeable, but there were some things that he doesn't know anything. For example his critique-less support for multiculturalism and immigration isn't shared by Finns, which is also the reason for homogenous population (and good PISA!)

Posted by: Teemu | May 25, 2005 09:37 AM

Regarding religion and schools. I admit that too many years may have passed since I attended comprehensive school in Finland to make a statement regarding whether prayers are being recited in the beginning of the day. I do remember having to sing a religious hymn at the end of each spring celebration (Suvivirsi) and the trips to church before the Christmas and Summer holidays).

I don't think Eddie should be too surprised of her wife's ability to recite prayers. I have not been to church too often myself and yet can recite most prayers at weddings etc. I put this down to the fact that I attended, at the age of 14, a confirmation camp, as did most of the people I knew from school, and most people I have met since. Confirmation Camps are pretty pivotal in the lives of 14 year olds (normally kids attend btw the 8th and 9th grades) as an opportunity to spend 10 days in a closed environment with people the same age. Lots of people met their first girl/boyfriends there and a considerable number got drunk for the first time after the actual confirmation party. So in other words, religous or not, lots of teens elect to participate in these camps and it is there where one has to memorise lots of prayers and biblical 'facts'. And my uneducated assumption would be that it is from these days that most adult non church goers learned the most common prayers.

I have been living in Britain for the past 9 years, but go back home 3 times a year. It is amazing how much my town (Helsinki) has changed in this time. The most visible of these changes to me is the more multicultural vibe in the town, which I love.

While lots of things could of course be better, there is something about the silent Finnish efficiency which I miss. I mean, while back home people's strictness, quietness and the need to teach fellow beings irritates the h*ll out of me, but then again I find myself to be harbouring these same features when negotiating my way in the British society.

I am looking forward to moving back home 'any time soon', be it 1, 10 or 20 years. While I love my life here, there are many moments when I miss Finland and my close circles so much it hurts. I find this blog and the comments to be just the remedy I need at the moment to cure my home sickness.

Posted by: Päivi | May 25, 2005 09:40 AM

My God, I knew finns didn't like Swedes but I didn't know it ran this deep. More things to ask my wife.

And Markus.. hate the US all you want. Regarding incarceration rates in the US. When you break the law in the states, you will do time. Unlike law breakers in europe. A rapist recently got 2 years jail sentence in finland. But we all know he will not serve those 2 years. In the states, rapists get 7 years and maybe more! And they serve it! Did you know that in europe you can kill a few people and finish your jail time in about 10 years or less? Sorry.. I just don't think that's right.

And about locking things up. EVERYBODY locks their doors and bikes and cars up in Finland. You can go as far north as possible and everyone locks everything up. Not like in small towns in the US where people don't lock anything. Finland is as safe as oregon, wyoming, washington.. Utah..

And Markus, you mentioned slums before. Seriously. If everything is so great in Finland, why are there homeless people in Helsinki? Why are there guys living in the streets standing next to a trash can burning something to keep warm as they do in New York City? Helsinki only has 500,000 people and they already have this homeless problem. And you criticize the US (though I'm sure you mean the big cities) for the way they are handling their situation in their metropolis? Shame......

Posted by: Eduardo Hernandez | May 25, 2005 09:42 AM

WOW, 24 hours and I see tons of new replies - 70% of it is about Swedish language and it's current effect on Finnish culture. What a joke, honestly.
... like Finland doesn't have other problems to deal with. I mean .... WHO CARES ! Swedish is mainly spoke in south, you go up north and you will have difficult time finding someone who speaks it or cares about speaking it. There are much worse things that country of ~5M people should be focusing one. Healthcare, unemployment and encouraging people to start maore businesses and creating jobs. Swedish language, mandatory or not, existing in Finnish culture or not, is not going to do much with the well-being of Finland.

I love my native Finland, all good and bad things that come with it. Mostly my love come sfrom 70's and 80's when it still was Finland with it's own culture. Todays Helsinki is like a mini-America. I can't wait to head up north, which still has some of its own identity left.

More about unemployment - it might be ~10% down south in Helsinki sector, but you go to smaller towns (North or South), we are talking about 15-20% range. Lots of free loaders drinking beer in the local gas-station no interest to try to fix the situation because the well doing hard working business ownes (via government) is buying his/her next beer. The system is a joke.

.......... and people dare to focus on Swedish language.

Please don't get me wrong, I do believe that unemployment system right for single parents with kids who worked hard and lost his/her job for no valid reason. But also believe me when I say that there are TONS of free loaders.

Whole generation of people that were young during the recession years learned not to work simply because of lack of summer and evening jobs, yes, I know, not their fault .... but they sure learned how to milk the system. many of them (including my own sister) wouldn't know how to go and land a job if it was offered next door.

At the same time my mother is trying to start her own business and is loaded up with unbelievable taxes on top of other taxes. I mean, when is Finnish government going to realize that the power of economy is shifting to small-businesses and those are the people who will eventually hire and employ other people, provided they get to that point.

Give them a freakin' break ! Encourage and help these people to get started.

Posted by: Koikkalainen | May 25, 2005 10:05 AM

Hi Caroline and thanks for your marvelous post. A couple of notes.

You said:

"And indeed, the very fact that there are small business loans for women in Finland indicates that there are inequalities, otherwise there would be no need for special treatment."

To my knowledge this special loan arrangement for women was established to encourage women to start more small businesses. It has taken too long for the government to realize that most of the jobs - specially the new ones - come from new small businesses. This special loan for women is one the efforts to create new jobs. The women are naturally entitled to use the normal loan arrangements which are insensible to the sex of the company share holders.

I said: "Anyway, the unemployment has been getting smaller and hopefully continues to do so."

You said: "The reason why the unemployment rate falls is because a lot of unemployed individuals leave Finland, give up looking for work, or enroll in state-funded job search programs; it does not mean that more jobs are being created. So just because someone is not listed on the unemployment register, does not mean that they are making a living. "


Firstly, as far as know the moving away from Finland for jobs is not that big (A statistics figure would be nice here). Secondly, the ones moving away are mostly the high educated and young, those already having a steady job. These are the people who can make a career and good living in which ever country they choose to go to but also have the possibility and courage to do so. The low educated unemployed factory workers are still here.

As I stated in my first post, much of the current unemployment is caused by the collapse of the Soviet. Germany also suffers high unemployment because of the collapse, maybe not that much because of the lost markets in the East but because they have not been able to fuse the new inhabitants from the East Germany to the West German economy system and create new job for them. So, we both have the same problem, caused by slightly different reasons but due to the same historical event. The collapse has been a major factor to all kinds of upheavals in Europe and it takes time - maybe even several decades - before everything is back to "normal".

In Finland there can be no miracle to make the problem go away in one nigh either. There is an ongoing debate of what should be done but nobody really has the final answer, just because there ain't one simple one. The politicians need to clean up the statistics because they have made all sorts of promises which they naturally can not keep. You can not create new products and markets for them in a flash to decrease unemployment, if we consider the "real" jobs to be those that bring in new money. But there are some things you can do or at least try to do and one of them was the "loan trick" to women you brought up in your post. Another similar "trick" that seems to have worked to some degree is that you can now hire a person to do your house cleaning or take care of your children and have a part of the expenses deducted in taxation. This has revived the cleaning jobs business which had almost totally vanished during the four or five last decades.

These kinds of new jobs don't directly create anything new - if we measure things only businesslike - as they only redirect the cash flows within the country borders. The former unemployed people who used to get their checks from the unemployment office now get their checks from the private individuals who then get a tax deduction. This causes the government to get less taxes but at the same time they have to pay less unemployment compensations. The only thing the government actually did was that they fixed their own previous mistake when they by taxation had suffocated this kind of a normal job. Maybe they should look back and see what other bad mistakes they did and fix those first.

About the new mistakes I can point out one from my own field of business and that is the continuous increasing of the amount of new engineers. The politicians obviously think that the amount of new engineers equals the amount of new jobs. But in reality it causes low salaries for engineers, old experienced engineers entitled to high salaries won't get another job because companies can get cheap young labor instead. The situation has gone so bad that we just recently saw in TV the students striking. But to say something nice about this, maybe we should remember and accept what we all know already and that is that the ones who do something are the ones who will make the most of the mistakes too.


You also brought up the gender equality. My personal opinion of the gender equality in general is that there can be no quick improvement in this matter anywhere either. Why? Because this a general human problem where stronger individuals or stronger nations or stronger anything usually wants to rule the weaker ones. Most likely things will change in the course of time but it requires that the attitudes so deeply rooted in people's (men?) minds change.

Posted by: Risto Apajalahti | May 25, 2005 10:08 AM

Eddie wrote:

"And about locking things up. EVERYBODY locks their doors and bikes and cars up in Finland. You can go as far north as possible and everyone locks everything up."

I take it that you've gone through every single door, car and lock to check that they're all locked? ;-) In my home town in Eastern Finland people don't always lock things down in rural areas. Town centres are a different story, but when you drive to your summer cottage, you rarely worry about locking up your car, cottage door etc. So everybody can do it, but not everybody does it.

As for hating USA without really knowing what's in there: I'm Finnish and I have lived my whole life in Finland. But I have had the priviledge of visiting good friends in Maine, USA, and every time I've found it to be surprisingly similar to Finland. Of course Maine is completely different from California, NYC, or other less homogenous states because it simply is far from the maddening crowd, just like Finland. Sparsely populated, lots of forests, almost similar climate with proper winter, people who are generally accustomed to peaceful rhythm of life (compared to larger cities)... Everyday life over there is just as normal as it is over here, with same trivial challenges and problems. If I forget politics, the state etc. for a while and think of the people, I feel at home there. I probably would like visiting for example LA at least once, but I doubt that I'd love it. Maine, however, is the US equivalent of Finland for me. Maybe it would be better to compare Finland to Maine and not the whole USA?

Posted by: Pete | May 25, 2005 10:11 AM

For some reason this address has showed up on several anti Swedish pages. Be prepared for a lot of propaganda how poorly the Finns are being treated.

This is of course a lot of c..p. But I guess that all societies have their part of mental cases.

In general, especially among the educated people the relationship towards the other language is very warm. Most Swedish speakers marry with Finnish speakers but the couples raise their children as Swedish speakers. It is also very popular to put your Finnish-speaking children in Swedish speaking kindergarten. There are never enough places free.

Posted by: Juha Kontunen | May 25, 2005 10:11 AM

I'd like to add to above that the situation is not much better in other European countries either. I work a lot with Italian and Spanish companies, many of them small businesses, and they are in the same boat. Maybe not as impossible as in Filand, but not far off. So, it's not just Finland.

Posted by: Koikkalainen | May 25, 2005 10:14 AM

On Yoke-Swedish & Apartheid Caaste System in Finland,

The Finland-Swedes actually form a super-caste that cannot accept regular freedom of language to Finns. All Finns want to study English, and then only 1.5% are interested in Swedish. The Finland-Swedish is also non-eligible for communication in Sweden, and thus more harmful than beneficial. And, Swedes being in power, have even prohibited teaching of Sweden-Swedish in Finnish schools.

ALL Finns must today be able to speak well Swedish, by the law, if they want to get a certificate from a college or a university, for getting a public job or even getting a contract in Helsinki, where only round 6% are Swedish-speakers. And all those Swedish-speakers are bilingually Finnish-speakers, too.

This is naturally extremely costly. Actually Finns speak lousily English, thus getting typically 20-50% lower fees from international expert jobs. The Finnish GDP is estimated to lose 20-30% every year to the huge ignorance costs caused by the Yoke-Swedish. The losses do not only leak to education costs, but more to costs of not understanding French, German, Russian, Spanish, Italin, Japanese and not having active networks in those countries.

And this is against the anti-racistic directives of the European Union, see Google: EC directive 2000/43. It is amazing, how the Finnish Government still applies racistic discrimination over the majority of their people. Well, it is as if the Finns were Negroes in Africa or Dalits in India; good for servants but non-eligible for white-collars - without proven ability to behave as a Swede (Boer, Brahmin) does.

It is strange, how Finns can tolerate the apartheid-caste system that also badly hampers mathematically and technologically talented boys. Then in the PISA research, Finns are good at math, but not at the highest percentile but at the lowest. The Yoke-Swedish takes 10% of the energy of the students.

Posted by: Lasse Laaksonen, Helsinki | May 25, 2005 10:19 AM

I was suprised that you found so many interesting things about us.:)
Thanks.

By the way, we are not the biggest alcohol consumers in Europe. It just seems so, because when we are drinking WE DO GET drunk. I know, it's a bad habbit. It has something to do with those long, dark, cold and lonely winters...

The prof mentioned three things which are best to describe the nature of finns: Linux, Nokia and HIM.

He is on the right lead, but my list would be a little different:
Linux, Nokia and heavymetal.

Especially in Europe and Japan finnish metal has received a warm welcome. Him may be the most famous finnish band in the States, but it sure is not the only one with success.

Posted by: Joonas | May 25, 2005 10:20 AM

To "vision" (and "Markus"): it is not the paper mills that smell, but the pulp mills. Now, that is the right smell of money!

Posted by: Katja | May 25, 2005 10:26 AM

Eduardo: "And Markus.. hate the US all you want. Regarding incarceration rates in the US. When you break the law in the states, you will do time. Unlike law breakers in europe."

Hate? I was just pointing out a fact relating to unemployment rates. Compared to your post mine are mild. Don't judge other people by your standards, Eduardo.

Posted by: Markus | May 25, 2005 10:29 AM

"Landet heter Finland" is just another troll.

Posted by: In case you didn't notice | May 25, 2005 10:33 AM

Your wife's mother is "old school", meaning that she is a person from the time when there were separated jobs for a woman and a man. Nothing more. This kind of a behaviour is not common in younger generations; of course, there still is evidence left of that, but the attitudes towards man and woman having certain work is dying even in the oldest generations of Finns. (I cook, clean and do the laundry! And so does many other men.)

Posted by: From Vellu To Eduardo | May 25, 2005 10:34 AM

Something is terribly wrong with Finnish school system. To graduate and to have a government occupation, everybody here is obliged to study an unimportant five percent minority's language namely Swedish. Compulsory Swedish studies is a tool in the hands of an elité clique of Swedish speaking Finns, which they use to further their deeds and mutilate Finnish children's lingual and cultural identities.

Please consider my point.

Posted by: Pauli Ojanperä | May 25, 2005 10:36 AM

Eduardo: "And Markus, you mentioned slums before."

When?!?

Posted by: Markus | May 25, 2005 10:37 AM

Comparing USA better place than Finland as a whole; there is big cap between the richest people and poorest people is US. Being poor in USA means you don't have money or home. In Finland it means that your have enough wealth (if you can call it that!) to barely survive...

If you have money, you can survive in both coutries, but I prefer Finland, because of the safer, cleaner enviroment, good education and honest people.

Posted by: One more for Eduardo from a "immigrant" | May 25, 2005 10:40 AM

Eduardo: "Regarding incarceration rates in the US."

So, you admit that our unemployment figures would be quite close to USA's, if we had as many prisoners as you?

Incarceration rates tell more about society as whole than just about sentences. In Finland, our welfare system keeps some of the poor people from not having to rob/deal drugs etc. You know how in USA this is also a matter of race. Black men are more likely to go to prison. Why? They don't have the same opportunities as white folks, because of their race and poverty and so on.

Posted by: Markus | May 25, 2005 10:47 AM

Landet Heter... I thought the Swedish-Finnish snob was just a myth, but after reading your comments, I now understand it to be true.

World war II is over. Why would a 6 year war define your culture which is 500 years old? Get over it!!!! You don't hear Russians saying.. ah, World War II defined our culture.. they lost over a million soldiers.

Oh yeah, and UNESCO sites. You can visit the most undeserving UNESCO site at an old paper mill near Valkeala. i can't remember the name.. Vapa... something.

My wife's family was from Karelia.. they are still very sensitive about that. I wouldn't be surprised if Russia would sell it to Finland.

Posted by: Eduardo | May 25, 2005 10:48 AM

Dear Pauli Ojanperä.

You wrote "Something is terribly wrong with Finnish school system". But still the Finnish school system shows the best results year after year. Could this be THANKS to the compulsory Swedish and Finnish studies? Why is Finland doing so well internationally if "Something is terribly wrong with Finnish school system"?

Could it be that it's the bilingual society that makes Finland so successfull?

Posted by: Juha Kontunen | May 25, 2005 10:52 AM

Finland's population consists of the Finns and Finlanders.

The Finns are Finnish speaking and Finlanders non-Finnish speaking citizens of Finland.

4,9 million belong to the first-mentioned group. The latter group is about 400 000 and consists groups like Swedish, Russian, Estonian, Kurdish, Somali, Turkish etc. speaking citizens of Finland. They prefer to be called Finlanders.

Posted by: Basic information | May 25, 2005 10:54 AM

Blog getting more exposure n Finland

http://www.helsinginsanomat.fi/tuoreet/artikkeli/1101979659551

Expect more meaningless Finnish-Swedish arguments ;)

Posted by: Koikkalainen | May 25, 2005 10:58 AM

Funny how blog *Journey to Finland* quickly becomes platform for "Swedish language in Finland" argument.

This is now what all visitors get out of Finland as a country. How much people dislike their second-language.

Kinda redicilous, don't you think ?

Posted by: Koikkalainen | May 25, 2005 11:02 AM

Pete, what you consider LA, you will hate. Trust me. BUt if you visit the rest of LA, like La Verne, Pasadena, other cities along the foothills, Long Beach, Whittier, Laguna Hills.. oh sorry, that's Orange County already. Anyways, LA is more than downtown and beaches. And I also don't want to live too close to Los Angeles. I hate traffic, that's why I'm moving to TEMECULA!!!

I'll give you a super tour of LA if you ever decide to visit. lebite@yahoo.com


And for Markus and his unemployment figures.. no, I don't think the figures would be close. Is that your argument? All the unemployed people in the US are in Jail? Oh crap... remember, even prisoners work in the states! hehehe.. so welfare keeps criminals from robbing. Hmmmmm.. that reminds me of a street artist I saw on the beach after his performance he said to everyone, okay, now give me some money so I don't have to go to your house and rob you. I told him to f**k off. Gezuz Markus, we spend too much time on this board, see you tomorrow!

You mentioned the slums a long time ago..

And for the immigrant.. are you sure? The states is a huge country.. do you really think it would be difficult to find an area resembling finland? If you're unemployed and have no family and friends in the states.. you go on unemployment and collect food stamps to buy your food and clothes for yourself and your children. Just like in Finland. But you don't receive so much money that you decide to continue that lifestyle. Unlike in Finland. But really, my point isnt to prove that the US is better than Finland. I may have digressed, but I believe that if Finland feels good to you.. great.. but let's not act as if the poo poo doesn't smell bad in Finland.

Posted by: Eddie | May 25, 2005 11:09 AM

Text by Juha Kontunen
"Could it be that it's the bilingual society that makes Finland so successfull?"

Could it be that we would fare even better without the swedish language as a weight on our backs?

Posted by: | May 25, 2005 11:14 AM

Oh no, hope my wife doesn't read what I've written here! hehehehe....

Posted by: Eddie | May 25, 2005 11:15 AM

Eduardo: "Is that your argument? All the unemployed people in the US are in Jail?"

Uh... I know I shouldn't answer, if your argumentation is on this level. But still, I never said all the unemployed it the states are in jail. What I meant, if there was no safety nets, unemployed people would have to steal or do other crimes to get money. If we hadn't the same educational opportunities for everyone, some parts of our people would get hopeless and commit crimes and so on. And then our unemployment would decrease, because those people would be in jail.

"so welfare keeps criminals from robbing. Hmmmmm.. that reminds me of a street artist I saw"

All your argumentation is based on your memories that you choose to tell us. "I once saw a man who had heard that there's dragons in the USA, so it must be true then." As valid argument as yours.


But you're right, we spend too much time here.

Posted by: Markus | May 25, 2005 11:25 AM

The only important thing about Finland to know is weather they pay their bills on time. And in fact they do. This country has an outstanding record of nondefault. Considering that Finland has never defaulted. During the 1930's Finaland was the only European nation to pay it's debts to United States. After the WWII Finland never received any western or Soviet aid, but infact payed all the warreparation debt it was charged by the Soviets. The depression of the 1990's caused the country to loan huge sums of money. Yet these loans have been very profittable for those who were intelligent enough to invest. This country is a minor player in the financial markets where every larger player has defaulted their obligations. Even United States has defaulted (the obligation to pay in gold) under Richard Nixon. Finland has an outstanding record that has held through all kinds of political , legal and financial situations.

Posted by: Standard & Poor's | May 25, 2005 11:30 AM

The Fennomaniac communtity tell the children, if they learn Swedish, they must be servants for the Swedish as adults.

And this is not a lie, is it, 'Help'?

And I have not labelled any writer here as a liar. The Chairman of Finnish Alliance, Mr. Heikki Tala, a well-known dentist himself said exactly what I said before.

Posted by: Urja | May 25, 2005 11:30 AM

A friend of mine pointed out how Finns use the word "system" or "systeemi" to describe all kinds of practical solutions. Obviously schooling, politics and health are all systems, but it runs deeper than that. Even the recoiling dog leash has been called a "hyvä systeemi". I suspect this may reflect much of the do-it-yourself pragmatic approach to problem solving and even design thinking. Or, that the Finns just like the way "systeemi" sounds when pronounced. :) I am curious to read if the visitors pick up on this at all.

Posted by: Hyvä Systeemi | May 25, 2005 11:33 AM

Living in central Europe and having kids here, I have to say that finnish women are quite lucky . They can still choose whether their work or stay home even if they have more children.
I worked here till I had my second child. Now I just finished my 3 months (!)maternity leave , but could not leave my baby to daycare, so I will continue on unpaid leave untill my baby is 7 months old.
Now it seems that my salary will be less than childcare costs for two kids ( 2600 - 3000 euros /month for two ), so I will have to leave my beloved gollagues and work that I like so much .
I do not choose to be "only" a mother , but I have to do that.
Only positive matter is that I have a lots of new "gollagues" as all the women here stays home while hubbies are working.
I just can hope to find soon job in Finland and help with excellent daycare facilities there, I can continue to live my choosen life.
And I would be happy if my children also would learn Swedish at school : ))

Posted by: Annikki | May 25, 2005 11:34 AM

Adissident: Sorry, I didn't find any facts about this subject from the web site of the Swedish Party.

Sorry I can't help you.

Posted by: Urja | May 25, 2005 11:42 AM

About guns in Finland:

The amount of small firearms per person is third highest in the world (after US and Yemen)

Amount of homicides is three times the average of Western European countries. Firearms are involved in every fifth homicide.

Posted by: Stats | May 25, 2005 11:57 AM

Eddie wrote:

"But life goes on.. and soon I'll be moving back to California. Not for the money, but for the quality of life."

Can you tell us what "quality of life" is in your view?

Super LA tour offer accepted and greatly appreciated if I ever visit that area - and I assume that you're serious about, unlike some people living in USA. My friends on the other side of the pond have mentioned several times how two-faced some people can be, e.g. inviting friends to visit them (in the name of politeness) but not really meaning it. Finns tend to take invitations seriously, because if they get invited, they already start looking for the right date. Of course this happens in Finland as well, but I think that in States that's regarded more as chit chat rather than something that people are seroius about.

Posted by: Pete | May 25, 2005 12:00 PM

You really should notice the safety of Finland! it´s probably one of the few countries in the world where kids can walk to school, play outside etc. without being conctantly overseed. And nothing bad will happen! That´s why Finns pay their taxes happily: it´s a safe and truly egalitarian country.

Posted by: Anna | May 25, 2005 12:00 PM

On the issue of "slums" its always YMMV. For a Helsinki native describing a part of the city as "ghetto" someone from a place inner cities really are bad must think they are barking mad, and at the same time the local guy is shaking his head trying to convince that a studio in Töölö and a studio in Jakomäki really do have a difference.

Posted by: Hank W. | May 25, 2005 12:01 PM

Of course rating the creditworthiness of a sovereign nation depends on other aspects as well as the available historical track record (which is outstanding). We have to evaluate the willingness and the ability of the debtor to fullfill their current obligations and the likelihood of negative developement in the markets affecting the debtor. We have strong record of Finland proved it's ability to manage it's obligations through even the most challenging situations such as a loosing war against a superpower and major banking crises. We rate Finalnd as AAA as a default is highly unlikely. It is less likely than Quantas crashing an airplane (Quantas is the only major airline that has never crashed a plane).

Posted by: Standard & Poor's | May 25, 2005 12:02 PM

www.nokiankaupunki.fi http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nokia

Posted by: James from Nokia "City" | May 25, 2005 12:09 PM

Eduardo: I come from the biggest town of Lappland and most of the people there don't lock their doors outside the center. I live now in France and I have started to think of Finland as a really safe place. Of course nothing is perfect. I've heard for example that there are homeless people in Helsinki but I haven't found them yet.

Posted by: Heidi | May 25, 2005 12:10 PM

Considering the excellent creditworhtiness of Finland it is very interesting that the nation is not borrowing more. Recent surge of home loans pales in comparison with the debt rates of American or British house holds. We could allow Finnish economy to borrow twice or three times the current levels without reconsidering out opinion of the likelihood of default. However if this happens too fast we might see problems in the form of inflation and misplaced invetments.

Posted by: Standard & Poor's | May 25, 2005 12:22 PM

"... like Finland doesn't have other problems to deal with. I mean .... WHO CARES ! Swedish is mainly spoke in south, you go up north and you will have difficult time finding someone who speaks it or cares about speaking it. There are much worse things that country of ~5M people should be focusing one. "

Koikkalainen , ajattele nyt edes vähän.
Jos ala-aste + yläaste + lukio luetaan ruotsia niin se on yhteensä joka viikko 5h parin vuoden ajan ... Ja se ei mukamas ole iso asia mitä nuori tekee sen ajan? Järki käteen. Ajattele mitä silloinkin vois opettaa muissa aineissa. Ja nuorissa se tulevaisuus on.
Kirjotin suomeksi että varmasti tajuaisit.

And Eduardo:
"World war II is over. Why would a 6 year war define your culture which is 500 years old? Get over it!!!! You don't hear Russians saying.. ah, World War II defined our culture.. they lost over a million soldiers."

Final Independence. WWII really united people after everything and especially civil war. And I think the Finland we now know was born then.

And I think Russians had little more before WWII and jada jada jada...

Posted by: Finländer | May 25, 2005 12:40 PM

So there you have it.

Whereas the US has pro-life vs pro-choice debate, the Finns have Swedish language vs. Finnish language "debate".

That's all it is, hot air. And has nothing to with "super-caste systems" or Swedish elite.

For the US readers of this blog, the anti-swedish debate usually takes very nationalistic and borderline racist tones. Nobody but people with hidden agendas (politicians wanting to score extra votes, or right-wing pro-finn loonies) take any of that stuff seriously. Election years tend to bring out the worst in people regarding this "debate".

I'm Finnish speaking and hated Swedish at school, btw.

Posted by: Tero Paananen | May 25, 2005 12:40 PM

"Finlandder" The idea of this blog is to provide new and updated infomration about Finland as of today. The name of this whole thing is *Journey to Finland". To extend your opinions -for or against (here we go again!) Swedish language, and especially in Finnish shows that you really don't even care about the purpose of this blog. Write in English because it is a blog originated by Washington news, not by Turun Sanomat.

I didn't for example say if I am for or against Swedish language in Finland, you assumed that I am for it. I am actually against it. So, stop assuming and stick with English language - at least here.

Posted by: Koikkalainen | May 25, 2005 01:11 PM

"For the US readers of this blog, the anti-swedish debate usually takes very nationalistic and borderline racist tones"

Yeah, from both sides.

But it's funny how it still is a hush hush subject in our society. Usually people do not argument for compulsory swedish, they just tell that there's no need for it or that only extremists argue about that matter. My conclusion is it's because there really is no arguments for it.

It's not the biggest problem in Finland, I think the hush hush attitude is bigger.

Oh, btw, just because someone thinks swedish shouldn't be compulsory, doesn't mean they're anti-swedish or that their actions and opinions are of pure hatred.

Posted by: In case you didn't notice | May 25, 2005 01:40 PM


For the US readers of this blog, you must surely know that apartheid is wrong. The modern apartheid in Finland is morally and legally wrong (according to EU law), and is financially retarded.

Notice that, now that Finnish state censorship cannot affect this board, the frustrated agents of swedification are trying to tell you to ignore messages which criticise the status quo of swedification, and continue to use ad-hominem, suggesting that Finns who speak out against this oppression are racist or mentally ill.

That is because there are no real justifications to support compulsory swedish teaching, except to maintain a corrupt elitist caste structure. The swedish apartheidists in Finland are hateful of any light that gets thrown on them, exposing their bigotry against Finnish people.

Thank you Mr. Kaiser and Washington Post

Posted by: Anti-apartheid | May 25, 2005 01:48 PM

Ok, this is my attempt to change the subject. And I really hope it works.

This should get some attention ;)

FINNISH FOOD SUCKS !

Posted by: Koikkalainen | May 25, 2005 01:56 PM

That naturally doesn't include the great rye-breads, karelian-pie, many of the fish dishes and ofcourse reindeer related dishes.

But that "Finnish" coffee ...... don't get me started .....

Posted by: Koikkalainen | May 25, 2005 02:08 PM

You said:
"For the US readers of this blog, you must surely know that apartheid is wrong. The modern apartheid in Finland is morally and legally wrong (according to EU law), and is financially retarded."

Well, I surely hope that the adult US readers stay interested in this thread despite that in has turned into a low-level immature teenage discussion of off topic matters including apartheid, the Swedish-language, door-locking and what ever. But I can understand this as the link was pointed out in a forum for (young) musicians.

Posted by: Risto Apajalahti | May 25, 2005 02:27 PM

Lived here all my life. In my opinion southern countries should learn something about getting things done efficiently from us. And we should learn to take things easier and being more friendly toward each other from the southern countries. It's a question of balancing-

Posted by: Rob | May 25, 2005 02:38 PM

Posted by: Been there, done that | May 25, 2005 02:46 PM

Thank you for this excellent blog about Finland. The country sounds really nice and interesting. It's a pity that there seems to bee idiots in Finland as well. With my knowledge of Finland I view that the only thing that has saved Finland from Russia is the culture and economy brought by the Swedish-speakers. Without these nobody would even know that there are any such place as Finland. Weren't both Sibelius and Mannerheim Swedish-speakers? And what about Linus Thorvalds? Most presidents have been Swedish-speakers.

It's very revealing how bad English these "enemies" of the Swedish culture in Finland write. They probably object to all education. One must remember that they've been studying English at least for 7 years and heard it daily on television. Still they write worse than somebody who has just taken up his studies.

Posted by: Frank Collin | May 25, 2005 02:48 PM

PS. This thread has become very slow to download because of it's length. An additional "off-topic" thread could probably help in this. Thanks for the blog.

Posted by: Risto Apajalahti | May 25, 2005 02:51 PM

I'm shamelessly taking advantage of this interesting conversation/debate over Finland but if someone wants to talk about Finland or Finnish things, or just talk, don't hesitate to add me to your MSN Messenger contacts list, my address is mristila@edu.kauhajoki.fi . :)

Posted by: Mikko | May 25, 2005 02:53 PM

Every Finn knows Nokia. Every other Finn knows HIM ( but nobody can name any song of that band ), very few Finns know Linux, no Finn knows Himanen.

Posted by: Petteri | May 25, 2005 03:05 PM

Some very strange yet amusing conversation about the swedish language situation. The most amusing thing is the way some of the posters call the current situation "apartheid".

Let's begin.

"The Swedish peoples party has an own TV-channel, quotas to the other TV-channels resulting that any day at the prime time at least one of the two finnish speaking channels is actually swedish speaking."
-There are four analog network tv-channels in Finland, two of them owned by YLE (state tv and radio) Swedes don't have their own tv channel, but YLE channels send FST (finlands svensk television) programs, usually for a couple of hours a day. And the time for their program is definately prime time, but during the day while people are mostly in school/working. The two other channels are commercial.

"A Finn cannot graduate from the university without having successfully completed the obligatory Swedish language course which is a must in order to serve in a state byreaucracy. In other words every single university student is prepared to work at the public service!"
Not true, yes there are 5 compulsory courses you'll have to take, but swedish is no longer compulsory on the final exams (when finishing high school) finnish is the only compulsory exam in it, with it you have to choose 3 other exams to take (from swedish, english, math, history, physics, etc..) Yes you have to be able to speak swedish in order to get into public state work (police, library..) but the reason is very simple, we have two hundred thousand swedish-speaking citizens who need all the same services as the finns do. Being able to speak swedish doesn't make you prepared for the work.

"In Porvoo there is a school called Lyseonpuiston koulu where it is forbidden to speak a word
of finnish language. Any pupil caught in doing this will be threatened to be thrown out of the school. In Pietarsaari
there is a scool called Ristikarin koulu. In 2003 it was to be divided between finnish and swedish speaking children
but again the Swedish peoples party tried their everything to throw the finnish speaking children out of their own school
because they see finnish language in general as detrimental to any swedish speaker."

When did this happen, mid 1700's? I've never heard of it and it certainly sounds like the biggest piece of bullshit I've ever heard. Actions like that are against Finland's constitutional laws and are therefore illegal.

"Then for the politics. As mentioned in other writings there is the politica freak known as "Swedish peoples party" which has for some reason an eternal place in Finlands governent. The same party has been a member of the government since
70's and elections in Finland are basically a system to elect new partners for this party."
It's not an eternal position, neither there is any kind of rule for it being in the government. The reason they're there is that they are very eager for co-operation with the government, while being in the government they can strive for their own things and the other parties have some extra votes for striving their own.

It's also good to notice that from the 200 politicians in the parliament only 9 are from the swedish people party, so go and talk about an apartheid there. The three major parties in finland (center party, social democrats and the Kokoomus) have from 40 to 50 politicians in the parliament.

Anyway, the language is about as big question here as those old railroad company barracks in the centrum of Helsinki, enough big to raise some discussion but far from rocking the earth.

And what's wrong with finnish food? Try mämmi ;)

Posted by: Grin | May 25, 2005 03:07 PM

"Weren't both Sibelius and Mannerheim Swedish-speakers? And what about Linus Thorvalds? Most presidents have been Swedish-speakers."

I'm not sure about Sibelius, but I'm pretty sure he speaked both swedish and finnish. Mannerheim was from a swedish speaking family, but he served Russian army as an officer. This fact has great value later on in Finnish history.

The thing is, that they were born in Finland and (just like Linus Torvalds) made most of their achievements waving the Finnish flag. From the 11 Finnish presidents at least 8 have been finnish speaking, being, of course, able to speak swedish as well.

Posted by: Grin | May 25, 2005 03:29 PM

The people who speak only Swedish are getting older and dying. We Finnish speaking people have a few decades.

Posted by: Petteri | May 25, 2005 03:32 PM

Landet Heter Finland wrote:

"The Truth is that Finland is bilingual (by constitution) and owes most of its' success to the multicultural society. The Swedish-speaking minority founded almost all of Finland's culture and businesses."

This is all true. If you study Finlands history (pre-independence too ofcourse) you wont read about many important men with finnish names before 1920's. All that the swedish speaking finns did back in the 1800's was awesome and they were true patriot's - there's no denying that. But tradition is not a good argument in this lanquage feud. Are you saying that all finns should study swedih because of Maid Lucya. Lönrot was a great finn, but he is also dead.

Landet Heter Finland also wrote:

"Usually the Finns' knowledge of the Swedish language correlates very closely with his success in life. I guess stupid people neither learn Swedish nor anything else."

If all Finns who dislike bilinqual policy in Finland are stupid, then i ques most Finns are idiots.

Tata, H

Posted by: Hannes Vauhkonen | May 25, 2005 03:35 PM

A country needs to now its history. The bilingual culture is what has built Finland. It seems to have worked fine. Why change it?

If you study Swedish for 8 years and read it daily without learning it...? I don't know.. I would feel pretty stupid. In that time I would even learn Chinese. Most Finns actually speak Swedish. At least those who have an education.

I disliked a lot of subjects. That didn't mean that I didn't learn them.

Posted by: Landet Heter Finland | May 25, 2005 03:45 PM

Oh, I didn't notice this possibility of commenting until after sending an email. As far as I can tell my points haven't been mentioned yet so I'll just post my email here also:


----
Hello,

it's nice to notice that You have shown such a keen interest towards our country. It always cherishes a shy Finn's ego when someone takes note of us.

I think you will be pleased to hear that Your Finland Diary has attracted quite a lot of (positive) attention from my friends and collagues here in Helsinki.

I have a few suggestions you might consider covering while staying here:

1.) You mentioned that Finnish women are the most liberated in the world and that Finnish society promotes motherhood by supplying mothers long maternal leaves and high quality child care. There's also a downside to this: employers are reluctant to hire women because there's a risk that they get pregnant and the employer has to find someone to do the new mother's job. Average wages of women under 30 are about 5-10 per cent lower than men of the same age. There's even a saying here: "An Euro to a man is 80 cents to a woman" (freely translated). Also women have much difficulties finding permanent jobs: as far as I can remember some 80 % of women under 35 don't have a permanent job. Some experts claim that this is mainly because of our generous benefits to mothers.

Check out for example: www.akava.fi (confederation of unions for academic professionals in Finland), www.lakko.org ("Child-making strike" - people who demand that the costs of motherhood should be equally divided to men and women. unfortunately only in Finnish, click "Yhteystiedot" for contact information of people behind this).

2.) Your diary has blog has covered a great deal about education and how good the Finnish educational system is. In my opinion it wouldn't be a bad idea to interview a mathematics professor at a technical university for example. People who are teaching advanced level mathematics in Finland have claimed that the PISA-test in fact only tests every-day skills like calculating percentages and not the skills required in university level mathematics like algebra and geometry. There has claimed that Finnish children's algebraic skills are in fact lower than they were 20 years ago.

These were just some things from the top of my head. Talk to the unemployed, those needing constant medical attentions or university students if you want to find "chinks in our armor".
---

Posted by: otto | May 25, 2005 03:50 PM

This 80 cents to a dollar(euro) is just bullshit and everybody knows it. Or should know it.
Yuo are right in this: algebra and geometry skills are lower than 35 years ago.

Posted by: Petteri | May 25, 2005 04:23 PM

Dear Juha Kontunen,

In Your response you suggested that Finnish performance in education would somehow result from bilinguality. One SURE fact is, that we are not bilingual. Finnish bilinguality is an outright lie. Ninety two percent of the population speaks Finnish only. No amount of violent "education" can change that. You know, they couldn't change their skin color in South Africa, even if they wanted to.

I know an amateur analyst suggested such an explanation in some news paper. However there are much better explanations - you can query Google: "Heikoimmat oppilaat nostivat Suomen kärkeen PISAssa". The final nail on the coffin of such an explanation is, that those children who really were Swedish-Finnish bilingual, performed much worse in all areas of the PISA-study.

Now it's your turn to prove your point.

P.S. In school our children are systematically being brain washed to believe those lies of 1960's.

Posted by: Pauli Ojanperä | May 25, 2005 04:26 PM

At Wikipedia you can read more about the åpårtheidic situation in Finland.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mandatory_Swedish

Posted by: Pauli Ojanperä | May 25, 2005 04:39 PM

Frank Collin said:

"With my knowledge of Finland I view that the only thing that has saved Finland from Russia is the culture and economy brought by the Swedish-speakers. Without these nobody would even know that there are any such place as Finland. Weren't both Sibelius and Mannerheim Swedish-speakers? And what about Linus Thorvalds? Most presidents have been Swedish-speakers."

I hate see myself taking part in this Finn-Swede discussion but here we go;-)

The overall picture is that the speaking of Swedish in Finland dates long back to the days when Finland was part of Sweden. All the civil servants and officials had to be able to speak Swedish to communicate with the Kings court and his government. Naturally there were Swedish born people here too, but mostly the officials were Finnish born educated people i.e. Finns, who also had to be able to communicate in Finnish with the Finnish only speaking part of the population of Finland. So the educated "aristocracy" was bilingual and Sibelius and Mannerheim came from this aristocracy. Mannerheim was an educated man who served in the Russian army of the Tsar before the revolution and was asked to serve in the head of the Finnish army and later became President. Mannerheim himself wanted to be called as "en finne" i.e. a Finn who speaks Swedish. So, including Swedish and Finnish he also spoke at least Russian. The original nationality of his family escapes me now but it is definitively not Swedish nor Russian.

One thing to mention also is that between 1900 - 1930 it was quite common to change you Swedish surname into a Finnish one. This was when people more and more started to "realize" that they are Finns and wanted to make that clear. This is what happened in our family too on my fathers side.

The small, nearly only Swedish speaking minority lives in small towns on the west and south-west coasts and in general do not differ from the rest of the Finns except for their language. Actually many of them were fishermen. The policy of Finland has been to keep the country bilingual to maintain a bridge to the neighboring countries who speak Swedish or a Swedish-like languages i.e. Norway and Denmark. Swedish has therefore been mandatory in schools. The younger generation has not internalized this old idea and specially now that English has become a better tool, they fight against the mandatory Swedish which also naturally adds weekly hours to their studies.

Posted by: | May 25, 2005 04:49 PM

Heh, the Finnish-Swedish debate. Native Finnish speakers are just pissed they were required to learn Swedish in order to graduate. The recent legislation that abandoned this requirement will help to damper future generations' Finnish-Swedish debates.

At times, the Finnish-Swedish rivalry might seem intense, but not really - in the end they're all Finns.

- Phil
http://www.finlandforthought.net

Posted by: Phil | May 25, 2005 04:51 PM

I want to share with you a not too well translated quote from a famous Finnish writer, Arto Paasilinna:

This emotional situation will however, before long, on it's own and naturally be settled. Because there in Finland are only few percent of Swedish speaking citizens, their language will unavoidably give way. First, it will become another real minority language, which wont be spread forcefully to majority's children. Next, it will happen to Swedish that it will begin to become forgotten and finally, using it in Finland will completely cease. Those people who can speak Swedish will die when the time comes and they will take their mother tongue with them.

Posted by: Pauli Ojanperä | May 25, 2005 04:56 PM

Sorry, the reply to Frank Collin's post came from me.

Posted by: Risto Apajalahti | May 25, 2005 04:56 PM

"A country needs to now its history. The bilingual culture is what has built Finland. It seems to have worked fine. Why change it?"

What's that supposed to mean? You go to history class to learn history. That doesn't make any sence. If I want to know about the spanish civil war I read a book about it - I certainly dont start studying the friggin lanquage.

If you study Swedish for 8 long years and never need it? You travel to Sweden and find out that they speak different Swedish and you dont get a word that they are saying. I don't know.. I would feel pretty god damn mad. In that time I could have even learnt Chinese - a useful lanquage compared to Swedish.

And what are you saying? Everybody who were good in learning swedish in school love the current system? That's a bunch of BS. You dont have to be bad in school to know that the bilingual system with 95 % of the nation speakin the same lanquage, is wacked.

Contrary to your claims, most Finns still SPEAK Finnish. They learn swedish in schools, but they dont actually use it.

Posted by: | May 25, 2005 04:58 PM

"Native Finnish speakers are just pissed they were required to learn Swedish in order to graduate."

Actually, native Finnish speakers are pissed that their basic human rights to own culture and language is being violated. They are pissed that it for God's sake is year 2005 and politics like this is being run at a parliament of a country which poses a western democracy.

"The recent legislation that abandoned this requirement will help to damper future generations' Finnish-Swedish debates."

Nope. You're right that some progress has happened, but at the same time they've tightened the screw at the other end.

"At times, the Finnish-Swedish rivalry might seem intense, but not really - in the end they're all Finns."

Not really. You can read about Swedish speaking Finns who have believed themselves already be Swedes when they moved to Sweden.

Posted by: Pauli Ojanperä | May 25, 2005 05:05 PM

Apartheid??? I rest my case.

Most of the anti-swedish activists ARE mentally unstable. Mind you, I'm not referring to all people who argue against mandatory swedish classes, just the "activists".

You weren't locked in state prison for 25 years for speaking out against mandatory Swedish classes, were you?

Posted by: Tero Paananen | May 25, 2005 05:10 PM

Frank collin said,
"With my knowledge of Finland I view that the only thing that has saved Finland from Russia is the culture and economy brought by the Swedish-speakers.... Most presidents have been Swedish-speakers."

Most of the presidents were men. Does it mean that women had nothing to with developing Finland? Why do you think they were men? Maybe because it was impossible for women to rise to power until recently. Same phenonomenon when one considers language.

"It's very revealing how bad English these "enemies" of the Swedish culture in Finland write. They probably object to all education."

It's sad when you don't have any rationale to back up your arguments, you have to rely on attacking people's personalities.

Posted by: in case you didn't notice | May 25, 2005 05:13 PM

The issue of 300 000 "hurris" (hurri = a rasistic expression for a Swedish-speaking Finn, ha!!) complaining that "we need to use our language, moan moan moan". THEN SPEAK IT WITH YOUR FRIENDS, FAMILY etc, but Finnish-speakers should not be asked to speak the language of a minority of 6 %. I am a Finnish-speaker but I speak Swedish fluently as well, and I am against compulsory Swedish studies. There still exists racism from Swedish-speakers side towards Finns, and I just hate that.

Also some stupid Swedish-speaking FInns complain that Finnish is a hard language and that they don' know it. Then I know some rikssvenska (Swedes from SWEDEN) who have come to Finland and learned the Finnish language!!! WOW!!! Maybe Swedes are then more intelligent than Swedish-speaking Finns! But of course, Hartwalls and Pauligs don't have to make an effort to survive in Finland. Pappa betalar!!! ;)

Posted by: Finnatic | May 25, 2005 05:16 PM

You people are all nuts !

Posted by: Koikkalainen | May 25, 2005 05:20 PM

I think no good can come out of this diary and discussion. After living in a place with high tourism and immigration I can say that, yes, Finland has its idiots as well as every country. But we don't need any more idiots from outside. The less people know about us outside, the better. Less tourism, better, less immigration, better. So please, add as much negative comments as possible.

Posted by: naksu | May 25, 2005 05:20 PM

100 other things that could be fixed in the country and you people complain about some language thing. Who cares ? Let the Swedish people live in the country they were born in, it just happens to be Finland. So what if it is mandatory language in the school ? I did it, hated it, but did it. Extra language never hurts - not that it did any good for me. Consider yourself more educated. Stop the whining. Many other things that need attention in Finland. Stop already, Geeeezzz ....

Posted by: Koikkalainen | May 25, 2005 05:24 PM

Koikkalainen said,
"100 other things that could be fixed in the country and you people complain about some language thing. Who cares ?"

Oh yes, and there's people who are hungry in Africa, why should we do nothing at all. And some people are murdered, so victims of rape, stop complaining! At least you're alive.

"Let the Swedish people live in the country they were born in, it just happens to be Finland."

I don't think anyone questions their right to live here or speak their language. That has nothing to do with this issue.

Posted by: in case you didn't notice | May 25, 2005 05:39 PM

I wonder how these anti-Swedish-speakers feel about us ENGLISH speakers living in Finland!

- Phil
http://www.finlandforthought.net

Posted by: Phil | May 25, 2005 05:40 PM

In my opinion, the Swedish language hardly is the root of all evil in Finnish educational system. I would reserve that role to the mandatory teaching of religion (or the non-religious philosophical alternative). From the first grade to the senior year in high school we are expected to listen to the same religous stories over and over again. For example, when I was in high school, there was more obligatory courses in religion than in subjects such as chemistry, physics, biology or geography. Not to mention that there is no mandatory teaching in subjects such as computer science, public law or economics. Which subjects are more relevant in the modern world? Religion(s), if necessary at all, should be a part of some history course, nothing more. So at least in this respect, the much berated American public school system excels in comparison to the Finnish one because it is illegal to teach religion in a public school.

Posted by: Rutger S. | May 25, 2005 05:41 PM

I am absolutely floored to see how nutty people occupy my native Finland these days. WAKE UP !

Posted by: Koikkalainen | May 25, 2005 05:59 PM

Pick up any general history of the Second World War in the English language. Chances are there is almost no mention of Finland's role in the conflict. This is very odd because one could even argue that the Winter War was an early stage of the greater hostilities.

The secret additional protocol of the Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact states that Finland and Poland were to be subject of a territorial and political rearrangement. It is conventional for historians to consider the Nazi campaign in Poland as the beginning of the war. Why not Finland?

Finns understandably wish to consider their conflict separate from the Second World War as whole for the obvious reason that they don't want their struggle for national identity to bear the taint of Nazi crimes.

It is odd that this view of history simply goes on more or less unchallenged.

This not an academic question. Finland's example of resistance to Russia and the USSR certainly continues to influence the thinking of many smaller nations, such as the Baltic states.

The Finnish government and media have had to tread a narrow path in describing the country and its history. "Finlandization", as the policy was known, was never abandoned even during the heady days of Perestroika.

This has given Finns the feeling that, except for Russia, few countries are concerned with what goes on in Finland. Finns, not without reason, are proud of their national achievements. Compared with much of the world, Finland is well-run. Ordinary people have a high standard of living.

However, Finlandization has meant that officials and bureaucrats accomplish policy goals without open discussion.

"The world is not observing us, so as long as the result is good, why question the method."

A few examples: Neighboring Sweden is struggling hard to absorb refugees. The issue is very devisive in Sweden and there is a great deal of passionate debate there. The influx of immigrants to Finland has been limited by a quiet policy of not granting asylum as easily as some other European countries.

The Swedish media is often caustic about anti-immigrant developments in Austria, Denmark and even Holland. But the Swedish media rarely brings up the Finnish attitude towards immigrants.

Although Finns are civilized and correct in their dealings with foreigners from undeveloped countries, they are unwelcoming.

Even Ingrian Finns, who suffered genocidal persecution in Russia, find integration difficult.

Finns are quite nationalistic. An American father from South Carolina had his two sons abducted to Finland by their mother, a Finnish national.

She openly defied the Supreme Court of Finland in refusing to return the boys to their father. If she had been an African or Arabic father, the police would have arrested her in short order. She was a Finnish woman in a conflict with a foreign man and that gave her immunity from the law.

The two boys were locked up in a mental hospital for two months in clear contravention of the Finnish Mental Health Act which forbids involuntary hospitalization except in the case of serious psychiatric illnesses.

In another case, about which the media was silent for years, a foreign father lost custody of his two children when his alcoholic Finnish wife eloped with a lesbian lover. Although the wife was manifestly unfit to care for her children -- she literally drank herself to death -- the social authorities and courts refused to protect the children's relationship with the father.

He was awarded custody of his children after his ex-wife died, but for two years he was unable to see them. When the case finally reached the Supreme Court, both children had reached the age at which their opinion gained legal weight.

This scandal will probably end in the European Court of Human Rights.

Relations between men and women in Finland are in a state of imbalance. One would think that a country that considers equality important would treat mothers and fathers as equally important in the lives of their children. And yet, Finnish courts award sole custody to mothers at a much higher rate than in Sweden or the US.

The average Finnish young person would probably be surprized to hear an outsider question the equality of relations between men and women.

Several months ago when I interviewed a group of teenagers, the boys melted away. They were incapable of expressing opinions, while the girls took charge of the "serious" matter of speaking with a foreign journalist. The contrast was striking.

Finns can be quite self-conscious.
Finnish President Tarja Halonen was the chair of the gay-lesbian civil rights organization (Seta) between 1980-1981. However, an inspection of her official CV on the web

Finland.http://www.presidentti.fi/english/

shows that she has erased that position from her past. This especially odd, given that she no doubt considers her work on behalf of gay civil rights important.

This is sort of omission of fact is similar to the phenomenon of "finlandization". If something doesn't fit in, remove it and pretend it doesn't exist.

Finland is a country in Europe, but it is not entirely european in its cultural norms and the Finnish concept of civil rights is more flexible than one might expect.

Make certain you experience a smoke sauna during your time in Finland.

Posted by: A foreign journalist | May 25, 2005 06:38 PM

Dearest Pauli Ojanper,

I'm sorry. I've a very hard time reading your texts. Your English is very bad. I can see that you're hoping that you'd studied more English instead of Swedish. Fortunately most pupils manage to learn more than one subject. I can imagine that learning disabilities can be frustrating.

I didn't quite get your point with the PISA study. What do the Finnish-speakers in Sweden have to do with that? They are usually known for being alcoholics and having a lot of social problems. Maybe you are one of them? They have also a hard time learning Swedish, even though many have lived in Sweden for decades.

Or do you mean that Swedish-speakers SHOULD automatically have better results? Do you think they are smarter? Do you feel stupid? Im sorry. I don't think that having a different mother tongue makes anyone smarter. But it seems that LEARNING Swedish at SCHOOL makes pupils smarter. Or maybe learning Finnish at school makes Swedish-speakers dumber? Should Finnish education be prohibited? Is that what you are saying? It is true that learning Finnish takes a LOT of time and energy. It is a very difficult language. It is also one of the smallest languages in the world. Swedish-speakers start learning it already in grade three.

Saying that Swedish in Sweden is different from that in Finland is like saying that if youve learned Finnish in Turku you cannot understand what they speak in Tampere. Ridiculous!

Posted by: Juha Kontunen | May 25, 2005 07:09 PM

Dearest Pauli Ojanper䬍

I'm sorry. I've a very hard time reading your texts. Your English is very bad. I can see that you're hoping that you'd studied more English instead of Swedish. Fortunately most pupils manage to learn more than one subject. I can imagine that learning disabilities can be frustrating.

I didn't quite get your point with the PISA study. What do the Finnish-speakers in Sweden have to do with that? They are usually known for being alcoholics and having a lot of social problems. Maybe you are one of them? They have also a hard time learning Swedish, even though many have lived in Sweden for decades.

Or do you mean that Swedish-speakers SHOULD automatically have better results? Do you think they are smarter? Do you feel stupid? I’m sorry. I don't think that having a different mother tongue makes anyone smarter. But it seems that LEARNING Swedish at SCHOOL makes pupils smarter. Or maybe learning Finnish at school makes Swedish-speakers dumber? Should Finnish education be prohibited? Is that what you are saying? It is true that learning Finnish takes a LOT of time and energy. It is a very difficult language. It is also one of the smallest languages in the world. Swedish-speakers start learning it already in grade three.

Saying that Swedish in Sweden is different from that in Finland is like saying that if you’ve learned Finnish in Turku you cannot understand what they speak in Tampere. Ridiculous!

Posted by: Juha Kontunen | May 25, 2005 07:10 PM

Regarding A foreign journalists comments:

Are you really sure that every other nations' courts would really be without any pro-bias towards their own nationals in such disputes? All the countries in the world have issues with foreigners, it is somehow a reminiscence of humankind's animal origins and tribal past.

Finnish-Swedish discussion:

As a finnish native it took me by surprise to see such a discussion. I thought that this subject really is a non-issue, irrelevant and utterly meaningless. I'll offer my two cents to contribute to this meaninglessness:) The way we have it now in our educational system is a compromise borne out of the need to balance things and relationships between the two lingual groups that comprise our nation during the struggle for independence in the beginning of 20th century. Without such a balancing act things could have turned to much worse at the beginning of indepedence (over 80 years ago...) Luckily for us, the statesmen were wise enough to enact such policies then.

The statesmen at that time were also farsighted enough to see that education is the only way out of poverty. If you travel to countries in South America or Africa, you can only hope that someday the people over there get this insight. Universal, equal education is the key to Finnish success. With "sisu" or guts and stamina you get things done right. With education you get the right things done...and that is a huge difference. People in poorer countries are working as hard or even harder than Finnish, but they are not nearly as productive.

Finnish system is far from perfect, admittedly. Taxation is heavy...but we get a lot of bang for our buck. We have been a bit lucky in the sense that finnish society is very transparent and without corruption. That explains a lot of the success of Finnish public services. They are pretty efficient and effective compared to many other countries. Finnish culture of honestness is the icing on the cake - doing business in Finland is pretty straightforward even amongst total strangers.

Posted by: getting weirder and even more interesting | May 25, 2005 08:28 PM

Thank you, Robert and Lucian, for a great entries this far! I believe Americans could learn a a lot from different aspects of Finnish society. Naturally, living abroad for a while is highly recommended for anybody. It gives you perspective and respect for your own culture, countrymen and society as well respect and deeper understanding of different cultures and
people. I would claim the former is especially true for Finns who tend to complain a lot about their country. So in no particular order, here is how I personally see Finland after living a couple of years in the U.S. And believe me I'm definitely going back to Finland,
if they still take me back... ;)

Pros:
Social homogeneity. It is relatively easy to find common ground no matter whether
it is a personal dispute or an important vote in a governmental body. Well, relatively speaking of course.

Social infrastructure. At the moment, Finnish version of Nordic welfare society works fine. Free education for everyone regardless of the level of education is truly the key to the amazing development of Finnish society from an agricultural, lo-tech society to a modern, hi-tech society. Finnish healthcare system still holds up but will face a serious challenge with the rapidly aging population - obviously a common nominator for any Western society. However, although
the taxation is relatively high generally speaking Finns are rather satisfied for the
public services they get for their tax money. On the other hand, Finnish society is based on true equalitarianism - not empty words (obviuosly in this sense there is no perfect place and even Finland still has a lot to improve).

Honesty. This projects to many levels of society. Very importantly, Finnish society is widely free of corruption on every level. Furthermore, Finns are highly reliable employees. This probably also owes to the rather homogenous religious background. The educational system has its roots in pragmatic lutheranism, a basis for values and moral for basically every Finn. On the other hand, Finns are very direct. They will tell you exactly how they feel or see things. This might come as a surprise for many in practise.

Common sense. The educational system is highly claimed for a reason. However, traditionally street smarts are highly respected in the society. Perhaps reflecting the relative closeness
of the rural roots of an average Finn.

Sisu. Tenacity, stamina, guts; whatever you want to call it. Something special that you
find highly enriched in the Finnish population. A wonderful thing that makes things happen when really needed. Likely, without this unifying feature Finland would not have been able to maintain its independence during/after World War II.

Clean, beautiful nature. Living in an international metropol visiting Finnish countryside (basically meaning 30 miles out of Helsinki) is such an incredible joy. You don't need to be much of a futurologist predicting that the incredble fresh water resources of all the Nordic countries
will be a good investment. But also an important resource to cherish.

Safety. In an average Finnish town, your kids will walk or bike (or ski!) to school. You don't have to worry if you forgot to lock the car. Oddly though, the victims of violent crimes are too often family or friends.

Humility. Never hurts but humility needs to come in tightly controlled doses.

Sauna. If you never enjoyed a good smoke sauna on a beatiful lakeside in the middle of summer, there's no way this can be explained. It is much more than getting naked and going to a very hot room. It is a tradition, a rite and most importantly a pleasure you enjoy at least twice a week. And don't you dare mention the fake Swedish copy... ;)


Cons:
Latitude. Much more so than the climate. Most Finns who never lived abroad constantly complain about the weather. However, having four seasons gives a natural rhythm to life. It is rather the lack of light during the long winter that gets depressing than the weather. Actually,
the Gulf stream makes the climate a lot warmer than you would expect looking at the map.

Alcohol. Finnish melancholy peaks with heavy drinking. Unfortunately, this correlates strongly with violent behaviour. Quite often on your friends, family and yourself. Finns do a lot of impulsive things when drunk that they would never even consider sober. Obviously, this kind of impulsive behaviour can be occasioanally highly entertaining. However, it is a thin red line...

Humility. Finns tend to be far too humble. Thus, Finns in general are not very good at marketing their products or knowhow. Consequently, highly educated, inventive Finns desperately need collaboration
with marketing-oriented, salesmen such as Americans.

Lack of self esteem. Traditionally, the small nation has been an under dog. Pretty much in everything, especially when compared to Sweden. For some odd reason, Finns like to compare themselves to Swedes occasionally reaching masochistic proportions. This is very hard to explain
but the roots are buried deep in Finnish history. However to many, lack of self esteem is definitely preferrable to obnoxiousness.

Thanks for reading! Comments?

Posted by: Henri | May 26, 2005 12:40 AM

Consider someone saying that the president has a brown hair and the speaker has a brown hair so the speaker is more civilized than any other hair-colored people.

Sounds ridiculous.

But it is everyday racism against finnish speakers. Instead of hair colour the fact of being swedish speaker is widely used. They say that the great war-general Mannerheim is a finn-swede. It is true that he spoke swedish because it was forbidden to have anykind of education in finnish at that time. Acually he was dutch-originated who studied in russia.

It was not until 1930 when finnish language was allowed to be used in any kind if higher education. And for some incomprehensable reason everyone from history is said to be a swedish speaker and the present swedish speakers are more civilized, better etc...

So this methaphore about hair colour. Sounds stupid but the average finn is degraded because there were no finnish speakers in national history and it is said that learn swedish in order to be civilized. To prove this the usual list of swedish names is said.

Posted by: Thomas | May 26, 2005 01:12 AM

To Eduardo "Eddie" Hernandez, who ever so resourcefully contributes to this blog:

After reading your comments, I hereby classify you as a so-called forum troll. That is, a person whose primary motivation for textual output is to provoke emotional responses from other participants. Many things you say are indeed based on real issues, mind you. However, you do generalize far more than an intelligent person trying to sincerely analyze actual facts would. Either this conduct is a result of your own mindset (which you seem to bring forth both knowingly and unknowingly) or you are indeed just having a good time trolling.

On many occasions you contradict yourself in a manner suggesting this sort of profile. For example, you write about the position of women in the Finnish society, depicting women as servants in everyday situations. However, reading between the lines, you actually seem to accept and even promote this kind of gender-based submission. You joke about such arrangements being actually desirable for the male, and you also use structures like "I'm going crazy in this country so we'll be returning to Los Angeles this summer." It's hard not to notice the implicit one-way causal relationship between yourself and the rest of the family. No, this doesn't necessarily tell anything about the actual state of your family life - but it does bring forth your own trail of thought when you're writing about it.

You also portray yourself as evaluating everyday life - both your own and others' - from within a blatantly stereotypical set of "American dream" values. On the other hand you say: "I agree, the world has to strive towards cleaner ways of living and this is researched in california and other states extensively", yet you proceed to describe the way of life which you, again according to your own words, miss: "I don't think most americans want to be rich either. But our definitions of comfortable and independent are very different. Americans with families do not feel comfortable and independant unless they have a house with over 100 sq meters (1000 sq ft), they must own a suv or minivan to comfortably travel with the kids, and everything else varies. Finns can cram their families into a tiny car and live in a 75 sq meter house comfortably and generally feel they are living a great life. And everything in their house will be very simple and gathered over many years of saving up." You deliberately reinforce common stereotypes of both nationalities, conveniently negate your own environmental talk, and expertly fail to see any bigger picture.

My favourite blurb from you is the supposed Finnish happiness (when did the suicide rates turn into that, by the way?) emerging from "NOT KNOWING WHAT IS OUT THERE!" - as you so eloquently put. That is indeed something to quote in the future :). I hope you had fun trolling, I just wanted to point out that there are plenty of people who don't exactly buy it unquestioned.

Posted by: A Citizen of the World | May 26, 2005 01:46 AM

Saying all people who think that the current school system is messed up are bigots is like saying that all anti-zionist's are neo-nazis. It's an unfair generalization. You people should have better argument's.

Ofcourse Anti-Swedish-speaking activist's are nuts. They take things too far, but they are a very small minority. MOST Finns who are against the bilinqual system have nothing against the Swedish speakers. All group's have their share of idiot's. I'm sure most Swedish speakers aren't real proud of Tony Halme or that what's-her-name Nina Äsplund (is that her name?).

I for one have never been or never will be a Anti-Swedish-speaker(Swedish speakers are finns like the rest of us), but I'm still against the special treatment that Swedish has in this coutry. Student's should have the opportunity to concentrate on more important lanquages like German or Russian with out the fear of becoming b-grade citizens.

Tata, H

Posted by: Hannes Vauhkonen | May 26, 2005 01:54 AM

Stereotypes. Why do everyone love them so much. About the language issue above, I agree. Swedish language as a 2nd national language makes me feel a bit angry cos' as I see it, Swedes were out to destroy Finnish language and Finnish identity. It's called ethnic clensing right? Russian of course tried the very same thing, but still, I'm speaking Finnish. The religion in here is pretty much the same thing, when you hear a really old Finnish word (the first actually) describing the 'God of Mountain' (perkele) is when you hear a Finnish person cursing. That's how the church made it.

Posted by: Ukko | May 26, 2005 02:09 AM

You obviously missed all my points and employed ad hominem attack instead. My English is not actually that bad. Heh. This is a known tactic of our Swedish speaking minority.

Posted by: Pauli Ojanperä | May 26, 2005 02:47 AM

Dear Pauli Ojanpera,

I don't know why you are talking to yourself. It can of course be funny.

From your latest posting I can actually see that you are much smarter than it appears. It's very clever to write bad English as a method of argumentation. You are so smart that I don't actually understand why you do it. I guess there must be a reason. I don't know if the Swedish-speakers use this tactics. I don't think so...

Best regards,

Juha

Posted by: Juha Kontunen | May 26, 2005 03:14 AM

Considering my dad was from a Swedish-speaking family I think that I can say a few things on the issue. Finnish-Swedish is different from Rikssvenska. Grammatically and culturally. Problem is, I can't understand **** from what they speak in Stockholm and they as well can't understand some Närpes pami. So what do you do is switch to English so both can understand. The advantages come if you are more fluent; but if you are on the average "not mycke interesting" for 3-4 years its quite useless.

I mean speaking Finnish enables you to understand Stadin Slangi, Raumalaisse Jaaritukset and Estonian, eh?

Posted by: Hank W. | May 26, 2005 03:22 AM

http://pre20031103.stm.fi/suomi/tao/julkaisut/omakieli/image/kuva1.gif

Here you can see the present reality in Finland. All major cities are biligual even though the number of swedis-speakers are usually from 3% to 8%. The swedish speakers are actually very bilingual and the finnish speakers not. Half of the (finnish) primary school graduates have swedish skills near to flunking grade.

But what results of this so called bilingualism. First of all university quotas

http://www.valmennusakatemia.com/tilastot.htm

Here you see some harsh reality. For university grade economical studies there are for example in Helsinki 504 places for finnish speakers 92% majority and 397 places for swedish speakin 6% minority. If a finnish speaker tries to apply to swedish quota he or she will have to take a language test which is so difficult that in result 90% of the quota students are from the minority.

There is even an own university for swedish speakers callen Åbo Akademi which has a similar language barrier. There is a university place more or less reserved for almost all swedish speakers (2000 swedish speaking upper secondary school graduates, more than 1500 quota university places). For the finnish spkeakers only about 15% will ever have an university degree.

So if you in Washington Post wonder the fury in which the critics of language politics are said to be mentally ill minority haters then you know that things are not that simple.

Posted by: Help | May 26, 2005 03:23 AM

As long as universities have their quotas, students are not that good. An intelligent Finnish-speaker could have the place of a stupider Swedish-speaker who gets a study place only because his mother tongue gets him a study place! It is WASTE OF TALENT!!!

Posted by: Finnatic | May 26, 2005 04:11 AM

The Finnish education focuses highly on languages, not so much on maths and sciences. Most of the younger generation are at least semi-fluent in english, and studying yet another language is encouraged. Plus, you *have to* study Swedish, needed it or not. Imagine all americans having to study French.. no too easy, too similar... say, Japanese which is not that difficult but quite different.

The bad English written by some of the anti-Swedish posters is revealing. Both Swedish and English are germanic languages, but Finnish is completely different from both of them. If a child learns Swedish at home or grows in a Swedish-speaking areas, he has a change to understand the concept of "a/an/the", and occasionally get some of the prepositions correct. On the otherhand, without the Swedish-speaking background, even learning English takes a lot of efforts. And those from the mid- and northern Finland do not have that background. Sad as it may sound, go anywhere, ask anobody, learning Swedish is simply hated. Sure, learning any language makes it easier to learn yet another, but too many is too many.

landet heter wrote: "If you study Swedish for 8 years and read it daily without learning it...? I don't know.. I would feel pretty stupid. In that time I would even learn Chinese. Most Finns actually speak Swedish. At least those who have an education."
I know only a hand-full of Finns who can speak Swedish and are not of Swedish-speaking family. I got my Ph.D at the age of 26, and I speak Finnish, English, Hebrew and German, but I managed to pass all levels of schools and university without being able to communicate in Swedish more than average american can communicate in French. Which means that I can recognize some words, but cannot answer a telephone. A complete waste of my time and the government money. With the Swedish-speakers, I communicate in Finnish. With Swedes from Sweden we speak English.

Posted by: mordechai | May 26, 2005 04:21 AM

Who are more liberal peoples:
-Sweden repealled the ban to speak Finnish in Sweden's schools already the year 1958.

-Norway repealled the similar ban first the year 1970 in Norway's schools.

Still Norway is in charge on giving annually Nobel Peace Prize and not Sweden.

Finland and Russia are out of question, because the ban to use Finnish as a language of instruction was repealled already the year 1863 in Grand-Duchy of Finland (a part of Russia that time).

The Indo-Europeans have different values and native peoples of Northern-Europe,who are Fennno-Ugrian nations, can jus wonder
how different they are from ours.

Btw.Don't bother Finnish "Uncle Toms" who are angry for those Finns who are not for mandatory Swedish language lectures but are for freeeeedom.

Posted by: Native North-European | May 26, 2005 04:23 AM

I´m also a Finlander, living now in Tampere,
( http://www.tampere.fi/english/index.html )
So many places to see in Finland (in finnish it´s Suomi), so many things to feel.

Know this... allmost every youth speaks and understands english, so don´t afraid to ask directions or just talk with them.
We might be a little melancholic, but you might say that it comes from long winter.

A few places I´d like to introduce, those which are interesting and nice to see.

1. Pyynikki ridge, has very good donuts and great view over the city (remember to take your camera with you, and tie your hat in the head :O) http://accord.mindonmove.com/mediatampere/xhtml/compile.jsp?page=174&mainpage_id=36&service_id=1&id=36

2. Näsinneula observation tower and Särkänniemi amusement park (closer and higher place to see and have fun in the park)
http://www.sarkanniemi.fi/english/index.php

3. Enjoy the trees and forest, not only in parks but everywhere. Where for example in Washington has roads and houses, we have trees and green, where Washington has trees, we have roads and houses.
If you want to look what Tampere looks like from airplane, go to: http://www.tampere.fi/ytoteto/kartta/map.php?kieli=2
in up choose MAPS and AERIAL PHOTOS.

Many countries say that we are the most American like coutry in europe, that might be true. But what plus we have, and what minus...

+ pure water from water pipe (many coutries you have to drink only in bottled water, not in here).
+ better education, why do you think that we have so high level technology companies.
+ green in everywhere.

- mosquitos and black flys in summer, and no, they didn´t spread any disease.

+ & - long winter, more ski time, dark, cold etc.

Welcome to visit in Suomi, Finland, Tampere

Posted by: Tommi Pihlaisto | May 26, 2005 04:28 AM

I'm just going to skip this whole "blah blah" about Swedish speaking Finns and the "hate".. It really isn't that big a deal for many Finns.
One downside in the Finnish education system I'd like to point out is the number of people having/getting a master's degree (or even bachelor's degree). We are facing a problem here. We are running out of "the working men" and unemployment among academically educated is increasing.. Hopefully our government realizes this before it's too late. Soon there will be no one to do the "dirty" jobs!

Posted by: Mikko | May 26, 2005 05:02 AM

Sibelius and Mannerheim were also Finnish speakers....it is completely crazy statement to say that bilingual or multi-lingual people are Swedish speakers.
Don't you see how contradictive statement it is but used widely in Finland as a tool to hit "lower caste" Finns.

To give for the outsiders some background:

Finnish society has based on a sort of caste system. A Finn was permitted to climb upwards in a social ladder if he/she gave up Finnish language and Finnish first-name and family-name and adopted Swedish language and took Swedish first- and familyname. (Typical colonialistic politics as every educated American understands)

As a result of this Swedish origin caste-system,that exists partially still,the social-political-economical elite was Swedish speaking. Now "bi-lingual".

That make some Finland's Swedish speaking "Uncle Toms" to boast how important Swedish culture was for Finland.

They,on purpose, "forget" that it was not possible to get educaation in Finnish at all. It was forbidden. First Russian rule in the 19th century gradually started to change the Swedish origin caste system into more democratical educational system.

When such a system existed for about 500 years its relics are not easy to wipe out because it is also a question of a collective mind.

Those who enjoy of the benefits of the system,like for instance 20 % quotas for the Swedish speakers in the higher education in the field of business economics,naturally like to belittle the opponents of a such a caste system.

The pro-mandatory Swedish lobby should write their arguments here for wider audience and make also the American to laugh.

Some weeks ago, representant of Swedish Popular Party declared in State Television that a Finn is first then fully civilized person is he or she speaks Swedish. Just an example.

In the Finnish-Swedish mergers of companies the Finns are called Hutus of the company and the Swedes Tutsies of the company for example in the cases like Nordea Bank or TeliaSonera.


Concerning PISA-survey. Finland's Swedish speaking schools got lower points and thus made Finland's results lower if only Finnish speaking schools had been in the survey.

That makes the Finnish speakers to say that the quotas for the Swedish speakers in the higher education must be humiliating for them in terms of the historical background.

They had not access to a higher education without quotas.

Swedish speaking University of Abo Academi for example arranges separate Swedish language "tests" for the graduates from Finnish colleges even if the Finnish speaking aplicant had got best scores in the entrance-tentament which takes place in Swedish from the Swedish langauge books;)

Similar system existed in the Deep South of USA in order to keep the Afroamericans out of higher "white only" education.

Abo Academi uses the language test in Swedish as a similar tool. If there is "too many" Finnish speaking persons passing the entrance tentaments the level of Swedish langauge test will be strengthened to a degree that members of "lower caste" don't occpy the entire university.

The aim is that 25 % of the students were Finnish speakers allthought Finnish speaking Finns are over 90 % of the population. That is Scandinavian style caste system.

The visitors are not informed about these.
As mentioned the Finns are shy,speacially Finland-Swedes, who hardly like to tell about these "intern" arangements in details.

Posted by: Native North-European | May 26, 2005 05:17 AM

"One would think that a country that considers equality important would treat mothers and fathers as equally important in the lives of their children"

Well, it is considered equally important nowadays. Nowadays there are also paternal leaves, unheard of some years ago. And fathers can stay away from work to take care of their sick children. But the important thing that should be changed still remains: All the financial burden goes to mother´s employer, and that should be shared by employers of both parents.

The custody thing: I think it has more to do with gender, not the fact that the other parent is a foreign citizen. Courts still tend to rule in favour of mothers, sometimes even in cases when the father really would be a more able parent.

Posted by: | May 26, 2005 05:18 AM

It's a shame that the excellent points wroite by "A foreign journalist" have sinked in the bog of pointless language argument.

Posted by: | May 26, 2005 05:28 AM

This language argument does not exist in public word but in reality it is one of the most discussed topics in Finland. Reasons why it does not show officially are:

-Government TV and radio has a swedish-speaker CEO and many swedish speaking directors

-The other two TV-channels are swedish-owned

-Major newspapers are either swedish or swedish speaking owned or controlled.

-Swedish peoples party is always in government so speaking against it would be losing ones government-post in next elections.

One good example is the "suomi puhuu" program on national TV. There a swedish speaker stated that in order to be civilised on must speak swedish. This resulted in massive reply to the programs internet-page. Next a swedish-speaking organisation threatened the program with police and at the end of the day about 40 comments were censored from the internet-page and some pro swedish-speaking comments were added afterwards.


Polls show that repeatedly 60%-70% of all finns want to eradicate mandatory swedish but as stated above nothing happens. The internet is of course overturned the situation. And the race-card, so to speak, is a real threat. The situation in finland is the same if any american defending any black rights would immediately be labeled as black panther (thus silenced)

Posted by: Thomas | May 26, 2005 05:52 AM

This language thing is intriguing... It is common knowledge in Finland that the number of the swedish speaking majority is dwindling all the time, they all speak finnish...

Abo Akademi is a particularly misleading example of a "caste" system. It is supposed to be for the swedish speakers. There are 20 universities in Finland out of which 2 small ones are for swedish speakers. The universities are so small that they would minor faculties for University of Helsinki.

It's still hard for me to believe that some Finns want to keep this sort of discussion going on. My best guess is that if it weren't for swedish speakers, you would like to persecute some other minority. Intolerance is oh so nice, isn't it? How about thinking about some of the more important questions, let's say agricultural subsidies, which are sucking up so much of our tax money it's hard to believe? This is an even more sensitive question to Finns. Almost everybody is in consensus that countryside needs it's subsidies and are willing to give up insane amounts of money to a small group of people...

So let's face it: there are various interest groups hawkishly guarding their share of the tax money and resources. It is just politics. You get what you can campaign for.

But please do understand that the question of minorities is a basic human rights issue. We Finns need our rights assured, whether we speak finnish, swedish, samish or whatever. Schools teach a lot of crap all over the world, because of their public nature. Everybody wants to have a say about the curriculum. Those who succeed are those who are good at cherry-picking the signal from the noise, a fact which will not change even if all subject matters would change.

Posted by: getting weirder and even more interesting | May 26, 2005 06:21 AM

As we finnish people say: It is a lottery win
to born in finland.

Posted by: Hencca | May 26, 2005 06:34 AM

"2 small ones are for swedish speakers. The universities are so small that they would minor faculties for University of Helsinki"

500 and 1000 annual places for 2000 (swedish speaking) applicants. For the finnish speakers only 15% get into a university.

"would like to persecute some other minority. Intolerance is oh so nice"

Race card, actual subject suppressed. Basically harmless on the internet but devastating in the traiditional media.
Note that the issue is finnish speakers own language studies and criticism about really unfair university system.

Posted by: Thomas | May 26, 2005 06:43 AM

"getting weirder and even more interesting" posts lies.

"the number of the swedish speaking majority"
This a lie. Only 5% of the population speak Swedish.

"There are 20 universities in Finland out of which 2 small ones are for swedish speakers"
That is 10% of the universities, for 5% of the population, and you've mentioned nothing about the even more disproportionate admittance quotas for multiple universities, exclusively for apartheidist caste.

"It's still hard for me to believe that some Finns want to keep this sort of discussion going on. "
It is strange to you, isn't it, when publicity is brought to the crimes, and the discussion isn't censored.

"you would like to persecute some other minority."
Isn't it interesting, when we try to expose the corrupt caste system and resist compulsory swedish, the apartheidist cries "persecution". Yet the only ones being persecuted by compulsory swedification are us Finns.

"Intolerance is oh so nice, isn't it?" Intolerance of what? Human rights crimes? Why can't you tolerate freedom from yoke-swedish for Finns? This is what we want!

"How about thinking about some of the more important questions, let's say agricultural subsidies"
You would like to avoid the subject from compulsory swedish, wouldn't you? You claim agricultural subsidies are a more important question, yet the cost to the Finnish people of yoke-swedish is many times greater, the interior minister accidentally slipped "billions" of euros is the cost. This is money which could be used to heal sick people and feed children. Instead it is going to maintain a corrupt apartheid caste structure.

"But please do understand that the question of minorities is a basic human rights issue. We Finns need our rights assured, whether we speak finnish, swedish, samish or whatever. "
Again an apartheidist clouds the issue, by suggesting that the elitist apartheidists are merely trying to assure their rights. In reality, the swedification in Finland is a crime that violates EU law, and I won't be surprised when the apartheidist ministers responsible will be prosecuted for the crimes against Finns in Aland, Pietarsaari, and elsewhere.

Posted by: Anti-apartheid | May 26, 2005 07:05 AM

I wonder if anybody else than us Finns are writing their comments here. I mean that from the most recent comments that I´ve read here it seems to be so that we are the only ones.

Well, since everybody is talking about the situatin between the Finnish and the Finnish-Swedes. I live in a city which has over 50% swedish speaking community so me and all the other finnish speking people are a minority. This city is called Pietarsaari or in swedish Jakobstad. Through all my life I´ve heard swedish spoken evrywhere. To me it has always been odd (in some northern cities where the swedish population is small) to see the street sigs written only in one language and the cashiers not greeting you in swedish also. Though the Finns are a minority here there is no real hate towards them, in my opinion. We live peacefully side by side going to our separate scools but still being connected through marriages (it is very common for a child to have one parent speking swedish and the other finnish) and friendships. But I must confess that though the youth of this city has embraced the Finnish-Swedes there is still some reservations towads them in the older population. They see the Finnish-Swedes as a bit highbrow people. I believe that this way of thinking has it roots in the times when the Swedes were the aristocracy of this country a long time ago. Back then we Finns were still mostly poor and unedjucated farmers whose fields were owned by these rich Swedes.

Since then times have changed and though there are still some injustices made by both parties we all are now Finns.

A funny thing came to my mind about the times when Finland was becoming independend. The Finnish anthem (which has actually been composed by a German) that we all sing with pride on our independence day and whenever a Finn wins in sports is actually stolen. The German who they though to have composed it confessed before dying that he had copyed an old German drinking song to be our national anthem. He had thought that we wouldn´t recognize it here.

More funny details about Finland you can find in the book called From Finland with love by Roman Schatz. It is written in both finnish and english. I reccommend it to both Finns and to people from other countryes.

Posted by: Heli | May 26, 2005 07:08 AM

Okay, let's talk about unfairness of university systems.

We seem to have an agreement that education is important. Where I differ is that I don't see this language thing as an issue. If you study hard, work hard and be intelligent about your career you have a chance of succeeding with any language...

As I stated it is about politics and lobbying. Swedish speakers are very good with both. There is no set mandate for the Swedish People's Party in parliament nor do they have an assured place in government. SPP is just very, very good in cutting deals. It is in their best interest to stay in government, even when the governments composition otherwise changes completely.

This is the reason why they have slightly better opportunities in higher education. SPP cut deal after deal supporting all the other parties with their respective interests. SPP is like the perfect date, for a small appreciation they are willing to support even your stupidest ideas:)

As I see it, it just politics in real life, not about fairness. Equal opportunities for all people would be to have an university in every village and postgraduate jobs in abundance...it just won't happen.

It is the tone of this discussion that worries me. Play the game, don't shoot the players. This has bothered me with the texts of Pihkala and others lobbying hard to stop the mandatory classes of swedish language. Some swedish speakers don't fare any better.

And yes, to learn any language is helpful in learning more languages. The other thing is that without the mandatory swedish education, I would have had much fewer opportunities to work.

Learning swedish is good, for doing business in Sweden even though they all speak english.

The other side of the coin is that finnish is also mandatory for finnswedes.

Posted by: getting weirder and even more interesting | May 26, 2005 07:21 AM

It's true that Nokia doesn't manufacture phones in Finland, but the research is done here, like in Oulu.
By the way, Nokia pays anually 1.1mrd euros in taxes to goverment..
And just few months ago, Jorma Ollila said that also in future Nokia is going to be a Finnish firm.
Stockholders come around the world.´

Schoolsystem really works: the finnish highschool model has been copied for example to China.
And universities are at least as good as they are in rest of Europe.

Btw, Eddie, I think you should really be sure of the things you write in here. There were a lot of things which were simply not true.

Posted by: joonas | May 26, 2005 07:35 AM

"There is no set mandate for the Swedish People's Party"

It has been in the government for 30 years. The tactics is to allow any kind of policy as long as e.g. mandatory swedish for finns is upheld. It will be in the next government for sure.

"As I see in real life, not about fairness"

"Learning swedish is good, for doing business in Sweden even though they all speak english"

This kind on nonsense is very usual and if any TV or radio broadcasts language politics then this is their quality.
Real opposition is suppressed.

"finnish is also mandatory for finnswedes"

Two very important things. 95% learns 5%'s language which is insane and the swedish speaking minority is veri bilingual so that is not a problem. Yet you got so see very important issue: the division for finns and finnisswedes. There is no such thing as a finnish swede, some immigrants of course but for some weird reason anyone speaking swedish is sometimes considered to be a swede, not a finn.

Posted by: Thomas | May 26, 2005 07:45 AM

">"the number of the swedish speaking majority"
This a lie. Only 5% of the population speak Swedish."

No, it's not a lie, it is writing mistake, sorry about that. The actual number of swedish speaking MINORITY is 5,53%

I don't know about crimes. Aland was exclusively swedish in 1918 (wanting to join Sweden at the time), they wan't to stay that way. Stupid, maybe - a crime, I don't think so. Aland's situation was an internationally brokered agreement. I don't know about Pietarsaari anything.

What on earth is this swedification you are talking about, Mr. Apartheid? If you look at the stats the number of finnswedes is going DOWN all the time. It is a success story of finnification.

Posted by: getting weirder and even more interesting | May 26, 2005 07:45 AM

"What on earth is this swedification "

There was a what you could call an ethnic clensing during Swedish reign. These so called Finn-Swedes are NOT from Sweden but almost all finnish, german, dutch, russian who had to swedify their names.

The vårtspråk or finlansvenska, the language spoken here is composed of 60 different dialects who usually do not understand eachother. As mentioned in earlier post the vårtpråk is useless in Sweden.

Finnish TV prime time is almost every day 50% swedish on government channels, streetnames of monilingual cities , meaning real monolingual but bilingualcities on paper, are swedified, the massive university quotas swedidy the bussiness world.

In conclusion. Things are done on 50%-50% principle on a 5%-95% situation. Really unfair and it is more than a habit to start screaming nazi if someone opens his mouth about it.

Posted by: Thomas | May 26, 2005 07:54 AM

This will be my last post here.

Sometime pretty soon almost all finnish municipalities are going to be monolingual (finnish language) and the finnification is complete.

As I stated, the swedish I learned in school has proved useful for me, in Sweden and in Finland. I am a finnish speaker by birth.

Our country can have many languages...that's why I really don't see the swedish language in Finland as an issue to be worried about. Ethnic cleansing usually means mass murders, Sweden as a state never enacted such a policy in Finland. All countries had very different policies in the 18th and 19th century than today, intolerant perhaps...but not of outright mass murder.

Business in Finland is conducted in finnish or english, so I really don't know about swedification of Finnish business.

FST:s programs have captions in finnish, so they serve the finnish speaking population as well.

In conclusion. Yes, there might be a slight bias for swedish in universities. I still can't see the unfairness of it all - it's just politics. Ever so slightly unfair...maybe.

I just think that the most important questions regarding Finland are not about language.

Posted by: getting weirder and even more interesting | May 26, 2005 08:26 AM

Yeah
"Its a lottery win to be born in Finland", but don't forget the 2nd prase "and it requires one to live here."

If I got a lottery win I wouldn't complain half as much as I do now.

Posted by: Hank W. | May 26, 2005 08:40 AM

According to many studies, Swedish speakers live longer and are happier than Finnish apeakers...

"In conclusion. Yes, there might be a slight bias for swedish in universities. I still can't see the unfairness of it all - it's just politics. Ever so slightly unfair...maybe."

Everyone can apply to "Swedish" universities, if they pass a language test. And there is allways a large minority of Finnish speakers at Åbo Akademi University. At last, Swedish is a simple language for simple people;)

Posted by: | May 26, 2005 08:41 AM

What a pity that this interesting blog was occupied by a handful of anti-Swedish bigots. Please take your propaganda back to the Neo-Nazi sites, such as www.suomalaisuudeliitto.fi. Or just your favourite Esso cafeteria.

There was interesting discussion going on here before you showed up.

Posted by: Chinaski | May 26, 2005 09:19 AM

I have nothing against Sweden or Swedish..
In my opinnion Swedish should not be a language which is forced to learn in finnish schools. Everybody must have a right to decide these things on their own.

Posted by: | May 26, 2005 09:30 AM

Instead of this stupid language debate it would be very interesting to hear more from US citizens who have visited or lived in Finland. Share us your experiences!

Posted by: Pete | May 26, 2005 09:49 AM

Wow, as a native Finn, I am utterly surprised (and more than a tad bit embarrassed) about the path the discussion above has taken. It does certanly not reflect my lifetime experience as a Finn
in Finland. In my 36 years I have never come across such animosity and anger.

I was born into a Finnish speaking family, and to this day I speak maily Finnish with my Father and two brothers. I speak mainly Swedish with my mother, she in turn speaks mainly Finnish with my brothers, but both Finnish and Swedish with my father. We have an equal amount of Finnish speaking and Swedish speaking friends, and most, if not all, can switch languages at will, which we frequntly do. Some things are just better expressed in Finnish and other things are better said in Swedish. Some times we even mix the languages for fun, other times just to get our point across better. (Hey there is no word in Swedish that comes close to expressing the strentgh of "Perkele! and how exactly would you say "ja e'limin" in Finnish?) Throughout all my life I have only seen our ability to use two languages as a huge advantage and privilege. I am imensly grateful to my parents for teaching me two languages, and for raising me in a manner that allowed me to encompass these two different aspect of the Finnish culture. Anyone who I grew up with, and and who I know to this date, both in my rural contryside and in the southern cities, has only seen our dula languages as something that enriches our lives, a blessing, something we are proud of.

I would like to comment on the quote:
"The vårtspråk or finlansvenska, the language spoken here is composed of 60 different dialects who usually do not understand eachother. As mentioned in earlier post the vårtpråk is useless in Sweden."

This is factually incorrect!!!

Yes, we speak different dialects, but we certainly understand eachother perfectly well!!! The dialects are not that different! And yes, I even understand those guys from the Närpes (kva säj'ret?) :)

Also, every single one of us understand "Hog-svenska" which is the official Finish swedish language spoken without dialect.

Also, our Finnish-Swedish language is the same as the one spoken in Sweden (we call it "Riks-Svenska"). We follow the same "svenska akademiens ordlista" (the dictornary of the swedish academy") as they do in Sweden. The "melody" of the language is a bit different, but that is absolutely no barrier in communicating. We have a few words that have a slighty different meaning, but thise are few and far between, and are unlikey to be of any consequance. (Right off the cuff I can only think of one funny incident, where a friend of mine onse asked for a "semla" with his beer, hoping to get a stuffed Sandwish, but was presented with a bun with whipped cream. "Semla" in swedish is what we call a "fastlags bulle" in Finland.)

I have lived in Sweden, and used my Finlands Svenska, and it posed absolutely no problem. In fact, there are many Finnish Swedish speking artists in Sweden who have become much beloved and well known thruout Sweden!

Also, I would like to point out that learning Swedish is no obstacle to learning other languages. I studies Finnish, Swedish and Enlish in elementay School. In highschool German was introduced, and at the end of highschool, I was able to communicate in Finnish, Swedish, English, German. Understanding and speaking Sweish also alows communication with Norwegians And Danes, because Norwegian and Danish is so similar to Swedish. Since then I have learnt a few other languages, and it has been particaularily easy, precisely becuase Swedish is such an excellent foundation for learning other western languages!

I say anyone who complains about HAVING TO LEARN something, really needs to have a reality check. I hope I could bring them over to where I live today (small Caribben island), where many people simply do not have the privilege of good eduction), and would be flabergasted but someone so well of that they complain about having to learn another language!!!

And, all this talk about Sweish speakers somehow being the upper crust. It's Bull-manuer!!! In my neck of woods, our Swedish speaking friends happen to be were mainly farmers. There are both Finnish Speakers and Swedsish speakers in every income bracket in Finladn, and what language you speak is absolutely no indication of class, status or income bracket!

We speak, Finnish, we speak Finnish-Swedish, but we are all Finns. We love our country deeply. We fiercly root for Finland in all sports played against Sweden (yes, in sports we MUST BEAT THEM!), but we also have most close and warm bond with Sweden, as we share large parts of our history, culture and values.

Posted by: | May 26, 2005 09:52 AM

Sweden as spoken in Finland has actully been suggested as the Lingua Franca of Scandinavia, because it is so easy to understand.

And easy for us Finnish-speakers to pronounce. I've heard foreigners living in Denmark say that it Finnish-Swedish is much easier to understand than the Swedish variety.

But OK, this has very little to do with the actual purpose of this blog, so I'll stop here.

Posted by: Chinaski | May 26, 2005 10:05 AM

Anybody noticed the "Conan Hates My Homeland" caption in "Late Night with Conan O'Brien"?

Conan decided to insult every country in the world alphabetically, to find out where his show is being watched. And he told to send mail about the insult.

Finnish viewers sent mail long before Conan had insulted Finland.

This is a very common way of thinking in Finland. "What are they thinking about us?".

This kind of newspaper article about Finland is very serious thing for many people in Finland. Much more important than, say, bilanguality.

Posted by: Urja | May 26, 2005 10:25 AM

I really hope your trip will show those sides of Finland that make it a trip worthwile, to introduce a new destination for travellers, and to present a small, yet surprisingly multifaceted country, where there are no ice bears roaming the capital's streets and people don't live in igloos (A "joke" I've heard one too many times. I don't get it, some find it funny to be so clueless, I'd be embarassed if I found out I had such misconceptions and made such gross stereotypifications. but oh well). I wish it remain unpolitical, and stick to showing how Finland is in the eyes of a foreigner. I don't think this forum's the place to start debating national language policies (which are quite trivial for about everybody on this planet except us Finns). I'm not saying that Finland should be overglorified and made into something it isn't, overpromising isn't good either. But rather saying that those things should be highlighted that Finland can be proud of (clean forests, safety, good standard education, etc. the sort of stuff that aren't givens in many other parts of the world). I hope you two enjoy your 3 weeks and that your reporting gives a welcoming, yet realistic view of Finland, and inspires many more Americans (and others) to come visit us.

Posted by: Sara | May 26, 2005 11:04 AM

"Swedish speakers live longer and are happier than Finnish apeakers..."

Well, of course they do, since the Finnish speakers tend to spend their entire life complaining about how unfairly they're treated. If I was that bitter, I'd die sooner, too.

Posted by: Tero Paananen | May 26, 2005 11:06 AM

Do you people notice, how far are our Swedes willing to go to keep their view that abusing inherited political and economical power is a totally acceptable means to spread Swedish culture in the most Finnish speaking (92%) country in the world? Year after year, gallup polls tell that more than two thirds of Finns would be willing to trash compulsory Swedish in schools.

Posted by: Pauli Ojanperä | May 26, 2005 11:39 AM

Do you people notice how easy is become Swedish-speaker Finland in. Those not speakers write like Yoda speak.

All you have to do is to be of a different opinion than Pauli Ojanperä (Paul Dike's Ass).

How much bitterness can there be in one boy?

You must understand that it's people like P Dike's Ass that end up committing suicide when they finally understand that the train is gone and they never bothered to buy a ticket.

Posted by: Juha Kontunen | May 26, 2005 12:13 PM


Can someone explain, why there is compulsory swedish for all Finns, even though only 5% of the people are swedish?

Can someone explain, why compulsory swedish continues, even though many gallups have clearly shown that 60-70% of Finns don't want compulsory swedish?

Can someone explain, why Finns who stand up for their own cultural and language rights are called viscious racist names?

Posted by: Is it evil? | May 26, 2005 12:37 PM

Finnish is secondmost spoken Nordic language and an old Scandinavian language,too.

It is just fair to give Finnish a more equal status in Scandinavia/Nordic countries including Finland (=Aland).

These guys who oppose the equality between Finnish and Swedish speakers of Nordic countries also dislike the equality between the sexes.

The present state of affairs that equality between Finnish and Swedish speakers is discrimination of Swedish speakers should belong to the past.

Posted by: Ajatus | May 26, 2005 12:47 PM

Reason why Finland has a really low living standard compared to germany-france-denmark-switzerland-holland etc.:

Decades of government that just does not care.
- Cost of huge subsidies to the agricultural sector (they even make sugar here, look at the map, think about if that is wise, say, about -20% off the gdp every year)
- Cost of the swedish language (say, -20% off the gdp every year): not so much that all have to study it (though it makes us all speak very bad english compared to others and not able to learn any more languages) - but the fact that we are de facto governed by them who speak it: kind of like in south africa they had the small minority who governed the majority, they make bad decisions and the majority is not cared about at all
-other subsidies to big companies etc. - small people get nothing, all kinds of companies ( - 10%)and governmental offices (-20%maybe) that do nothing get all

As for Finnish culture ?
Here, a finnish travel show (cult tv program, a bit leftist)
http://www.stranded.to/madventures/video.php
Last show was good, guy wakes up, has hangover, does not know where he is, asks someone, starts drinking, drinks, wakes up, does not know where is...

Posted by: Culture | May 26, 2005 12:51 PM

You really need to investigate the Winter War. I am sure most Americans do not realize that in 1939, hundreds of thousands of Russian soldiers lost thier lives trying to take the country.

I have always had the theory that Hitler watched and decided that if a rag tag bunch of Finns could hold off a million man Russian army, it would be a walk in the park for the Germans to conquer Russia.

It was certainly the turning point in WW2.

Posted by: Bill B | May 26, 2005 12:51 PM

I'm a Swedish-speaking Finn. I'm 32 years old, university educated (Åbo Akademi), got in by working up a 6L exam result (it's the same as being a straight A student), have grown up in a few different small towns along the south coast. My professional life is conducted about 50/50 in Swedish and in Finnish. I'm paid slightly above the average Finnish salary in a pretty average job, have a big morgage, small apartment, and a pretty good life overall. My life is very similar to my Finnish speaking collegues living in the same circumstances.

There is a stereotype image of an urban Swedish speaking person being wealthy, loud and used to "daddy" paying for every and anything. There are maybe a few hundred people who loosely fit this stereotype image, and most of them live in and around Helsinki. The rest of us Swedish-speaking Finns find them a bit ridiculous, and quite amusing. Some Finnish speaking Finns are wildly provoked by them and think we're all like that.

The fact is that what's previously been said about us all being pretty similar to the rest of the population, and found in all income brackets is true. We do value being able to use our mother tongue throughout life in school, in hospitals, in situations of a legal nature and everywhere in between.

I've never met and known a Finnish speaking person who has learned even passable Swedish saying he doesn't need it. I do know it's not considered easy to learn. Neither is Finnish, but we all do the best we can. The key to being fluent in any language is practice. Of course, if you live somewhere where you can practice your skills in natural situations it will be easier to learn.

We Swedish-speaking Finns who have had so much opportunity to practice our Finnish often make the mistake of switching a conversation to Finnish fast (impatience, sorry) even when the Finnish speaking person is eager to practice his Swedish. We need to do better on that.

If you live under conditions where you never hear a language spoken "for real", it is understandable that the motivation to learn is low. Not making the most of the opportunity is however short-sighted, and as stated above, Swedish is an excellent help when learning english (especially when practicing pronounciation) and german, for exemple. On the other hand, my being fluent in Finnish hasn't made it more difficult learning English even when the languages don't have much in common.

Swedish speaking and Finnish speaking Finns intermarry a lot, and the children are usually brought up in the Swedish speaking system. We also have slightly higher nativity rates, and we live longer (I think, don't remember the statistics exactly). Any hopes of us disappearing is pretty much wishful thinking by some, if anything, our number will grow.

Along with the children of bilingual families the Swedish schools are also popular with families wishing to put their Finnish speaking children there. If you don't speak Swedish in the home it's quite a challenge for the child and the family to cope, but it's done every day.

I haven't heard of any school where it's forbidden to speak Finnish. I can well imagine schools where a lot of the pupils come from Finnish speaking backgrounds, and revert to Finnish in converstation. If it's encouraged to use exclusively Swedish in school under such circumstances, I do find it understandable. It's not from a negative attitude towards the Finnish language, more the view that to support fluency in a language they are meant to learn, they need to use it in everyday life as well as in lessons. Out of school, you use whatever language rolls of your tongue first. The beauty of being bilingual!

Accents: Imagine English spoken with a British accent and with an American accent. That's the difference between Swedish in Finland and in Sweden. The grammar is exactly the same. Slang differs, as it does anywhere geografically.

Enough about languages. After all in everyday life we all just get on with things and use whatever means we can to make ourselves understood.

It is quite interesting to see ourselves through the eyes of others, but I agree that the articles so far have been written wearing slighty rose tinted glasses. No country is perfect, but I am quite happy living here, and the way the US seems to be turning into a right-wing one-party state, I'm not enetertaining any longing feelings towards any "American Dream".

Oh and,

my home is full of "second hand furniture". It's called Vintage Finnish Design (Alvar Aalto, Ilmari Tapiovaara, Paavo Tynell), it's there because I like it, not because I can't afford anything else. It's also full of handmedowns. That's called Family Heirlooms, and that concept should be familiar to anyone ;-)

Finnish national taste is generally geared towards plain lines and quality rather than "newer, bigger, bolder".

Posted by: Annika | May 26, 2005 12:59 PM

My mom called me last night to tell me about this diary and blog. I have really enjoyed reading the diary and all the posts. I am currently hosting my 3rd Finnish exchange student and myself went to visit there in 1999. I love Finland. All three boys I have hosted are totally different (except that they were all blond and like ice hockey!). I have learned much about the Finnish people - but I could host 10 more kids and still not be able to claim myself an expert on Finns and their culture. It may be a small country - but the people still varied and have many different views. One thing that made me laugh is where someone posted that Finns say all Swedish guys are gay. THAT IS SO TRUE!!! But since I have hosted students from Norway, Denmark, Sweden and Estonia over the years - I can safely say that all the other countries say bad stuff about Swedes - but funnily enough the Swedes do not disparage those from the other countries in Scandanavia! Now that I have discovered this diary and the blog - I will read it everyday. I hope that is generates a lot of interest in Finland. The organization I host with is always looking for new host families. If anyone out there would like to host a high school aged exchange student from Finland for 11 months (and I highly recommend it!) - please look at the website of YOUTH FOR UNDERSTANDING (www.yfu.org). You will learn so much and at the same time foster greater world understanding of the United States and its diversity.

Posted by: Shawn B. | May 26, 2005 01:10 PM

Swedish men seem to pay a LOT of attention to grooming and fashionable clothes. Far more than Finnish men in general.

The Swedes end up looking a bit feminine, and thus fit a certain stereotype of gay men. Thus the label. Unfair? Yes.

Posted by: Annika | May 26, 2005 01:35 PM

I also heard incest was a big problem in Finland.. is that true?

Posted by: | May 26, 2005 01:51 PM

"Instead of this stupid language debate it would be very interesting to hear more from US citizens who have visited or lived in Finland. Share us your experiences!"

At the moment I'm actually working on a blog to publish, among other things, a manuscript for a book about my experience living here. It doesn't have any files posted yet, but the URL is http://www.writingsbycaroline.blogspot.com/
Stay tuned...:)

Posted by: Caroline | May 26, 2005 01:52 PM

I'm a Finn living in Southwestern Finland, in Vammala.

I'm very happy to see the problem of compulsory swedish being discussed here, because the problem doesn't get the attention it deserves in the Finnish press. Compulsory swedish really needs to be weeded out of the Finnish areas of our country, it's long overdue.

When I read the posts "arguing" in favor of compulsory swedish, I'm amused at the bile being spewed against those who favour choice in Finnish language education. Also amusing are the ridiculous anectodal and self-centered nature of the "arguments."

The whiners remind one of a child, who is told they can no longer have candy for dinner. You try to explain that eating candy for dinner is wrong, that the candy must be had after dinner and shared with brothers and sisters. You try to take their lollipops away, and they start screaming and crying and call you a dodo head.

This phase is only temporary for them. Compulsory swedish will disappear soon, and the whiners will quite capably maintain their swedish language and culture without forcing it down all our throats, and making us pay the bill.

Then they will get over it and move on. Otherwise they should be on the Dr. Phil show ;)

Posted by: Roope Mäkinen | May 26, 2005 02:10 PM

Wonderful articles about Socialist Finland!


Thank You for writing about my Country so nicely.

Stories are almost too good to be true - It is wonderful, what money can purchase.

I am also asking you to have a look to the other side of the story.

Let us hope we do not run out of toilet tissue while having you as our guests.


Sincerely,


Ake Tyvi

Ps. You may use google or Indipendent Media.

Posted by: Ake Tyvi | May 26, 2005 02:33 PM

An interesting series of articles. I found the opening article somewhat one sided.

Finland is not a perfect country, as there can be no such thing. I quite enjoyed my stay in the US some years ago, and I am enjoying my life in Finland, these days. The people in the two countries are strikingly similar, after the first 30 minutes. The 30 minutes do make quite a difference for the casual observer, though, as can be witnessed in many an opinion. Either way, I am interested to see how these articles turn out as it is my own personal experience and opinion that the Finns and Americans are much more alike as people than the Finns and some of our European friends.

As a sidenote, I am appalled to find this page littered by a handful of extremists trying to put forth their agenda. To put this rage in context from my perspective I will say this - As a Finnish speaking Finn, I was mildly irritated by the mandatory Swedish back in school. Not unlike I was irritated to have to learn chemistry, instead of some of my favourite subjects.

Posted by: Sami, Oulu, Finland | May 26, 2005 02:33 PM

Sami, exactly! Finnish wasn't my favourite subject either, neither was chemistry, but we got by.

Posted by: Annika | May 26, 2005 02:54 PM

"Swedish is an excellent help when learning english (especially when practicing pronounciation) and german, for exemple"

"Swedish is such an excellent foundation for learning other western languages!"

This is one of the most imaginative arguments ever made for compulsory swedish.

The best way to learn german, english or any other language is to study them. It's ridiculous to claim that you should first learn some other language to make it easier.

It just shows how there really is no sensible arguments for compulsory swedish.

Posted by: in case you didn't notice | May 26, 2005 02:59 PM

I live in the States and travelled to Finland often on business. Finland is a very efficient, clean, honest country. It is a treat for anyone to be in Finland in June - that is the very best. Light until midnight!

I am not impressed with the architecture in Helsinki. They seemed to have knocked down all the beautiful old bldgs in the past sometime during some well-meaning but thoughtless 1960s and 70s renovation. Even moreso in Tampere I thought. Walk down Hki's esplanade and note the gorgeous architecture, and you can see what the rest of the city could have remained. I wonder what Mannerheim(sp?) avenue looked like at one time, before the Forum and all those other shops went up. Perhaps bldgs looked more like Stockmann's. Perhaps I am being too old-school and not futuristic enough. Finns want to comment? For a country that prides itself on pristine nature, it does not treat landmark bldgs well. Not that NYC is any better, but Central Park is a gem.

The best bookstore I have EVER been in is Hki's Akademski (I will butcher it if I go further)...basically, the "Academic bookstore" across from Stockmann's. Wow - I love it.

Why do you Finns drink milk at lunch? Don't do that anymore! Milk is for chocolate cake and breakfast!!! :-)

Posted by: Huckleberry Finn | May 26, 2005 03:06 PM

First. I'm sorry that the rest of this message is in finnish, but I must do this. I'll be glad if someone wants to partly translate this to English.

Mik vittu meit Suomalaisia vaivaa? Ruotsinkieli suomessa ei ole kenellekn kytnnn ongelma. Palvelua saa tarvittaessa suomeksi kaikkialla, sek ruotsinkieliset saavat sit mys ruotsiksi. Mik kansallinen perim ajaa meidt tappelemaan omasta kielestmme, jolla ei ole mitn katoavaisuuden vaaraa, nyt - kun tuhannet ulkomaisetkin silmparit seuraavat tt keskustelua.

Olen kuullut etteivt pienet lapset aina itke, jollei kukaan ole nkemss. Onko tss kyse siit, ett itsetuntomme vaatii sit, ett "suomenkielisten alistaminen" psee maailman medioihin.

On totta, ett Ruotsin kieli on vain relikti. Jnne historiasta. Verrattakoon sit uskontoon, josta mys paljon on tll kirjoitettu. Kukaan kirkkoon kuuluva ei koe latinan kielt kielelliseksi uhkaksi, vaikka sit edelleen historiallisista syist kytetn kirkon johdossa. Suomea johdettiin vuosisatoja ruotsiksi, muttei en. Ei meidn tarvitse pelt ja puolustautua. Emme hpe kuulumistamme venjn, emmek Ruotsiin. Ruotsin kieli on osa historiaamme, vaikka onkin ksittmtnt miksi sen yllpitmiseen haaskataan rahoja. Ehk se on joillekin ylpeyden aihe. Itse olen ylpe veteraaneista. Annan mielellni rahaa tlle Suomen puolesta uhrautuneelle, harvenevalle joukolle. En yksittisen henkiln, van sen perinnn vuoksi, jonka heilt saimme. Miksen samalla tavoin voisi kunnioittaa ruotsinkielt, joka joskus antoi meille kulttuurimme ja identiteettime.

Posted by: Suomalainen | May 26, 2005 03:11 PM

http://personal.inet.fi/atk/pehkonen/webcam.htm
I've been checking out these people for three years or so from time to time and they offer an insight on finnish life and customs.

Posted by: dave | May 26, 2005 03:17 PM

I am surprised by comments from Finns that unemployment is a problem. Seems to me when I worked at Nokia, the Finns never, and I mean NEVER, got laid off. First to go where Americans! Too expensive I suppose!!!
It is very hard to lay off Finnish workers in Finland. Not impossible, but difficult. I think it is written in law or something like that. Must not be very beneficial to the companies, I must say.

That is why there is a lot of "dead-wood" at Nokia-Finland. Or what I would call dead-wood, at least. People who should have been laid off years ago but still exist, with titles like Supervisor of Processes and Procedures and like titles. They would never exist in many American companies (I generalize here). Not exactly 'American start-up/pre-IPO' material if you ask me.

Posted by: Huckleberry Finn | May 26, 2005 03:25 PM

>many Finns who accept abortion in Finland would be against it in the US. That is why there is no controversy in the issue in Finland. It's all about details.

In Finland, it is *always* about the details, my friend. :-)

Details - rules - procedures - processes. Rinse, repeat.

Posted by: Huckleberry Finn | May 26, 2005 03:35 PM

Annika, I appreciate your contribution to this discussion. Still, if you could realise the language problem really is not about negative attitude towards our Swedish speaking minority, but rather about the majority really being oppressed by ridiculous barriers in education and work life.

Posted by: Pauli Ojanperä | May 26, 2005 03:54 PM

About PISA and bilinguality.

Finnish bilinguality is a political myth which has been abused
to enchance the aims of an elitist clique in the Swedish speaking
minority.

In reality, 72 % of Finnish citizens (3,6 million) do live in
unilingually Finnish cities. In those areas, there are only 13000 Swedish
speaking people, 0,36 % of total. Moreover, the children of the Swedish
speaking (bilingual) minority did remarkably worse in the test than those
of the unilingual majority. You can see the bilinguality explanation doesn't
hold water.

For further information and better (fact based) explanations of the Pisa
results, consult the link below.

Sincerely yours,
Pauli

http://www.edu.fi/english/pageLast.asp?path=500,571,36263,36266
*Factors behind the good literacy performance of the Finnish youth*

Posted by: Pauli Ojanperä | May 26, 2005 04:02 PM

And, to add to my latest post, in Finnish cities coined bilingual, 90 % of the population speak Finnish as their mother tongue.

Posted by: Pauli Ojanperä | May 26, 2005 04:18 PM

Thank you for this very interesting blog on Finland. My wife's parents actually came from Kouvola. No we are a happy Texas family. We follow these pages with great interest.

What is the problem with this Pauli Ojanpera character (under different names?)??? He seems to have serious problems. I hope that he doesn't represent the typical Finn! It is very hard to understand that somebody has a problem with the fact that he's offered free language training. From what I've read the Finnish system sounds very fair. Some universities are in Finnish, some in Swedish. Everybody is taught both languages so they can choose which university to attend. Mind you. People with learning disabilities don't belong in the university. Our friend Pauli must be one of these.

Keep rocking with the blog. And PLEASE try to do something about this nut case. He is destroying a good blog.

Posted by: Jack Aking | May 26, 2005 05:20 PM

Here's all you foreigners need to know about mystical FINLAND:
http://www.co.jyu.fi/~np/misc/foreigners_guide_to_finland.html#basics

Posted by: Vellu | May 26, 2005 05:21 PM

Listen folks. Since You are so close the border line, pls do take care, since occasionally Russia have been having some military execise there, and some nerver-gas cloud may pass the bordeline.

Last time the econoy was down Russian had 600 tanks ready to roll into Finland via Karelia. Local village owners complaint, since tank engines were running 24h bases.

In case you'd like to come to USA nuclear safety zone, then we'll be more, than happy to have you here.

Posted by: Lauri Trn | May 26, 2005 05:22 PM

Seems like a bunch of trolls have taken over the blogs. The link to that "Foreigners Guide to Finland" is work of a famous finnish webtroll. You can take it as a joke.

I'm afraid this language blabber is work of a one or two fanatics, though. You should ignore them - the don't represent real Finland any more than Ku Klux Klan represents real USA.

Posted by: | May 26, 2005 05:59 PM

To Huckleberry Finn:
I agree what you said "I am not impressed with the architecture in Helsinki. They seemed to have knocked down all the beautiful old bldgs in the past sometime during some well-meaning but thoughtless 1960s and 70s renovation. "

It is finally understood also by the natives and criticism has arisen against it. I thought to give you a link of series "Puretut talot", which listed and described the demolition cases, but unfortunately it is not available any more in the web, because Helsingin Sanomat plans to sell those stories as a book.

But here are something instead:
Helsinki Through the Lens: Photo gallery
http://www.helsinginsanomat.fi/english/extras/photogallery
and lots of interesting links to foreigners http://www.helsinginsanomat.fi/english/

E.g. this is nice :-)
http://www.helsinginsanomat.fi/english/article/1101979670025

And on Finnish side http://www2.helsinginsanomat.fi/extrat/kulttuuri/kuviahelsingista/kuvat.html you can see the buildings of Helsinki from years 1907-13
and here http://www2.helsinginsanomat.fi/extrat/kaupunki/panorama/Hki_panorama_intro.html from years 1866 and 2003

"For a country that prides itself on pristine nature, it does not treat landmark bldgs well. Not that NYC is any better, but Central Park is a gem."

You are absolutely right!
The most actual case here at the moment is Helsinki-Malmi airport, where the Finnish leaders do not understand that airport cannot be preserved without aerodrome and airplanes. see http://www.wmf.org/html/programs/finhel.html and http://pelastamalmi.org/en/index.html

Although land is much less valuable in Helsinki than in Manhattan, NYC, and although Malmi airport is only 123 hectares, but Central Park is over 400 (if I know correct)

Posted by: a Finn | May 26, 2005 06:03 PM

To 'a Finn':
Thank you very much for those links.

Posted by: Huckleberry Finn | May 26, 2005 06:18 PM

Eddie: I am an American living in California, and I can't see that you will be making much of a success out of yourself here with your whiny, cranky attitude and blaming everyone and everything but yourself for how little you like your life. How about you head on back to your native Mexico and have all the quality of life you want?

Posted by: Ann | May 26, 2005 06:37 PM

To all you people who are implying that we should stop having to learn Finnish-Swedish in Finland. Well that would extinguish the rights of the Finnish Swedish peole of getting around in our native language.

YOu seem to forget that we were always here, even before the Finnish language was here, you seem to forget when we fought for our independence, the swedish speakers paid with their blood side by side with tenh Dinnish speakers for a country where we could all be free and have the freedom to speak our mother tounges. Now you toggledites basically are saying you want to take away that right from us. THAT IS RACISIT AND AGAINST OUR HUMAN RIGHTS! THAT GOES AGAINST EVERYTHING THAT WE FINNS SUPPOSEDLY STAND FOR. It is not the 5-6% Swedish miinority that is oppressing the Finnish speakers, but apparently there are some Finnish speakers that feel it would be OK to oppress the Swedish speakers, evenb extinguish their native language from Finland. Thank God most Finns aren't like that!

And remeber, we who grew up as swedish speakers, we had to learn Finnish in School, which is much much harder than learning Sweish. So our burden of learning is harder. Remeber that in many of our towns and villages on the west coast, we do not learn Finnish until we take it in School. Finnish is really really difficult to learn!

Also, if Paasilinna was right, then it is actually more likely Finnish will die before Swedish. This is because much fewer people on this earth understand Finnish than Swedish. Also since Finnish is so hard to learn and not usefull anywhere else than in little Finland. Swedish on the other hand is usefull in all of the Nordic countries,a nd also much closer to languages such as English and German.

Oh... and bet you wouldn't have aired those anti-swedish language opinions if you would have had the opportunity to talk to someone like General Enerot...

Posted by: Finlandsvensk Finne | May 26, 2005 06:56 PM

Ah, change of subject:

How come no-one spoke yet about our SAUNA-BASTU culture? You know we all like to get together in small room naked to sweat profusely, beat eachother hard woth birch brances and then rush out an jump into the lake or ocean. And this is not a myth about us Finns, this is true.

Posted by: | May 26, 2005 07:07 PM

It seems that this is just getting more and more to be a fight between amricans and finnish people. I hope this could be just a impartial description of Finland, which could give something new for americans and also for finns..

Can we really make an agreement wether USA is better than Finland or Finland better than USA? Should we? no.
There's many and many great things in Finland. Also there are lots to be fixed in Finland.
What I've seen in the US, it's the same there, those things just might be different things..

Posted by: Sam | May 26, 2005 10:55 PM

Another liberal success story? It seems upon reading the blog that the Finns are evolving. Haven't had that sense about America for a few years. They have a sense of priorities and a respect and love for civil liberties that only gets lip service in the U.S. from our politicians. I look forward to a future visit!

Posted by: spy | May 27, 2005 01:09 AM

"YOu seem to forget that we were always here, even before the Finnish language was here"

It is widely proven that finnish language was the dominant language in scandinavia before the northern danish dialect evolved into swedish language. Not to speak the swedification of coastal finland in late 1700's.

http://www.lib.utexas.edu/maps/historical/shepherd/califate_750.jpg

http://pre20031103.stm.fi/suomi/tao/julkaisut/omakieli/image/kuva1.gif

"And remeber, we who grew up as swedish speakers, we had to learn Finnish in School, which is much much harder than learning Sweish"

Listen all of you again. 5% justifies force-swedish to 95% by this principle. In USA the same situation would be where every single american would have to learn 6 years of ebonics or spanish.

"Finnish Swedish peole of getting around in our native language"

This is not true. Several polls have shown that biligualism does not work and almost all swedish-speakers use finnish outside their homes, excluding some remote monolingual swedish towns.

"Finnish speakers that feel it would be OK to oppress the Swedish speakers"

In a situation where 5 million finns are forced to learn their language and massive quotas are reserved to universities for swedish speakers they dare to say that they are being oppressed! The most typical defense for quotas or force swedish is to use the race card, again.

By the way about 80% of so called swedes in finland are in fact swedified finns.

http://www.suomalaisuudenliitto.fi/aatelisnimet.htm

Posted by: Thomas | May 27, 2005 02:25 AM

Thanks for a very interesting article - Finns love to hear about how foreigners perceive them. Perhaps because it is so difficult for us to say good things about ourselves out loud.
However, what Pekka Himanen said about religion and prayer at school is not entirely true. Although Finland is a highly secularized society, we still have state church, meaning that church and state are not separated. Most Finns (I believe the number is somewhere around 80%) are Lutherans and religion (including some prayers) is taught at school. However, the number of people leaving the church is increasing and for those that are not members of a Christian church, the state must provide other classes in place of religion. For example, "view of life" (elämänkatsomustieto) classes that teach about all religions and ideologies, including socialism, capitalism, fascism etc. These classes are not denominational, and are meant for students that, in fact, have no religion. Although the church has an official position in Finland (and a right to collect tax from its members), religion is, as Himanen pointed out, not a visible or defining part of the Finnish society. Finns do not talk about their personal beliefs nor is religion used as a motive or basis of argument in public discussion.

I hope you'll enjoy the rest of your visit,

Posted by: Elina | May 27, 2005 03:15 AM

Finno-Ugrian peoples are natives of Northern-Europe included Scandinavia.

The fact that Germanic peoples have opressed them centuries does not justify further harrashment of Finno-Ugrian peoples in Finland,Sweden,Norway,Aland and Russia.

Read more for example:
http://www.ruijan-kaiku.no
or
http://www.rskl.se

All the Finno-Ugrian peoples of Europe have experience of living as a minority among the Indo-European majority. Europe was not Europe without the natives of Europe, the Non-Indo-European peoples of Europe.(Basques and Fenno-Ugrians)

Posted by: Freedom fighter | May 27, 2005 03:23 AM

Never mind Pauli, Jack Aking.

I know him. I think you know him as well. He's that loud bully that always sat in the back row of the class and made life miserable for everyone else who wanted to learn something.

Now he's unemployed or works as a prison ward. He has no woman, no life. He is bitter and blames everybody else. He has learnt some English surfing for porn on the internet (he does it a lot). He has plenty of spare time. With the help of a dictionary he can actually produce simple English text.

Don't fear. There is only one on average in each class. That means that one Finn in 25 is Pauli Ojanpera. I'm sure you have at least the same amount of Paulis in Texas (no offence!)

The vast majority of Finns are happy with the system. That's why the only debate that there is takes place on discussion forums like this.

Posted by: Juha Kontunen | May 27, 2005 03:26 AM

"The vast majority of Finns are happy with the system"

If this applies to the language system there are also polls. Here are two links. One tells (in finnish, sorry) opinions of 10 professors about the language political system.

http://www.jippii.fi/jsp/forum/thread.jsp?b=kielipolitiikka&t=30184

The other link tells about several polls of mandatory swedish education. 60%-70% oppose it at least for the last 10 years that these kind of polls have been made.

http://www.jippii.fi/jsp/forum/reply.jsp?b=kielipolitiikka&t=2463&m=5

Please note the fury in which the critics are being smeared even in this forum. It's only annoying on the net but devastating otherwise. Finland really needs some outside help because politicians are afraid to say anything for the above reason. Do something Washington Post.

Posted by: Thomas | May 27, 2005 03:44 AM

Thomas. You have a good dictionary.

There are polls and there are elections. Anyony can make an Internet poll in a suitable forum.

In elections people have only one vote, none more, none less. I wonder why democracy is based on elections and not internet polls?

Very impressing! 10 professors think like you. Then we must change the system at once!! I wonder why democracy is based on elections and not on the opinion of 10 selected professors? There must be a good reason. I just can't find out what. Can you?

Posted by: Juha Kontunen | May 27, 2005 03:55 AM

Explanation: LanguageWarrior fights for langugage freedom for Finnish people.

I heard that there cannot be any problem, if an ethnic majority is somehow oppressed. It is the case in Finland, where ALL higher-than-peon-level public servant positions are reserved for Swedish-speakers only. Because Finns do not speak Swedish at homes, they have to sacrifice 10 per cent of their learning capacity to get the Swedish exam approved.

Is it not so that in India, the highest caste had lowest number of members. Still they could oppress the low castes. Is it not true that in South-Africa, handful of powerful Whites could oppress masses of Blacks.

Thus, the Finnish case is similar to the most unacceptable ethnic oppression systems, and not comparable to some minority issues, e.g., in Germany or Switzerland.

The result is also the same: The Swedish-speakers in Finland can expext to live 6-9 years longer than the Finnish-speakers. Is it not the same in all caste systems?

What is the ideal way then:

1. Finland shall apply exactly the similar policy towards the Swedes as Sweden applies towards the Finns.
2. All Finns shall have the right to study OR not to study any foreign languages as they will.
3. The Nation will give support to foreign languages, e.g., Swedish etc., not more than according to the same way as Sweden supports Finnish. "Not more" is justified, because Sweden is a richer country.
4. English language shall be favored but not made compulsory. In practice, Finnish Radio/TV and other media shall begin to give full service in English, too.
5. Finland shall join or approach the English-speaking group of countries, because it is the best way to support our freedom and our economy, science and culture.

We also need some support from the English-speaking world. Why; because the parliamentarism does not work. We still are under a Soviet type of controlling. Polls show that people want the freedom, but still the politicians select racistic discrimination against the Finns. Not even explosions of mailboxes of Finns in Aland, have made any politician to say: Stop it. Instead, President Halonen recommends: "Finns, please do speak more Swedish; Swedes, please let Finns speak more Swedish with you."

With support, we can faster crash the Yoke of the Swedish High Caste from our shoulders.


Note: My goal is to give Swedes exactly the same level of language rights in Finland as they give rights to Finns in Sweden AND in Aland. Fair, uh?

Posted by: LanguageWarrior | May 27, 2005 03:56 AM

Just today it was in the news that famous finnish writer Arto Paasilinna will be translated to english by new publishing contracts. And it is just the same person that will take the swedish system to the internationa PEN-conference in june because modern Finnish media is unable to inform about the situtation. And at this very moment it is suggested that his books will be removed from swedishspeakers schools as a revenge.

Posted by: From Central Finland | May 27, 2005 04:03 AM

"Anyony can make an Internet poll in a suitable forum."

Did you even read the poll? It was made by the most respected opinion research authority in Finland called Taloustutkimus and there has been tens of similar polls.

Posted by: Thomas | May 27, 2005 04:08 AM

When you were in Kuopio did you taste a kalakukko. I think it´s awesome. Are you going to go Kuusamo, if you are you should walk a long Karhunkierros.

Ja hyvää jatkoo jos oma ei riitä...

Posted by: lentävä puliukko | May 27, 2005 04:13 AM

Huckleberry Finn wrote:

"Why do you Finns drink milk at lunch? Don't do that anymore! Milk is for chocolate cake and breakfast!!! :-)"

I know it sounds weird that we drink so much milk, but it's healthy, far healthier than soft drinks (or beer for that matter) and we're so accustomed to drinking cow milk as soon as we're alienated from breast milk that it's an obvious lunch drink for us. However, there's one drawback - lactose intolerance is becoming more common in Finland.

Posted by: Pete | May 27, 2005 04:39 AM

Concerning PISA-survey and "mono-culture."

There were minority schools in the random sample! They did worse results than other schools.

Therefore there are quotas for the Swedish minority at the higher education (university)level. In terms of PISA-survey they are still needed long time ahead.

As fas as I know there are quotas for the minorities in the States,too? So they have to be familiar for the Americans what it is all about.

Posted by: Pekka | May 27, 2005 04:52 AM

I think if you guys from the USA get totally baffled about this language issue, and why it is so hot; ask some Canadians about French and Quebec and then wait for the explosion.

Finland is not unique as a bilingual country and every such country has its hotheads on the issue.

Posted by: Hank W. | May 27, 2005 04:58 AM

There is no mandatory 3 to 6 years of french in ALL candadian schools.

Posted by: Gisella | May 27, 2005 05:08 AM

http://195.255.83.67/cgi-bin/mediaweb?Newsp=hbl&Date=020227&Depa=ledare&Story=05085232.txt&Model=juttu.html

Here is a study (in swedish) where the PISA-results of swedish speaking schools were gathered and compared with the general population. Result: The swedish speakers were one year behind in learning compared with finnish speakers.

Posted by: Help | May 27, 2005 05:21 AM

"There is no mandatory 3 to 6 years of french in ALL candadian schools."

Well that's a shame.

I loved Swedish at school. It was easy to learn and I'm happy to speak it with my Swedish friends. It's a lot easier to get friends from other countries if you know their language.

How many Americans (except the hispanics in the US) can go to Mexico and converse with the people there in their own language? I don't think that many can. I could do it, because I was born in Finland and took Spanish at school. For free.

Posted by: Noora Penttinen | May 27, 2005 05:27 AM

"And remeber, we who grew up as swedish speakers, we had to learn Finnish in School, which is much much harder than learning Sweish. So our burden of learning is harder. Remeber that in many of our towns and villages on the west coast, we do not learn Finnish until we take it in School. Finnish is really really difficult to learn!"

What? The whole 90% should learn because of your selfish ignorance. Gimme a break.

Posted by: John Mayor, Utah | May 27, 2005 05:37 AM

"It's a lot easier to get friends from other countries"

They know english in Sweden.

Do they know Swedish in Mexico? Why not choose spanish as the second language? Here in Finland we are constantly dealing with this legendary argument: Learn swedish so you can learn some other language. The average skill of swedish is horrific and that's the puropse because swedish is a requirement to higher offices.
And quess who gets the profit from this arrangement.

Posted by: Gisella | May 27, 2005 05:44 AM

This discussion is totally ridiculous.

Most of the Finns (and some others) here are arguing of so ridiculous things.

Shame you! We have a beautiful country with lovely people.

Posted by: AS | May 27, 2005 06:03 AM


"This discussion is totally ridiculous.
Most of the Finns (and some others) here are arguing of so ridiculous things."

Yes, pay no attention to the man behind the curtain, that obligatory swedish is senseless and oppressive against Finns.

Posted by: Wizard of Oz | May 27, 2005 06:18 AM

The situation in Canada is completely different. Canada has 24% French speakers.

In Finland only a miniscule 5%!!!! 5%!!!!!! Finland is one of the most, if not THE most, monolingual country in the world. Yet some swedification fanatics babble that because of this, Finland is "bilingual." They are not in sync with reality.

Posted by: Canada is not Finland | May 27, 2005 06:27 AM

The language question is a non issue in the way it has been presented here for one very simple reason. In Eduskunta (Finnish Parliament) Finnish speaking MP's have an absolute majority to decide on the matter among themselves. If they want, they can change the bilingual status of the country in practise overnight. This is not a question of the minority somehow oppressing the majority but the majority voluntarily making room for the minority.

In my opinion it is natural that the minority is seeking to protect their own interests but they do not call the shots in any way in this matter. Finnish speaking MP's do, and so far they have almost unanimously been in favour of maintaining the current state of affairs what comes to the status of national languages. In matter of fact in the course of the last decade, Eduskunta has not only approved a new language law but also approved legislation that has improved the status of Saami and Gipsy languages in Finland, not to speak of teching immigrant children their own mother tongue on top of Finnish or Swedish language arts at school.

Parliament elections are held every 4th year. Candidates are nominated by political parties. It is also possible to run as an independent candidate but chances of getting through are weak (some have made it, usually clebrities of some kind). Despite of the fact that parties make the nominations, personal votes determine the order in which candidates of some party are nominated as MP's. When voting, Finns thus vote both a party and an individual. Every Finnish citizen from 18 years up is entitled to vote. No registering to vote is required on before hand, just some kind of id to make sure that you cannot vote twice. When between 60 and 80 % of the population vote in every election, I leave it to the readers to determine how representative Eduskunta is.

Posted by: Jari Lievonen | May 27, 2005 06:43 AM

I must say that you Finns must consider yourself lucky, if the only things that can rise a such heated argument among you is one of language politics. Things must be fine over there indeed..compared to how they are here...

Posted by: Italian | May 27, 2005 06:44 AM


Apartheid in Finland is a non-issue because it is approved by the government.

After all, apartheid in South Africa was also a non-issue because it was approved by the South African government. If only it weren't for those meddling agitators, who resisted compulsory teaching of Afrikaans to native South Africans, and who resisted institutionalised discrimination. Why couldn't the human rights activists just leave it alone? What a little thing that is, language politics. South African blacks should have considered themselves lucky to be given the opportunity to learn Afrikaans!

Posted by: Make it go away, please! | May 27, 2005 07:02 AM

"favour of maintaining the current state of affairs what comes to the status of national languages"

That subject has never reached any voting. Thanks to the Swedish peoples party. And the race card is silencing opposition as in case of MP Elo/MP Gestring.

It is true that the parliament is unable to anything and the usual comment heard in finland is "shut up because parliament does not react". This is an attemp to suppress open discussion.

Posted by: Thomas | May 27, 2005 07:15 AM

"I leave it to the readers to determine how representative Eduskunta is."

Before the previous elections prime minister Paavo Lipponen put the leaders of all parties in a ring and made them promise to "develop swedishness". Yes there were elections and yes there were high turnover but...

Posted by: Thomas | May 27, 2005 07:26 AM

Alistair wrote:

"For example, regarding the death penalty, Himanen says, "Finland is strongly against death penalty, which is not part of our system." Yawohl, mein commandante! Would he mind citing a single public opinion poll to support this view? I've learned that in the case of many European countries that ban the death penalty, a majority of the population actually supports a death penalty. It's just one example of the huge gulf between the political elite and the average citizen that persists in most EU member-countries"

In a poll a few years back, 45% of the Finns suported the death penalty. That, I believe, is a bit higher number than the European avarage. The last execution in Finland (during peace time) took place in the early 19th century. So, in my opinion, one can argue that the death penalty is not part of the Finnish culture or tradition. The "gap (or gulf) theory" simply is not true.

Another quote by Alistair:

"This homogeneity is not only racial and ethnic, but philosophical and political as well. People not only look very similar, they think very similarly too. I'm generalizing, of course. But it's remarkable how hard it is to find a dissenting opinion from the status quo in Finland."

Quite a few comments here seem to agree on this, and so do I, but only to a degree. Especially Helsinki is rather "open" city, open to different cultures, life styles etc. To back me up on this I wished to refer to a study about this openness (and its effects on innovation, econimical growth, and what not) originally conducted by an American scholar. The surprising results indicated that Helsinki, along with Stockholm, were the most "open" cities in Europe, surpassing, if my memory serves me right, even all American cities. Unfortunately, I couldn't find the study.

As for the rest of Alistar's comments, well, I think, too, that it's important to understand the problems, as well ... but, honestly, the red tape is not a problem for new firms and, indeed, immigration is the only way straighten the skewed "age pyramid", as the age distribution is called here. So all well-educated Americans are more than welcomed, just keep your expectations on a realistic level.

Posted by: Tomi | May 27, 2005 07:48 AM

All you people in this blog are being ridiculous arguing about such nonsensical issues.
You must have something better to do?

Posted by: what's going on? | May 27, 2005 08:51 AM

My last post (about gender discrimination, human rights and political correctness) didn't seem to interest anyone, but I find the dominant discussion about ethnicity, language and nationalism worth exploration. There is more to this than the narrow Swedish-Finnish angle.

During my travels in Finland I have heard ethnic Finns complain about the Swedish elite. One perfectly normal and intelligent woman proudly volunteered that in a grocery store she had publicly dressed down a Swedish speaking woman conversing in her native tongue with her daughter. My acquaintance thought it irresponsible to mislead a child into going on and on with the doomed Swedish language. The woman and her daughter were complete strangers to my acquaintance.

Her behavior -- not normal -- could only be explained in terms of deep resentment, a resentment shared by others. I took it that she was expressing a collective sentiment, not strictly her "own" opinion.

Once, a well-educated intellectual Finnish speaking journalist explained to me that Swedes are prominent among Finland's socio-economic elite. His observation was wistful rather than angry.

Reading a short account of Finnish modern history -- for example: http://workmall.com/wfb2001/finland/finland_history_the_rise_of_finnish_nationalism.html --
one finds many Swedish last names among the leading intellectuals who built Finland's national identity: Henrik Gabriel Porthan, Johan Vilhelm Snellman, Elias Lönnrot and Johan Ludvig Runeberg are a few examples. One might argue that the Finnish national ethnic identity was given its political vitality by Swedish speakers.

Purely by chance, I once found myself in town outside of Helsinki. My Finnish friends had pulled over for some errand and I walked in a nearby church yard to kill the time. Looking at the war graves, row after row, I was surprised to find they were overwhelmingly (only) Swedish. All of them were men who fell defending Finland in the Second World War. Here was evidence of a contrast. Here was ethnic segregation in death for the national cause.

If one meets a Swedish-speaking Finn in Sweden, it is almost always evident that they remain Finnish in their national ethnic identity. Among Swedish intellectuals the Finnish-Swedish accent is considered charming (the Skåne accent that is akin to Danish has fewer fans). Swedish Swedes do not offer solace or encouragement to the Swedish speaking minority in Finland. They do not care about them. If Finland were to eliminate or downgrade Swedish as an official language, no major paper or electronic media in Sweden would contemplate fighting that decision. At best they would appeal to Brussels for justice.

Swedes do not wish to deal with the ethnic issues left over from their failure as a great power. During Tsarist times Swedish speakers were deported from Estonia to the Ukraine. Those people were persecuted during Soviet times, but still have not been allowed to emigrate to Sweden. Swedes, like Germans, believe in the blood tie of ethnicity, but it is politically incorrect to cultivate such feelings in Sweden.

If Swedish speaking Finns cannot look to Sweden for support on ethnic and linguistic grounds, there is still a more subtle relationship that gives Swedish speakers power. Swedish speaking Finns are at the forefront of what is politically trendy.

For example, Ulf Månsson, a champion of Swedish language rights in Finland, is also the chairman of Green Peace and a behind the scenes figure in Seta, the gay civil rights lobby group.

An intellectual historian might do a study of how ideas have filtered through the Swedish speaking intellectual elite. There is probably continuity worth analyzing.

Linguistic and ethnic identity are of course not not the product of intellectuals in isolation from society.

The Soviet Union stripped almost all the Finnish place names from the map in the Leningrad-Karelian region. The ethnic Finnish population was deported, imprisoned or executed.

Swedish intellectuals have only just discovered this dark history. It turned out that the few survivors of Stalinism that returned to Sweden, were persecuted by the Swedish Communist Party. No one in Sweden wrote about this until recently. In Finland, the subject was of course forbidden according to the unwritten rules of Finlandization.

When Finnish intellectuals could not bring up the issue of Stalinism with Russian (Soviet) people, ordinary Finnish vodka tourists took up the task. These, mostly Finnish-speaking Finns, used to get on buses to spend weekends and holidays in squalid Soviet hotels. Their personal goal was to get drunk cheap. Prostitutes and black marketeers flocked round them.

An entire subculture of prostitutes and petty criminals became fluent in Finnish. These people were happy and sad together in the way that people appear in the painting of Hieronymus Bosch and Pieter Bruegel.

But among all the small business deals and drunken fornication, there was an underlying theme of revenge. The Finns were exerting their power over stolen lands and reimposing the Finnish language. The Soviet Union forced Finland to pay war reparations and Finns -- some alcoholics without any social status at home -- enjoyed reversing roles.

The Soviets/Russians and Finns playing this game would not hesitate to say that they held each other in utter contempt, but the buses kept rolling. Maybe this subculture has disappeared since the risk of violent robbery has risen in Russia.

(I read in Helsingin Sanomat that more Finns are studying Russian today in Eastern Finland, where Russian migrants are settling. I haven't had a chance to visit that region for several years. It would be interesting if the Post reporters can get some picture of life there.)

One point that Russians invariably made about Finland and its post-War economic success, was that the Soviet Union had financed Finland with cheap raw materials and other special deals. No Russian would ever admit that Finns worked hard to build their country. Social order and a functioning bureaucracy are two things lacking in Russia. Some Russian nationalists like the idea that Carl Gustaf Emil Mannerheim was a ethnic Swede Tsarist subject trained in the service of the Russian empire. Though it may sound like pure casuistry to a Western European or North American, a Russian might draw all sorts of strange conclusions from this fact (you only have to consider Putin's willingness to praise Stalin to understand how dangerous this type of thinking is).

The once beautiful city of Viborg/Viipuri, with the Alvar Aalto library, is a depressing sight. Ordinary Russians in the region don't like to think of the city as a Finnish achievement. They emphasize the city's Swedish links. If Russia were willing to create special economic zones in the Karelian - St Petersburg area, they would want Japanese or American capital and (social order). They would be less willing to have Swedish managers. But like Poles in former German territories, the Russians in the region would fear the spread of language, culture and money of the former inhabitants.

One of the interesting surprises for Finns as the Soviet Union began to open up was the ability of Estonians to understand Finnish. It turned out that Finnish television was watched in secret by Estonians on the northern coast. They even learned about American popular culture from Yle. Although Estonians and Finns are closely related ethnic groups, it is not an unfair generalization to say that Estonians do not think that either Finns or Swedes took many risks to support Estonian independence from the USSR.

In all that I have described above there is a concentration on conflict and contradiction. Reality in the ethnic, linguistic and political map of Finland and its close neighbors is surely a richer subject than I could do justice to. Hope the Post's reporters can teach us something more.

As far as the future of the Swedish language in Finland goes, I suspect demography will play a deciding role. If ethnic Swedes have children with Finnish speakers, in the long fun fewer and fewer will pass Swedish on as a primary language. Perhaps with EU funding, unemployed Swedes could be transferred in large numbers to settle in Finland. If there were enough of them, they might to revitalize the need for Swedish in public life.

p.s. I am still interested to know what people in Finland think about the two Rogers boys being illegally locked up in a mental institution while the Supreme Court acted to quash the Kuopio Appeals Court decision.

Also, Finns are very proud of the low level of corruption in Finland. Do the Alko buyers who responsible for contracts worth tens of millions of euro every year take bribes and kickbacks from the wine and spirit sellers? (The Swedish company Systembolaget is apparently rotten through and through).

Posted by: foreign journalist | May 27, 2005 09:01 AM

Thomas,

Lipponen also wanted to take us to Nato, support US war effort in Iraq more actively than what we do today, hold high profile in the EU etc. In all these minor issues he was defeated in the government and in the Parliament. And you tell me that all political parties did what he wanted regarding Swedish language also after the election where he lost his post? Come on!

Posted by: Jari Lievonen | May 27, 2005 09:24 AM

The blog seems to have become the playing-ground of a group of people who use every possibility to vent their frustration and anger. Towards what? -dunno actually. (The Finnish Ministry of Justice had to shut down their chat page because of the few language-extremists last year.)
Finland may well be one of the world's most monocultural societies, but the picture one gets from here is almost unrecognizable for me as a native Finn. Too bad.
Like some people have stated, it would be great to hear more comments about Robert&Lucian's 'field trip' from especially American readers. Not from fanatic Finns. Thank you!

Posted by: No comments | May 27, 2005 09:36 AM

This is the bottom line:

When our forefathers founght for an independent nation and for our Freedom, both Swedish speaking Finns and Finnish speaking Finns fought and died like brothers side by side.

They all had a common dream; a country where you could be free to speak your own language, whether it be the the Sweish spoke on the plain of Ostrobotnia or the Finnish spoken in Oulu, a country where there would be a better tomorrow for all of us.

It is a disgrace that some Finns of today do not recognize the rights that were earned in the trenches by everyone by all Finns.

Complaining that one "has to learn" another language (or any subject for that matter, be it mathematics, biology, music... ) is an indication that a person is unappreciative and spoiled rotten, taking education for granted and having lost sight of the value of it.

I pity those who make it their cause and mission to fight for less understanding and eduction.There ecrtainly are better causes to fight for. I pity them for having lost their bond to history and their national heritage.

To put it in a very un-PC, brutally honest way (as is the Ginnish tradition to call it like you see it, to say it like it is): these people ARE uneducated, narrow minded loosers. The more the whine about having to learn, the more they prove this point.

Our history made us a bilingual country.

My surname is Finnish, I think in Swedish, but I am fluent in both languages.

I am proud of being bilingual.

The "Finnish speaker" in me is proud of being part of a nation that is tolerant and accepting to minorities in general.

Posted by: Proud Finn | May 27, 2005 09:45 AM

Foreign journalist: Elias Lönnrot was Finnish-speaking, and Snellman was the first person in Finland who fought himself a right to do his masters thesis in Finnish. Mannerheim´s family roots are in the Netherlands, not Sweden.

I may be naive, but I actually believe that those Alko byers are clean.

Posted by: E | May 27, 2005 09:51 AM

Dear Foreign Journalist: Are you really buying into this Finnish/Swedish conflict nonsense? There are fanatics on both language groups but there's nothing threatening the Swedish speaking people's rights. But I don't support mandatory Swedish at schools - or Finnish - kids should have their right which language to study when they want. And I have not in my years seen any evidence of general dislike of Swedish speakers. That's just ridiculous. Also, Swedish name does not make you Swedish speaking. Many Finns got their last name from the Swedish military recruiters.

Rogers boys issue is old news. It was a tragedy that was handled badly. However, there are many who take comfort in knowing their government is willing to make sure Finnish children get a fair chance, even inspite what international treaties say. About that mental institution, where should they have had those boys for safekeeping? In a hotel where journalists could have harrashed them easier?

Posted by: Timo A | May 27, 2005 10:41 AM

Why did Finland adopt the Euro so quickly? Did Sweden finally adopt it? Was that put to a popular vote, or did your politicians just do it on their own?

Just curious. Any comments? Are/were you happy with that decision?

I admire Britain in a way for staving it off; Sweden too.

Posted by: | May 27, 2005 10:42 AM

Why did Finland adopt the Euro so quickly? Did Sweden finally adopt it? Was that put to a popular vote, or did your politicians just do it on their own?

Just curious. Any comments? Are/were you happy with that decision?

I admire Britain in a way for staving it off; Sweden too.

Posted by: Huckleberry Finn | May 27, 2005 10:43 AM

Foreign journalist,
Those boys should have been delivered to the USA. Perhaps the usual bias in parenthood questions towards women was at work in there.

The Supreme Court makes strange decisions quite often. Anybody remember the shady and probaply illegal summer cottage deals of that female supreme court judge, whose name I don't remember, Vuori or something?

Now, if we talk about inequalities in finnish society, this language debate is meaningless. The only real priviledged group that comes in to mind are the Jehovas Witnesses! They don't need to go in to army at all, while everyone else does do the armed service or the civil service. Why on earth?

Posted by: | May 27, 2005 10:44 AM

"Why did Finland adopt the Euro so quickly? Did Sweden finally adopt it?" Why not? I don´t see what good it would have done to keep markka. Just sentimental value but sentiments should be put aside when it comes to economics.

Sweden had a referendum last fall (or was it already the fall before that? time flies) and the no-camp won.

Posted by: E | May 27, 2005 10:49 AM

>>Why not? I don´t see what good it would have done to keep markka. Just sentimental value but sentiments should be put aside when it comes to economics.

I don't know. In light of the language debates I just thought there might have been more resentment about moving away from a Finnish standard. After all, there seems to be a strong Finnish/Swedish language debate.

Posted by: | May 27, 2005 10:55 AM

As you may be aware of - Finland is know as Juridical Nation; last three presidents have been taking care of this socialist interpretation.

During this time quite a few Finnish millionaires have lost their property to our government officials' deliberate mistakes. Our law do not protect anyone in practice.

Our people are least corrupted, but non one told you, that they are the biggest bribers in major industries. Which is more severe crime?

During last few years monopolies have been found in most business areas, which xplains, why we have so few foreign businessmen in certain business areas.

Our Labour Union Bosses use Russia prostitutes. Helsinki Russia Commercial Embassy hired Diplomat apartamentos to hundreads of prostitutes.

The list is endless. I suggest people to Google enough to get the true picture of Finland in stead of only reading beautiful stories of some excotic nation at north.

Emigrant are drugged with neurodrugs, and flewn back to their origins, and you tell me this is a homogenoius nation?

We have been having the same minister, who are being recycled around the ministries - if someone if a nazi, then there is no easy way to get rid of it. They just chaign location to some other ministry.

Posted by: Miguel Perez Elporo | May 27, 2005 11:03 AM

As you may be aware of - Finland is know as Juridical Nation; last three presidents have been taking care of this socialist interpretation.

During this time quite a few Finnish millionaires have lost their property to our government officials' deliberate mistakes. Our law do not protect anyone in practice.

Our people are least corrupted, but non one told you, that they are the biggest bribers in major industries. Which is more severe crime?

During last few years monopolies have been found in most business areas, which xplains, why we have so few foreign businessmen in certain business areas.

Our Labour Union Bosses use Russia prostitutes. Helsinki Russia Commercial Embassy hired Diplomat apartamentos to hundreads of prostitutes.

The list is endless. I suggest people to Google enough to get the true picture of Finland in stead of only reading beautiful stories of some excotic nation at north.

Emigrant are drugged with neurodrugs, and flewn back to their origins, and you tell me this is a homogenoius nation?

We have been having the same minister, who are being recycled around the ministries - if someone if a nazi, then there is no easy way to get rid of it. They just chaign location to some other ministry.

Posted by: Miguel Perez Elporo | May 27, 2005 11:05 AM

There seems to be a fairly small group who turns up wherever anyone ends up discussing Finland on the internet and start this kind of language "debate" we've had to witness here. It happens on a regular basis on Finnish sites and elsewhere.

They use invented "facts", misquotations and statistics taken out of context to "make a point". As has been pointed out earlier, their poison doesn't reflect reality at all. Anyone who actually believes anything said will have a completely inaccurate picture of the country.

These trolls existence is an embarrassment to us all, however as anyone can apparently post here, there seems to be no moderator, they must be endured, and should of course be ignored.

I don't know if their existence is exclusive to Finland, or if other countries are similarly afflicted. They certainly show us that not all Finns are well educated enough, and secure enough in themselves. Sad poor souls who really should be pitied.

Posted by: Voice of Reason | May 27, 2005 11:23 AM

Why was Finland so quick to pay reparations to Soviet Union after WWII? Are you man or mouse nation? You should have told Stalin to go f himself.

Least corruption, yes. But the flip side of that coin is lack of self-respect and pride.

Posted by: tweak | May 27, 2005 11:43 AM

Matt- Thanks:) i've noticed at least in the area that i live in or with the people that i'm with, if somebody mentions either Britain or Australia everybody starts to make very stupid jokes and laugh about the way how they speak English as if the American way would be the only right way. Honestly i've noticed that some people here don't even realize that they really don't have their own language but that they borrowed this language from British.
But back to Finland... especially Americans who don't know anything about Finland and when you tell them that your a Finn they start to tell all these things about "Finns" that are actually about Russians, Swedish, German or some other Europeans, but they don't see any difference. They think that Europe is like America just one country with several states and lot of people here even thinks that English is a official language in all over Europe. If you tell them that actually we all have our own languages they still think that we use english more than our own languages, funny thing ha. Well anyway i've heard many of my American friends saying that they are stupid nation and they are proud to be stupid. We were actually just discussin about the things that Americans do well with few of my friends and one of them just said that only thing that they do well here is capitalism/materialism and because of that they are getting into big problems soon.
Yeah well i was suppouse to say something about Finland here rather than America.
About the teaching of religion in schools, like mentioned here before it's a bit different in every school and also depends on teacher. I know that it's long time since i was even in high school, but i know that the teaching is different also between countryside and cities. In countryside teaching of religion is more based on Christianity and the schools teach Lutheran way because that's where most of the Finns belong. I know the same happens also in cities but not as strongly as in countryside. You are offered different studies if you don't belong to lutheran church, for example if you belong to babtist, methodist, pentecostal etc... church you will be offered change to study your own worldview or just total release from religion studies.
i think it's enough for now. correct me if you think i'm wrong.

Posted by: Eevis | May 27, 2005 12:03 PM

tweak, are you American?!
I mean Finland as a nation is very small and as Finns we are proud that we paid the reparations that fast because when they were paid it was easier to built our good economy. and other thing do you really think that Sovjet union would have waited to get what they thought belong to them, they would have just come and take if we wouldn't have given it. I think paying those reparations so fast was one way to make sure that sovjet union won't start an other war against us.
It's good for you to say all that if you are American, since you are so much bigger nation but compare Finland and Russia!!

Posted by: | May 27, 2005 12:12 PM

Goatse rulez internet!

Posted by: finet.binaries.keskustelu | May 27, 2005 12:32 PM

"In Porvoo there is a school called Lyseonpuiston koulu where it is forbidden to speak a word
of finnish language. Any pupil caught in doing this will be threatened to be thrown out of the school."

I am from Porvoo and have heard and read about this in the local newspapers. However, the school rule is not as serious as it sounds. Breakage certainly doesn't lead to being thrown out of school.

Some teachers didn't think it was proper to speak Finnish all the time at a Swedish school. Why, I have no idea.

Also they denied the use of too short miniskirts on young girls. I think this whole issue is an exaggeration by some old hags. The school is for 12-15 year olds btw.

Porvoo is a beautiful small town to live and study and 99,9999% of its people are much more open minded. The above rules are stupid and everyone in Finland agrees they are stupid.

You should read the laws of US states... some funny and silly laws you got there among the proper ones! :)

Posted by: Maaria | May 27, 2005 12:37 PM

Let's be honest, you paid the USSR for the trouble of attempting to invade you, causing havoc around the Ladoga area, and taking Karelia. That is nothing to be proud of. You can be proud that you fought them to a standstill on the Eastern border, that is true. That is actually quite remarkable; I admire that greatly.
Perhaps there was no other choice, but I am tired of hearing people down America because of its power and might. Nothing to be ashamed of.

I have the same criticism of my own country for signing the pact at Yalta. Total appeasement - and who cares about Poland, right?

Posted by: tweak | May 27, 2005 12:48 PM

"It is very hard to understand that somebody has a problem with the fact that he's offered free language training."

Wise man once said that there's no such thing as a free lunch.

Posted by: Pauli Ojanperä | May 27, 2005 12:59 PM

And a what real generous offer mandatory Swedish is! You can't say no to it! Really.

Btw. to set the record straight, Pauli is a man, who's seen too much, but who still believes there's a lot to look and live for.

Posted by: Pauli Ojanperä | May 27, 2005 01:16 PM

"You also brought up the gender equality. My personal opinion of the gender equality in general is that there can be no quick improvement in this matter anywhere either. Why? Because this a general human problem where stronger individuals or stronger nations or stronger anything usually wants to rule the weaker ones. Most likely things will change in the course of time but it requires that the attitudes so deeply rooted in people's (men?) minds change."

I agree with everything you said in this quote, except the last sentence. I doubt that absolute gender equality will ever be a reality anywhere, for the reason you gave: that it is an issue of human nature, not culture or economics or society.

Posted by: Caroline | May 27, 2005 01:45 PM

tweak, the small difference is that while the Finns had a gun pointed at their head while the agreed to pay for the havoc they had caused in WWII, the US was drinking coffee eating pulla with Stalin while they chickened out at Yalta. Let's just hope the US pays THEIR actual debt, I read somewhere that to do that they should clone all the fish in the sea six times and then sell them all for 1 dollar.

Posted by: janne | May 27, 2005 02:01 PM

Mr. Pauli Ojanpera? Who was that wise man who have said that?

Posted by: William | May 27, 2005 02:02 PM

Jack Aking wrote:

"It is very hard to understand that somebody has a problem with the fact that he's offered free language training."

Imagine that every morning, except on saturdays and sundays, someone forcefully feeds you a dry doughnut. One morning you cry out: "Why are you doing this? Your doughnuts make me feel sick! I don't need them or want them. You are psychopatic bastards!"

But they will answer: "You are such an ungrateful person. Every morning we offer you a doughnut, and it is COMPLETELY FREE for you. You don't have to pay anything for it. But you only complain bitterly. Shame on you!"

Posted by: Nikolas Ojala | May 27, 2005 02:10 PM

The director of Sweden's Intergration Office (Integrationsverket) slipped last week in a public internet chat session that "our largest minority group are the Finland-Swedes (Finlandssvenska)". My Swedish speaking Finn friends, living in Finland, were very suprised to learn they actually were a member of a minority in Sweden.

Nor are minorities much respected in Sweden anymore, the country that once welcomed immigrants from all around the world to join its happy family - as long as you are willing to become a proper Swede.

Sweden has three official minority languages, Finnish, Sami and the Gypsy language. Half a million Finns in Sweden only can use their native language in a couple of communities far north in the outskirts of civilization, Lapland. "Why should we arrange them services in Finnish when they all can speak Swedish" is the goverment's opinion.

Posted by: ... meanwhile, in Sweden... | May 27, 2005 02:29 PM

"It is very hard to understand that somebody has a problem with the fact that he's offered free language training."

The problem is not with language training. The problem is that people would like to study a more useful language instead. Kids already study at least three foreign languages at school, and Swdish takes a place from some other language that would be useful later in life.

Posted by: | May 27, 2005 02:36 PM

"Foreign jurnalist" thanks for your post. Some comments:

To make one thing clear, the Swedish speaking part of the population, the elite you call, is not by race Swedish, except perhaps an uttermost insignificant small portion.

Lets go litter further back:

The Finns have lived in this country from at least year 1000 B.C. The era between circa. 1000-500 B.C. is called the age of "varhaiskantasuomi". At that time the Saami language, then used by the Laplanders was considered as one of the dialects of the language used at that time. The dialects then separated no later than 0 A.C.

Besides the small amount of Swedes living here back in the history, there has always been traders from German and other countries near by. Thus also many German and other non-Finnish-non-Swedish surnames, specially on the south and west coasts.

An example from a slightly different angle:

On my fathers side we have original last names like Thule, Lindqvist, Snellman, Meurman to name some. There is a thorough genealogy done by our family society by the Meurmans. For instance, some but perhaps not all of the men from the Thule branch changed their name into a Finnish surname Tulenheimo. They originate far back from Sweden, a couple or more hundred years if my memory serves when they came here to establish a church organ factory.

Many of the Snellman (there you go) men changed their name into Virkkunen. Some of the Meurman branch men changed their name to Liuksiala. My grandfather also took a Finnish name Apajalahti. On my mothers side we are Hugenots (Gruno->Grunau) escaped from France to Preussia, a wealthy family at that time who then moved to Russia from Preussia to establish a factory. In the beginning of the Revolution my grandmother barely managed to escape to Finland. Many of the descendants now have a Finnish name.

What I want to point out with this example is that there has been no efforts in general amongst the minorities to marry within the family to maintain a Swedish speaking or a German speaking elite. People with non-Finnish last names have totally intermixed during the hundreds of years of history. You could hear thousands of similar stories like mine.

So the conclusion is that there is no Swedish elite by blood, the Swedish language is all what has remained excluding the obligatory exceptions of course. A Swedish or any other non-Finnish name really doesn't mean anything.

If we think back in the history it is quite possible that many of the educated Finnish men took a foreign (Swedish) name to be able to deal with the Kings court. We all know how tough those Finnish names can be. I would be really surprised if the American readers didn't understand all of this quite well because the are descendants of immigrants.

About Porthan, what language is his name btw? He was the father of the history writing of the Finland. Or Michael Agricola, sounds Latin to me but he was born in Pernaja and translated the first New Testament into Finnish.

I sincerely hope that people without proper factual information stop writing about this subject if they have not double checked their information.

Thank You,
Risto Apajalahti
Espoo

Posted by: Risto Apajalahti | May 27, 2005 03:05 PM

Wow - a respected international newspaper does a series of stories on Finland and reading the comments is like being in a toilet, with xenophobic graffiti all over.

Like most smart Finns, I had no issue with my Swedish lessons. I had more of an issue with Finnish and chemistry (boring and hard). I speak six languages and was never afraid that learning Swedish was going to take up too much of my brain capacity, as I felt there was plenty to spare :)

But if you have a very small brain, I guess you gotta be protective of it.

Posted by: Juha-Pekka | May 27, 2005 03:40 PM

Dear Proud Finn

So, your surname is Finnish and you think in Swedish. How come you write like an american?

"When our forefathers founght for an independent nation and for our Freedom..."

You should write for the Bush administration, cos you got real talent.

I would like for my child to have the opportunity to chooce which lanquage to concentrate besides English, with out becoming a b-grade citizen. How does this make me a person who wants "to fight for less understanding and eduction"?

You like to lecture about history (???) and call people names. You seem to have atleast as much hate in you as this Pauli-charecter. It's funny how you and the likes of you always find these bigots like him, so you can ignore the silent majority of moderates who question the current system.

So I ask of you as a fellow Finn, do I have the right to present my oppinion with out being called "uneducated, narrow minded looser"?

Like you I'm tolerant and accepting to minorities in general, but I support the same model that Sweden uses in it's schools - the model of common sense. Does that make me a racist? Are Swedes racist?

Finlandsswedes have made a huge contribution to the creation of Finland, but they are also a small minority. Histoy by it self is not a good argument.

I'm quessing you will just ignore me. A reply would be a positive surprise though.

Tata, H

Posted by: Hannes Vauhkonen | May 27, 2005 03:46 PM

maybe he writes like a Brit?! or like an Australian..

Posted by: OK | May 27, 2005 03:52 PM

Well!

Seems we really can't have major issues here in the country of midnight sun, cellphone-for-everyone-from-craddle-to-grave, if majority of bandwidth on this forum is used for discussing ever-so-important issue of learning another language.

Personally, I've been told by a friend living in Aland that my school-imposed swedish gets better after 1/4 bottle of single malt, and is fluent for awhile after that, then it gets worse...

Har det bra!

Posted by: Moderately Happy Finn | May 27, 2005 04:22 PM

Tweak; we told Unca Stalin to go F* himself twice; and only after Roosevelt sold Finland on a platter to the USSR and finished off Unca Adi who actually had helped us against Unca Stalin we ended up having to pay up. See Unca Stalin had a hugh jazz military base within small artillery range next door to Helsinki http://www.porkkala.net/
so it kinda made the paying up a necessity when the bailiff is living next door.

Unless of course you are referring to the World War I debt Finland paid off to the USA but thats confusing two things.

Posted by: Hank W. | May 27, 2005 04:51 PM

PS. For those interested in the proto-Finnic (varhaiskantasuomi) stuff google will give some hits and you may find names for books.

For details see:
L. Posti. 1953-54. "From Pre-Finnic to Late Proto-Finnic". Finnisch-ugrische Forschungen 31, 1953-4: 1­91.
L. Vaba. 1997. *Uurimusi lätieesti keelesuhetest. Tallinn-Tampere.
L. Cavalli-Sforza et al. 1993. *The History and Geography of Human Genes*. Princeton University Press.
K. Wiik. 2002. *Eurooppalaisten juuret*. Atena Kustannus Oy. Jyväskylä, particularly ppg. 245-269.

Posted by: Risto Apajalahti | May 27, 2005 05:10 PM

No we do *not* all drink milk! I don't know a single person who'd do that. Milk is for coffee. Otherwise... ewww.

Sorry to see a nice blog has pretty much been brought down by a handful of bigots and trolls.

Posted by: Ääliöt | May 27, 2005 05:33 PM

PPS. A Google link to a summary by Eugene Holman about the early history of Scandinavia:

http://groups-beta.google.com/group/soc.culture.nordic/msg/fb94c63ee40dffbb

Posted by: Risto Apajalahti | May 27, 2005 06:05 PM

What's really nice about this debate is that it shows we Finns are almost ready to adopt English as their third official language. As anyone sees, even the uneducated bigots can get their message across in an international language. If Finland could pull this off, we could then present it as a solution to other language wars: English as a go-between language could even save lives.

Posted by: Matti | May 27, 2005 06:34 PM

Heippa Hannes Vauhkonen,

Actually, it is clear that our opinion on the language question differs,I'll leave it at that. That's OK. At least you don't come across as someone out on a mission to deny os Finnish swedes our language. My last post might not have been that sensitive, but it is my honest opinion that ppl like Mr. Ojanpera are fundantal troggledites. So there... an honest opinion. Go on, Bite me ;)

Mainly I want to thank you for your comment that I write like an American. I take it as a compliment. English is my 3rd language (Finnish and Swedish being 1 and 2, in no particular order). Maybe my language skills have been honed by the fact that I have been married to a US citizen for the last 13 years, I have lived and worked abroad for the last 10 years. But, no I am not an American, but very much still a Finnish citizen.

The reason I have been able to work and live abroad, have made a good living, and am a very happy person, I credit to my bilingual upbringing and my willingness to learn languages and adapt to new situations rather han trying to fight them. To me, any opportunity to learn is welcome! I speak 8 languages by the way.

OK, now I guess you think I'm bragging, and in Finland that is forbidden according to the "Law of Jante"! Well, one thing I have learnt during my years in America is that it is OK to say "I'm doing well, you're doing well!". There is a saying "it ain bragging if you've done it!". Also, it's ok to take a compliment and say "Thank You!" rather than "...uhum, no it's really nothing..what, this old thing..." This is something we Finns definetly can learn from the Americans!

Of course in Finnish there is that saying that "no one will lift the cat's tail, unless the cat lifts it herself". Hope we could live by that a bit. On the other hand, it can of course be argued that the Finnish relucatnce of "bragging" MIGHT be a spur to always trying to do better. Not sure... interested in your opinion on this.

Also, you wrote "You should write for the Bush administration, cos you got real talent". This made me laugh out loud, and I had to show it to all my co-workers, who all got a good chuckle out of it. Thanks for the comment on talent, I hope you're right there! However, you could probably not find another person more opposed to the policies of the Bush Administration. I don't think Bush would hire me for any writing assignements :)

I am sure we both agree that we are grateful for the hardship our forefathers ( meaning our grandparents and great grandparents) went thru. I don't want to say "we", because "we" were never out there in the trenches, and let's give credit where credit is due. My grandmom and great grandmom worked in "motti" chopping down the forest, while the men were out on the "rintama" fighting off the "ryssa" (sorry no dots on my keyboard). Just wonder if we today would have such guts and determination (Sisu). I hope so, but likely we'll never know.

I am wishing you a great Memorial Day weekend, I for one will be rembering both my my Ukki and Faffa and my Mommo and isoaiti this coming monday!

All the best.

Posted by: Proud Finn | May 27, 2005 06:52 PM

Moving away from language debate,
some suggestions for topics to debate:

MOOSE - We Finns always tell foreigners about reindeer. Reindeer are kept in lApland and are being herded. Reindeer is exotic to most Fins and we seldom eat reindeer meat unless we happen to live in the North. The animal of consequence is the MOOSE. Moose get far too little attention in conversations with Foreigners. We have plenty of them (moose, not foreigners). They cause lot's of traffic accidents. They are hunted in the fall by organized hunting teams.The meat is excellent and healthy. Moose are just in the shadow of reindeer, due to Father Christmas preference for reindeer.

SALMON - When Finns (and other Nordic folks) have visitors from forign lands, we tend to think we shuld feed them Salmon. Some business accquinaces of mone have testified that all they got to eat during weeklong trips in Finland and Sweden has been Salmon, and they have wondered how we can put up with eating so much of it. Actually, many a Finn really do not prefer Salmon at all but rather eat "siika" ("white fish") another large wild fish. It is unclear why Salmon is fed to tourists. Maybe someone can enlighten us on this.

COWS - We have many but they are smaller than those typically encountered in the states. Milk from Finnish cows make the worlds best Ice Cream. I am not sure if Finns realize that Finnish Ice Cream is so great. It is superb!

PIGS - "Possut","Grisar", the type that has been rolled in sugar and contain apple or raspberry jam, that is. They are a national treasure! These sweet delicacies are one major reason for me to give up trips to tropical islands and lively metropolies in lieu of Finland each year!

MUSHROOMS - Forget about the "champion" mushrooms, portabello and shitake. Indulge in chantrells, "ear mushrooms" and Karl Johan Sopp (herkku tatti), cooked in heavy cream. Just don't try my mom's "mushroom surprise", because she picks every shroom in the forest, and then tries to determine the edibility from an illustrated book from 1957.

BERRIES - You pick them yourself for food and exercise.

Start with lingonberries. Picking lingonberries is a harmless experience. They are easy and fast to pick and your feet will stay dry. The most traumatic thing that might happen is that you run into a moose. The moose will probably stare at you with a sheepish look, but most likely it won't attack. Linonberries can be found where tall pinetrees grow.

Blueberries are a bit harder. YOur feet will get a bit more wet when picking these, You will also need to cover yourself as you will be attached with thick swarms of bloodsucking killer mosquitoes. The good thing is that they do not carry malaria. You will find out what the bad thing is yourself. Never mind the bugspray, these bugs will laugh at you, you need a thick physical barrier. Picking blueberries is slower than picking lingonberries. The law of Hardship states that Blueberries taste better than lingonberries as they are harder to pick.

Cranberries. Like large sour lingonberries. To find them you must venture into swamps. Don't risk your life for these berries, because they aren't worth drowning for. Or go with a local.

Buckthorn berries. Only found on islands. Practically impossible to pick and the squish in your hands,. You must use a special pressind contraption and use great care not to crush the plants. They make a sour juice that is made into a desert soup,which is good for you. Each berry is said to contain more vitamin C thank an orange, but that might just be what our mom's tell us.

Cloudberries.The Cloudberry is the King of Finnish Berries. They taste like heavenly nuggets. The Law of Hardship states that these are the hardest ones to pick.YOu do need to venture out into the swamps to find them. Contrary to the Cranberry, there ARE worth risking your life for. Unfortunately getting sucked into the dark depths of the swamps is not the only dager you must brave to get by these berries. You also have to be careful not to be detected by protective locals who are trying to keep "their" secret cloudberryspots still secret. If you donot feel like risking your life, you can purchase the liquid form of the cloudberry in the local ALKO.

Posted by: Proud Forest Troll | May 27, 2005 10:29 PM


Wow! :) Many interesting people have found this board, who say they speak up to 8 languages! That's very impressive. So it's surprising that these same self-proclaimed language geniuses don't seem to be able to argue their way out of a paper bag.

But seriously, the editors and American readers must be wondering, with a highly monolongually Finnish country, what is it that keeps the compulsory swedish-language learning requirement going?

The answer is that there are humongous amounts of money earmarked for this by Swedish "culture funds." These culture funds get most of their money from Sweden. The money is used to give cash awards to anyone in Finland who, for example, writes a magazine article supporting compulsory Swedish, demands that Swedish street signs are erected, works to require a Finnish community to establish an exclusively Swedish-speaking school; anything which makes Finland more Swedish.

Finns don't have cultural funding that is anything near the scale of the Swedish funds.

Finnish taxpayers are forced to pay for the new Swedish-language schools, even though Swedes in general control most of the wealth in Finland, and there are literally only a few students in the schools. In Jyväskylä for example, where there are about 2,000 high school students, a few Swedish parents demanded that the city council start a new Swedish-language language school. In their demand they claimed that the school was needed by 42 Swedish students. The foolish city council started the school, and the school is now attended by 3 (three) students. Then, one of the parents was given an award by the Swedish culture fund. That's how it works.

Another fact is, some Swedish schools in Finland have decided to drop Finnish language as a requirement for their students. Yet the Swedish People's party, and other pro-Swedish organizations in Finland are intolerant of Finnish families enjoying the same freedom from compulsory Swedish.

Posted by: Flashlight | May 27, 2005 11:50 PM

Dearest Hannes Vauhkonen,

You're calling me a bigot. Please show me, which opinion along the following lines is bigotry.

---8 Something is terribly wrong with Finnish school system. To graduate and to have a government occupation, everybody here is obliged to study an unimportant five percent minority's language namely Swedish. Compulsory Swedish studies is a tool in the hands of an elité clique of Swedish speaking Finns, which they use to further their deeds and mutilate Finnish children's lingual and cultural identities.

Please consider my point.

At Wikipedia you can read more about the åpårtheidic situation in Finland.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mandatory_Swedish

I want to share with you a not too well translated quote from a famous Finnish writer, Arto Paasilinna:

This emotional situation will however, before long, on it's own and naturally be settled. Because there in Finland are only few percent of Swedish speaking citizens, their language will unavoidably give way. First, it will become another real minority language, which wont be spread forcefully to majority's children. Next, it will happen to Swedish that it will begin to become forgotten and finally, using it in Finland will completely cease. Those people who can speak Swedish will die when the time comes and they will take their mother tongue with them.

"Native Finnish speakers are just pissed they were required to learn Swedish in order to graduate."

Actually, native Finnish speakers are pissed that their basic human rights to own culture and language is being violated. They are pissed that it for God's sake is year 2005 and politics like this is being run at a parliament of a country which poses a western democracy.

"The recent legislation that abandoned this requirement will help to damper future generations' Finnish-Swedish debates."

Nope. You're right that some progress has happened, but at the same time they've tightened the screw at the other end.

"At times, the Finnish-Swedish rivalry might seem intense, but not really - in the end they're all Finns."

Not really. You can read about Swedish speaking Finns who have believed themselves already be Swedes when they moved to Sweden.

You obviously missed all my points and employed ad hominem attack instead. My English is not actually that bad. Heh. This is a known tactic of our Swedish speaking minority.

Do you people notice, how far are our Swedes willing to go to keep their view that abusing inherited political and economical power is a totally acceptable means to spread Swedish culture in the most Finnish speaking (92%) country in the world? Year after year, gallup polls tell that more than two thirds of Finns would be willing to trash compulsory Swedish in schools.

Annika, I appreciate your contribution to this discussion. Still, if you could realise the language problem really is not about negative attitude towards our Swedish speaking minority, but rather about the majority really being oppressed by ridiculous barriers in education and work life.

About PISA and bilinguality.

Finnish bilinguality is a political myth which has been abused
to enchance the aims of an elitist clique in the Swedish speaking
minority.

In reality, 72 % of Finnish citizens (3,6 million) do live in
unilingually Finnish cities. In those areas, there are only 13000 Swedish
speaking people, 0,36 % of total. Moreover, the children of the Swedish
speaking (bilingual) minority did remarkably worse in the test than those
of the unilingual majority. You can see the bilinguality explanation doesn't
hold water.

For further information and better (fact based) explanations of the Pisa
results, consult the link below.

Sincerely yours,
Pauli

http://www.edu.fi/english/pageLast.asp?path=500,571,36263,36266
*Factors behind the good literacy performance of the Finnish youth*

And, to add to my latest post, in Finnish cities coined bilingual, 90 % of the population speak Finnish as their mother tongue.

"It is very hard to understand that somebody has a problem with the fact that he's offered free language training."

Wise man once said that there's no such thing as a free lunch.

And a what real generous offer mandatory Swedish is! You can't say no to it! Really.

Btw. to set the record straight, Pauli is a man, who's seen too much, but who still believes there's a lot to look and live for.

You like to lecture about history (???) and call people names. You seem to have atleast as much hate in you as this Pauli-charecter. It's funny how you and the likes of you always find these bigots like him, so you can ignore the silent majority of moderates who question the current system.

---8

Posted by: Pauli Ojanperä | May 28, 2005 01:43 AM

I hope you find time to take a pilgrimage to a little town 17 kilometers west of Tampere. There you will have your mobile phone blessed and you can say "I visit the cradle of tech mobility" ... welcome to the town of Nokia.

Posted by: Brian Joyce | May 28, 2005 02:11 AM

"Complaining that one "has to learn" another language (or any subject for that matter, be it mathematics, biology, music... ) is an indication that a person is unappreciative and spoiled rotten, taking education for granted and having lost sight of the value of it."

On the contrary, they appreciate education so much they don't want to waste it or the money used in it. They want to get everything out of it. That's why they don't see the point in compulsory swedish.


"They use invented "facts", misquotations and statistics taken out of context to "make a point". As has been pointed out earlier, their poison doesn't reflect reality at all."

Well, the other side concentrates in name-calling, because there are no facts to justify the current situtation.
So, if you want to end this discussion or to show foreign people why all of your opposites are wrong, you should come up with decent arguments for compulsory swedish. Make a list.

btw,
Proud forest troll,
I liked your suggestions. Especially MOOSE and BERRIES. Moose, what a magnificent animal! Berry picking, always hated it, but still...

Posted by: in case you didn't notice | May 28, 2005 02:20 AM

Nikolas Ojala, there is a difference:

The school Swedish make only very few people feel sick. You're one of them. I have read your hate-monging web pages.

Posted by: Urja | May 28, 2005 02:49 AM

I believe the critters people call "moose" are nonexistent in Finland. They are called "elk". Mooses are American species and elks European ones.

Posted by: Urja | May 28, 2005 02:56 AM

Suomalaisille lukijoille suomeksi:
Sorry, in Finnish for the Finns who have not noticed the problem with fennomaniacs:

Fennomaanisoturit leikkivät näillä nationalistisiksi itsensä ilmoittavilla keskusteluforumeilla kansallisia vaikuttajia, politiikan tarkkanäköisiä vahtikoiria, Suomen viimeisiä mannerheimlinjoja, suoraselkäisiä vartiomiehiä, kansallismielisiä suomenkielen vaalijoita, pyyteettömän nationalistisia politiikansuunnan muuttajia - ja niin edelleen.

Kuitenkaan keskustelijat em. forumeilla eivät huomaa, että jo heidän oma kategorisointinsa itsestään - "nationalisti" - ontuu pahasti. "Kansallismielinen"-sanan perustavanlaatuinen ymmärtäminen on jäänyt isoilta pojilta puolitiehen. Ihan samalla tavalla kuin kuusikymmenluvulla isojen poikien lauluissa pimppa oli käsitetty - ilmeisesti tarkoituksella - jotenkin humoristisesti vinoon ja nostettu tuo kyseessä oleva naisen-alapuolen-yksi-piste eräänlaiseen glorifoivaan valoon.

Fennomaanisoturit eivät kuitenkaan suhtaudu itseensä eivätkä "nationalismi"-sanaan tippaakaan humoristisesti. Glorifoivasti kylläkin. Nationalismi on näille nettikeskustelijoille jotain pyhää, jotain elämää suurempaa, jotain johon kuuluvat Suomen sotien (hiukan väärinkäsitetty, korkeajännitysmäinen) henki, suuret marssikulkueet soihtuineen, oikeat lukemistot lapsille, lasten tiukka, mutta oikeudenmukainen kasvatus kunnon valkoiseksi ihmiseksi, arjalaistyyppinen, vieraasta verestä vapaa suomalainen elovena-/tukkilaishahmo, ynnä muu jokseenkin nurkkakuntainen ja silmälappuinen ajattelutapa, joka tuo mieleen viime vuosisadan kolmikymmenluvun alun Saksan.

Vaan - kuinka ollakaan - tuon mieleentulevan ajatuksen ns. fennomaanisoturit torjuvat toki jyrkästi väittäen kivenkovaan "huolehtivansa ja olevansa huolissaan vain Suomen nykyhetkestä ja etenkin tulevaisuudesta" - ja tulevaisuuden nationalistit näkevät uhkakuvia täynnään olevana painajaismaisena harmageddonina, mikäli nykyinen - nationalistien mielestä yltiöliberaalinen, suvaitseva ja siksi negatiivinen - kehitys saa jatkua.

Fennomaanisotureiden nettikeskusteluja sivusta seuraava ei kuitenkaan voi välttyä ajattelemasta, että nykynationalistit pyrkivät jollain oudolla tavalla jakamaan Suomen kahteen kastiin - meihin ja heihin - ja kuljeksivat siksi ketunhäntä kainalossa, omia omituisia tarkoitusperiään juuri NYT vahvistaakseen julistamassa sanomaansa internetissä. Kyse ei tunnu olevan tulevaisuudesta ollenkaan, vaan pääasia tuntuu olevan se, että Suomeen saataisiin jonkinlainen vastenmielinen erottelumentaliteetti mahdollisimman nopeasti aikaan.

Toivotaan etnisiä konflikteja, joita mukamas niin kovasti pelätään, elätellään haavetta hurrien joukkolynkkajaisista ja oman-käden-oikeuden käyttöönottamisesta kaikkein "väärien" henkilöitten suhteen. Lienee sanomattakin selvää, että fennomaanisotureiden mielestä "vääriä" henkilöitä ovat paitsi "hurrit" myös muiden muassa homoseksualistit, lesbot, kommarit, vihreät, sivarit, totaalikieltäytyjät, demarit, suvaitsevat, kelan henkilökunta ja väärällä tavalla luovat taiteilijat.

Posted by: Finnish and proud of it | May 28, 2005 04:51 AM

For the writer and photographer a lot of thanks for the marvellous article. It is great to see how You experience our country.

For people using this blog on "fight" about swedish language in schools or some other totally irrelevant topic - shame on you. These kind of "conversations" are ruining the nice picture the article itself gives out of us Finns. =)

You might want to think that people from other countries than Finland are also reading this conversation and the level of some of the text here is not very good.

Let´s not go here to subjects which are "eternal" problems. Yes, we have problems too in Finland... but quite minor ones compared to some other countries in the world.

I wish the reportes a excellent journey with translated words of our national anthem. =)

"Our land, our land, our native land,
Oh, let her name ring clear!
No peaks against the heavens that stand,
No gentle dales or foaming strand
Are loved as we our home revere,
The earth our sires held dear."

Posted by: Lepistö | May 28, 2005 05:04 AM

Suomalaisille lukijoille suomeksi:
Sorry, in Finnish for the Finns who have not noticed the problem with fennomaniacs:

Fennomaanisoturit leikkivät näillä nationalistisiksi itsensä ilmoittavilla keskusteluforumeilla kansallisia vaikuttajia, politiikan tarkkanäköisiä vahtikoiria, Suomen viimeisiä mannerheimlinjoja, suoraselkäisiä vartiomiehiä, kansallismielisiä suomenkielen vaalijoita, pyyteettömän nationalistisia politiikansuunnan muuttajia - ja niin edelleen.

Kuitenkaan keskustelijat em. forumeilla eivät huomaa, että jo heidän oma kategorisointinsa itsestään - "nationalisti" - ontuu pahasti. "Kansallismielinen"-sanan perustavanlaatuinen ymmärtäminen on jäänyt isoilta pojilta puolitiehen. Ihan samalla tavalla kuin kuusikymmenluvulla isojen poikien lauluissa pimppa oli käsitetty - ilmeisesti tarkoituksella - jotenkin humoristisesti vinoon ja nostettu tuo kyseessä oleva naisen-alapuolen-yksi-piste eräänlaiseen glorifoivaan valoon.

Fennomaanisoturit eivät kuitenkaan suhtaudu itseensä eivätkä "nationalismi"-sanaan tippaakaan humoristisesti. Glorifoivasti kylläkin. Nationalismi on näille nettikeskustelijoille jotain pyhää, jotain elämää suurempaa, jotain johon kuuluvat Suomen sotien (hiukan väärinkäsitetty, korkeajännitysmäinen) henki, suuret marssikulkueet soihtuineen, oikeat lukemistot lapsille, lasten tiukka, mutta oikeudenmukainen kasvatus kunnon valkoiseksi ihmiseksi, arjalaistyyppinen, vieraasta verestä vapaa suomalainen elovena-/tukkilaishahmo, ynnä muu jokseenkin nurkkakuntainen ja silmälappuinen ajattelutapa, joka tuo mieleen viime vuosisadan kolmikymmenluvun alun Saksan.

Vaan - kuinka ollakaan - tuon mieleentulevan ajatuksen ns. fennomaanisoturit torjuvat toki jyrkästi väittäen kivenkovaan "huolehtivansa ja olevansa huolissaan vain Suomen nykyhetkestä ja etenkin tulevaisuudesta" - ja tulevaisuuden nationalistit näkevät uhkakuvia täynnään olevana painajaismaisena harmageddonina, mikäli nykyinen - nationalistien mielestä yltiöliberaalinen, suvaitseva ja siksi negatiivinen - kehitys saa jatkua.

Fennomaanisotureiden nettikeskusteluja sivusta seuraava ei kuitenkaan voi välttyä ajattelemasta, että nykynationalistit pyrkivät jollain oudolla tavalla jakamaan Suomen kahteen kastiin - meihin ja heihin - ja kuljeksivat siksi ketunhäntä kainalossa, omia omituisia tarkoitusperiään juuri NYT vahvistaakseen julistamassa sanomaansa internetissä. Kyse ei tunnu olevan tulevaisuudesta ollenkaan, vaan pääasia tuntuu olevan se, että Suomeen saataisiin jonkinlainen vastenmielinen erottelumentaliteetti mahdollisimman nopeasti aikaan.

Toivotaan etnisiä konflikteja, joita mukamas niin kovasti pelätään, elätellään haavetta hurrien joukkolynkkajaisista ja oman-käden-oikeuden käyttöönottamisesta kaikkein "väärien" henkilöitten suhteen. Lienee sanomattakin selvää, että fennomaanisotureiden mielestä "vääriä" henkilöitä ovat paitsi "hurrit" myös muiden muassa homoseksualistit, lesbot, kommarit, vihreät, sivarit, totaalikieltäytyjät, demarit, suvaitsevat, kelan henkilökunta ja väärällä tavalla luovat taiteilijat.

Posted by: Finnish and proud of it | May 28, 2005 05:08 AM

To "foreign" journalist;

Kalevala; Elias Lönnrot was an ethnic Finn. According to the then Yoke-Swedish, he had to learn and use Swedish among the establishment.

Indpendence War, Winter War; Marshall Mannerheim's family origins from Holland. According to the then Yoke-Swedish among expats, the family had to to learn and use Swedish. Mannerheim used much Russian and other languages. AND HE DID NOT ACCEPT THE SWEDISHNESS IN FINLAND. HE WANTED TO BE ALSO A FINN, IN HIS IDENTITY. This fact is never told by Swedomaniacs, but you can read it from Mannerheim museum official web pages.

Finnish ABC Book,Bible; Mikael Agricola, was from a typical Finnish wealthy home. He developed the Finnish writing system, which btw, today is the best as to the phonetical accuracy in Europe. He asked money from the King of Sweden, but he did not get any. Still he made his brave and incredible amount of work.

Finlandia; Sibelius wrote his love letters to his bride and wife Aino in Finnish.

Finnish language is oppressed everywhere where Swedes have the power. We can show myriads of murdered Finns, just because they dared to speak Finnish. We cannot find any Swedes, who would have been eliminated because of their Swedish.

And in all, is it not so that this blog shows that in Finland, the issue of LANGUAGE FREEDOM is the biggest sustaining and wide-spread problem?

English language is our weapon to get the liberty.

Posted by: LanguageWarrior | May 28, 2005 05:51 AM


Jari Lievonen wrote:
" the majority voluntarily making room for the minority."

Jari, it's selfish of you to think that Swedes are the only minority in Finland. There are others, in fact, such as the Saami, Russians, and Gypsies. So you'll have to share the "minority" label with them. They have no rights or advantages anywhere close to the level of the Swedish, even though the Saami have been in Finland for centuries before Swedish colonisation. I have to inform you that the unjust advantages and benefits that Swedes have been making and taking for themselves from Finns will come to an end soon. Remember when 40,000 Finnish students protested to reduce the swedish-language requirement for university graduation?

What about Henrik Lax, the presidential candidate from the Swedish People's party, when he said "tell Finnish youth that they won't work in this country unless they speak Swedish." Sounds like a racist ***hole to me.

And you say we are "voluntarily" making room for the minority Swedes? LOL!!!
You think that unfair advantages in government jobs, exclusive Swedish language schools and universities, disproportionate quotas in university admissions, and forcing the whole Finnish-speaking population to learn a minority's foreign language, etc is merely "making room"? You must also think Chernobyl was only a little accident.

You are clearly not aware of the decade of polls which show that we don't want compulsory swedish in our schools. Or perhaps you are pretending to be stupid so you can make write nonsense.

I think the great American Lincoln said: You can fool some of the people some of the time, but you can't fool all of the people all of the time. Jari, you should keep that in mind.

Posted by: Anti-apartheid | May 28, 2005 06:00 AM

Urja wrote:

"The school Swedish make only very few people feel sick. You're one of them."

No, actually the so called second domestic language (ie. Swedish) only annoyed me. But there were others.

"I have read your hate-monging web pages."

Ladies and gentlemen, may I introduce my true audience; the most devoted reader of my "hate-monging" web pages.

Posted by: Nikolas Ojala | May 28, 2005 06:08 AM

"You might want to think that people from other countries than Finland are also reading this conversation and the level of some of the text here is not very good."

Pauli Ojanperä (w/ the other names he uses here) appears to be a character who has also filled the Finnish newsgroups with similar crap. Obviously a conchie too, declined to go to the Finnish army. These kinds of lousy mouth characters always need to be in the opposition. If there isn't one suitable they create one.

Posted by: | May 28, 2005 06:10 AM

Here's my plea,

If you want to end this discussion or to show foreign people why all of your opposites are wrong (and uneducated bigots etc.), you should come up with decent arguments for compulsory swedish. Make a list.

Your fierce denial makes it more obvious that there is a problem, and you just can't make it go away, at least not with decent argumentation.

So please, make a list.

Posted by: in case you didn't notice | May 28, 2005 07:21 AM

Quotes:

"If we think back in the history it is quite possible that many of the educated Finnish men took a foreign (Swedish) name to be able to deal with the Kings court. We all know how tough those Finnish names can be. I would be really surprised if the American readers didn't understand all of this quite well because the are descendants of immigrants.
About Porthan, what language is his name btw? He was the father of the history writing of the Finland. Or Michael Agricola, sounds Latin to me but he was born in Pernaja and translated the first New Testament into Finnish."

And:

"Finnish ABC Book,Bible; Mikael Agricola, was from a typical Finnish wealthy home. He developed the Finnish writing system"


To get another view apart from this discussion, according to Eugene Holmes:

...
8. As Swedish power expanded within Finland, many Finnish speakers considered it desirable to abandon their language and identity for the more prestigious Swedish. On the other hand, with Finnish being the language of
the majority of the population, many Swedish and Sami speakers abandoned their language and identity and became Finns.
...

Posted by: | May 28, 2005 07:22 AM

To: Timo A. and Risto Apajalahti

Thanks for explaining the origins of those last names. My point, however, is not that a non-Finnish sounding last name means that the person who bears the name has Swedish blood. Ethnicity is far more plastic than that.

You mentioned the German speaking tradesmen who lived in many Baltic port towns. Those communities were founded by immigrants who never dreamed of a German national state. Their genes and surnames live on, but their language and ethnic identity has vanished. After some generations other ethnic groups have assimilated them. Today they are Lithuanians, Finns, Estonians or Russians.

One would guess that when Europe was more divided by religion and kingdom than ethnicity and language, the Baltic Germans would have been more likely to become Swedish speakers. Individual families may not have followed such trends, but marriage choices usually include class and status considerations. Women with university degrees rarely marry men who have not obtained a similar level of education. The youngest son of a Baltic German tradesman might have gone into the church, then taken a position in a Finnish speaking parish. On the sly he might have impregnated Finnish peasant girls who couldn't speak Swedish, but he did not marry one.

You don't have to read a dry book on ethnography or anthropology to see how complicated ethnicity, language and politics can become. Remember the The Tin Drum (Die Blechtrommel) by Günter Grass? Some of the characters were Kashubes. There is not much left of the them today, since they were caught between the ethnic and nationalistic conflict of Poles and Germans.

Conflicts over language are common in politics. Norwegian intellectuals created a separate Norwegian language (Nynorsk) to express the nationalistic sentiment that separated them from Denmark and Sweden.

When the Soviet Union tried to takeover Finland, Stalin agreed to use unification of the Karelian and Finnish working classes as a justification for military aggression. After the war Finnish remained an official language in Karelia, but no surviving Ingrian, Veps or Karelian would have dared walk into a government office, requesting service in Finnish. That would have meant the Gulag. Russia not very long ago ended the fiction that Finnish was a functioning official language in Karelia. Today even ethnic Russians in Karelia are learning Finnish.

Young Karelians who grew up without speaking Karelian (because their grandparents and parents understood it was dangerous), but who is passionate about that identity and look to Finland as an example of a different and better way of life. Nationalistic/chauvinistic Russians despise them for this, accusing those Karelians and Ingrians who try to breath life into their roots of being opportunistic.

Much of the discussion about Swedish on this blogg is about the issue of ethnicity, status and economic privilege. My point is that the contributors to this blogg by and large are ignoring the greater context.

Latvia has a large Russian speaking national minority, many of whom are stateless. Would you advise the parliament there to institute a policy like Finland's (two official languages with parallel institutions or one language for public life)?

Finland has turned to the EU to protest Russian treatment of the Mari people who speak a language related to Finnish. That would have been unthinkable not so long ago.

As an observer I cannot know what is right and wrong in this language status dispute, but it is pointless to have a discussion about the Swedish language ethnic minority that treats the situation as historically unique.

Re: the Rogers boys
It is illegal to lock people up in a mental institution just because some authority finds it convenient. People ought to be outraged, but they are not. Why?

Another example, didn't Sonera executives use information from tapped phones to trace journalists who had sources within the company? Didn't that lead to their prosecution? I haven't followed the story closely, but I got the impression that police officials who knew about their crimes were acquitted.

A few more questions:

1)What do people in Finland think about the special dispensation from the EU to allow continued consumption of fatty fish, such as herring and salmon? How does this jive with Finland's consumer protection laws?

2)What sort of consequences did the F 18 purchase have? Has the contact between the US and Finnish air force led to more than just the exchange of equipment? Did local Finnish papers write about US pilots visiting Finland and socializing with local communities?

3)Will Finland copy Sweden and institute a law banning the purchase of sexual services?

Posted by: foreign journalist | May 28, 2005 08:36 AM

Hi Urja,

Thanks for commenting on something else than the Finnis vs. Sweidsh!!!

You wrote;
"I believe the critters people call "moose" are nonexistent in Finland. They are called "elk". Mooses are American species and elks European ones"

Actually, the Finnish big animal with the vacant stare is indeed a Moose. An "elk" is a smaller animal. The "elk" is what in Swedis is called "Kron-Hjort". Confusing "elk" and Moose" is common, because "moose" is Sweish in called "Alg" (sorry for the lack of dotts on the A). Stange but true. Go Figure. Yes, I am one of those annoying ppl who speak 8 languages :)

I am just hoping I can move the discussion away from he Finnish vs Swedish question, bec ause we have now heard every side of the story and this blog is becoming really really boring. If we need to discuss language, why don't we discuss the meaning of words, funny expressions, things that are far more interesting.... Like Moose, Elk and Berries!

Posted by: Proud Forest Troll | May 28, 2005 08:53 AM

"Some teachers didn't think it was proper to speak Finnish all the time at a Swedish school. Why, I have no idea."


Several years ago I was reprimanded for using Finnish as the help language during English language club lessons at the Kronohagen (sp?) Swedish-speaking school in Helsinki. I don't speak Swedish and the kids wouldn't speak English with me but they were delighted to find out that I knew some Finnish. So I felt that was the best way to get through to them, but when the principle/headmaster heard about that, they told me that they didn't want me using any Finnish with the kids, and the principle actually did a spot check on one of the lessons to verify that I was following their rules.


About religion: it is not true that Finland is not a religious society. It is predominantly Christian- the ways in which it is practiced are simply different and more subtle than in other countries. Finland even has a Bible Belt...it is in Oulunsalo, a suburb of Oulu where I live. Oulu just today had Kirkkopäivät- Church Days in the market square. The phrase HerraJumala or HerraJeesus (Lord God or Lord Jesus, used as an expression of shock or surprise) is very common in everyday speech, at least here in northern Finland. The official state religion is Lutheranism, and up here in the north and especially southern Lapland, First Communion is extremely important to teens. It is like a rite of passage into adulthood, stores advertise special gifts for the occasion, and some get so excited about it that for them it is like Christmas. They attend pre-communion school, which is called Rippikoulu. Particularly in northern Finland, anyone who is not Lutheran is treated like something of an outcast.

"Free" education: it is not free; it is paid for by taxes. The way it is supposed to work is that students get their higher education without any individual tuition costs, but then they are expected to pay for the education through their income taxes later on when they find work. Too many people took advantage of this idealistic system, and now there is a new legislation proposal to have non-EU students pay tuition. The pending change will likely eventually extend to EU students, and ultimately Finnish students as well.

Posted by: Caroline | May 28, 2005 10:20 AM

As a Finnish entrepreneur I have to admit socialism combined with enough but not too much capitalism really works. Yes, taxes are high but one gets really efficient, fast and accurate service for that.

Health service is a bitch but so it is everywhere, especially in the US where there are so many millions of uninsured people. But hey, who cares..there are wars to be fought in exotic countries in the name of Der Freiheit and Fatherland.

In my opinion US is very rich but spending all too much to all the wrong places (military, jails, fatherland security etc..). Rapidly becoming another Argentina or Brazil with a lot of poors and few rich people.

In wintertime Finland can be hell because of endless darktime and coldness but heaven in summertime because of 24 hour light and occasional heat waves. The darktime is the main reason for high suicide rates. After all, Finland is located as north as Alaska.

Bitching and moaning never stops in Finland, especially from those who have never experienced living abroad and have no comparison points. Under surface Finnish people are quite happy with way things are. It has been one hell of work to pull this thing called welfare state through with really equal opportunities for everyone, regardless of background.

Many Americans seem to think this kind of way running a state is "nanny state". But really, helping man while he is down helps a lot of more collectively instead of kicking him hard and expecting him to "shape up".

Posted by: tim73 | May 28, 2005 10:38 AM


This blog is some of the most fascinating reading I've ever seen on WP. For a country of its size Finland really has a lot to be proud of, but especially intriguing is the dialogue between the pro and anti apartheid camps.

I wonder a bit about those individuals who keep telling us to ignore certain posts and only discuss subjects *they* want to talk about. What's up with the control freaks?

Posted by: Barney O'Connor | May 28, 2005 11:07 AM

Section 17 Right to one's language and culture

(1) The national languages of Finland are Finnish and Swedish.
(2) The right of everyone to use his or her own language, either Finnish or Swedish, before courts of law and other authorities, and to receive official documents in that language, shall be guaranteed by an Act. The public authorities shall provide for the cultural and societal needs of the Finnish-speaking and Swedish-speaking populations of the country on an equal basis.

---

Because the Swedish speaking Finns are few and spread around, they need proportionally more people educated in the service sector so that it is ensured that there are services in their own tongue available to them. Thus, universities need to let in disproportionally many swedish speaking finns in. That's all- there's no elitist about it.

And furthermore, the Swedish speaking population in Finland is actually increasing, not decreasing. According to statistics anyway.

I will not speculate on long dead Finns' swedishness, but I will point out that on many an occasion it has been a swedish speaking finn who has championed the rights of the whole of Finland. The fact that we can speak Finnish freely, is an accomplishment of not only Finnish speaking Finns, but of Swedish speaking Finns also.

Compulsory Finnish and Swedish are needed to ensure that every Finn, whether or not they speak Finnish or Swedish as their mother tongue, have equal oppurtunities.

Of course you don't want to go through the hassle of learning another language, nobody does. There is even a larger majority of Swedish speaking Finns living in rural Österbotten (Pohjanmaa) who are against compulsory FINNISH. To them, Swedish is the only language they use.

In the end, it comes down to a play with words. The constitution states that both Swedish and Finnish are language's of Finland. Thus, Swedish IS Finnish as much as Finnish is Finnish. Shouldn't all Finns know both Finnish languages?

Mmm?

Posted by: | May 28, 2005 11:24 AM

Cuckoo-logic: "Because the Swedish speaking Finns are few and spread around, they need proportionally more people educated in the service sector so that it is ensured that there are services in their own tongue available to them. Thus, universities need to let in disproportionally many swedish speaking finns in. That's all- there's no elitist about it."

In Iceland, there are 300,000 Icelanders but no Finns giving them services. Still they survive.

Cuckoo-logic: Because there are 10,000 Swedes in Finland, who cannot speak fluent Finnish, Finland must teach ALL 5,2 million other people Swedish language, to pamper the superior caste with five star service in Swedish!

Even in darkest times in South Africa, you could not find so many Afrikaans-speakers just to give service to Boers.

Now it is over. You, Swedes are allowed to speak Swedish among each others. But we Finns do no more go to your old peoples hospitals to change your grandmothers' diapers. You must do it yourselves! Like all people in the world do.

Naturally, there is lack of Swedish-speaking servants, because all Swedes have rushed to highly-paid public servant positions, which they could get ONLY because they comply with the illegal racistic criteria of being able to speak Swedish, the language of Nordic conquistadores.

So your requirement to get Swedish service from Finns is not only ridiculous and economically very very costly, it is illegal as to the LAW OF EUROPEAN UNION, see the Directive EC 2000/43: "(18) In very limited circumstances, a difference of treatment may be justified where a characteristic related to racial or ethnic origin constitutes a genuine and determining occupational requirement, when the objective is legitimate and the requirement is proportionate. " It is not proportionate that 5.2 million people must learn the language of 10,000 only. Remember: ALL other Swedes do speak fluent Finnish.

Posted by: LanguageWarrior | May 28, 2005 12:05 PM

Hyvä Pauli

You want to know where you went over the line?

This is what Hank had to say:

"At times, the Finnish-Swedish rivalry might seem intense, but not really - in the end they're all Finns."

You'r responce:

"Not really. You can read about Swedish speaking Finns who have believed themselves already be Swedes when they moved to Sweden."

You said it right there, dude. More importantly it was the general tone of you'r writing. You are making references to apartheid for christ's sake. It's my oppinion that mandatory Swedish is unnecessary, but I wouldn't go as far as saying Swedish speaking Finns are mutilating Finnish children's lingual and cultural identities - I believe you said something along those lines. Good day to you, sir.

Proud Finn

You were wondering if we today would have such guts and determination (Sisu). Well we (the younger generations) are a bit spoiled, but I think we Finns still got some left of that good ol' SISU.

I too send my best wishes to you and your family. Have a good week end.

AND THIS IS FOR EVERYBODY!!! Let's talk about sports. How about that Kimi Räikkönen? Will he take his third win on a row tomorrow. I'm talking about Formula One of course.

Tata, H

Posted by: Hannes Vauhkonen | May 28, 2005 12:24 PM

To foreígn journalist:

"Re: the Rogers boys
It is illegal to lock people up in a mental institution just because some authority finds it convenient. People ought to be outraged, but they are not. Why?"

Because people don´t think they were locked in, people think that journalists were locked out. The whole thing was handled very poorly indeed. That happened somewhere in nort-eastern parts of the country, and maybe that hospital was the only place where they could be hidden.

"Another example, didn't Sonera executives use information from tapped phones to trace journalists who had sources within the company? Didn't that lead to their prosecution? I haven't followed the story closely, but I got the impression that police officials who knew about their crimes were acquitted."

I haven´t followed it closely either. But just a couple of days ago two of those Sonera executives got sentences, and if I remember right they were 6 months and 10 months.

"What do people in Finland think about the special dispensation from the EU to allow continued consumption of fatty fish, such as herring and salmon?"

Hmm, I think that was what the people of Finland wanted: to ignore all consumer laws and eat what they like. People usually don´t like fatty Norwegian bag salmon, but wild salmon is a different thing. And herring steaks with mashed potatoes are just too good to be left uneaten. But everybody knows that herring should not be eaten more than once a week, and even then the smaller the fish are, the better. But not because of fat, but because of dioxine they contain. Hell, we even eat "korvasieni", those crinkly, brown mushrooms that are deadly poisonous if they are not treated properly.

Posted by: Afinnwhoelse | May 28, 2005 01:18 PM

Hi Proud Forest Troll

Unfortunately you are wrong. "Kjornhort" is "red deer", "saksanhirvi" in Finnish.

"Älg" is "elk", "hirvi" in Finnish. "Elk" is a British expression, as "moose" is American. I don't know if they are different species but North American moose are much bigger than their North European cousins.

Translation for "saksanhirvi" would be "german elk", but an elk is not a deer and red deer is most definitely a deer, zoologically.

There are no wild red deers in Finland.

Posted by: Urja | May 28, 2005 01:28 PM

"You also brought up the gender equality. My personal opinion of the gender equality in general is that there can be no quick improvement in this matter anywhere either. Why? Because this a general human problem where stronger individuals or stronger nations or stronger anything usually wants to rule the weaker ones. Most likely things will change in the course of time but it requires that the attitudes so deeply rooted in people's (men?) minds change."

Caroline replied:

"I agree with everything you said in this quote, except the last sentence. I doubt that absolute gender equality will ever be a reality anywhere, for the reason you gave: that it is an issue of human nature, not culture or economics or society."

A: This is an absolutely intriguing question. Still, I seriously do believe that there is a chance.

I just recently read extracts from Mary Comdren's (feministic) study of the middle age convents in Ireland. In the study she brings up the female goddesses and strong female figures of the pre Christian age amongst the Celtic and Germanic nations. According to Comdren, the strong influence of women was very much alive in the early Christianity too. Because of this(?) the Catholic church (men) wanted to bring down the female influence and power and as one of the acts ordered all nuns to cut their hair. At that time a long hair was the symbol of strength for women.

I sincerely believe that this is a question of up bringing and education. Love and respect has a lot to say in this, though the grown up children will meet a conflict when they meet the so often twisted attitudes in the "real" life.

---

Of the weak self-esteem and shyness of the Finns:

Lot of it is said to result from the lack of respect towards the Finns back in the history. Still, if another Finn talks to another Finn there is usually no shyness or looking at your feet. A Finn can - or at least previously could - sense the same feeling if you took the ferry across to Estonia and started to talk *in Finnish* to a local inhabitant.

First, in a situation where the other person has to use a foreign language it is obviously that s/he usually can not express oneself inadequately and equally. This unequal situation may create a feeling of inferiority. The second reason is even simpler than the first one. This materialized world which measures everything in horse powers, square meters and bank accounts has given the false impression that our value as a human being depends on these properties. The Lutheran education of Christianity in our schools should talk more about love and forgiveness - which are the main issues - instead of what ever they teach these days.

I remember reading about an intelligence test for young children in the US back in the fifties and the result was that the foreign children were not as intelligent as the native speakers. The test was in English. Not being able to express yourself has a lot to do with everything.

---

"And Finns are great at supporting their own. They will pay 3 euros for a finnish grown cucumber even though it is next to a 50 cent cucumber from Spain. They buy finnish brands no matter how tasteless they are and will only say great things about anything finnish. "

A: Oh and how about the Americans supporting their own farmers? Besides you meant those tasteless;-) foreign cucumbers with so much water in them. I'm quite willing to pay some extra to get a cucumber that tastes like a cucumber and at the same time support the Finnish farmers and keep the money in the country, sure, why not?

Posted by: Risto Apajalahti | May 28, 2005 02:39 PM

Barney O'Connor,

You wrote, "I wonder a bit about those individuals who keep telling us to ignore certain posts and only discuss subjects *they* want to talk about. What's up with the control freaks?"

Before Internet was popular, it was the firstmost tactic of the Swedish speaking power elite to kill public talk about the oppression we are living under. Now that there is Internet, they couldn't but watch us tell the truth. Certain individuals just haven't realised they can't deny us talking anymore.

To nameless,

You wrote, "Compulsory Finnish and Swedish are needed to ensure that every Finn, whether or not they speak Finnish or Swedish as their mother tongue, have equal oppurtunities."

Let me tell you what. Signing your post with your own name would be a respectable move. There are all too many Swedish speaking cowards lurking and yelling from the bushes.

To Hannes Vauhkonen,

"You said it right there, dude. More importantly it was the general tone of you'r writing. You are making references to apartheid for christ's sake. It's my oppinion that mandatory Swedish is unnecessary, but I wouldn't go as far as saying Swedish speaking Finns are mutilating Finnish children's lingual and cultural identities - I believe you said something along those lines. Good day to you, sir."

Okay, I see you tag people by their opinions. On the issue about some Swedish speakers' national identity, I'm sad I have no other options for an opinion, knowing that it really is true that some of them are very unstably committed to our society.

Posted by: Pauli Ojanperä | May 28, 2005 03:10 PM

To the "foreign journalist":
"2)What sort of consequences did the F 18 purchase have? Has the contact between the US and Finnish air force led to more than just the exchange of equipment? Did local Finnish papers write about US pilots visiting Finland and socializing with local communities?"

First, there was really no US military personnel visiting Finland. Instead the finnish pilots were sent in to be trained in the US. These pilots in turn trained other finnish pilots when they returned. There is co-operation between finnish and US military in Kosovo for example - what effects this fighter trade had... well, there is no definite proof of it.

Some claim that the choice fell on F18 Hornets because they are NATO compatible aircraft - that other aircraft had actually been better fighters in the finnish envinronment. Of course, this borders on paranoia - the same people claim that it all a grand plan of taking Finland in to NATO behind the scenes. Believe it if you want. There are some people with such thoughts in the bureocracies and the right-wing parties for sure.

Right now the finnish Patria Industries is selling weapon technology to USA. Some say this is against the finnish (and EU) laws, since the USA is a nation in war. Of course - the war in Iraq was never officially decreed and was claimed to be over a year ago. Again, it is up to you how you see this.

Finnish papers generally avoid digging too deep on sensitive matters. This is a small country, it can lead to all kind of problems. Investigative journalism is practically unknown. The Finnish Broadcasting Company has the MOT program that tries to do some, but often their "scoops" are just mudslinging. For example, one of their reporters is renown for his personal bias towards all kind of Green Movements and is on a crusade to make them show as bad as possible.

"3)Will Finland copy Sweden and institute a law banning the purchase of sexual services?"

Not likely - good reason being that most of MP's are middle-aged men. This is the class of people that is the most sympathic towards those who use prostitutes. Indeed, middle-aged men are those who most often buy sex.

However, the question about making purchase of sex criminal itself is a very problematic one. In Sweden, it haven't made prostitution any rarer. It has just hid it behind closed doors. On the other hand, studies indicate that the life of a prostitute has become even more dangerous. The clients are even more likely to be violent and on the other hand, pressure from pimps and mafia is even harder.

Banning the purchase of sexual services isn't really the solution to the problem. Abuse of women will continue, in a form or another. I guess the real problem here are the attitudes of men buying the services. They hold romantic notions of the prostitutes actually wanting to do the job or something like that... or sex being some kind of "basic need" that they have the right to buy if it is not provided otherwise. I have heard comments like "how else could a fat, ugly 55-year old man get laid?" laid in defence of legalizing brothels. I guess they are the same people who are heavy users of porn and have a very twisted picture of the female gender.

ps. I'm heterosexual male myself.

Posted by: Observer | May 28, 2005 03:23 PM

As an American with Finnish roots I'm absolutely appalled by this discussion. One or two activists use this forum to spread lies about the relations of the different language groups. Shame on you Pauli Ojenpera and the rest of you (if there are any others).

What strikes me, is that one man has during prime working time, time to produce this many hate messages. To my knowledge the holidays haven't yet started in Finland nor have the schools ended. Either this "character" is very very lazy on his job or then the tax payers are paying for his "hobby".

I do agree. It sounds like a lot of Paulis that I met in school. Now they work at the local Burger King. I guess you don't have Burger King in Finland?

Posted by: Charles Davidson | May 28, 2005 04:34 PM

I forgot!

If "Barney O'Connor" is native English speaker then I'm a moose.

My guess is that Pauli has a big brother who knows little more English than he does.

Posted by: Charles Davidson | May 28, 2005 04:43 PM

To Urja:

North American moose and European elk are the same species, according to a BBC article. Other mammals that are the same species but go by different names: the grizzly/brown bear, buffalo/bison and elk/red deer.

The European elk is extinct in the British isles, so the native American word "moose" is probably better known to non-native speakers of English.

Posted by: foreign journalist | May 28, 2005 04:57 PM

Check out the following link, and tell me if you think it would be just to require every single blue spot on the map to learn the red spots' language.

http://people.cc.jyu.fi/~pasaojan/pakkoruotsi/Suomiko%20kaksikielinen.gif

Posted by: Pauli Ojanperä | May 28, 2005 05:19 PM

The link I posted is a map of Finland, where the blue spots denote Finnish speaking citizens and red spots denote Swedish speaking ones.

Posted by: Pauli Ojanperä | May 28, 2005 05:24 PM

Posted by: your ad here | May 28, 2005 07:13 PM

To Pauli,
Thanks for the answer. Apartheid in Finland. Whoda thunk it?

To Charles Davidson,
You need help.

Posted by: Barney O'Connor | May 28, 2005 08:05 PM

your ad here sez:

"Oi! Sure we got emotions too.
http://prague.tv/galleries/image.php?filename=finnish-emotions.jpg;gallery=funny-pics7 "

Janne Ahonen drives a drag race car these days too. I suppose these pictures express either premature concentration (a couple of months till summer) or they mean that it's not fun at all to win 10 ski jumps in a row;-)

Posted by: Risto Apajalahti | May 28, 2005 09:23 PM

Janne was known for his "happy smiling demeanor" in the start of his career, and there used to be a similar cartoon joke fom the telefax days circulating...

Posted by: Hank W. | May 28, 2005 10:17 PM

Pauli O., yeah right. Seen this person on the discussion forum of one finnish science magazine. And he didn't get much respect there (either). Mostly considered as an compulsory pain in the a***.

By the way, have there been a colloquy about finnish summer holidays? I had once this conversation with my US friend I came up to know last summer, when I told I had mandatory 4 weeks summer holiday, all though I'd liked to spent that time working. She was a bit amazed about it...

Posted by: Sepi Hutkonen | May 28, 2005 11:33 PM

To Foreign Journalist:

Not quite, there are other buffaloes which are certainly different species: African cape buffalo and Indian water buffalo.

And I've been taught that European bison is a different species as American, or could they be subspecies?

For example, the Baltic ringed seal, the Saimaa ringed seal and the Ladoga ringed seal are all the same species, but different subspecies. They got separated when the land rose after the ice age. I believe it's the same thing with the moose.

And isn't there brown bears in America, too? It is called Kodiak bear, bigger than a grizzly.

Posted by: Urja | May 29, 2005 02:13 AM

Absolutely fine and versatile views on Finland. Congratulations! Only one remark,gentelemen. I am brave enough to insist on that Finnish is not an obtuse and complex language. Quite a contrary. Only remember two principles. First, Finnish is a connecting language. Let us take the words child and lapsi. You say "as a child" while we say "lapsena". Second, the Finnis language is spoken ja written in the same way. So it is easy for little pupils to learn read and write in a few months! Well, our teachers are superb but they have also a brilliant tool in their work, clear and logical Finnish language.

Posted by Erkki Sinkko Helsinki

Posted by: Erkki Sinkko | May 29, 2005 03:38 AM

As on , real, living well- educated finnish citizen I must say that there is such a lot of clise on those posting I read...
Not all finnish have good wellfear, there is also a alot of citizens without job, and also many who are so high-educated that won't go to to work , cause of those good
standards as told elsewhere....
F. ex in Vantaa, there is a huge department of traffics , everybody who can , uses cheap buses and local trains , but not any finnish man will go to drive such a nasty, low-rated job.
Thank's to God we have emigrations , they have different style of thinking that we highly educated have, so it is not so shame to make your money on a public service.
If all those serbians, russians, somalians, et.c. have their war and poor conditions , no any finnish will do their daily job..there will ever be any finnish young men , who will go to drive for others.. so uncomfortable and low-payed work, easier to say on the society, that those jobs are too low-rated after all high-payed loans that they have taken during studies.
so... there is a lot of such thngs that only natives know, secrets that can't be seen, ad nobody ever will tell you...
because after all.. this is land with cell-phones and high education. such a luck to born in Finland...and spend a good time with all these funnies...

Posted by: oh crab ! | May 29, 2005 03:59 AM

Well. What d'ya know.

Now the Swedish language haters are actively searching for persons who both share their view of life AND who have an excellent command of English. This search happens on Finnish discussion groups where these persons usually hang all day (and night).

I guess we'll be seeing more Barney O'Connors here that absolutely hate the Swedish language and think that the discussion is very high class.

For some strange reason people who write good English also have a very positive attitude towards the Swedish language. I guess is must be just bad luck.

Good luck with your search!

Ps. I myself am from eastern Finland and didn't know any Swedish before I started school.

Posted by: Jaakko Pitkanen | May 29, 2005 04:34 AM

To Foreign journalist:
The whole language debate here is getting a little old for me. But I agree ethnicity is complicated. My last name is Swedish, there are countless Swedish counts ;o) in my family tree and one of them even the acting-king of Sweden at one time (believe it if you will). My family though, has not spoken Swedish in generations. I am a Finn to the full extend of it.

Again, Rogers boys were not committed to a mad house. It's a state institute with knowledge on how to keep people in and others out. I suppose they ruled out parents for the obvious reason and prison would've been a little harsh... If you want to look at other wacky legal procedures, please, look into Eastern Finland justice system where a rapist gets reduced sentense for being unemployed!!

F/A 18? Boy, you dig up some old news. Russian ones were junk, Swedish didn't actually fly and EU fighter was unfinished. The only real other choice was the F-16.

And yes, Sonera guys got off easy, well, it's not like they killed anyone. 8(

Fatty fish? Who eats fish? I've never even tasted a Fillet-o-fish at McDonalds. Who really cares?

And finally my thoughts on banning the purchase of sexual services. I doubt it does anything to stop the abuse of women. Opening up legal brothels could actually remove the women off the streets into more easily supervised areas. But that's propably just similar political suicide as trying to dismantle the well-fare state would be.

Posted by: Timo A | May 29, 2005 06:15 AM

First thanks for the WP that it helps the Finns to pass the sencorship of Finnish press.

IMHO,the Finns should have to have the right to have a Finnish language state. The only obstacle are the Swedes,they oppose a Finnish state. No others are against it.

The Englismen have English speaking states,several I suppose,the Swedish speakers have an own state,German speakers have several states,the Estonians have an Estonian speaking state,Latvians have a Latvian speaking state,Polish speking people have Polish language state.

Why on earth it is so bad if the Finnish speaking Europeans also had an own state!!!

Posted by: Finnish sencorship sucks | May 29, 2005 10:03 AM

Why a Finn is considered dangerous in his/her own home-country if he/she opposes mandatory Swedish language education!

That is what the Washington Post's journalists should ask from the representants of Finnish nomenklatura.

Posted by: Finnish sencorship sucks | May 29, 2005 10:07 AM

"Finnish sencorship sucks". I think I have the answered for you.

Based on these posting here the Finnish-speaking Swedish haters are not mature enough to have their own state. It sounds very much like my 12-year-old daughter complaining she wants her own apartment.

Ps. "Sencorship" is spelled C E N S O R S H I P

Posted by: Jeremy Getler | May 29, 2005 10:21 AM

If Swedish is native Finnish language, as someone claimed, why its symbol is Sweden's flag, a foreign symbol.

Don't hesitate to explain that the symbol of English language is a flag of USA/Great-Britain. Namely no one claims English being native Finnish language.

Posted by: Finnish sencorship sucks | May 29, 2005 10:30 AM

I agree with Jeremy Getler, 100 %. You language warriors are VERY tiresome, and you spoil an otherwise good blog. Do us a favour and go somewhere else, maybe Suomalaisuuden liitto is a forum for you. You have made your point, no need to jump from the box every day.

Posted by: A Finn | May 29, 2005 11:44 AM

To Urja
Proud Forest Troll is not wrong.

I am an American who lived and taught in Finland for 10 years. I am married to a Finnish women. I am currently living in the tropics. I loved living in Finland and one day I may return to live there. While living in Finland I was friends with a man who was working with Älg" or hirvi". He told me that the english name for this wonderful animal is moose, not elk. According to the Random House Webster's Engligh Dictionary an elk is a large North American Deer.

Posted by: Coach | May 29, 2005 01:40 PM

Dear "Frank Collin" a.k.a. "Juha Kontunen" a.k.a. "Chinaski" a.k.a. "Jack Aking" a.k.a. "William" a.k.a. "Juha-Pekka" a.k.a. "Ääliöt" a.k.a. "Urja" a.k.a. "Proud Forest Troll" a.k.a. "Sepi Hutkonen" a.k.a. "Charles Davidson" a.k.a. "Jeremy Getler" a.k.a. "A finn" a.k.a. "Coach." It's understandable your having an identity crisis, but please, try to stick with one name.

Posted by: IA | May 29, 2005 02:35 PM

I know my english is a bit rusty,sorry!Im an ordinary finnish guy.Im a factory worker and im 25 years old.Had to reply to some of Eduardos comments. "Oh... you know, A finn may say somethng depreciating about himself, but in his or her mind, they are completely confident that they are completely superior to you. Expecially if they have a university degree." And even if they dont;)

"I will try to write more, I am married to a Finn and am from Los Angeles myself." Flexible and understanding those finnish women=) "One major factor contributing to happiness in finland is NOT KNOW WHAT IS OUT THERE!" I have lived in three foreign countries,how many have you? "They think 25,000 euros per year is a good salary for a engineer with a masters." I dont believe anybody would think that.I get 30,000e and im an industrial worker.. "Meaning, the Russian women will wear better makeup, nicer clothes and generally show more style. Finnish women like to keep it simple" My girlfriend is so beautiful she doesnt even need makeup and when she applies it she looks like model=D "It is true, finland is huge, but nobody wants to live in most of it" I was born in Helsinki but live in a rural area,i like the the peace and quiet. "You would think everyone would have a large house with 4 acres of land surrounding them, but the reality is that most people live in Row houses or in apartment buildings." Planning to build a house on my 6 acres next summer=D
"The long winter nights also drive people mad contributing to the fact that finland has one of the highest suicide rates in the world." No,the madness just comes from being a finn;) "Everyone in this country knows someone who has attempted suicide" Dont know anyone,everybody i know have had an succesfull go at it.. "And like I said before, when I am paying 30 to 50 percent income taxes and 20 percent (VAT) sales taxes, I find it difficult to call my health insurance and welfare benefits "free"." You could call them the "free from getting shot at the traffic lights taxes"..

This man, Pekka Himanen, says Finnish society is all inclusive. What a load of c**p. Finnish society is all inclusive of all higher educated finns. Highly educated finns do not mix with lower educated finns. Since they were 14, they divide their society among vocational schooler, high math students and low math students. They rarely mix with each other

You must be kidding!!!!My best friends include engineers,craftsman,small business owners and civil cervants.A good point was made by some of the guys about the military.It is the place in Finland were it doesnt count what you are outside its how you perform there with your peers.362 days,love those guys!=D "Please don't get me wrong, I'm not saying finland is a horrible place to live, it just isn't for me. The snow service is especially horrible. Slippery sidewalks and roads are simply accepted, so falling is accepted as part of life. I just can't live that way" Yes,we accept that in the winter it might get slippery.We have solved this by using different types of shoes and tires in the winter.. "They do not like to air their dirty laundry as americans do."

Really,with this you have to be kidding!!!The finnish society is as transparent as it can be.Your the ones with your black ops and Guantanamos. "Lots of people in finland own hunting guns. I even know of a guy that shot at burglars running away from his house. Hand guns are rare. Which I think is a good thing. That's something I really admire and enjoy in europe. I rather be robbed with a knife than with a gun."

I have a shotgun,hunting rifle and im gettin a 9mm pistol next year.There are actually over 1,2 million guns in finland.We just dont go to schools or work places to fire them.. "In this country, if you are a foreigner,
everyone basically assumes that you are a refugee.
Especially if you have dark features. Gypsies aren't
even considered human. I would be surprised if they
are accounted for in the census" Take your surprised face,they are counted for..And so is every other inside these borders.We don have people swimming and diggin in to our country either.. "Finns generally do not like or accept immigrants. But they are coming none the less and I predict finland will have a serious civil upheavel in the future as middle europe is currently having with their far right groups" I predict US will have SERIOUS civil upheavel before finns are even thinkin about it.. "But I'm sure Finland and europe will only get better and better. I believe in that." Nice to agree on something=D

Posted by: | May 29, 2005 04:31 PM

To: Urja, Proud Forest Troll and Coach

Perhaps there is some Finnish biologist who can clarify whether the differences between the subspecies are so significant that the animals couldn't produce viable off-spring.

My guess is they can. Wolves can mate with dogs, despite the long separation of their ancestors.

By the way, what do Finns think about having wolf populations in nature? Norwegians seem anxious to shoot them. Swedish politicians and urban dwellers like the idea of wolves in the wild, while country folk feel they are a threat to pets and children.

A lot of drunkards die on snowmobiles in the Nordic countries but you never hear people calling for their ban. Why would somebody being eaten by a wolf be worse than an accidental death caused by a fellow moose hunter who shot first and looked second?

Is Finland less green than Sweden?

Another subject:
The Swedish people's home political model (folkhemmet) has been taking a real beating. Prison guards have sex with extremely dangerous inmates and help them escape.

Employees of the Social Insurance Office (försäkringskassan) have been embezzling benefits to themselves.

Foundations responsible for summer vacation houses that were intended for poor women and their children have given the rental rights to their board members, the wealthy and friends and relatives.

Car safety inspectors at Bilprovning have taken bribes to allow commercial importers to skip to the head of the line. Furthermore they allowed the car dealers to alter the truth about the vehicles to increase their value.

The Social Democratic Youth Organization (SSU) has inflated its membership rolls to defraud the government out of financial support.

The former head of the Left Party, Gudrun Schyman, admitted being a tax cheat, but instead disappearing in disgrace, she has made a feminist comeback.

The Swedish immmigration authority discovered that officals sold citizenship in exchange for cash and alcohol.

Systembolaget and its principle suppliers have been caught in an enormous corruption scandal.

Everywhere in Sweden local officials and politician find ways to funnel public funds and contracts to their friends and relatives.

I could go on and on citing examples of how public morality has been deeply shaken. My question is do Finns think their country is cleaner? If so, why?

Since there is so little investigative journalism in Finland, aren't Finns turning a blind eye to similar problems?

Posted by: foreign journalist | May 29, 2005 05:56 PM

Foreign journalist said:

"By the way, what do Finns think about having wolf populations in nature? Norwegians seem anxious to shoot them. Swedish politicians and urban dwellers like the idea of wolves in the wild, while country folk feel they are a threat to pets and children."

Good question! Now, EU thinks that they have the knowledge and insight to decide on the behalf of our country folks. Haven't got a record of how many wolves EU thinks we should have here but I think the figure could be found from the net.

Our government is in a awkward go-between situation if it can not guarantee the safety of it's inhabitants because of EU regulations and has to ignore the opinions of the country folks. Sounds pretty weird and it is; really because the safety of children should go before the wolves no question about that. As many opinions as individuals in this matter perhaps, but there is plenty of room in Siberia for the species to survive and live in wild life in you ask my opinion.

The questions concerning Sweden.

To me the list you gave shows merely cases where the morals of individuals (or a united group) has failed. This is something that happens every where all the time. Their system is obviously working when it was able to bring these cases to day-light, and that is a good thing.

Posted by: Risto Apajalahti | May 29, 2005 07:20 PM

With all this talk about language how much do YOU know about the Finnish language?

Test your knowledge with the Finnish Language Quiz in 10 'easy' questions (in english):

http://oobio.tripod.com/quiz_fin_language.htm

Posted by: Quizmaster | May 29, 2005 10:07 PM

Anti Apratheid,

If you read my postings again, you will notice that I mentioned also the other minorities you listed in your posting.

Please point any sentence(s) in my postings that in any way took a stand to compulsory Swedish.

Apratheid was a system that was possible because the majority was not represented in the legislative organs and government in South Africa. In Finland Finnish speaking MP's have had a majority in the Parliament since it was established in 1905. The majority today is so absolute that Swedish speaking MP's, even if we ignore party boundaries, could not stop a change in the status of Swedish language, something that we have seen in practise as well. This means that the restrictions that exist are voluntary indeed, imposed by the majority to itself. We have also restricted our position vis a vis Saami peole, Gipsies etc. It may well be that the restictions for example in Lapland will become more severe when the question about who owns the land is resolved.

This is not to you personally, but given the load of false information that has been distributed via this blog about the relationship between Finnish and Swedish speaking population, education etc, it is some other people who should seriously study the meaning of Abraham Lincoln's words.

To me it seems that in this blog some writers are too well aware of the teachings of another well known person who wrote "If you have to lie, you should lie so massively that nobody even thinks it is a lie" or "If a lie is reperated often enough, even those who know it is a lie, start believing it". I leave it to you to find out who wrote the above.

Best regards,

Jari

Posted by: To Anti Apartheid | May 30, 2005 03:16 AM

These are questions which a Finnish journalist cannot make to a representant of a Finnish oligarchy. Perhaps foreign journalists can make them and thus help to pave a way for a more open minded Finnish debate athmosphere:

-Why there cannot be a referendum about mandatory Swedish language education?

-Why president Halonen undersigned Finland's Language Act on Sweden's National Day? (6.6.2003)

-Why the Chairman of Language Act Committee mr. Pekka Hallberg recieved a high rank decoration from the State of Sweden having finished his work as a Chairman of Language Act Committee?

-Why secretary of Language Act Committee mister Sten Palmgren (Ministry of Justice) recieved 10 000 euro prize from a Swedish Foundation for his work as a civil servant in the Committee?("There is no corruption in Finland")

-Why freedom of choice is unthinkable in the language education in Finnish schools?

-Is mandatory Swedish language education politics or pedagogics in Finland?

-Why the quotas for Finnish speaking Finns are only 80 % in the business economics at the Finnish universities allthought they compose over 90 % of the total population of Finland?

-Why the Finns who want freedom of choice in the language education are called fascists and bigots in Finland?

-Why Swedish Popular Party is in the group of Liberals in the European Parliament allthought they are against freedom of choice in the language education and oppose equal opportunities in the higher education?

-Why Aland's autonomy is used as an excuse for the opression of Finnish speaking Alanders?

-Why Finland's minority politics cannot be harmonized with Sweden minority politics?

Posted by: HARD TALK | May 30, 2005 03:38 AM

SOFT BRAIN?

Posted by: HARD TALK OR | May 30, 2005 03:54 AM

Nikolas Ojala's pet peeve is discriminating not also the Swedish-speakers, but also foreigners. Especially them who have darker skin than his.

His opinions about different kind of people can be read in http://www.suomensisu.fi

I wouldn't call him a nazi but many people would.

Posted by: Urja | May 30, 2005 05:40 AM

Let's harmonize:

In USA, for getting College degree or higher in any subject, you must pass the exam of Canadian French.

In UK, for getting B Sc. degree or higher in any faculty, you must pass the exam of Welsh.

In France, for getting B Sc. degree or higher in any faculty, you must pass the exam of Prussian German.

In Germany, for getting B Sc. degree or higher in any faculty, you must pass the exam of Jiddish.

In China, for getting B Sc. degree or higher in any faculty, you must pass the exam of Mongolese.

BUT

If you don't agree, then release us from:

In Finland, for getting B Sc. degree or higher in any faculty, you must pass the exam of East-Swedish, an archaic language that is living language for 10,000 people only.

And if you live in Aland, your mail-box may liberally be exploded, if you do not change your Finnish name to Swedish, or if your child dares to speak Finnish in a kindergarten.

Posted by: | May 30, 2005 06:12 AM

"Everywhere in Sweden local officials and politician find ways to funnel public funds and contracts to their friends and relatives. I could go on and on citing examples of how public morality has been deeply shaken. My question is do Finns think their country is cleaner? If so, why?

Since there is so little investigative journalism in Finland, aren't Finns turning a blind eye to similar problems?"

I don´t know, but according to all polls Finns seem to trust officials and the majority even trusts the government. Although there have been some cases like that female social- and culture minister from Oulu who granted money to a golf course. When it turned out that she owns its shares, and she had to quit her post.

Posted by: | May 30, 2005 07:08 AM

Foreign journalist wrote:
Since there is so little investigative journalism in Finland, aren't Finns turning a blind eye to similar problems?

In my opinion, yes they are. There is lots of corruption Finland, it just isn't the kind of corruption that gains international attention. No money changes hands - instead, if you know the proper people, you get a good job over more qualified candidates. If you are a member of one of the three major parties, your chances are better in getting a job from the state... and so on.

In finnish, this is called "brotherhood network" or something like that. In the old times it meant that it only applied to males, but I'm quite sure it doesn't anymore take gender in to account, at least that much. The same applies in journalism and journalists too. You get the job based on who you know, not what you can do or what your merits are. It helps enermously if you have the same political opinions as the bosses.

A finnish journalist, don't remember his name right now, made his Ph.D. thesis on the political connections of the finnish press, I believe the research handled years 1978-2003 or something like that. His research pretty much showed what everyone already knew:

Posted by: Observer | May 30, 2005 07:37 AM

The newspaper Aamulehti in Tampere licks boots of Kokoomus, the finnish major right-wing party. The amount of positive "journalism" about Kokoomus has actually increased in the few last years. The major newspaper in Jyvaskyla, Keskisuomalainen, is very pro-agricultural party, which everyone knew as well. However, they are turning more in to a tabloid and when the old reporters retire, the new ones are teached more about sensationalism than politics. The only national newspaper, Helsingin Sanomat, was found to be always supporting the current goverment in power, no matter what party they represent. This isn't anything new either.

It is well known among the professional circles that there are things in each area and each media you are forbidden to speak about. Let's take Kuopio for example. In Kuopio, the city is rapidly taking money away from health care, to the point where you simply can't get in to dentist unless you are facing a real emergency. Instead, they tell you to go private. At the same time, the city pours money in to insane sports projects, such as recently building a HEATED football stadium. Yes, that means you can melt the snow on it with electricity on the winter.

This is arranged by the so-called urheilupuolue, "sports party", that is composed of middle-aged men from all three major parties. They arrange things so that money flows in to sports but not in to healthcare. Has the local press reported this? No. There are plenty of journalists there who know of the situation - I have talked with them about it - but they don't write about it for a reason or another. Some say they fear their bosses, others say that if they published articles about the matter, the local powerful people behind the projects wouldn't anymore co-operate, making it impossible to bring out any meaningful news on the area.

Posted by: Observer | May 30, 2005 07:38 AM

This last phrase kind of summarizes the problems with finnish corruption and finnish journalism. The country is small, the circles of power are small. Everyone who matters know each other. If you know the right people, your future is safe. If you anger the wrong people, you are f*cked (blog doesn't seem to allow using the word without the *) - the word gets around.

Yes, I'm a finnish journalist. I do not dare to write with my own name. I'm not a bitter loser - I have a very good job. These are just observations that are rarely said aloud.

Posted by: Observer | May 30, 2005 07:40 AM

I wonder how these anti-Swedish-speakers feel about us ENGLISH speakers living in Finland!

- Phil
--
The question itself seemst to reveal you are in fact a swede.
And know the answer to the question already.


Understanding and speaking Sweish also alows communication with Norwegians And Danes, because Norwegian and Danish is so similar to Swedish.
--
They all speak better english than finns do as they do not have to learn more than one language, english, in addition to their own. In finland, english is not compulsary, swedish+ another language (any) is.

In Germany, for getting B Sc. degree or higher in any faculty, you must pass the exam of Jiddish.
-
Well that would be ok by me. Not a very correct analogy.


The country is small, the circles of power are small. Everyone who matters know each other. If you know the right people, your future is safe. If you anger the wrong people, you are f*cked
-
That is so. Also you do not need to anger anyone, it is enough someone for some strange reason just does not like you and it is all over for you.


good reason being that most of MP's are middle-aged men. This is the class of people that is the most sympathic towards those who use prostitutes. Indeed, middle-aged men are those who most often buy sex.
-
Seriously I doubt many of them have to buy. Women tend to like men who are in power. It just would not be practical to give more power to mafias.

Posted by: | May 30, 2005 08:03 AM

At the same time, the city pours money in to insane sports projects, such as recently building a HEATED football stadium. Yes, that means you can melt the snow on it with electricity on the winter.

--

Not only there. Elsewhere too. Then they are empty, kids can look through the fences, theres the empty field with the sign "stay out unless you have a booked time" or something to the effect (to get a booked time, need to belong to a sports club, to which you cannot belong if you are from the wrong part of town (=have no money)

Posted by: | May 30, 2005 08:09 AM

Minister of Environment Mr.Enestam (Swedish Popular Party) becomes unskillful in Finnish when unpleasant question are made to him? Mr. Enestam himself was more interested of the field of minister of education before this interview so from this viewpoint his sudden silence is a suprise.

When the citizens had finally a chance to make questions to him in the field of his and his Party's special field language politics, which they consider being their monopoly,he became suddenly unskilful in Finnish.

Read more:
http://www.otakantaa.fi/sivu.cfm?idcode=5A0DC8B1-9FFD-4E1B-848B-EDAEF267518E&Online=Y

Posted by: Anti-Potemkin | May 30, 2005 09:14 AM

Eddie, Caroline and Alistair,

I agree with you in most of your comments. Finland really isn't such nice place as most of the Finns would like to think. They just don't know about the better and are not very objective viewers :(

I'm a native male Finn and hold a Master's Degree fron finnish university. I have lived whole my live in Finland in three different places starting from very small town and ending to one of the biggest cities in Finland. I have been also couple of times in US for business and pleasure trips (California, Nevada and Texas).

IMO there are couple of things which we Finns should be proud of:

1. Fresh air and non polluted nature. Let's not ruin them. I know that you have nice national parks in US as well (I have visited Yosemite, Sequioa, Kings Canyon and Yoshua Tree national parks).

2. Small amount of people. There really are no crowds anywhere (even in the center of Helsinki). I have seen LA in Friday afternoons traffic jams. Just horrible :(

3. Basic education. It's really good if we are not comparing the top noch universities.

4. To have a child in public hospital is free and well served. It's the _only_ good thing in the whole finnish health care system. And the good part ends as soon as you leave the hospital. You really get peanuts to raise your child in home. In many other countries the tax deductions for a child can be much more than home allowance so that the households net income is actually bigger than in Finland. In Finland most of the families does not have afford to raise a child in home by his/her mother or father more than a one year. Three first months are okay.

I'm juts sick of paying these high taxes and hate the wet winters without the snow. I'm staying only because of family relationships. This socialistic society will collapse, you'll see...

Posted by: Finn | May 30, 2005 04:04 PM

"I'm juts sick of paying these high taxes and hate the wet winters without the snow. "

Brother! ;)

Posted by: Hank W. | May 30, 2005 04:17 PM

You may have observed that languages in Finland are a hot topic today. Some basic facts:
92 % of the people in Finland speak Finnish as their mother tongue, less than 5 % Swedish (in Mainland Finland), and 3 % speak close to 150 other languages as native language.
Finnish-speaking people have always been a wast majority of the population. In 1610 while Finland still was a part of Sweden, the proportion of Swedish-speaking people was 17 %. Ever since it has been declining (now From 1809 to 1917 Finland was an autonomous Grand Duchy of Russia. At that time Swedish and Russian were the official languages up to 1863 when the Finnish language became the third official language.
Still today we have compulsory Swedish from the primary school up to the academic studies. It is the ONLY compulsory foreign language to the Finnish-speaking Finns (92 % of population).
Several national surveys and research reports in 1990-2004 reveal that in average 2/3 of the people in Finland want to remove compalsory Swedish from the schooling system.
The very first step was taken last year after more than 40.000 Finnish-speaking gymnasium (high school) students organized a nationwide demonstration. In less than one month the Government had a proposal for new act making Swedish language optional in the matriculation exam.
Right away 15 % of students skipped Swedish even if they had studied it for years believing that it would be compulsory in the examination.

The long history of Finland as a colony of Sweden almost Swedenized Finland, and only Swedish education was available.
As late as in 1937 the legislation was changed so that the University of Helsinki became also Finnish. In less than 70 years the Finnish-speaking majority has reached the top of the world in international studies such as PISA and CIVIC (28 countries worldwide).
A comparison between Finland and Sweden in language politics shows that these neighbor countries seem to be from a different planets. Sweden has for centuries oppressed her own Finnish-speaking minorities. It is a very ugly story, and now the European Council has urged Sweden to improve the status of Finnish language there.
There is an urgent need to harmonize language policies between Sweden and Finland. In practice it means that Finnish in Finland will be the only nationally official language just like Swedish is in Sweden. In Finland Swedish and in Sweden Finnish should be a local minority language.

(the author is the President of the Association of Finnish Culture and Identity)

Posted by: Heikki Tala | May 30, 2005 05:52 PM

To IA

I am certainly not an alias. I am a real human being and this is only my second entry. If you choose to make allegations please be more informed before you do. I enjoyey the 10 years I lived in Finland, I think that Finland is a wonderful country. While living Vaasa (Vasa) I taught in both Finnish and Swedish language schools and was comfortable in both communities. I am so suprised by the level of anger concerning swedish that I am finding in this blog. It's too bad because I never experienced it when I lived there.

Posted by: Coach | May 30, 2005 08:19 PM

SUOMI FINLAND PERKELE!!!

Posted by: diehardfinn | May 31, 2005 12:29 AM

Excellent post Heikki Tala. It is allways kind of funny when people defending the compulsory swedish bring out the "history" card, how we have had so much common with the Sweden during past centuries. If you really start to actually read about the "common" history the only reaction would be anger and dislike for everything coming from Sweden. I won´t go into that because so many good arguments against the compulsory swedish has been made. Only thing i will say that the change will happen, no matter if you "pro" swedes want it or not.

Posted by: Finn | May 31, 2005 02:43 AM

Observer; spot on. Remember the "revelation" of Kekkonen's fall in Icelend? And the pictures "should disappear or you shall not be photographing anything for the press again"...

I guess this "My Dear Brother" system has been so ingrained into the society it is not seen as corruption.

Like a mayor with an indefinite mandate... hmmm.. what happened to democracy? I think all the paliamentarians expect to be re-elected as well. And it doesn't really matter who you elect there, as the "virkamieskunta" civil servants keeps the country shafted despite even new laws. Just look at the car tax fiasco. 10 years worth of taxes to be paid back. Just because the civil servants screw the nation out of the last drop of money.

The notion that Finland also has very small circles should be always remembered. In certain professions there is basically an "everyone knows everyone" situation. So a hint for people moving here - don't peeve people off, if the word gets around you might be screwed at a level you never expected.

Posted by: Hank W. | May 31, 2005 03:05 AM

""I wonder how these anti-Swedish-speakers feel about us ENGLISH speakers living in Finland!

- Phil""
--
"The question itself seemst to reveal you are in fact a swede.
And know the answer to the question already."

Oh, you silly person. I happen to know Phil personally, and he is a 'pure jenkki' - as you can see from his blog http://www.finlandforthought.net

Posted by: Hank W. | May 31, 2005 03:08 AM

Historically though, talking about obligatory languages; during the Grand Duchy under Russian Empire, especially after the so-called "Russification period" there was "tvungryska", obligatory Russian, and especially higher education was tried to be directed to be given only in Russian.

Interestingly, several anecdotes from the time tell, that as a sign of nationalism you should get just a passing grade - if you got high marks that meant you were not a 'true Finn'. Well, it is known that Helsinki University students in the political turmoil tarred Helsinki street signs, that were at the time trilingual.

Posted by: Hank W. | May 31, 2005 03:17 AM

Factual corrections to Mr Tala's posting.

In Finnish school system every pupil has one compulsory foreign language that begins from grade 3. For over 90 % of pupils this language is English. This is also the reason why Finns under 50 year of age usually have at least decent command of English language.

The second compulsory language is what is called "the second national language" (Constitution defines both Finnish and Swedish as national languages), which in Finnish speaking schools means Swedish and Swedish speaking schools Finnish. In Finnish speaking schools Swedish begins at grade 8. In Swedish speaking schools Finnish begins usually from grade 3 or grade 4 (one municipality) and replaces the first compulsory foreign language. First foreign language then starts at grade 4 in Swedish speaking schools.

On top of the above, Finnish school system offers the possibility to choose two elective languages, one from grade 4 and one from grade 7 or 8 (or from grade 1 at college). Thus a pupil in a Finnish speaking school can study for example English (7+3 years), German (6+3 years) and Spanish (2+3 years) plus the compulsory Swedish (2+3 years), provided that he/she goes to college.

For a Swedish-speaking pupil the choices are usually a bit more restricted because Finnish occupies the time allocated for one early starting foreign language. Typically Swedish-speaking pupils thus study Finnish (7+3 years), English (6+3 years) and German or French (2+3 years) and possibly take one more language at college (3 years). Swedish speaking school system has this way tried to ensure that every pupil has the possibility to learn Finnish properly. In addition given that the student has sufficient skills, Finnish is taught similarly to Finnish language arts in Finnish schools.

Finnish school system offers good possibility to study languages given that pupils actually take the elective languages. Not taking the electives has become a major concern lately, because the language study groups cannot be justified economically unless they meet certain minimum size criteria. Pupil's willingness to choose elective languages has been constantly declining. Reasons to this are unknown, but the dominance of English in TV, advertising industry (you see adds with Enlisg words and phrases almost everywhere in Finland) and higher education is certainly helping in creating an image that English is sufficient in the whole world.

Regards,

Jari

Posted by: | May 31, 2005 03:38 AM

Jari said "college" when he meant "high school". In Finnish language straight translation of "high school" means university or college.

Mr. Heikki Tala is the chairman of Finnish Alliance which I mentioned before. Yep, the same one who has said Finns have the right to hate Sweden, Swedish people and swedishness.

Posted by: Urja | May 31, 2005 04:18 AM

Sain juuri tietaa etta taalla kirjoitettu on suurimmalta osaltaan tietamatonta paskanjauhantaa!
http://www.suomi24.fi mene ja lue.

Posted by: Kotisavu | May 31, 2005 04:53 AM

"You really get peanuts to raise your child in home."

How old are you? Don´t you realize that just about all these social benefits have appeared during the last 30 years? Do people really expect that they should be payed a real salary for raising their own children? I had my children in 1970´s, and at the time there was no "home care support", no "housing support", no possibilities to stay home three years, and above all, no guaranteed day-care. I agree, "home care support" is not much but it sure is better than nothing, and I am glad it exists, but it is only 30 years ago when things were different. Don´t take everything for granted.

Posted by: E | May 31, 2005 04:59 AM

Common history of Finland and Sweden? Common history of the Finns and Swedes? Give me a break!

There is no common history of the Finns and Swedes or Finland and Sweden.

It is just state propaganda as "the second national language of Finland" whose symbol is Sweden's flag.

The Finnish speaking Finns and Swedish speaking Finns have first then common history when speaking Swedish is banned in the education and in the school-yeards. Then there is some kind symmetry in "a common history".

Common history is an insult towards the Finns. Compare if a whitie in the USA says for an Afroamerican that we have a common history and therefore demands further service from him/her. Just because of a historical reasons which really hardly are common for them both.

Posted by: "Common history" | May 31, 2005 05:01 AM

Here in the U.S. I met a woman from Sweden and I told her that I had grown up in Finland.

"Your English is so good!" she said.

"Oh, that's because my mother is American," I replied. "We spoke English at home."

Then I chatted with her for a while in Swedish.

"Your Swedish is so good!" she said.

"Oh, that's because I went to a school where the language of instruction was Swedish," I replied.

"I read somewhere that Finns have to study Swedish in school," she said. "Is that true?"

"Yes," I replied, "everybody in Finland learns at least three languages and I'm very proud of it. In my school, Swedish, Finnish, English, and German were compulsory, and I also took French. Total fluency was required in Finnish: twice I flunked and had to go to summer school, but eventually I succeeded."

The Swedish woman pondered for a moment and then exclaimed, "I'm so sorry you were forced to learn Swedish! You Finns must hate us Swedes!"

Posted by: Tor Aschan | May 31, 2005 05:33 AM

There are now two Finn nick names in this blog. I'm the first one and nothing against swedish language :)

I would say for the E about comment from 30 years ago. Your comment is totally irrelevant. I do not expect anything for granted. I just made a statement that in some other countries you get better overall compensation from the society when looking the whole image. The situation really is not so good in Finland what has been advertised in this area (and what most of the Finns think).

And of course 30 years ago many other things were very different. There wasn't really any unemployment and taxation was much lower. But I don't want to go for that, we are living next century now.

Posted by: The first Finn | May 31, 2005 05:46 AM

I'm so ashamed reading the comments of some fellow citizens of my country. The compulsory swedish is hardly the biggest problem in our society? So much bitterness and hatred...I'm against the compulsory swedish as well, don't get me wrong, but really there are more critical issues to deal with. Like the health care ( the "free" health care is not functioning as good as it should, and you only get the basic services) , or care taking of elderly people (some "homes" are run by very unprofessional stuff etc.).
But about this Diary: it's wonderful ,interesting reading for a Finn too! You have new fresh perspectives to our country and people. Off course not everything is perfect here, but still Finland is a very good place to live so let's be porud of our country!

Posted by: Roope | May 31, 2005 06:25 AM

To people complaining about services and taxes in Finland:
60 years ago we were completely agrarian society. If someone feels they are not getting fully compensated for living here, well, that's just too bad. Things could have been a lot worse. We are not saying we have everything perfect in Finland but we are doing ok. It's a free country and that's what really matters.

Posted by: Timo A | May 31, 2005 06:57 AM

Excuse me!?

Ok! I am the first to admit I'm a liberal through and through, if anyone cares.

My issue is w/the death penalty. Where on earth does it say that 50% of the population is in favor of it?
I am only 27, but I've never met anyone like that!

It is true, however, that criminals do not get long sentences. A fact that I do not like. Still, by no means should we have imprison people for as long as they do in the US! I shudder to think of their length!

I think that the difference is, Roughly put, that in the states criminals are considered evil, while here in northern Europe they are considered, well, sick. We look at the big picture and see that there are reasons for their actions, more than just simply being evil. Also, if you are sick you need help, and have a chance of getting better, and thus do not deserve to be put to death. Again Roughly put!!

Posted by: liberal female | May 31, 2005 07:37 AM

Ok, nobody has tackled this topic

* Do foreigners seek to become citizens of Finland? Is that possible?

Yes, it is possible and people do. Now for Americans one has to explain first that USA is maybe the only country (even Ireland changed the law) where being born somewhere gives you the citizenship automatically. The Finnish law states the mother's citizenship is what counts, so a baby born in the USA for a woman with Finnish citizenship can automatically claim Finnish citizenship. Recently Finland allowed dual nationality, so people who would have been eligible for citizenship, but for obvious reasons had emigrated and acquired naturalization in their new home country as well as their children could petition for citizenship.

Ok, now if a person has no ties to Finland, maybe married to a Finn, but a resident in the country. Basically one has to live in the country for some 4-5 years, with a clean slate, and then show proficiency in one of the national languages.

Now citizenship is one thing, but residency is another. Gaining residency in Finland is somewhat bureaucratic, but someone in the USA can check their own paperwork and I think Finns come out as less bureaucratic. There are more or less four categories of foreigners in Finland regarding the bureaucracy. Now people can belong to more than one group;
1. Nordic Citizens - due to the Nordic cooperation since the 1950's any Nordic citizen can settle in Finland as if they were a Finnish national and are entitled to social security as Finnish citizens moving back home (you lose coverage after 2 years).

2. EU nattionals. "The free movement of labor" applies here. Persons from EU countries need to register their residency, rather than apply, but theres a few catch-22's egarding being registered as a resident by the magistrate.

3. "New" Eu nationals - to come to work the people from the recently joined EU countries need to get an "employment certificate" as in "applying a work permit", during a transitory period until 2006. Personally I agree with the people saying this has made more bad than good, the labor unions shot their own leg requiring this in fear of cheap foreign labor flooding the workplaces, as "services" are freely moveable in the EU and the flood came, but instead of being under Finnish employment legislation the workers are under their own respective systems.

4. Everyone else. Hoops and whistles. USA or China, one is required to go through the resident permit process, with an employment certificate, and so forth.

Now foreign students are categorized mainly by being from EU or non-EU (the "new" countries are without restrictions).

If you are planning of moving to Finland but get overwhelmed with what you need to do and in what order, it is a good idea to ask beforehand. We are no authorities on the issue at http://www.iesaf.fi -but we have several people "been there done that" who can give some pointers and advice. Also about what to bring and how to settle down.

Posted by: Hank W. | May 31, 2005 07:38 AM

Ok, nobody has tackled this topic

* Do foreigners seek to become citizens of Finland? Is that possible?

Yes, it is possible and people do. Now for Americans one has to explain first that USA is maybe the only country (even Ireland changed the law) where being born somewhere gives you the citizenship automatically. The Finnish law states the mother's citizenship is what counts, so a baby born in the USA for a woman with Finnish citizenship can automatically claim Finnish citizenship. Recently Finland allowed dual nationality, so people who would have been eligible for citizenship, but for obvious reasons had emigrated and acquired naturalization in their new home country as well as their children could petition for citizenship.

Ok, now if a person has no ties to Finland, maybe married to a Finn, but a resident in the country. Basically one has to live in the country for some 4-5 years, with a clean slate, and then show proficiency in one of the national languages.

Now citizenship is one thing, but residency is another. Gaining residency in Finland is somewhat bureaucratic, but someone in the USA can check their own paperwork and I think Finns come out as less bureaucratic. There are more or less four categories of foreigners in Finland regarding the bureaucracy. Now people can belong to more than one group;
1. Nordic Citizens - due to the Nordic cooperation since the 1950's any Nordic citizen can settle in Finland as if they were a Finnish national and are entitled to social security as Finnish citizens moving back home (you lose coverage after 2 years).

2. EU nattionals. "The free movement of labor" applies here. Persons from EU countries need to register their residency, rather than apply, but theres a few catch-22's egarding being registered as a resident by the magistrate.

3. "New" Eu nationals - to come to work the people from the recently joined EU countries need to get an "employment certificate" as in "applying a work permit", during a transitory period until 2006. Personally I agree with the people saying this has made more bad than good, the labor unions shot their own leg requiring this in fear of cheap foreign labor flooding the workplaces, as "services" are freely moveable in the EU and the flood came, but instead of being under Finnish employment legislation the workers are under their own respective systems.

4. Everyone else. Hoops and whistles. USA or China, one is required to go through the resident permit process, with an employment certificate, and so forth.

Now foreign students are categorized mainly by being from EU or non-EU (the "new" countries are without restrictions).

If you are planning of moving to Finland but get overwhelmed with what you need to do and in what order, it is a good idea to ask beforehand. We are no authorities on the issue at http://www.iesaf.fi -but we have several people "been there done that" who can give some pointers and advice. Also about what to bring and how to settle down.

Posted by: Hank W. | May 31, 2005 07:39 AM

Ok, nobody has tackled this topic

* Do foreigners seek to become citizens of Finland? Is that possible?

Yes, it is possible and people do. Now for Americans one has to explain first that USA is maybe the only country (even Ireland changed the law) where being born somewhere gives you the citizenship automatically. The Finnish law states the mother's citizenship is what counts, so a baby born in the USA for a woman with Finnish citizenship can automatically claim Finnish citizenship. Recently Finland allowed dual nationality, so people who would have been eligible for citizenship, but for obvious reasons had emigrated and acquired naturalization in their new home country as well as their children could petition for citizenship.

Ok, now if a person has no ties to Finland, maybe married to a Finn, but a resident in the country. Basically one has to live in the country for some 4-5 years, with a clean slate, and then show proficiency in one of the national languages.

Posted by: Hank W. | May 31, 2005 07:40 AM

Ok, nobody has tackled this topic

* Do foreigners seek to become citizens of Finland? Is that possible?

Yes, it is possible and people do.

Posted by: Hank W. | May 31, 2005 07:42 AM

Hi! I've enjoyed the diary of your journey so far but I hope that you get a chance to visit Turku, which is the oldest city of Finland and used to be the capital city before the russian rule switched it to Helsinki. Turku has rich cultural heritage and it's a very beautiful and interesting city. I'm sure you've heard of it on your travels through Finland.

I think it would be a shame to come all the way to Finland and not visit one of the countrys historically and culturally most important cities.

Posted by: Sanna | May 31, 2005 07:51 AM

Hi! I've enjoyed the diary of your journey so far but I hope that you get a chance to visit Turku, which is the oldest city of Finland and used to be the capital city before the russian rule switched it to Helsinki. Turku has rich cultural heritage and it's a very beautiful and interesting city. I'm sure you've heard of it on your travels through Finland.

I think it would be a shame to come all the way to Finland and not visit one of the countrys historically and culturally most important cities.

Posted by: Sanna | May 31, 2005 07:55 AM

Hi! I've enjoyed the diary of your journey so far but I hope that you get a chance to visit Turku, which is the oldest city of Finland and used to be the capital city before the russian rule switched it to Helsinki. Turku has rich cultural heritage and it's a very beautiful and interesting city. I'm sure you've heard of it on your travels through Finland.

I think it would be a shame to come all the way to Finland and not visit one of the countrys historically and culturally most important cities.

Posted by: Sanna | May 31, 2005 08:00 AM

oops... glitch in the matrix

Posted by: Hank W. | May 31, 2005 08:31 AM

Speaking as a Swede from Stockholm/Sweden I am really shocked to read about the discrimination against Finnish speaking Finns that is going on in Finland, I had no idea.

Now I have more understanding as to why Finnish people don't like Swedes. Of course I know about our misstreatment of the Finnish during the times of the 'Swedish Empire' but that was several hundred years ago. And as a Swede I would like to apologize for all the bad things we did during those times.

I had however no idea that there are still people who are threatened with loss of their job if they speak out against Finland being bi-lingual. Or that you have to learn Swedish to get a degree. Or that officials actually surpress debate about this issue.

I assure you that even if most Swedes like that Finland has Swedish as an official language (after all it ties us together) they would abhor any practise of excluding non-swedish speaking from a career or a degree. And if our government has any part in pressuring or influencing Finnish authorities in this issue they do so in secrecy, because they would never get support for such policy's from the Swedish people.

And I would also like to state that if anyone thinks Swedish are superior to Finnish they are just utter fools, and also racist.

I think it is ridiculous for any country being bi-lingual because of a 5% minority. So I think it's better that Finland gives up this bi-lingual state, and stop hating us Swedes for what a minority of obviously racist people (who unfortunately speak Swedish) do.

Posted by: A Voice From SWEDEN... | May 31, 2005 09:03 AM

Once again; Swedish is the ONLY compulsory foreign language to all Finnish-speaking people (92 % of the population of SUOMI-Finland). All other foreign languages are optional.
Mr. Jari is trying to blow smoke into your eyes. ;-)

Here are the official languages around the Baltic Sea:
Poland only Polish (97,6 %),
Denmark only Danish (94,6 %),
Finland Finnish (92,5 %) and Swedish(5 %),
Germany only German (91,3 %),
Sweden only Swedish (89,5 %),
Russia only Russian (86,6 %)
Lithuania only Lithuanian (81,6 %),
Estonia only Estonian (65,2 %),
Latvia only Latvian (55,8 %).
In the parenthesis is the percentage of population having the official language as their mother tongue.

It is easy to see that Finland is an odd exception with two nationally official languages. Even more absurd is that Swedish is a compulsory language from the primary school up to university studies. It is a disgusting subject to a large majority of Finns.
Fortunately last year an act was passed to make Swedish optional in the matriculation examination. It is an opening to a brighter future for the Finns.

Posted by: Heikki Tala | May 31, 2005 10:27 AM

Mr. Axel Olof Freudenthal is a founder and ideologist of Swedish People's Party,an extremist Swedish party operating in Finland. Freudenthal's ideas are well alive among the Swedish extremists in Finland.

Enjoy:

Axel Olof Freudenthal (1836-1911), professor of Swedish Language at the University of Helsinki, was one of the worst racists of his time. He maintained, among other things, that Finnish-speakers were a lower "race" than Swedish-speakers and that the Finnish language does not allow of higher expression. He considered Finns as "Turanians", incapable of advanced social activities. Freudenthal's racial doctrine bears a striking resemblance to the one on Aryan superiority, already circulating in Europe at the time.

The fact, that the Swedish People's Party still bestow Freudenthal medals on their "meritorious" members as well as on other "deserving" citizens, betrays their secret vision of themselves as Finland's former colonial masters. The celebration of the Swedish Heritage on the very Gustav II Adolph's Day, reveals the non-avowed aspiration to annex Finland to Sweden once again.

According to History Professor Aira Kemiläinen, nationalists in Sweden and their "East-Swedish" compatriots-in-spirit in Finland labelled Finns as a lower breed, not capable of their own cultural accomplishments nor of creating an organized society to begin with.

In Finland, a lot of persuasion is used, trying to convince people, that Denmark and Norway are Sweden's sister nations. In reality, Denmark is Sweden's old enemy, who - unfortunately from Finnish point of view - never failed to seize the opportunity to ally with Russia. Norway, on the other hand, went through a bitter struggle for independence against Sweden and finally, in the year 1905, managed to free itself. The conflict very nearly escalated to an armed one, but a peaceful solution was reached in extremis through a referendum organised in Norway and resulting in favour of independence from Sweden.

Posted by: HARD TALK | May 31, 2005 10:47 AM

Dear American journalists,

A link in English about history of Finland to start with:

http://www.suomalaisuudenliitto.fi/history.htm

and

http://www.suomalaisuudenliitto.fi/case.htm

Life in Scandinavia isn't just sunshine for everybody.

Posted by: HARD TALK | May 31, 2005 10:54 AM

"Now for Americans one has to explain first that USA is maybe the only country (even Ireland changed the law) where being born somewhere gives you the citizenship automatically."

- Not true. Canada has similar rules.

Posted by: reader | May 31, 2005 10:57 AM

" I just made a statement that in some other countries you get better overall compensation from the society when looking the whole image."

I was just talking about support for families with little children. And there was a recent survey that showed that Sweden and Denmark have way better compensations, but even Finland did a lot better that other EU countries. And I think that is the reason why the decline in giving birth is not as dramatic in Sweden and Finland as it is in southern Europe.

And to the voice from Sweden: Finns don´t hate Swedes. Finns usually like Swedes. Over all nice, likable people. Some people here seen to belong to an extremist group called Suomalaisuuden liitto, and they are very vocal on a wrong forum. Granted, I also oppose compulsory Swedish, there are more useful languages to learn. And if it was voluntary I believe people would learn it gladly and speak it better. Personally I didn´t mind learning Swedish, heck, I learned even far more useless languages like Latin.

Posted by: E | May 31, 2005 12:03 PM

Just to clarify:

There was someone on this blog who wrote that they think people, including me, the Proud Forest Troll, post under several nomers. I wouldn't doubt that there are people who do that. However, I, the Proud Forest Troll, the one and only, am none of those other nomers mentioned.

My opinions are very straight forward:

1) I belive it is a good thing that everyone in Finaland has the great privilege to learn two great native languages that are part of both our Finnish and Nordic heritage.

2) I belive that the large brown behoofed animals in the forests of Finland are MOOSE, not elk.

This I stand for.

Peace and Love to you all!

Posted by: Proud Forest Trroll | May 31, 2005 01:17 PM

Actually, I find it ridiculous that some Finns feel "oppressed". I can tell you that it is a 1000 times more difficult for someone whose native tounge is Swedish, but struggles with finnish to get a job, than someone who speaks finnish but struggles with Swedish. It's quite the opposite! At least in this discussions it is the Finnish language Fundamental Fanatics (FFF) who are oppressing the Swedish speaking minority!

This whole discussion that's been conducted on this forum seems to somehow be based in a misconception that Swedish speakers all know finnish and somehow Sweish is some kind of "luxury".

It is not so.

Those of us born and raised in Swedish speaking areas do not know Finnish "from home". We learn it in school. Our families have been speaking Swedish (Finnish Swedish, nor Sweden Swedish) for hundreds of years. This is our Native language, the second official language of Finland.

We sing our National anthem in "Finlands svenska". Our flag is blue and white. We love our country finland just as much as the finnish speaker. We go to our Saunas every Friday, but we call it "bastu". We watch Ice hockey, ski jumping and Formula 1 just like the Finnish speakers. We eat the same makkara and drink the same Lapin Kulta. And we are NOT Swedes!

It really hurts to read those oppressive words written by some of the posters here. This is not the Finland and Finns I know.

To me it sounds like these people have some serious neo-nazi attitudes.

Why can't we just all get along?

Suomessa puhutaan ja osataan Suomea seka Suomen Ruotsia! Siita olen ylpea!

I Finland talar och kan vi bade Finska och Finlandsvenska. Jag ar stolt over detta!

Posted by: Proud Forest Troll | May 31, 2005 01:45 PM

Proud Forest Troll, May 31: "Our families have been speaking Swedish (Finnish Swedish, nor Sweden Swedish) for hundreds of years. This is our Native language, the second official language of Finland."

That's the point. Some 3,000-10,000 Finnish Swedes truly demand that their language must be studied by 5,2 million other Finns so that they do not have to study Finnish (or English)! And in practice, the Finnish-Swedes have prevented teaching of Sweden-Swedish in Finnish schools so that the archaic yoke-Swedish is even more ridiculous.

And, "Actually, I find it ridiculous that some Finns feel 'oppressed'. " You cannot say more, perhaps it was ridiculous that negro slaves felt oppressed. They had a good Master, or how? The examples of oppression have been listed. But how can anybody say that you do not feel oppressed? When the door of University is closed in front of you only because you speak Finnish? Btw, I have heard that Finns are the only nation or ethnic group, who have to compete in a difficult pre-studies exam, before getting accepted in a university. ALL 100% Finland-Swedes can just walk in and start getting rich. The Swedes live 6-9 years longer than Finns, in the same country, ceteris paribus.

Posted by: LanguageWarrior | May 31, 2005 03:09 PM

I just got to comment on the post of "language Warrior":

"Btw, I have heard that Finns are the only nation or ethnic group, who have to compete in a difficult pre-studies exam, before getting accepted in a university. ALL 100% Finland-Swedes can just walk in and start getting rich"

Well, YOU HEARD WRONG. There are certinly the same pre-studies exams in the Swedish schools. I know, I had to go thru that.

Slavery... you thow this words around. Others (? ... probably same person...) have tossed around the word "apartheid". In any case, you certinly must have skipped a whole lot of history classes my dear.

I can bet you you are not working under the hot sun, under a whip picking sugarcane, without pay, nor are you sleeping on "mattress" stuffed with acasia, while some planation owner is forcing you to obey whatever wishes.

I recommend that you pick up those high-school books and read them over, maybe also read the biographies of,Tutu, Biko, Sailor Malan, Chris Barnard, Sol Plaatje, Alan Paton and General Buddhoe before you start comparing your life to slavery. If reading isn't your cup of tea, maybe you should at elast go see a few movies: I recommend you start with "Amistad" to learn about the life of the enslaved Africans who endured the the middle passage, were treated as valuable commdity, but without any human value, and why not see "Cry Freedom" to get an idea of what Apartheid was about.

YOUR LIFE HAS NO COMPARISON TO SLAVERY, nor apartheid like some would like to put it on this forum.

YOU live in one of the worlds most modern, comfortable, secure, most peaceful and rich nations! You live in utter luxury and comfort even compared to other westernized societies!

You complain about privileges. This makes you a spoiled brat!

Remeber this: YOUR grandparents fought right next to MY grandparents for YOU AND ME to live in a country where both you AND me could speak our own languages, whichever it might be. I have the same right to be understood in my language in courts, schools, etc as you do.

You make it sound like only the Finns have to learn another language. I have NEWS for you!!! The learning burden is the same for me! I had to learn YOUR language as well. Also, I would have liked to study at a Finnish university, but, alas, the door was shut for me as well. I had far fewer picks that you did! There are more Finnish university places than Swedish. Maybe if you compare per capita you come to a higher ratio for the Swedish. You are just as allowed to apply to those as I am to the Finnish universities. If your only complaint is the higer per capita "Swedish" univeristy seats, then you should go abroad for a while. Get an idea of how "fairly" university seats are divied in the rest of the world. Hope you either are independently wealthy or just happen to have a think wad of cash in your pocket!


You are basically arguing that we should let my language die out, just because there are fewer of "me". In your world, noone really needs to understand me, I should just give up my languiage only speak it at home, and then in 10 years it would not be anymore. Just extinguish the Swedish language from Finland so that poor you won't have to learn it! Who needs to carry on that Nordic heritage anyway. And what do you care about MY rights, anyway... Well, for your information, I am a human too. I have the same rightful place as you do in our nation. Those young finnish-swedish speaking ostrobotnian men who fought and died for your and mine country (along with finnish speaking men) purchased that right for me with their lifes and sacrifices. You and me, we are equal, we are finnish citizens, no matter how much you would like to deny that or take it away from me.

I find it ironic that we have the two emminent Washington Post reporters travel our country and sofar they have had nothing but compliments to besove upon our educational system. Yet a few people on this blog make it their personal mission to communicate to the world that , yes, in finland there are apparently also people who are so incredably uneducated! They think they are enslaved, and they believe that there is a relevant comparison to Apartheid! I am embarrased beyond words.

For our sake dear "Language Warrior" I hope that one day you will open your eyes and see all the blessings in your life. You are a very lucky person indeed to live in a country where you can afford complaining about having to learn any subject. I also hope that some day you will have the good fortune to see the world outside (and no, I am not referring to charter trips to the beach either) and get a reality check.

All the best,

Marjo Aho

PS. I am writing to you from St. Croix, Virgin Islands, The Caribbean - as island where 98% of the population is decendant of enslaved Africans. This island was once owned by Danes. History here is very much remebered and close, as the slaves here were freed only just over 150 years ago. I have utmost respect for these people I live and work with and I find it disturbing that a Nordic, Finnish citizen has the audacity to compare their very fortunate situation to enslavement.

Posted by: Marjo Aho | May 31, 2005 05:01 PM

Proud Forest Troll: Why did I need to learn 6 years of swedish in school? Im now 28 MSc working for the Nokia. I haven't used swedish since lukio(High School). 6 years of nonsense. Nobody ever speaks it to me. I sincerely think some other solution than force feeding finns would be a better way to serve swedish speakers in their native tongue.

I feel ashamed to find this discussion in Washington Post's blog. Shame on both sides! This issue should not be discussed here at all.

I believe the discussion continues in the Internet because it is not so cool topic in the conservative finnish media. If some politician or journalist even suggests freedom of choice in language studies he/she is usually labeled "neo-nazis" or whatever. Calling names usually means lack of arguments when debating.

I hope this is the last post that concerns finnish and swedish language studies. Let it go..

On behalf of the sane residents of Finland, I sincerely apologize for any American readers for this bizarre "discussion".

Posted by: Average Joe | May 31, 2005 05:26 PM

Sorry to jump in before the Troll, but I have an answer for you:

Simply because our country was built by women and men, both Finnish speakers and Swedish speakers, together, as a bilingualcountry where FINN regardless of first language) has the right to the same level of usage of their language.

Yes, the swediush speaking group is smaller.

But we did not come in lately, we were there to build the country just like the larger finnish group was.

It is precisely because we are a smaller group that we FINNS must come together and help keep the language alive.

I do belive that most Finns feel and undertstand that if we were to stop teaching a compulsory second domestic language in Finland at least two things would happen:

1) We would understand eachother less. We would rift apart into two groups with even less tolerance than shown by some one this board.

2) It would become very hard for a Swedish speaker to be able to speak in his or her language when dealing with any public institution or private entreprise. Imagine how important it is to be able to have the comfort of knowing yo will be understood when you call the police, when you go to the hospital etc I would not want to deny you that right, I hope you don't want to take it away from me either!

Now, one might argue, that Finns would still keep choosing to learn Swedish. We'll maybe. But think back to your elementary and high school days. Honestly, did you always do the right thing and make the best choises? Maybe you were one of thise kids that did just that, but there certainly are a lot of kids that are like I was when I was young, ie not all that concerned about the future and sometimes making less than optimal choises in favor for something easier and seeminly more "fun".

As a parting thought, I would like to share with you the following:

Even though YOU might not speak Finlands svenska, still, the history of our country, and the Nordic heritage is YOURS. You may tresure it. As a Finn, it is part of you. It has formed our society and values and in extension yourself to become all you and and our country is today. Finalnd svenska is one indistishable part of who we, the FINNs are. I wish you could see that.

To me, the language question is not about "either-or". We are one, no matter what we consider our "first" language. I am proud of knowing both languages. I might have very little use of Finnish in the world, as opposed to Swedish, but I still treasure my finnish skills.

And, luckliy, If you work at Nokia, at least if you get to travel a bit and/or deal with others than just Finnish speaking Finns, you probably will soon discover the answer to the question you posed yourself.
:)

Posted by: Marjo Aho | May 31, 2005 06:05 PM

Marjo Aho:

"Simply because our country was built by women and men, both Finnish speakers and Swedish speakers, together, as a bilingualcountry where FINN regardless of first language) has the right to the same level of usage of their language."

This is simply not true. Finns fought hard against the oppression of the ruling class.
Pick up a history book(not the ones written by swedish-finnish) and learn.

"Yes, the swedish speaking group is smaller."


Most of the swedish-speaking finns live in bilingual communities. Only about 13 000 live in finnish speaking areas.

"1) We would understand each other less. We would rift apart into two groups with even less tolerance than shown by some one this board."

I do not see that happening. I think the relations would become better. Compulsory 6 years creates friction. Nobody dislikes swedishspeakers, unless they publicly boast with their nobel family tree.

"Imagine how important it is to be able to have the comfort of knowing yo will be understood when you call the police, when you go to the hospital etc I would not want to deny you that right, I hope you don't want to take it away from me either!"

Very soon, if not already, there are more russian speakers in finland than swedish speakers. I think we should provide necessary services(police, doctor) to them in russian, but we should not have compulsory 6 years of russian for everybody.

In general I think learning languages is great. I have many swedish-finnish friend and they ALL speak finnish as their other native tongue. When they call the police they speak what ever language they feel comfortable. This privilege could be maintained even if compulsory swedish was made elective.

"Now, one might argue, that Finns would still keep choosing to learn Swedish. We'll maybe. But think back to your elementary and high school days. Honestly, did you always do the right thing and make the best choises? Maybe you were one of thise kids that did just that, but there certainly are a lot of kids that are like I was when I was young, ie not all that concerned about the future and sometimes making less than optimal choises in favor for something easier and seeminly more "fun"."

As an adult and a parent I would argue that learning english is important but swedish not.


"Even though YOU might not speak Finlands svenska, still, the history of our country, and the Nordic heritage is YOURS."

What a load of crap. Even in the Nordic Council nobody gives a rats ass about Finnish. They do think they are better(swedes) and more civilized. I have witnessed this in my work. Yes I work in Nokia and also have been In business trips in all the Nordic Countries and they all speak english.

"And, luckliy, If you work at Nokia, at least if you get to travel a bit and/or deal with others than just Finnish speaking Finns, you probably will soon discover the answer to the question you posed yourself.
:)"

You assume just because "I don't treasure" the nordic heritage(sike!) that I dont travel or I would be somehow ignorant. The truth us I do travel and have many swedish speaking friends.

You are the one stuck in your beliefs.

I was not supposed to discuss this here but it offends me that you think disargreeing with you means being ignorant. Very stereotypical finnish-swedish behavior.

Posted by: Average Joe | May 31, 2005 06:43 PM

Good talking Marja Aho!

Posted by: | May 31, 2005 08:45 PM

Marjo Aho,

Do you agree, "Finns and Swedes shall have totally harmonized rights in Finland and Sweden."?

In Sweden, raw killing of "Forest Finns" was the official policy. In 1950s, children speaking Finnish, were physically punished, they indeed had to carry a wooden yoke in their necks. (Yoke-Swedish; now you understand the comparison to slavery.)

In Aland, TODAY, Finnish language must not be taught in public schools, using Finnish language at schools is forbidden. If you happen to die, you family is not allowed to give an annoncement of funerals in Finnish. ALAND has not ratified the anti-racistic directive EC 2000/43. Perhaps they want to apply discrimination against Finns, with smiling faces. If you smile, then there is no illegal racism, said the ALAND spokesman in Finnish TV just a few months ago.

In HELSINKI, TODAY, there are some public youth houses, where speaking Finnish is forbidden or limited. There are never such limitations towards Swedes, perhaps we should apply the same policy?


Why in the World, you Swedes do not accept voluntary studies of Archaic Swedish and studies of Sweden Swedish? You dialect is so important.

Of human values you do not care at all. You 1-5% want to have everything as the 92-99% has. It is impossible, if you do not change mathematics and define that 1 = 99. When there is this fundamantal difference always, there will be others, naturally.

And you do not care at all of Russians, Estonians, Somalis, Romas, etc., who all learn Finnish language in one year. Still they can keep their own identity and be beloved members of the country of Finland.

You do not care of Finns, who were in Sweden before Swedes. You can see it from the old geographical names in Finnmark. The maps are good for that purpose.

In all countries, the differences of ethnic groups have to be resolved. Finland is the only country, where the minority is (was) badly pampered. Typically, a Swede here will have 400-1500% better chances for any well-paid publicly finance job (TV, Government, etc etc.. Now it is over.

Finland shall harmonize its policy exactly to the same as Sweden towards Finns.

For global issues, Finland shall join the English-speaking world. That is why, our discussion in WP is so important. We need all support for expanding our English abilities, for getting freedom.

Posted by: LanguageWarrior | June 1, 2005 03:41 AM

Three comments:
liberal female: Do you understand that your "team" does not include the majority of finns? I could make the same comment but with different numbers, from my friends 90% are in fawor of death penalty, longer and harder conditions for the prisoners (depending from the crime, of course), but i do understand that the main percentage can differ from our opinions.. If you have better numbers that the original poster then please let us have them, but with good sources.

Marja Alho: How typical of you to bring up the "history" card from our "common" history with Sweden. Poster "average joe" made good points about the style you swedish speaking people react when someone brings the truth to table. I don´t think nobody questions your right to talk swedish at home or with your friends. The main issues is that we, finnish speaking majority 95% of the people, do NOT need to learn swedish by force. Also we do not need to give this small portion such huge benefits over the rest of the population.

To the Washington Post reporters: excellent article, i have really enjoyed following your trip through Finland. Enjoy your stay at my hometown Turku and write good comments about it ;).

Posted by: the second Finn | June 1, 2005 04:15 AM

About the language situation in Finland. I worked a year in eastern Finland. There is a long border to Russia and a lot of contact with them, commercial, science (e.g. the University of Joensuu, where Americans study about Russian subjects). On the Russian side of the border is Karelia, the ultimate home of our Finno-Ugric language from a direction of Russia.

When one becomes aware of the many infrastructures in eastern Finland, the long waterways and wide channels one notice that they are build during the period of czar's rule. My ancestors from mother's side come from the Karelian Isthmus. They told that even farms were let without care as the farmer had 'disappeared', that is did not return/survive the wars of Sweden empire somewhere in Central Europe or Baltic.
The people in eastern Finland do not need Swedish language. It is not spoken, they hardly if any do not watch Swedish programs in television. According to the polls they want to learn much rather English and Russia than Swedish in any compulsory forms.

Swedish is mostly spoken in a thin belt at the south and southwest at the coast. If we would like to put a Finno-Ugric zero point on the map, it obviously wouldn't be in that more Swedish speaking belt. When the University of Turku burned down and its library too during the czar's time and the university ran out of books, it was the Academy of Sciences of St.Petersburg, which donated immediately the first batch of books. The books were transported in sleighs across the frozen Gulf of Finland. By the way the books were in German language. Some loose thoughts but a view to the past too.

Posted by: Jerry can | June 1, 2005 05:14 AM

I would like to add the post of "LanguageWarrior" that during those days in Sweden finnish speaking students were marked with big "F"!!! Now, what time and nation does that remind you from the history?!?!?

Posted by: the second Finn | June 1, 2005 05:23 AM

I completely agree with Average Joe (May 31st) on the stupid language topic spread in this plog. For all American readers I apologize that this blog has been taken over by some meaningless and boring topics on a marginal issues. Maybe it is part of the negative sides of the welfare state that these finns have too much time to think such completely irrelevat issues such as swedish language in Finland etc. I don't know any people in my circle of friends who would really care. We have more important issues in Finland. And for all participants of the swedish language topic: go somewhere else to discuss it! You make me really feel sick and bored with your nonsense mumble. Majority of people reading the Finland diary are probably more interested in such issues as Finnish culture, society, welfare issues, everyday life etc anyway.

And in addition to all these contrasts made to the US it would probably be also enlightening for the americans to read what is different in Finland compared to, say, other European countries they usually visit more often. So Finland is in Europe but what makes it different from France or Germany, for example? Any comments on this topic?

Posted by: Bored | June 1, 2005 05:26 AM

"But the difference between the richest Finns and he poorest is not as big as elsewhere. Finns wouldn't consider it fare if, as in the U.S., the CEO earned 350 times more than the factory worker. The rich don't need to move into gated communities. Their children will go to school with people from very different social backgrounds, to they don't become a totally isolated elite."

Well they live in their own areas, have cameras and private security in their houses.. no gates though. Schools often are in same area where you live. CEO can earn quite a lot with stock options etc. in Finland as well. Just look at Nokia CEO, does not speak well - does he really have any qualities better than the average unemployed, except education and connections (MSc in engineering was some years ago found to be the subject those study, whose parents have the most money)

"In HELSINKI, TODAY, there are some public youth houses, where speaking Finnish is forbidden or limited. There are never such limitations towards Swedes, perhaps we should apply the same policy?"

Well the swedes are in power so finns are not allowed such policies. The swedish language is totally useless and takes lots of resources, some pupils simply do not learn english, needed everywhere, because there is another language to mix things up, and other languages - there usually is german and french as voluntary subjects, but many are simply unable to learn several languages. Swedes reply to this "they are stupid", but it would be better for the stupid and the society that they learned enough english to be able to use computers, internet, understand what play means on a dvd player etc.
Swedes only like to show their power and might by forcing finns study their useless language.

Posted by: lack of power | June 1, 2005 06:00 AM

"For all American readers I apologize that this blog has been taken over by some meaningless and boring topics on a marginal issues."

First of all, please acknowledge that you are a Swede who have suppressed discussion of the language matter in Finland for years while using political power to worsen things for the finns language-wise all the time. The blog has not been taken over, but shows how wide-spread the dislike of the forced swedish is among finns.

"And in addition to all these contrasts made to the US it would probably be also enlightening for the americans to read what is different in Finland compared to, say, other European countries they usually visit more often. So Finland is in Europe but what makes it different from France or Germany, for example? Any comments on this topic?"

There are no similar countries in Europe where the grip of some political elite as the swedes here, was as high to the whole population. Maybe in Africa, Asia etc. there is. Have not heard of any though.

As for Finns, cross a dane with a northern german, that is pretty much how they are like.

"And for all participants of the swedish language topic: go somewhere else to discuss it! "

Swedes have managed to end the discussion in several places already and want to end it here, too.

Posted by: | June 1, 2005 07:15 AM

"Fortunately there are only a few fanatics Swedish-possessed"

Yes, there are lots more of them on the other side, making sure all Finns have to study Swedish so they can be given orders in Swedish if need be and that all Finns understand who they must bow to.

http://www.jippii.fi/jsp/forum/thread.jsp?b=kielipolitiikka&t=34389
http://www.svenskungdom.fi/thread.php?id=10940#10940
(Someone claiming not all Swedes are like Ida Asplund there - yes they are, she is only talking it aloud, the others are in power and force finns study swedish)


"If some politician or journalist even suggests freedom of choice in language studies he/she is usually labeled "neo-nazis" or whatever."

Real reason-
The journalist would have to start thinking about another profession ig he/she wrote about that.

Posted by: | June 1, 2005 07:36 AM

I think even if its mostly off topic, some US citzens might be interested to know that Finland isn´t such bilingual harmony as it has been shown. Of course there are other issues which are more "important" for the daily life, but they do not diminish the fact that Finland has language problem to which swedish speaking party/minority tryes to constantly intervene to keep up the unnatural situation for their own benefit.
For the defenders of compulsory swedish: I have usually discovered in debates that when the opposite side turns to insults like your side has done here, they usually have lost the game. Don´t you guys think so too?

Posted by: the second Finn | June 1, 2005 07:41 AM

"* Gun control? Can citizens own rifles? Pistols?

A. We don't think that owning a gun is a constitutional right or that it would have something to do with individual's freedom. The Finnish thinking is that the number of guns is linked to having a more violent society. But you can own guns on certain conditions, for example, for hunting, which is quite popular in the countryside."

Seriously, it seems he is giving a totally false picture.
http://harris.dvc.org.uk/dunblane/asj.html

Suicide (overall)Suicide (firearm)Firearm density
1. Estonia 1. USA 14th. Estonia
2. Hungary 2. Finland 18th. Hungary
3. Finland 3. Estonia 1st. Finland
4. Belarus 4. Canada 18th. Belarus
5. Japan 5. New Zealand 27th. Japan

Hunting is popular, but what is even more popular is fishing. Introduction to finland should really include fishing.


"I forgot!

If "Barney O'Connor" is native English speaker then I'm a moose.

My guess is that Pauli has a big brother who knows little more English than he does.

Posted by: Charles Davidson | May 28, 2005 04:43 PM"

Funny that you should use such a name and such a revealing claim someone else would use an english-sounding name.

Harleys are quite common (considering it is always too cold to drive a motorcycle, those who cant take it, tend to buy some old american car instead) nowadays in Finland, it has been kind of a fashion statement for some years now. http://www.hdcf.fi/

So would the gay brother of Harley be called Charles Davidson ?

Posted by: | June 1, 2005 07:50 AM

"Q. Finnish women seem to be more fully liberated than even American women, or any others. Even the elected president of Finland is a woman. Why?

A. The main idea is equal opportunities: women don't have to choose between having children and work."

Dear american women, before moving to Finland note two things:
American women have cars. Finnish women use buses or bicycles, men have cars.
Women here choose the career. Birth rates in Europe are low and women give birth at later age than in america. For a full life, do not make the same mistake.

Posted by: | June 1, 2005 08:02 AM

A Voice from Sweden wrote:

"Now I have more understanding as to why Finnish people don't like Swedes."

That is not the case. Come visit Finland and you'll see. What the majority of Finns don't like is the domestic language politics.

It is the foolish Finnish politics and politicians, especially the representatives in Finnish Parliament, that deserve the critics you have read here. I hate to say, but it is mainly the foolishness of us Finns which has lead us into this situation. The so called representative democracy could work better than it currently does. We still have a long way to go from this point.

I have nothing against Swedes or Sweden. I know some and they are nice people.

Posted by: Nikolas Ojala | June 1, 2005 10:02 AM

Will this Diary be available in book form??

Posted by: Rita | June 1, 2005 10:14 AM

I´m really getting bored to this language debate. I´d say this is not the right place for it so PLEASE STOP! Has anyone have any other and more interesting topics?

Posted by: Totally Bored | June 1, 2005 10:54 AM

Apartheid or ÅPÅRTHEID in Finland

Is there åpårtheid in Finland, such as it was in South Africa, such as it was in India. Yes:

Maternity hospitals
Baby kindergartens
Kindergartens
Primary schools
Secondary Schools
Business Schools
Municipal school committees
Many other committees
Youth clubhouses

Military troops; Btw. The Swedish Battalion is located in a modern concentration camp Dragsvik/ Tammisaari, where they say that Finns were killed just because of their language. In all other countries, this kind of shameful institutions are demolished or saved as museums of terror. In Finland, new generations of Pure Swedes are educated to remember that they own the country.

Universities
Academies
Note; there are many Swedish-only universities in Finland, but not a single one Finnish!!!

Hospitals
Old people homes
Analogical TV channels
Digital TV channels;
Note: Swedish programme is force-fed thru all public national TV channels, and in prime time so that there is not any Finnish TV channel!!!
Newspapers
National pension funds have the position of the director of all Finnish personal data, where ONLY A NATIVE SWEDE can be appointed!!!

Graveyards
No-duty-jobs in many offices
Language police, watching your ability and proactive willingness in speaking perfect East-Swedish
Health centers
Police

Courts; so that a superior caste Swede does not be judged by an inferior caste Finn!!!
University maturity exam; so that a superior caste Swede will not be evaluated by an inferior caste Finn.

Not to mention: Aland, where Finnish language is banned by the law!!!
Not to mention those (thank God) few municipalities, where Finnish language is an awful stigma

Public servant positions, where always a Swede can be selected before any Finn
Public TV journalist and other programme developers.

But everwhere, Swedes are allowed to use Swedish. Naturally, why not? This jeremiad is against FORCE-SWEDISH, YOKE-SWEDISH, not against Swedish.

Posted by: LanguageWarrior | June 1, 2005 11:02 AM

Some Finland-Swede "bättre-talande" (=better talking, better language) lady worte: "One very essential part of our Finnish national identity that we are particularly proud of, and that I hope you will be blogging on, is that we have two official languages, Finnish and Swedish..."

Only you Swedes can be proud of this absurd achievement of yours. We Finns are ashamed of this (and of our Finnish untouchable politicians - the best that only Swedish money can buy), and the Swedes can rest assured that there will be radical changes in this respect, as well as in the force-feeding of the Swedsish language to all Finnish peaople, and also the pvivilegiums of the Swedes are coming to their end.

And it is also very thick B.S., as the Swedish language may indeed belong to the Swedish identity, but definitely not to Finnish.

Finland's Swedes actually have a very weak national identity; they don't know wheather they are Swedish or Finnish, so they choose to be either one, which ever is more advantageous for them at each moment. We Finns call them "raisin-pickers" and parasites.

Posted by: Finnish-speaker | June 1, 2005 11:35 AM

Koikkalainen, an obvious Swede or Swede-lover, wrote first:
"Swedish language, mandatory or not, existing in Finnish culture or not, is not going to do much with the well-being of Finland."

and then: "At the same time my mother is trying to start her own business and is loaded up with unbelievable taxes on top of other taxes."

I see, then, that you never came to think, that for a considerable part your mother's "unbelievebale taxes" are needed to feed a large amount of totally unnecessary Swedish "public-servants", who maintain the double, bi-lingual infrastructure system of Finland.

Posted by: Finnish-speaker | June 1, 2005 12:06 PM

People seem to be aware that Finland has a high suicide rate, but not that our homicide rate is also the highest in EU. Finnish justice ministry: http://www.om.fi/haaste/24673.htm (it's in Finnish, but you can probably undestand the graph).

Murders are about 5 times more common in Finland than in Britain.

Even though the firearms are as common as people here have stated, the most common weapon in murders is a knife. The stereotype killer is an unemployed alcoholic male who has had several failed relationships and has a violent history. Usually the killer and the victim know each other (have been drinking together, fighting each other before).

Posted by: Samuli | June 1, 2005 12:45 PM

"American women have cars. Finnish women use buses or bicycles, men have cars."

That was a bit funny. I am a Finnish woman and I have a car. And so do all my friends. But I use very often also a bike and I always take a bus when I go to Helsinki because I don´t want to look for a parking place (and it is expensive to park there).

Still ten years ago there was an awkward practise: husband drove alone a brand new, big car. Wife crammed three little kids, a dog and a pram into a tiny, 15-year-old car that certainly would have been lethal in an accident. Now THAT is changing and people usuallu drive their kids in the car that is safer.

Posted by: | June 1, 2005 12:55 PM

Wow, I one day of not reading this blog and a gazillion new posts reaching new ignoramus levels...

Well, my fellow readers from outside the borders of Finland;

- I can assure you that Finns, reagrdless of first language, really are very tolerant people, as opposed to what you might come to believe reading the above.

- Finns (Finnish speakers and Finnish Swedish speakers) generally do coexist happily together.

- We have neither apartheid nor slavery in Finland :)

- We do have a few nuts, fundamental "language warriors", neo nazis and general cookoos, but they are really few and far between. My guess is that a link to this blog has been posted on some of their sites, which explains the repeated occurence of such extreme and similar posts.

- Finnish speakers and Finnish Swedish speakers have equal burden and difficulty in learning the other language, but also both gain a lot by it. Of course there will be a few individulas that just in general are bothered by "having to" learn anything. Poor them!

- Neither swedish speakers nor Finnish speakers are "better, richer, smarter" or anything "more" in general, like some "fennomanicas" would like you to think.

- We still have the question of Elk vs. Moose to discuss.

- There is a lot more to say about Finland than to lament having to learn a language.

Happy forest strolling!

Ps. Here's an insider tip: If any non-Finn wants to know if a poster is a Finn or not (posing as a foreigner) just check the use of prepositions (working IN Nokia, rather than AT Nokia). Also, when d is used instead of g (cap - gap),and when p is used instead of b (pigot - bigot), wnad when t is used for d (can't think of example, but it happens), you know you're dealing with a Finn :)

Posted by: Proud Forest Troll | June 1, 2005 01:50 PM

Finns are violent. All studies support this fact. Then the question is WHY? Think about it, Finns have been under the Swedish supermacy for some 600 years and under the Russian for 110 years. War after war for one thousand years. The only way of surviving has been to hit and shoot everything that is moving. The best fertile areas were donated to the favorites of the Kings of Sweden. Finns were their servants, often very badly treated by the masters.
Without this violent feature Finns had never been able to resist the attact of the Soviet Union in 1939-1944.
Yes, it is a sad fact that we Finns are violent - and still thanks to God, we are.

Posted by: Heikki Tala | June 1, 2005 02:03 PM

Jerry can: Nobody has forbidden to speak Finnish anywhere in Finland.

Posted by: Urja | June 1, 2005 02:14 PM

"American women have cars. Finnish women use buses or bicycles, men have cars."

You make it sound like that riding a bicycle is somehow worse than driving a car. I am a Finnish man married to a foreign woman. She drives the car and I cycle. I wouldn't exchange the cycling to sitting in a traffic jam. Considering our bad climate, I am proud how much we cycle. We can't beat the Danes or the Dutch, but we definitely cycle more than for instance the British (inventors of bicycle !)

Don't be afraid of cycling. Put a helmet on your head and start pedaling ! Great excercise and you can enjoy the nature. And the city air stays clean.

Yes, I understand that for families with kids it is a different matter, but for commuting bicycle beats the car 9 months out of 12 (yes, for winter you might want to switch to a motor vehicle. Even then in big cities I prefer bus to the car).

Posted by: Sam | June 1, 2005 02:19 PM

To Heikki Tala:
"Finns are violent. All studies support this fact. Then the question is WHY? Think about it, Finns have been under the Swedish supermacy for some 600 years and under the Russian for 110 years. War after war for one thousand years. The only way of surviving has been to hit and shoot everything that is moving."

I find this explanation very poor. Finland has not seen particularly many wars during the last thousand years. Especially, if you compare it to Central Europe, like France, Germany or England.

And I don't think our violent culture had anything to do with a sort of success in WWII. The war was decided by good and diciplined military training and doctrine, not by drunken knife fights.

And I especially don't think that it is a blessing to have such a violent culture. I am sure, most people would like the murder rate to go down to the level of the rest of Europe.

Posted by: Sam | June 1, 2005 02:28 PM

"Finns are violent."

There is a big difference between being hardy, stubborn, persistent and all the qualities we assocoaie with the Finnish "Sisu", but "violent" is hardly one of them.

Finland is more known for diplomatic efforts, than for offensive attacks.

Yes, we were very good at keeping the Russions at bay. But this was a necessity in our stuggle to keep from becoming yet another part of russia, not indication of aggressive tendencies of the people.

Stubborn, determined, hardy, resiliant, suriviors, yes. Violent, no.

Posted by: Proud Forest Troll | June 1, 2005 02:37 PM

For your information, Finland and finnish people have had 40 wars (which are big enough for that definition) with the russians from year 1200, and that doesn´t even include all the local battles which have happened in the eastern border. You can decide from that if it is a lot or not.

Posted by: the second Finn | June 1, 2005 03:26 PM


Something about our "Nordic heritage":

http://historymedren.about.com/library/text/ntxtfinland7.htm

Posted by: Jerry can | June 1, 2005 05:46 PM

Just a small comment on the alcohol issue.

Before the 19th century, alchol was used with caution and the relationship to it was healthy and balanced. Alcohol wasn't seen as a bad and corrupting thing. It was just a thing that was used almost daily, for good purposes. Served to guests, given to women who were giving birth, etc. Getting drunk was not the goal.

During the 19th century the temperance movement took off in Finland. The whole thinking about alcohol was changed. Suddently it was seen as a negative thing, as a shameful thing. If there were alcohol, it had to be consumed as quickly as possible.

And therefore, when the prohibition was cancelled in the twenties, finnish drinking culture has never been the same. And it's getting worse. Luckily we are still very far from russian figures.

Posted by: A nameless student | June 1, 2005 06:10 PM

There is ancient animal deep in the Finnish forests called a "Food-beast" or lapsis animus erpse. This is a strange, shy animal that has large ears and a high-pitched wistle (my spelling please not so good?). It is hard to tracks, but specimens do find their way to the city's urbis sometimes. We finnish as children learned about this from Mommo's mouths. "Beware the Food-beast."

Posted by: Ravi | June 1, 2005 06:35 PM

What *really* goes on in those famous Saunas of yours, hmmmmm you blue-eyed Indians! C'mon, LA wants to know the dirt!!! Dish it, dish it! Surely not a steamy 'language debate' I hope.
Smiles and kisses :-)

Posted by: LA Woman | June 1, 2005 06:45 PM

"What *really* goes on in those famous Saunas of yours, hmmmmm you blue-eyed Indians! C'mon, LA wants to know the dirt!!! Dish it, dish it! Surely not a steamy 'language debate' I hope.
Smiles and kisses :-)"

This happened long long time ago at Finnish sauna. Swede, Dane and Fin made a bet that who can do all these: drink 1 litre of moonshine booze (80%)in 120 C -sauna then go out and kill a bear with bare hands and after that f*ck an old local woman.
Dane dropped down after couple mouthfulls of his bottle. Swede and Fin drank theirs and shared the leftovers from Dane. Swede went out first to hunt the bear. He passed out shortly. Fin stayed at sauna and after awhile he went out for the bear. Dane woke up because of terrible growling and noise from the forrest and shortly Fin came back bleeding and bruised and then Fin asked (in terrible drunk):" Where is that old woman whom I have to kill"

(f*cked the beer)

Tom From Finland

Posted by: Tom from Finland | June 1, 2005 07:23 PM

SWEDISHNESS IS A WEAPON FOR RUSSIA

Russian military airplanes violate every week Finnish area. Just wonder, what can stop it. Finland should be a member of NATO?

Mr. Putin is very happy for the Finnish bilingualism. He has an excellent case to demand Yoke-Russia to the Baltic countries. Indeed, in the Baltics, there are proportionally 3-10 times as many Russians as there are Swedes in Finland. Thus, the Swedomaniacs of Finland, and the most powerful of them, Mr. Lipponen and Mrs. Halonen, are Quislings to the Baltic Countries.

Posted by: Arcticus | June 1, 2005 10:56 PM

"You make it sound like that riding a bicycle is somehow worse than driving a car."


It is much worse, when it's -20 degrees with wind in the dead of winter. Cycling is nice in the summertime, but let's not forget that the summer is short in Finland. I've used both forms of transport in all seasons and I tend to prefer the car.


I personally agree with the poster who suggested that most American women have an advantage because they own cars, whereas Finnish women usually use bicycles or take the bus.

The Finnish woman who replied is an exception, and most likely from a rich family in southern Finland. Where I live I can think of very few women who have their own cars, and oddly enough most of the ones who do are foreigners. Among the families who have cars, usually the man gets to use it the most, and many people in the area where I live assume that if the woman is driving with her husband as the passenger, it's because the husband is drunk, otherwise the man should be driving. I think that often people who try to convince themselves that cycling all of the time is better, are just trying to come to terms with the fact that they can't afford a car. Cars are not all that evil here, after all, the state does like to see car dealerships succeed because it means big tax revenues, right?

Posted by: about cars | June 2, 2005 01:32 AM

"The second Finn" gives wrong information about "wars between Finns and Russians."

It is a national myth. In fact,there is never bee a war between Finland and Russia!

They were Sweden's and Russia's wars.

There were Finnish origin soldiers in Sweden's and in Soviet Union's armies,but the fact is: Finland and Russia have never fought against each others.

In stead so late as the year 1918 Sweden's army occupiedn parts of Finland,the south-western archipelago of Turun ja Porin lääni. Sweden tried to take benefit of the fragile independence of a newly born nation. It was disgusting maneuvre but not the only one made by Sweden against the Finnish interests in the Baltic Sea region.

The Finns should not laugh on the other nations who build non-existent myth of their past. There is enough own ones.

Posted by: First Finn | June 2, 2005 03:23 AM

That is just semantics, those wars were fought by finns and in the area of Finland, so what would you call it? Who cares if there wasn´t country called Finland if it involved all the finns and their home land? What a load of crap, "false information"? You are the one giving false information.

Posted by: the second Finn | June 2, 2005 03:36 AM

Do you know dear Americans that according to the standards of Fenno-Swedes you are uncivilized and uneducated lower-category people?

Namely according to the Fenno-Swedes only the persons who speak Swedish are civilized people. As shy persons the Fenno-Swedes withdraw from writing about it here but for the Finnish speaking Finns it is common lecture if there is a debate of mandatory Swedish with the Fenno-Swedes.

If you as an American speak in addition to English,French,German,Spanish what ever you are still uncivilized and uneducated because the most important skill is missing,Swedish,its dialect spoken in Finland. Not to mention the substance,knowledge,other skills. The most important virtue of a civilized person still lacks skills in Swedish.

It is not history. It is just some weeks ago when a representant of Swedish People's Party was lecturing to the Finns who are civilized people and who are not.
(Ms. Marlen Timonen, (sfp),Kokkola,Mot-programme,TV2,Finland's State Television)

Posted by: First Finn | June 2, 2005 03:39 AM

First Finn, Language warriors etc.
This language debate is useless here. You have made your points clear. Repeating them doesn´t lead anywhere. What do you expect? That Washington Times would make an article about this and condemn those facist swedes?
Or that all unaware Americans would rush to Finland to perform a regime change?
Keep your battle at homebase. Where you can influence Finnish public opinion and thus actually making something and stop b o t h e r i n g people here.

Posted by: Töppö Järkevä | June 2, 2005 04:34 AM

FREEDOM!

"Töppö Järkevä",

Finns are also like the frog in heated water. Not yet burning as were the Jews in holocaust. The difference in life-expectances between the Finns and Swedes, 6-9 years, is huge, but people don't observe that when they are young.

All freedom movements use publicity as the best weapon. Mandela was freed because of international support. Naturally, national fighting is important.

The Finnish case is similar to the modern analysis of economic classes: The powerful 40 per cent can liberally exploit the powerless 60 percent, because the powerless do not have the positions, channels and skills to take care of their demands. In Finland, the 5 per cent Swedes have made the tacit agreement with the other parties about the power. It is a smart building. The have-nots, regular Finns, believe that they must strive for getting to the level of a "civilized" person. Then they also could get some butter on their rye breads.

Only the Indian caste system is smarter. The dalits believe that they are inferior just like Finns believe of themselves or actually, Swedes believe that they are superior and all must be in their control.

Posted by: LanguageWarrior | June 2, 2005 05:25 AM

It's a common misconception among Finnish-speaking Finns that being civilized is the same thing as being potty trained. Being civilized in Finland means among other things that know at least what was taught to you in primary school. A lot of Finnish-speakers don't.

The reason why Finnish-speakers die younger is that almost all of them abuse alcohol and die of alcohol related sicknesses or from alcohol related violence. They smoke a lot too. Lately drug abuse has become more common. Also STD:s kill a lot of Finnish-speakers. Finnish-speakers are well known in Sweden, Russia and at resorts for all the social problems they cause. It's never those who bothered to learn Swedish that have these kind of problems.

It's very easy to blame a minority for your lack of spine (and brain).

One thing that especially makes the Finnish-speaking males furious is that because of their problems with alcohol, Finnish women prefer Swedish-speaking men and raise their children as Swedish-speakers with a good knowledge of Finnish.

The Swedish-speaking men have never a problem finding women for longer or shorter relationships. The Finnish-speaking males' STD:s originate usually from mutual relationships (they get crazy when they're drunk and think they are "Tom of Finland"). Some come of course from paid contacts with prostitutes abroad.

Very revealing is that the highlight of Finnish sports history is the gold medal in ice hockey championships in 1995. This is still celebrated! The only reason it was accomplished was that the trainer was Swedish-speaking. Even the victory song is in Swedish.

The Finnish-speakers want freedom. Freedom to do what? Can it be any worse?

Posted by: Janne Porvalin | June 2, 2005 06:02 AM


LW:
"like the jews in holocaust".
If I remember correct Hitler saw jews as Germanys enemy who had a minority status, but still enormous power. The picture what is growing here is very similar.
So, before Swedes invade Finlands economy and starves Finns to death we´d have to find a final solution for them? Is that where you´re going to?
Nationalistic outbursts has a bad history of ending up in nightmare.

But, don´t get me wrong. There is lots of truth in what you´re saying, but before you beat your self in battlemode, please do push some brakes.

Write everything that bothers you down, examine them against reality factor, examine proper solutions, publish them via net and t h e n try to get attention for those well presented and thoroughly thought out issues. When you are flaming around the web, what you actually do is that you want someone else to do the corrections what bothers you. Be a pioneer, make solutions. And if you are good at it, You´re solutions will rise into level of reality.
Hatred is good fuel only in rock´n´roll biz.

Posted by: Töppö Järkevä | June 2, 2005 06:45 AM

Could some swedish speaking person enlighten us with the idea why all finns should have compulsory sweden at school? Don´t use the "it´s in the law" or "common/scandinavian history" excuses, instead tell us in your own words why we must keep learning by force? Also, can you, if possible, give your own view why finnish language does not have similar rights in Sweden, regardless of the situation that there are over 500 000 finnish speaking people living in Sweden?
I can only imagine the outcome if some politician in US would suggest taking spanish as the second official language and making it compulsory for all. Any thoughts on that from US readers?

Posted by: bogey | June 2, 2005 07:12 AM

"The Finnish woman who replied is an exception, and most likely from a rich family in southern Finland." Eh, well that was me. You make it sound like one has to be wealthy to have a car. True, they are ridiculously expensive in Finland, but there are cars and there are cars. To have a car does not mean that you drive a Porche, you can also drive a 10-year-old Toyota.

Posted by: E | June 2, 2005 07:57 AM

The law is enough for me. If you want to change the law, you can always vote people who are against Swedish.

For some reason, those kind of people seldom get to be voted to the parliament.

Never has any MP made an amendment to remove the bilinguality from Finland. Never.

And I have found Swedish to be more important in my job than English. In Finland Finnish and Swedish are two of the most important languages. English comes third. Then the rest, Russian, German and French.

Posted by: Urja | June 2, 2005 08:10 AM

"The law is enough for me. If you want to change the law, you can always vote people who are against Swedish."

Well, IF you knew who they were. The media does not tell. Also the PARTIES select who represent them, so the money in parties goes to them who apply to the swedish rule.

"you can also drive a 10-year-old Toyota. "

If you can afford one. Me - not.

"Very revealing is that the highlight of Finnish sports history is the gold medal in ice hockey championships in 1995."

And the swedes are now somehow investigating the traitor that was on finnish side, patient they are, so its not as obvious anymore. Economical crime is extremely wide-spread in Sweden, so why just Curt Lindström ?

"I think that often people who try to convince themselves that cycling all of the time is better, are just trying to come to terms with the fact that they can't afford a car"

Yes, that is so. -30 or -40 is too cold, even though some still use a bicycle. I personally cannot, it is too cold to even walk for me. No matter how warm jacket and pants are, still you have breathe the air. Have car, have heater ("webasto") or keep car inside - its never cold, no matter how cold it is inside. Town center or own house, the wealthy keep warm.

Posted by: | June 2, 2005 08:24 AM

"And it is also very thick B.S., as the Swedish language may indeed belong to the Swedish identity, but definitely not to Finnish."

The swedish rule was fatal to finns whereas the russian rule could be compared to the british rule of the irish, not nearly as fatal - obviously still not liked, but not as deadly as the swedish opressive policies that sent huge numbers of finns to death.
To still have all finns have to speak swedish, shows how they are like.

Posted by: | June 2, 2005 08:32 AM

""To Huckleberry Finn:
I agree what you said "I am not impressed with the architecture in Helsinki. ""

Conan show had him telling, finns have had culture for long time, still no succesful finns. Well, true, except,
http://www.worldpress.org/Asia/512.cfm
finns who go to places with no swedes (or viking, norwegians) around, tend to be succesful, maybe they do not go to top of society, but no bad talk from others who claim to be "americans" "canadians" etc. and they can keep their own name and still be succesful , places where lots of swedes are, finns are not succesful, someone is sure to make up something about them.

Architecture-
Helsinki is a very lively city. Somehow it is just not alive like turku and tampere are.

Posted by: | June 2, 2005 08:44 AM

For my point of view, the forced swedish is a dinosaur from the past and should be removed. I have never used swedish in Finland or Åland, nor have i had to use it in Sweden. My job requires me to contact people all over the world(including Sweden) and i have never used swedish with them (i think my skills in that language are mediocre), english works just fine. As a principle i never use swedish when interacting with people, not even with people from Sweden. I allways try to find a politician who would openly declare that he will run agains mandatory swedish (that gets my vote). I would say that 99% of swedish speaking people in Finland can speak finnish fluently and thats the way it should be. All should speak finnish and swedish can use their language between oneselves. All in all, when i have discussed about this matter with people, they tend to agree with me on the idea that actually by trying to keep up the forced swedish, the swedish speaking people are making themselves a disservice.

Posted by: bogey | June 2, 2005 08:47 AM

"I can only imagine the outcome if some politician in US would suggest taking spanish as the second official language and making it compulsory for all."

No, spanish is very useful and wide-spoken language. Spaniards are nice people.
That is not a good comparison at all. If there only was north-korea, no south, then to have all speak korean, would be about the same.
Link in finnish language:
http://www.jippii.fi/jsp/forum/thread.jsp?b=kielipolitiikka&t=34459
Swedes have managed to kill discussion even on bbc for a while.

Posted by: | June 2, 2005 08:52 AM

"I can only imagine the outcome if some politician in US would suggest taking spanish as the second official language and making it compulsory for all."

No, spanish is very useful and wide-spoken language. Spaniards are nice people.
That is not a good comparison at all. If there only was north-korea, no south, then to have all speak korean, would be about the same.
Link in finnish language:
http://www.jippii.fi/jsp/forum/thread.jsp?b=kielipolitiikka&t=34459
Swedes have managed to kill discussion even on bbc for a while.

Posted by: | June 2, 2005 08:57 AM

Posted by: Here is something | June 2, 2005 09:41 AM

"Because the Swedish speaking Finns are few and spread around, they need proportionally more people educated in the service sector so that it is ensured that"

Definitely. Though it would be a bit easier if they learned Finnish instead of v.v.

" there are services in their own tongue available to them. Thus, universities need to let in disproportionally many swedish speaking finns in. That's all- there's no elitist about it."

That is not the reason, most parts of Finland have no Swedes at all. The reason is the same as in South Africa, whites were given education, blacks were not. Finns are not considered white - in fact, the black are considered whiter, although they still would have a hard time finding work if the employer was one of them - by the Swedes, even though most people consider Finns white, Germans, most americans (expect the ones recently moved from sweden), Russians, etc.

Posted by: | June 2, 2005 09:55 AM

About the car ownership, often both males and females have cars when younger. Then they have a family. Only the female drives to work with a car, male thinks, as he is male, he can take the weather and and walks or takes a bicycle.
Some men still whine but they, too, will give up and do as women say:

http://groups-beta.google.com/group/sfnet.keskustelu.uskonto/browse_thread/thread/f3f26afe2cac12d6/77ee85101f46ea46?q=terhotasaarvo@yahoo.com&rnum=2#77ee85101f46ea46

http://groups-beta.google.com/groups?q=terhotasaarvo@yahoo.com

Posted by: | June 2, 2005 10:12 AM

Not wealthy maybe but must have work at least. Lots of Finns have none. There are unemployed who have cars, lots of them. Probably most of them. But not all.
They have savings or other income such as husband, wife, family. Some were never given the chance.

------
"The Finnish woman who replied is an exception, and most likely from a rich family in southern Finland." Eh, well that was me. You make it sound like one has to be wealthy to have a car.

Posted by: | June 2, 2005 10:20 AM

"more cell phones per capita than anyone else, one of the world's best high-tech companies (Nokia"

- Many countries have more cell phones and Nokia is owned by americans.

Posted by: | June 2, 2005 10:24 AM

Car ownership and american women and their movings:
Finnish women have it well. But look at where finland is, there is one nice and civilized neighbor, estonians.
Americans have only two neighbors, both nice and civilized. Canadians bring them ice-hockey and mexicans good food. The existence of america is not threatened. Nobody ever took them to war for the king where almost all died (and survivors are still working in the toilets around sweden), nobody ever threatened them with siberia (some volunteered, to make a new socialist country there, moved to russia, ended up in siberia).

Posted by: about those | June 2, 2005 10:40 AM

About HD:s:
http://www.harley-davidson.com/CO/HIS/en/history1900.asp?locale=en_US&bmLocale=en_US

Bill Harley and Arthur Davidson founded the company.

Some of men (probably considered "real" men whereas to be just a man, you need a decent car) like the motorcycles but most cannot afford one even if they liked to have one. 20 years ago, a real man was one with both a house and a car (and children, but to have enough money for a house and a car, means there is children, too) if one really wanted a motorcycle, honda goldwing was the motorcycle of choice. (given enough money)
About the americanization:happily ice-hockey somehow brought also cheerleading here (only wish the cheerleaders in the games were a bit older, say 20-25 so older men could watch them too)
http://www.scl.fi/sm2005.html

Posted by: Founders | June 2, 2005 10:48 AM

Pekka Himanen seems to be quite a bit distanced from the Finnish reality and society. Most of Finland is not in Helsinki and in some university. But out here, away from Helsinki.
Helsinki is known for people drinking a lot. Average Finns drinks less than the average European but in Helsinki it is different.
Rest of Finland people drink a lot less. Bad side is that there is not much people going "out". In Helsinki they have a lot more money too so maybe that is the reason.

Posted by: Choice of introductioner | June 2, 2005 10:54 AM

to about cars:
"It is much worse, when it's -20 degrees with wind in the dead of winter. Cycling is nice in the summertime, but let's not forget that the summer is short in Finland. I've used both forms of transport in all seasons and I tend to prefer the car."

Everyone to their taste. I used to cycle throughout the winter when I was a student and it wasn't that bad. -20 is not the problem, you just wear proper clothes (especially gloves and shoes). When you're cycling, you produce heat which warms you up from inside. I used to cycle wearing a windproof jacket and only a t-shirt under it. However, even though the cold temperature is not the problem, winter cycling is not that nice. The reason is that it can get very slippery. In Helsinki, the winter is seldom steady -10, but more likely varies between -5 and +5, which means that the cycle paths get icy. Fortunately, they usually sand the paths at least in Helsinki area.

But yes, I understand that many people don't want to cycle in wintertime. But there's no excuse not to cycle in summer. I think, it's funny that people pay big bucks to go to gym after work when they could save both the time and money by commuting by bicycle.

The main reason I lobby for cycling is that Finnish cities have very little problem with traffic. I wish to keep it that way. If people switch from bike and bus to a car, we'll have the same mess with traffic that plagues most cities around the world polluting the air and clogging all the roads.

Posted by: Sam | June 2, 2005 11:38 AM

Is this animal for real? It sounds like a wolf? Does this "beast" eat you? ANy Finns to comment?

>There is ancient animal deep in the Finnish forests called a "Food-beast" or lapsis animus erpse. This is a strange, shy animal that has large ears and a high-pitched wistle (my spelling please not so good?). It is hard to tracks, but specimens do find their way to the city's urbis sometimes. We finnish as children learned about this from Mommo's mouths. "Beware the Food-beast."

Posted by: esperanzio | June 2, 2005 11:44 AM

It's sdd but I must admit that Janne Porvalin have rigth. Homosexuality is a big problem among finnishspeaking finns. Especialy when tey are drunk. And they are drunk all the time. They are wery mad that swedich speakers men are not interested.

This is a BIG problem. Instead of study they make love with other men. Forigners be careful!!

Posted by: Heikki Talla | June 2, 2005 11:48 AM

I am ambarrassed for my dear country, for all the suspicious talk coming from mouths of the Finnish language policeman's Society-folk. I like to learn Swedish, since she is part of our heritage and we are really all Swedes, aren't we all, when you htink about it? I salute Sweden and Finland equally. A dual country of my love.
Mikko

Posted by: Mikko | June 2, 2005 11:56 AM

Sounds like the guy is drunk. Sounds like Yoda or something. Big ears, etc.
>There is ancient animal deep in the Finnish forests called a "Food-beast" or lapsis animus erpse. This is a strange, shy animal that has large ears and a high-pitched wistle (my spelling please not so good?). It is hard to tracks, but specimens do find their way to the city's urbis sometimes. We finnish as children learned about this from Mommo's mouths. "Beware the Food-beast."

Posted by: antero | June 2, 2005 12:26 PM

"we are really all Swedes, aren't we all, when you htink about it?" WHAT??? Talk for yourself.

Looking at the latest postings I start to doubt that some mental institution has just had their computer class.

Posted by: A Finn | June 2, 2005 01:41 PM

It seems that some people try to destroy this discussion by posting insane and irrelevant post. That is a shame.

Posted by: Bogey | June 2, 2005 02:36 PM

Dear Sir,
It seems to be that you have found my posting on dual-statism "insane." What I meant was, that our country is indebted to Sweden for all she has done in the past years to promote a love for language. It is fact that in the 1850s Sweden had a language and Viking "revival" of sorts and gave back to all of us Northern European states a long-lost pride.

Instead of narrowmindedly attacking Sweden, you should regale in her existence. She had strong armies you know at one point. Better Sweden than Russia. She is a true friend and I am proud to exclaim, "I am a proud patriot of Sweden-Finland!" I do hope our American friends can appreciate this point of view. There are a lot more like me in Finland.
Mikko

Posted by: Mikko | June 2, 2005 02:48 PM

Mikko, thats nonsense. Finland is not in any debt to any country conserning our existence. During winterwar and the next swedes, discustingly, as it is stated here before, tried to take advantage of Finlands very bad situation and tried to gain land to them selves without any justification.
What were they thinking? If Finland had failed in war against red madness, Sweden would have been in situation where Russia is on the other border and Nazis on the other. I´ll bet that those responsible (whats that?)Swedish politicians would have had more than one marabou candybar in their pants at that point.
Sweden made perfectly clear that they are cowards and traitors. But, for the sake of truth, there was ofcourse those brilliant and steelboned 10 000 volunteer fighters from Sweden who took part for defending m u t u a l good. But 10 000 doesn´t make the beef.
Study history my friend. I recommend a book: "Memories of Finlands Marshall Mannerheim". You won´t need any other source. There is first hand testimony of those events supported with all the evidence reguired to state that book as a strict fact.

Posted by: Risto Aallonharja | June 2, 2005 05:04 PM

Addition, for the sake of truth. There was many many traitors and blatantly ignorant people in Finnish ranks as well. And fact is that without Mannerheim´s leadership Finland would be just a memory today.
Truly a Father of Finland. He spoke BTW swedish as mother tongue, so the language is not the indicator about the love for our Land.

Posted by: Risto Aallonharja | June 2, 2005 05:41 PM

Ok, more positive.
Friend of mine from Canada is coming to Finland fifth time. He is totally finnophile. Few years back he took a cab from airport to my place and was just amazed that cab driver had a long hair! Another surprise was when our official weatherbroadcaster on national TV channel looked like a member of Hells Angels. Another was that at grocerystore there was Limb Bisquit on the radio in the background. He is in paradise everytime he comes here.

And there are other known Finns also. Year ago I had few beers with a US marine (Major) and we ended up talking about Larry Thorne. He said that Thorne is very well known in US military. We had great fun. We planned carefully how to open a beer bottle with a boat. One guy holding the bottle and two lift the boat.

Posted by: Risto Aallonharja | June 2, 2005 06:07 PM

Risto,
Could you please stop attaking Sweden, please. It is not good to make us look like jealous fools in front of the world especially when there are many more like me who believe Sweden is King of the Hill, Top of the Heap, as a famous singer once sung. Open your eyes, we Swedish-loving Finns are all around in Helsingfors, indeed all of Suomi. I am a Finn, but I feel a Swede in my heart. Do you understand, can you even???
Mikko

Posted by: Mikko | June 2, 2005 06:13 PM

Pete- Yes, I'm totally serious about the tour of LA. Just let me know. What is quality of life? well, I enjoy good weather (meaning 200 days of clear skies) and being able to have a good variety of things to choose from. I like 4 seasons to be available a short distance away but easily escaped (Yeah, its possible in California). A job and salary that allows my wife to work by choice not by need, able to buy a house(150 sq m) and car (for myself and wife). Family and friends who enjoy spur of the moment visits, smiles on the streets, compassionate people on the street, affordable health care (yeah, its a prob in USA but not when you have an employer) and then there is also the freedom to travel to many places and easily by car or train. I just got back from Germany. Thank God for Ryan air! It's hard to list all the things required for quality of life, all I know is that I smile more in California, I feel safe and with the job, I feel secure financially, and by all my insurances(car, health, house) and I can buy a huge TV(50"+) for less than 1000 dollars. :oP

There are things I'd like the States to learn or adapt from finland, as in Free health care for all children. California is working towards this.. actually, I think it already exists but it has the stigma of welfare. And I also like... the way taxes are already included in all prices.. but I think we can't do this in the states because each state has different tax laws and some don't have taxes so therefore, it's too difficult for a company to keep up to date on every state's tax laws, so they are added to the price at the point of sale.

I wish finland and the rest of europe would use reflective paint on the highways.. night driving is really scary! But I digress... Oh yeah, I like the law that a speeding ticket should be a percentage of your income. And the tax-paid cafeteria food for all the children is also a great thing. But I don't know, when I was a kid, I ate at the cafeteria.. then when I went to private school I took my own lunch, then in highschool the food was again provided by the school.. it all depends..I dont remember who paid, maybe it already exists in some form in the states.. The universal health care.. well, I would rather have the german health care system. Honestly, I love Germany and I think they are the country we should really be studying. They may be having hard economic times now but I still think their standards are higher and closer to american standards. (I know some one is going to nag me about this later..)

And regarding safety in finland.. kids drown all the time in finland, and you would think that parents would decide to watch their kids more closely when they go swimming.. but nooooo.... they still let the little kids (4 and up) go swimming without supervision. I'm sorry.. I just don't understand that.

Heidi, I have lived in Marseille, Lyon(France), and Darmstad(germany). France is having SERIOUS problems these days. Everytime I go back it seems like the police are losing control. You are comparing New York City to Twin Peaks Alaska.

Koikkalainen- HAHAHAHA Finnish food sucks. Well, I understand we all have different tongues and taste buds but I really enjoy eating a variety of food, and variety is not something you get in Finland. And I have heard this from EVERY nationality living in Finland. But actually... you get used to it. I only eat jalapeños 1 every 2 months these days.. used to be every week. i think I am becoming finnish. Ah but yeah, the one thing I will miss are the Karelian pies. Meat in Finland is like rubber, you have to hammer it for a while before it gets tender.

Frank Collin- I think Stalin's purge of his generals also helped finland survive the war and the help from Germany. But yes, the Finns did a great job and had to suffer a humiliating servitude to the USSR for many years afterwards. Meaning, they did as they were told.


Oh yeah, something funny from my trip to Germany. I met some friends of my friend in Germany, they asked, where have you come from, we said, Finland. They asked... "Where is Finland?" These people are german. Then we explained that it is part of the european union.. blah blah.. hehehe

Trolling trolling... do you find it interesting? All statistics are generalizations.. when I use personal experiences, then its not credible.. so.. I'm screwed no matter what I say or bring up. Is anyone actually still reading this far down?

Okay, for Citizen of the world. So I assume you think that every person in the world should live the way a finn lives. Fine. Lets calculate a few things then.

Each Average finn (probably has, I generalize)
A 50 sq meter apartment
Washing machine
Sauna
TV
Car? Okay, let's say every 4th finn has a car.
Many people I know have dishwashers.
Bike
Computer
Stereo.
Refridgerator and freeze
Oven and stove
Toilet

okay.. so everyone in China and India should have these things too... what's that.. 3 billion? Any idea how much energy that is?

I bet there are chinese and indians sitting around saying... "these americans and europeans are destroying our environment... why can't they use the public toilet like we do, enjoy 10 sq meters like we do and wash their clothes in the river and do everything else in the river like we do?"

So mister citizen of the world and your oh so realistic views.. should I buy your argument? We should all live like Ghandi, spinning our own yarn and making everything ourselves by hand. That would be the most environmentally friendly way of life.

Pauli, your english is great... everyone's english on this board is great.

I can't believe there are people still saying I say things that are not true when others have already agreed.

I loved that Conan Hates my Homeland episode. Download it from DC++ or emule.

Thanks for the info on violence in Finland.

So does anyone really know finland or do we all just have a piece of the big puzzle?

Posted by: Eduardo | June 2, 2005 06:19 PM

What do normal Finns eat at supper? When in Helsinki, I saw russian and fancy authentic finnish restaurants, but somehow I get the idea this is not truly representative. Could some kind Finn please give a example of a typical Thursday evening meal?

Posted by: curious in USA | June 2, 2005 06:39 PM

Mikko,

I have done the most important decision what man can do. It is to get off beliefs. And take reality instead. And I have to apologize, I ment sweden w a s a coward and traitor not a r e. That is a fact. I am sorry, but I wish I could say that Finland and Sweden fought together, but that would lying.

You and everyone else, ofcourse, is free to maintane whatever beliefs, but as a kind warning: when reality bites don´t bite back with teeths made out of beliefs. You loose if you do that. Instead look for the alternatives offered by reality.

Posted by: Risto Aallonharja | June 2, 2005 06:47 PM

"Could some kind Finn please give a example of a typical Thursday evening meal?"
Here´s some:
Spaghetti bolognese, Chicken with rise, beef with french fries, meatballs and mashed potatoes +sauce, macaronibox (lol for the translation), fish sticks with mashed potatoes, different soups, different fish foods.. etc, pretty normal stuff.

For the Deserts, ask for poor knights (very good).

Posted by: Risto Aallonharja | June 2, 2005 06:58 PM

SYSTEMATIC HATE PROPAGANDA AGAINST FINNS

Janne Porvalin: "It's very easy to blame a minority for your lack of spine (and brain)."

No, it is not easy. It easily costs your job or your opportunity to get one, in public sector, which BTW in Finland is as big as in UK (with 11 times more people). So Finnish Swedo-socialism is a big burden in terms of taxes, too.

Janne (modified by me): "The reason why the Soweto Niggers die younger is that almost all of them abuse alcohol and die of alcohol related sicknesses or from alcohol related violence. They smoke a lot too. Lately drug abuse has become more common. "

Just by changing the "parameter" of the discourse, I could better show that Janne is just a hate-writer, racist, against Finns. It is no wonder, in the hard puritan tradition, the Swedish establishment has always used the same propaganda, labelling Finns as alcoholics, and what ever.

The facts are here: 1. Finns do not use as much alcohol as do the French. 2. Finns do not smoke as much as do the Danes. 3. Drug abuse is less common in Finland than in Sweden.

Janne: "Finnish-speakers are well known in Sweden, Russia and at resorts for all the social problems they cause. It's never those who bothered to learn Swedish that have these kind of problems."
Facts: 1. People from Sweden and UK have essentially worse reputation than Finns do.

Violence-cases: When violent Swedes managed to murder their Prime Minister and Foreign Minister, the Swedish newspapers immediately "found" Finnish murderers. Naturally, Finns were totally non-guilty.

When a Finn goes to Denmark, the Danes (because of the continuous hate propaganda disseminated by Swedes), may ask. "Where is your knife, Finn?" Well, in Denmark they may have seen also Finnish Romas ("Gipsies"), but alas, they also came to Finland from Sweden and learned the Swedish violence and found Mora-knives there.

Alcohol propaganda; it is now proven that the myth of Finns as booze-drinkers was deliberately developed by the socialistic politicians who wanted to get a smart taxation system. And they did, Finland created a monopoly for liquor business and money for Social Demoracts and luxury to the management.

Repulsion arises from the fact that the President of Finland, Mrs. Tarja Halonen, clearly totally accepts this kind of Swedish hate propaganda that is harassing Finns. She did not raise her voice even in the case of exploding mail-boxes of Finnish-named people in Aland. She seems to tolerate anything done against regular Finnish-speakers, who have no weird sexual orientations. She BTW speaks Swedish better than English, and is also totally depending on the votes of Swedes.

FREEDOM. BROTHERS, SISTERS...
Janne asked freedom, to do what?

Answer: To learn and use perfect Finnish and English languages. Freedom to communicate with the Western World with no more Swedish middlemen.

Posted by: LanguageWarrior | June 3, 2005 12:50 AM

I was in Finland long time ego, Washington Post remind me ones again the beauty of the country and people of Finland.
Since I had lost contact with my Finnish friends , I thought i better find new friends .Especially
If i m going to visit again.
If any one would like to have a friend in US. Here my mail wisconsin455@yahoo.com
Sincerely.
Mike.

Posted by: mike | June 3, 2005 01:31 AM

The idea that Sweden let Finland down at the moment of truth is a bit hard part for finns still (during the Winter War). Finland reached out for Sweden in our hour of need and they turned their back to us in their fear of Soviet Union. This is the unfortunate reality and Sweden will be remembered for this action for very long time, so much for the "scandinavian brotherhood". One of the bitter things are that swedes even publicly declared that they will not help finns to fight SU causing finns pressure in the peace negotiations. However, luckily there were those 10 000 brave ones who will be remembered in Finlands hall of heroes, but like someone said, their presence did not at the end change things.

Posted by: Last Man Standing | June 3, 2005 02:24 AM

I'd like to read a more rational discussion about the apartheid issue. There have already been plenty of good arguments put forth from those in favor of choice. Now it's time for the pro-apartheid people to rub their two brain cells together and try to write something sensible.

Posted by: Waiting | June 3, 2005 03:02 AM

Sweden also used pressure against the Finns after the WW2.

The refugees from the former Finnish territories had to be evacuated. Sweden declared that she will cut desperately needed humanitarian aid if the refugees will be relocated in the regions where Swedish is spoken.

Sweden's attitude caused lot of additional human suffering.

If that had not been enough but..no.
Finnish kids were evacuated to Sweden during WW2. When the war was over 15 000 Finnish kids remained in Sweden and they were not released back to Finland. Thus Sweden caused additional human losses for Finland because of her selfish politics.

Posted by: First Finn | June 3, 2005 03:03 AM

to Eduardo:

You make some good points. It is true that Finns live in quite cramped homes. I think we have the least living space per capita in Europe. It sounds quite strange considering how sparsely populated Finland is. So, the land price is not the reason. One reason could be that the climate is cold, which means that it is more expensive to build since you must have thick walls, triple-glazed windows, good heating systems etc.

Another reason could be that while we are quite rich at the moment (somewhere in the middle in EU), this has happened quite recently. Finland was a very poor country at the end of the war, GDP/capita was about half of that of Sweden (now it's about the same). Houses represent accumulated wealth and we haven't had that much time to collect it yet.

Third reason is that between 1960's and 1980's we had a huge change in society from an aggricultural economy to a service economy (people employed by farming went from 50 % to 10%). This meant that a lot of people moved to cities from the countryside. And they all needed a place to live and quick. The solution was to build a lot of cheap "Russian style" concrete blocks with relatively small flats. That's where people are now living.

I didn't really understand your point about wealth and salaries. Everyone knows that the GDP/capita is higher in the US than in Finland. So, the salaries are on the average higher there. But I wouldn't say that job security and especially security against poverty is better there. Also larger portion of women work in the US than in Finland. You say, it's because of choice, not need. Well, I'm not so sure of that.

about the tax included in the price:"but I think we can't do this in the states because each state has different tax laws and some don't have taxes so therefore, it's too difficult for a company to keep up to date on every state's tax laws, so they are added to the price at the point of sale."

I think, this is a bad excuse. Companies have computers nowadays. The tax laws don't change every day. It's really easy to include the tax to the price. I think, the simple reason is that companies don't _want_ to do this. Their prices look lower and more lucrative when the tax is not included. The same goes with restaurants. It's not that difficult to include the service into the prices as the rest of the world does and get rid of the ridiculous tipping system.

Posted by: Sam | June 3, 2005 03:11 AM

These are the main arguments from people who are in fawor of compulsory swedish:
1. the history; they reason that because we were under swedish rule for 650 years we should still learn swedish.
2. nordic heritage; this argument holds basically the same principle as the history, with the addition that sweden is the source of finnish civilization and education. We could argue the same if we would invade Sweden now and hold it under our pressure for 650 years keeping the swedes as second rate citizens in their own land, installing our laws and language to the country.
3. we can make better business with sweden; for the same reason we should have also russia, germany, france and english as second language.
4. learning sweden expands the minds of kids and gives them ability to learn other similar languages; for the same argument we could that say kids should learn mandarin chinese, there is no evidence that swedish language is the door for finns to understand and learn other languages better.

Posted by: the second Finn | June 3, 2005 04:42 AM

This is a very good link if you want to know more about Finland and the people who live here.
http://www.finlandforyou.com/

Posted by: Eyah | June 3, 2005 05:36 AM

As You all have probably noticed we have a language dilemma in Finland. Surprising, isn't it.

Who would have guessed?

Posted by: Dilemma | June 3, 2005 05:48 AM

To the Nameless One:

It could be that there are no candidates, who are against the Swedish. It's hard to tell who they are because there are absolutely none.

Posted by: Urja | June 3, 2005 06:01 AM

LanguageWarrior/Arcticus has claimed that li'l ol' me was the one who banned him at the BBC message boards. When he told the Brits how awful people the Swedes are.

I'm not sure how I could do that. He hasn't answered me yet.

Posted by: Urja | June 3, 2005 06:08 AM

Risto Aallonharja made a comment about "macaronibox", I believe he meant the macaroni casserole. Not like the American one. Added minced meat, but no cheese or cream. Instead an egg and some milk.

I heard of a friend of a friend of mine who went to America as an exchange student. The host family mother asked him first what was his favorite food. Of course he said, macaron box.

Posted by: Urja | June 3, 2005 06:23 AM

"If Finland had failed in war against red madness, Sweden would have been in situation where Russia is on the other border and Nazis on the other."

From a Finnish point of view the Germans were not nazis, they had nothing against Finns, even the Jews who had lived and continued to live in Finland were spared from being executed. The Swedes on the other hand made it clear Finns, Gypsies, Lapps are lower race and had Germany believed them the consequences could have been fatal for the whole Finnish populace.

For americans who read this, to live in Finland, it would maybe be about the same if there was North Korea to the north instead of peaceful and polite Canada, with a population of 400-500 million or so and Russia where Mexico is, with a population of 2 billion or so.
The english language would be allowed in america, but not in North Korea, whose officials and citizens would take up most of the top jobs in america, where everyone would have to study the Korean language, every school level and Korean schools would be located in California and east coast, both Koreans and Russians would have huge armies, americans would have little spending on military and no nukes.

Posted by: | June 3, 2005 07:27 AM

"I only eat jalapeños 1 every 2 months these days.. used to be every week. i think I am becoming finnish. "

You dont have to become Finnish.
Good ones are not available in shops but you can grow your own chilis at home, need lamps etc. There are internet pages that teach how.

"It's sdd but I must admit that Janne Porvalin have rigth. Homosexuality is a big problem among finnishspeaking finns. Especialy when tey are drunk. And they are drunk all the time. They are wery mad that swedich speakers men are not interested."

Well the Finnish homosexuals are at least not gay like you are.
http://www.tomoffinlandfoundation.org/foundation/N_Tom.html
..anyone have the link for "hey everybody i'm watching gay porn" for the swede "And they are drunk all the time." there ?

Posted by: | June 3, 2005 07:35 AM

"* Prayer in schools, and the separation of church and state generally? Does religion play any role in public life?

A. No prayer in school."

Only every morning they pray. Church and state are not separated. All companies must pay tax to the church and most inviduals are members of the church and thus they too pay tax to the church.

Posted by: wtf | June 3, 2005 07:57 AM


"I'm not sure how I could do that. He hasn't answered me yet.

Posted by: Urja | June 3, 2005 06:08 AM"

Maybe others are not as active in reading these ?

http://www.jippii.fi/jsp/forum/thread.jsp?b=kielipolitiikka&t=34495

Posted by: | June 3, 2005 08:11 AM

"Finns can also get very emotional hearing the music of Sibelius, our greatest classical music composer"

No they dont. He was not even Finnish.

Posted by: | June 3, 2005 08:15 AM

There is still one composer:
http://www.fimic.fi/contemporary/composers/rautavaara+einojuhani

"When violent Swedes managed to murder their Prime Minister and Foreign Minister, the Swedish newspapers immediately "found" Finnish murderers. Naturally, Finns were totally non-guilty."

Yes, but that case was closely followed by media and it would have been harder to lock up some innocent than in usual cases where they also find other foreigners to blame. Having said that, it is not too hard to imagine they would have, like they when the other minister was killed (yet they locked up someone who had connections and had to find a new one, probably the new one they found to be guilty was innocent as well and some swede did it, it is quite easy for the police to get confessions)

"Alcohol propaganda; it is now proven that the myth of Finns as booze-drinkers was deliberately developed by the socialistic politicians who wanted to get a smart taxation system."

They still have stories about Finnish drunks in the Swedish media. Yet:
http://www.vaahtokylpy.net/keskustelut/search.jsp?messageid=60225&gid=3&lid=105417156

--
helsinginsanomat.fi/tuoreet/artikkeli/1101978646747
"STTV vaatii lisää rajoituksia alkoholin saatavuuteen"

Ponupannut esiin ja metsiin harrastamaan keittoa ! Kansanterveys tulee
turvata !

aftonbladet.se/vss/nyheter/story/0,2789,3272 4,00.html?p=sidtopp

"HEMBRÄNT ALLT VANLIGARE"

ockero.se/soc/soc_DVUartikel.htm

"Våra ungdomar dricker hembränt!"

Kylla suomen sivistystaso taas nousee kun sosiaalinarkkeja kuunnellaan !
25.2.2005 (14:46) Tenukeppi tahdon olla ma
---

Drinkin moonshine was usual here in Finland, too, during the prohibition, but am not old enough so have not ever seen anyone doing that.

Posted by: | June 3, 2005 08:24 AM

Don't understand the comment on Sibelius by nameless. To me he was very much Finnish.
Yes, he was from a swedish speaking family, but so were most of the upper class people in that time. (after 700 years of Swedish rule)After all, the upper class in Russia use to speake French, but I don't think anyone is claiming they were French and not Russian.
His family was from Finland. He studied in a Finnish speaking school and you only need look and listen to his work to know that he considered himself to be a Finn.

Posted by: Leila | June 3, 2005 09:22 AM

"Added minced meat, but no cheese or cream. Instead an egg and some milk."

Well, you got it wrong. Why don´t come over and have firsthand experience.

BTW, Thiskind of "civilized" backstabbing is one very good reason why Finns considers strangers as good as nothing at first. Only after it is proven that sincerety is present only then things start rolling. Usually with such scale that those moments are cherished throughout the entire life.

But I guess everyone here can see who stands straight and who is revealing their backsides.

Posted by: Risto Aallonharja | June 3, 2005 10:30 AM

The delicate hint behind this:
"I heard of a friend of a friend of mine who went to America as an exchange student. The host family mother asked him first what was his favorite food. Of course he said, macaroni box."

The Finno-Ugric languages differ from Indo-European languages like a day from a night. I prefer freedom of choice. I learned 8 years Swedish, 7 years German and 3 years English. I would have liked to read it: 8 years English, 7 years German and 3 years Swedish. I cannot understand the resistance of freedom of choice. I congratulate US on carrying out this basic freedom for its citizens. Freedom of choice is the basic right. BTW in conscript times "macaroni box" was called "mass crave".

Posted by: Jerry cann | June 3, 2005 11:11 AM

The previous quatation was one of 'Urja'

Posted by: Jerry cann | June 3, 2005 11:14 AM

Man, Eduardo, you made me wanna move to California!!! Wow!!! 50" tv and two cars in the family and a 150sqm house in... where exactly? But then I thought wait, if we already have those here, why an earth would we move there?? Only thing missing is a 50" TV, we have little time to watch tv as we SPEND OUR FREE TIME AT OUR CABIN BY THE LAKE!!! Well, people enjoy different things. But sometimes we do watch DVDs with our home theatre projector on a white screen but not at all that often... Yeeesh, mine is several inches bigger than yours....

And how have we made it with just about average Finnish salaries. Well, there a mortgage on the house and our credit is good. I'd expect people do it the same way in California.

And we are still able to travel. Every year we go somewhere on our holidays. We don't have kids yet, so we'll see if our lifestyle changes later on.

Btw. last night I cooked Thai chicken and vegetables on a Wok pan and tonight my wife has informed there'll be beef steak with potato wedges. I like the variety just fine.

Posted by: Timo A | June 3, 2005 11:27 AM

to Timo A:
"Man, Eduardo, you made me wanna move to California!!! Wow!!! 50" tv and two cars in the family and a 150sqm house in... where exactly? But then I thought wait, if we already have those here, why an earth would we move there??"

The first reason Eduardo gives("I enjoy good weather") pretty much kills it for us Finns. Some time ago I spent a January in San Diego and you can't really compare that to Finland, especially the Southern coastline (=Helsinki) with its freezing wind and snow-melt-freeze cycle. Some Finns say that they "enjoy the four seasons", but I don't. I hate winter. Can't really think of a more miserable place than Helsinki in the beginning of December.

Summer houses are nice, but you can really enjoy them only during our brief summer.

For those planning to go to Finland read what someone wrote above:"the best trip in life: Finland in June, the worst trip in life: Finland in November".

Posted by: Sam | June 3, 2005 12:08 PM

Macaroni box? Hmmm, to me that immediately indicates those little blue boxes we have here of Kraft Macaroni & Cheese. I think you mix with hot water? and stir. It is for kids usually.

I had a Finnish friend who told me about a casserold dish that was a family favorite, with noodles I think, and some kind of white sauce (might have been cheese). I think he called it....some Finnish work that I *think* begins with the letter K. ANyone know?

Posted by: Kraft | June 3, 2005 12:11 PM

Well, yesterday I had fun with a fennomaniac. I posted one little comment to a celebrity gossip message board, as a trap to fennomaniacs. I wanted to see if they read the cheesiest message board ever.

After five hours, the fennomaniac had made a link to the gossip forum, in the language arguement forum. He said something like: 'Now you can see what's Urja like. He is interested in gossips. He's a woman. He's not beliavable.'

Posted by: Urja | June 3, 2005 01:44 PM

To: "curious in USA"

A typical Thursday evening meal:

In our house (when I still lived in Helsinki, 11 years ago) it could be fish (poached, oven cooked, sautéed, etc.) with vegetables and maybe rice or pasta and a good sauce.
Or meat, with vegetables and maybe rice or pasta.
Or chicken, with vegetables and maybe rice or pasta.
(Sometimes substituting the pasta or rice with potatoes. Boiled, oven baked w, cheese, or fried, or mashed.)

Basically the same stuff I prepare here in New York.

Thursday traditionally used to be the day when people had split-pea soup w. peaces of ham in it, and pancakes with jam for dessert. But I do not like split pea soup, so we made whatever we felt like making, on Thursdays or any other nights. We usually did not have desserts on weekdays. (= too many calories).

But when we made dessert, we would often prepare different pies or tarts: Blueberry-, apple-, pear-, rhubarb-, etc., with vanilla ice cream. Sometimes crepes with some delicious filling.

In restaurants we would most often order fish dishes. Sometimes meat (only fillet mignon and lamb = I am not a steak person, and usually prefer fish and seafood).
During the past ten years the restaurant culture in Helsinki has changed dramatically, for the better. The service (attitude toward the customer) is way better, the food is better and even the wine selections are better. There are several excellent restaurants in Helsinki. (Although, dining "with dollars" is really depressing nowadays.)

About this great myth about Finns being big booze drinkers. Well, some of them are, but my friends and I were/are wine lovers.

Posted by: FinnInNewYork. | June 3, 2005 03:48 PM

To FinnInNewYork:
Thanks! I found some good wines in Finland myself. I wish the prices were lower overall.

Is it true Finns drink a lot of milk at meals? To me, that does not seem to eb a suitable beverage for foods other than dessert but every culture is different.

Posted by: curious in USA | June 3, 2005 04:10 PM

To: "Curious in USA"

Hmm...
I guess some people do, especially with lunch.

Lots of Finns are lactose intolerant, though.

As a kid I loved milk, but now my drink of choice is water. Lots of it.

One popular drink is "piimä", which is sort of like soured (curdled?) milk, or yogurt, but runnier. There are different variations of that, for example Acidophilus "piimä". Very good for your stomach. It always calmed my stomach down. I used to love it. But I would most often drink it as a "snack", or with a certain type of a sandwich, never with the meals I mentioned.

Now that I'm on the subject, I just remembered my favorite Finnish bread, that I desperately miss here in New York:
Dark, sour rye bread!
Oh, boy, how good it is. With some great cheese, and fresh tomato slices on!
(Now you got me started :-) )

Posted by: FinnInNewYork. | June 3, 2005 04:48 PM

Whereas, for me, milk is the beverage for food; and definitely not for dessert - dessert goes with coffee ;-)

Posted by: Hank W. | June 3, 2005 05:40 PM

Ah, plenty of Finns bitc*ing and moaning over the bad, bad weather in Finland. Yes, now it's cold, only some 16 degrees Celsius here in Espoo. Last week it was somewhat more acceptable with almost hot temperatures. Winters can be cold and I hate them, too. Lot of older folks spend their winters in Spain or Italy and come back for the summer. And for me, too, that's the only way to retire, well, after 30 years or so.

Ok, why am I still here? Longest I've lived abroad is 6 months. It was in Asia and it was mostly crazy hot with 97% humidity. I got used that no problem but winter without heating, wrapping towels around my head to keep myself warm through the night was a lot more exotic. I haven't felt that kind of cold ever in Finland.

Otherwise winter can be magical with the dark and snow.

Posted by: Timo A | June 4, 2005 04:20 AM

"Well, yesterday I had fun with a fennomaniac. I posted one little comment to a celebrity gossip message board, as a trap to fennomaniacs."

The children of the viking like to have fun. And to be bold and brave is essential to them, best shown by killing things big and small..
Clubbing baby seals..
"justified a large-scale kill of young seals by calling it research"
http://www.wetlands-preserve.org/?page=seal
Clubbing Finns..
(common but only one mother dared complain)
http://web.amnesty.org/library/Index/ENGEUR420022002?open&of=ENG-SWE
..or by daring to light up inanimate objects with no security
http://www.churcharson.com/arson/
(well, it only seems strange for finns who are too religious to understand such)

Posted by: | June 4, 2005 06:11 AM

"Could some kind Finn please give a example of a typical Thursday evening meal?"

For me - meat (pork chops(?) or the like) or chicken with rice (as I dont like potatoes) with the salsa sauce that is cheap and tastes good in Lidl, before lidl, I used tabasco and kikkoman.

Posted by: | June 4, 2005 06:18 AM

""I leave it to the readers to determine how representative Eduskunta is.""

It is not. They decide what they want and those who affect them are the actual ones making the decisions in matters that matter to them.

Posted by: | June 4, 2005 06:20 AM

Jerry cann: Who forced you to read Swedish 8 years, German 7 and English 3 years? Your parents?

Blame them.

But in these days there are no freedom of choice concerning English. Almost everybody is now taught English as their first foreign language. Unless, if you're Swedish-speaking. Then it's Finnish.

Posted by: Urja | June 4, 2005 06:51 AM

Mannerheim forexample knew that this nation is allways better than their government is. He wanted that there are certain issues separated from partypolitics. I agree that there sould. Defence system out from the rule of hippies and basic infrastructure out from the rule of voted idiots (or idiotic party policies). These two issues should be a norm maintaned by hardcore professionals and not by "cute" misses of Finland.

One thing what popped up in one conversation is that whenever the discourse is about Finnish achievements it is about cell phones, music, etc. Hardly there is ever a mentions that if you take a elevator in Tokio or in New York you have a very good chance that you use Finnish ones manufactured by KONE.
Or when you go for Caribian Cruise you have better than very very good chance that you end up in ship designed and manufactured in Finland. Biggest passenger cruisers are made here. Not to mention our space technology..
All this in modest silence.
And the swedes in the middle are just ´being special´.

Posted by: Risto Aallonharja | June 4, 2005 07:13 AM

Here is images of the worlds biggest cruiser "Voyager of the Seas" manufactured at Turku Finland:
http://www.cruiseweb.com/RCI-VOYAGER-PHOTO-GALLERY.HTM
http://www.cruiseweb.nl/images/dwarsdoorsnede/VoyageroftheSeas.jpg

Quite impressive, I would say.

Posted by: Risto Aallonharja | June 4, 2005 12:02 PM

As the granddaughter of Swede-Finn immigrants to Canada, and about to visit Finland myself for the first time, I am fascinated to read this Finland Diary. I am even more intrigued with the postings/dialogues which have followed. I will, of course, be making up my own mind about what Finland is or isn't, once I've seen it/experienced it for myself.

Posted by: Klara | June 4, 2005 12:42 PM

"..of course, be making up my own mind about what Finland is or isn't, once I've seen it/experienced it for myself."

There is no any other way, for a honest person. ;)

Here is more info about that Voyager of the Seas.
She is magnificent! I knew that ship was built and it was on news, but like most Finns, that info went from one ear in and out from the other.
But now when I looked a bit more into this, that ship is just amazing. Hell, I´ll have to fly to Miami and jump on board some day.

http://www.fortunecity.com/oasis/tropicana/431/Voyager.html

Posted by: Risto Aallonharja | June 4, 2005 01:03 PM

Finland has a very short history as an independent nation - only some 88 years.
The country was run by Swedish language even if 90 % of people had Finnish as their mother tongue.
The university education was given only from the 1930's in Finnish. In one human lifespan the Finns has have reached the top position in young people's skill and knowledge (international PISA and CIVICS studies).
The Swedish-speaking former elite has done its utmost to prevent the majority of Finns to get higher education in Finnish.
Today Finland is in practice Finnish-speaking nation with a fair command of English. Swedish is rapidly detoriating due to the lack of motivation to study language which has very limited use in the globalizing world.
The mandatory Swedish was removed from the matriculation examination this Spring, and it will result in a snowball effect.
Finland will pretty soon have only one nationally official language - Finnish. Alla our neighbors are officially mono-lingual even if many of them have much larger language minorities than Finland (Sweden, Norway, Russia, Estonia).
Also all other countries around the Baltic Sea are officially monolingual; Denmark, Germany, Poland, Lithuania, Latvia.

The Swedish-speaking minority will always be much better treated in Finland language-wise than any of our neighbor countries have ever done to their own Finnish-speaking minorities (Sweden, Russia and Norway have a very disgusting history in oppressing their Finnish-speaking people).

European Council has now forced Sweden to give at least the elementary rights to Finnish-speaking people (>400.000). Sweden is doing her utmost to delay this.

Posted by: Heikki Tala | June 4, 2005 04:21 PM

"Macaroni box? Hmmm, to me that immediately indicates those little blue boxes we have here of Kraft Macaroni & Cheese. I think you mix with hot water? and stir. It is for kids usually. "


No, no, no... macaroni box is different. It's sort of a stiifer verion of Macn'cheese and it has small lumps ofmeat in it. You make it from scratch. There is no runny sauce in it.

There is also:
- Carrot bax
- Tunip box

...and (the dish that deserves it's own diary entry)
- Liver Box ( eclectic concoction of liver and raisins amongst other).

Posted by: Proud Forest Troll | June 4, 2005 07:22 PM

HIM was mentioned, recently finnish band called Negative had global record deal. Listen Negative - Moment of our love, if possible.

Posted by: Horrabin | June 4, 2005 09:57 PM

MICROSOFT AS A TOOL FOR SWEDISH HATE PROPAGANDA

Just round a year ago, Microsoft (msn.com) had to rewrite its map of Finland/ Helsinki. Why? Because it then used names of streets, city areas, etc. mostly in Swedish language, not Finnish nor English. For sake of clarity, always English speaking visitors use Finnish names, not Swedish, in Helsinki. And another fact, Helsinki people use Finnish and English daily, not Swedish.

How was it possible that such a cardinal mistake was done?

We never can now exactly. I suppose that MSN had bought geographical info from some Scandinavian or Finnish map publisher. Those maps are meshy, because they contain both Finnish and Swedish. Then, MSN perhaps asked some Helsinki-savvy person to do some editing. This person obviously was a Swede or a militant Swede. He used to opportunity to apply the OFFICIAL LANGUAGE POLICY OF THE MINISTRY OF JUSTITY IN FINLAND (as stated by Ms. Tallroth, April 2005): Finland must look as it were bilingual. So he forgot the facts, he wanted artificially to make Helsinki bilingual or even Swedish.

Naturally, a MSN expert must have all skills needed for such work. Then the only possibility is that MSN was used for disseminating Swedish hate propaganda, to swedify Finland.

BTW, it was a difficult process to have MSN to change the mistakes. I needed there help from two Members of Parliament and from the experts from Finnish governmental survey office. And two years.

For information, when this mistake originally was made, Microsoft had a Swede as their PR officer for Finland, today the Swedish GM of Finnish Broadcsting Company YLE. YLE uses 20% for Swedishness, when the share of Swedes in Finland is 5%.

Morale, NEVER give responsibility to a Swede or Finland-Swede, for matters in Finland. You never observe, if he/ she has the hidden agenda; i.e., to fight against Finns and to create even stronger Swedihsness. Strong Swedishness is the OPENLY PROCLAIMED goal of the nazionalistic-featured Swedish Party and Swedish extremist organisations. Some of such organisations are managed from the country of Sweden, showing that this policy is not policy of Finland-Swedes only but also of Sweden. Also in case of disastrous economical problems, the rich Swedish funds, in Finland, shall send their money back to Sweden.

Posted by: LanguageWarrior | June 5, 2005 01:46 AM


"Dark, sour rye bread! "

That isit. I think it is eaten in former Russia, former East-Germany and not in many further groundies. But it is "GOOD"

Posted by: | June 5, 2005 02:31 AM

Finland in a nut-shell. The truth hurts:

http://www.saunalahti.fi/~eiry

Posted by: Against Finnish apartheid | June 5, 2005 06:42 AM

You should know that Heikki Tala is the chairman of a club for unhappy and miserable old men who like to brag about them selves. This club is called Suomalaisuuden liitto and the average age for the members is somewhere 75+. The club's main focus is to attack the Swedish-speaking minority. His predecessor, one of the most hated persons in Finland, Seppo Heikinheimo got too miserable and committed suicide.

On Heikki Talas home page you can see how he brags with his "accomplishments"

TERVETULOA

HEIKKI T A L An kotisivuille. Tässä curriculum vitae johdannoksi:

Syntymäaika ja -paikka 19.4.1939, Kiikka

Puh.: (09) 292 1823, 0400 607 317
Sähköposti: heikki.tala@fimnet.fi
Kotisivu (English): http://personal.fimnet.fi/business/heikki.tala/

Nykyiset tehtävät:
* Puheenjohtaja, Suomalaisuuden liitto ry 2003-
* Koordinaattori, HPI-Europe & LAN-Center, Osaka, JAPANI 1992-
* Secretariat member, Global Network for Systematic Health Care 2003-
* Director, GEPEC npo, Canada 2004-

Koulutus:
* Hammaslääketieteen lisensiaatti, Turun yliopisto 1964
* Master of Public Health, University of Michigan, USA 1972
* Erikoishammaslääkäri 1976
* Hallinnon pätevyys 1981
* Hammaslääketieteen tohtori, Kuopion yliopisto 1984
* Terveydenhuollon hallinnon dosentti, Tampereen yliopisto 1987
* 115. valtakunnallinen maanpuolustuskurssi 1990

Työhistoria:
* Hammaslääkäri Kauhajoella 1964-70 (5 v)
* Piirihammaslääkäri Lindesbergissa, Ruotsissa 1968-69 (1 v)
* Ylilääkäri lääkintöhallituksessa 1970-89 (19 v)
* Apulaisosastopäällikkö lääkintöhallituksessa 1989-91 (3 v)
* Ylilääkäri Terveysankkurit Oy 1991
* Ylilääkäri terveydenhuollon oikeusturvakeskuksessa 1995
* Vieraileva professori, Thammasat University, Thaimaa 1999-2003
* Dosentti, terveydenhuollon hallinto, Tampereen yliopisto 1987-2004


* Sosiaali- ja terveyshallituksen pysyvä asiantuntija 1991-92
* Stakesin pysyvä asiantuntija 1992-2000
* Terveydenhuollon oikeusturvakeskuksen pysyvä asiantuntija 1992-2004
* Tuntiopettaja/luennoitsija/kurssinjohtaja 1972 alkaen
- Helsingin, Turun, Tampereen ja Kuopion yliopistot, Pohjoismainen terveydenhuoltokorkeakoulu (Göteborg)
- Sairaanhoitajaopistot, hammashoitaja- ja suuhygienistikoulutus,
hammastekninen koulutus, ym.
lukuisissa muissa eri alojen oppilaitoksissa
* Lukuisten komiteoiden, ym puheenjohtaja, sihteeri tai jäsen 1964-2002

* YK:n Maailman terveysjärjestö:
WHO Expert Advisory Panel on Oral Health'n jäsen 1983-99
WHO:n asiantuntija: Kolumbiassa (1977), Kongossa (1979), Arabiemiraateissa (UNICEF 1981), Sveitsissä (1981), Syyriassa (1981), DDR:ssa (1983, 1984), Japanissa (1984), Suomessa (1984), Irlannissa (1984), Portugalissa (1985)

WHO:n konsultti: Syyriassa (1982-1995), Japanissa (1983), Sveitsissä WHO HQ (1985-6), Kuwaitissa (1986), Arabiemiraateissa (1994-1997), Iranissa (1998-2003)

WHO/FDI Maailman hammashuoltojohtajakongressin puheenjohtaja
Tokiossa (1983), Helsingissä (1984), Belgradissa (1985)

* Ulkoasianministeriön konsultti (FINNIDA) Tansaniassa (1984) ja Kiinassa (1994)
* Arabiemiraattien (UAE) terveysministeriön konsultti (1995)
* Tanskan UM:n (DANIDA) konsultti Syyriassa (1984) ja Kuwaitissa (1986)
* Maailman hammaslääkärijärjestön (FDI) konsultti 1979
* Kutsuttuna luennoitsijana yli 20 maassa

* Suomen Akatemian tutkimushankkeen johtaja 1983
* Asiantuntija dosentuurin täytössä, väitöskirjojen ohjaaja, esitarkastaja sekä vastaväittäjä (Suomi, USA, Ruotsi, Tansania, Sudan, Iran)

Luottamustehtävät
* Suomen Hammaslääkäriseuran kansanterveysjaoston puheenjohtaja 1973-75
* Helsinki-Kallio Rotary klubin presidentti (rotari vuodesta 1964-) 1989-90
* Suomalaisuuden liiton hallituksen jäsen ja varapuheenjohtaja 1988-97
* Suomi-Karjala seuran puheenjohtaja 1990-96
* Lääkintöhallinto ry:n perustajajäsen ja puheenjohtaja (1997-99) 1991-
* Lääkärit tupakkaa vastaan (DAT) perustajajäsen, (työvaliokunta 2002-4)
* Luottamustehtäviä lukuisissa muissa yhdistyksissä ja järjestöissä 1960-

Huomionosoitukset, ym.
* Suomen leijonan ritarikunnan 1.luokan ritarimerkki (SL 1 R) 1991
* Suomen Hammaslääkäriseuran hopeinen 75-vuotisjuhlamitali 1989
* Suomen Hammaslääkäriseuran kansanterveysjaoston kunniajäsen 1989
* Terveyskeskushammaslääkäriyhdistys ry:n kunniajäsen 1994
* Terveyskeskushammaslääkäriyhdistyksen hopeinen ansiomerkki 1988
* US Armed Forces Institute of Pathology'n pronssiplaketti 1972
* Triumph Cars Club of Finland; vuoden jäsen 1995
* Johannes Linnankoskimitali hopeisena, Suomalaisuuden liitto 1999
* Paul Harris Fellow, Rotary International 2001
* Vänrikki (1958), luutnantti (1991)

Julkaisutoiminta
Yli 440 julkaisua (tieteellisiä raportteja, artikkeleita, ym.) kotimaisissa ja
ulkomaisissa ammattilehdissä, kirjoissa, sekä muissa julkaisuissa.
Lääketieteellisten ja hammaslääketieteellisten lehtien referee.
Useita radio- ja TV-esiintymisiä.

Posted by: Jani Kolehmainen | June 5, 2005 07:04 AM

And what is your problem against Suomalaisuuden liitto (union of finnishness, for foreign people) kolehmainen? Btw, Heikinkeimo was not "one of the most hated person in Finland", only by those "coastal swedes" who still longe for the times of swedish rule. Do you have a problem with the idea that this union brings to the public all the nasty things swedes are doing or trying to do and tryes to improve the situation, for the benefit of the finnish speaking people as it should be?

Posted by: the second Finn | June 5, 2005 07:49 AM

That was a very, very low hit from Kolehmainen (and once again that nasty backside is wide open for everyone to see). Complete disrespect for elders and he is not even aware that in that disrespect is something wrong. Achviements and admirable list is "bragging". Zees, how low can you go?
http://fi.wikipedia.org/wiki/Loinen

Posted by: Risto Aallonharja | June 5, 2005 08:06 AM

about religion and society in Finland:

Politics and religion indeed do not mix in general, even though there's one small political party, 'Christian democrats' who promote Christian values. However, the State and the Lutheran church are closely entwined: The State of Finland funds the church, making it possible to build new churches etc. The Lutheran Church also has the right to collect a so-called 'church tax' of all its members, which it uses to various expenses. And as someone, I think, already said, th school system must provide obligatory Religious education classes for all Lutheran kids(learning about all religions and the Christian religion in particular)for at least 9 years. Meanwhile, other children have kind of 'secular philosophical ponderings' classes. So, even though it's not like it's in the U.S., it's not like in France either, where the State and Church have nothing to do with each other.

Posted by: kirm | June 5, 2005 08:11 AM

Heikki Tala, why should we form our society like the former Soviet States have done?

In my opinion, Finland is better off differentating from them, and keep the national bilinguality as example to the other bilangual countries.

In those countries you mentioned there are really biggers minorities, mostly Russian. They have usually one oficial language. But Finland has no official language. Only two national languages and three traditional minority languages.

Posted by: Urja | June 5, 2005 08:54 AM

Altough Urjas question is directed to mr. Tala I would like to make a comment.
Finnish/swedish bilanguality doesn´t serve any other purpose than delusions and Utopia based on hate and false ideas of superiority without any ground in reality.
English language will grow, like it or not, into second official language. I for one welcome that progress with open arms. That comes out naturaly and by f r e e w i l l, without any burdens.
Swede by force is a relic from quite inglorius past and will go down. How it goes is up to the amount of arrogant resistance from the minority against the reality factor.

Posted by: Risto Aallonharja | June 5, 2005 10:07 AM

Finland's language policy is dictated by the State to the people. A referendum is out of question. Every single representant of a Finnish nomenklatura knows that present system would loose if the people had the power.

There is no market economy in the language education because the law forces every Finn to study Swedish. It is against the law to study any other language instead of Swedish at the schools!
You are simply not permitted to choose freely.

The teachers of mandatory Swedish are in a similar position as the teachers of marxism and leninism in Soviet Union.

Mandatory Swedish and mandatory courses in marxism-leninism guarantee for a student graduation and a vacancy at the state administration.

Here is the situation described in a nutshell:
http://www.saunalahti.fi/~eiry

Posted by: For freedom and now | June 5, 2005 10:34 AM

Seppo Heikinheimo was one of the most hated persons in Finland. He used to work as a critic for the biggest newspaper in Finland. In his writings you could really see that he didn't feel well.

What Suomalaisiuuden liitto is doing resembles very much that what the Nazis did in the 30s in Germany. They keep publishing propaganda over how bad the Swedish-speaking minority is and how much better everything is without them. In this hate infiltrated society it is then very easy to start a holocaust. Same thing happened in Bosnia and Ruanda. Afterwards nobody had done anything wrong. It just had happened...

People like Heikki Tala are the ones who are the primus motors in holocausts. Luckily the Finnish society is so civilized that they don't get any support from the masses. But I wouldn't wonder if some followers some day feel justified to start terror against the minority. This actually happens already a lot. It is not vice to speak Swedish if there are a lot of Finnish drunks around. A lot of my friends have been beaten up. But Heikki Tala is of course innocent...

Posted by: Jani Kolehmainen | June 5, 2005 10:52 AM

Terror? You mean blowing up mailboxes like in Åland?

No Jani, they are stating the facts.
It is indeed the "elite" swedes who uses the false propaganda to push their agendas forward.

But, you tell me. How long can a decent man forcefully eat BS before he throws Up?

But, for the sake of reality, I would like to state that I have many Finn/swede friends. And there is nothing what is bothering those relations. The question here is n o t get rid off anybody, issue here is to get rid off artificial burdens which are no good in any sence when compared against reality.
I didn´t born here to please anyones delusions. And that is what the forced Swedish is all about.

Posted by: Risto Aallonharja | June 5, 2005 11:42 AM

Risto Aallonharja. You dear compare getting your mailbox blown up with getting beaten up because you speak your mother tongue? For what I know a lot of people are getting their mailboxes blown up around New Years Eve. So that justifies beating up Swedish-speaking people??!!

Have you ever visited the home pages of Suomalaisuuden liitto? It's not about ending compulsory Swedish lessons. It's about hitting down on everything that has to do with the Swedish-speakers.

The amount of hate pages directed towards the Swedish-speaking minority is huge. Do you know about a single hate page against the Finnish-speakers?

It is ridiculous to claim that the Swedish-speakers would suppress the Finnish-speakers. All societies have their part of hate missionaries. This hate is generally directed towards minorities. In Finland this is directed towards the Swedish-speakers. In Germany Suomalaisuuden liitto got into power (Nazis). Do you remember what happened? Did everything get better when they got rid of the Jews (and a lot of other people)? This same thing happened in Bosnia, Rwanda and Afghanistan. Don't think that just because this is Finland there aren't people who are capable of genocide. Should the agitators be left alone? Or should the Swedish-speakers understand to move while they still can (and are allowed)?

Posted by: Jani Kolehmainen | June 5, 2005 12:40 PM

I just read the introduction to Finland diary and I was kind of distrubed by Pekka Himanen's insistence that HIM represents Finnish culture. Nothing could be further off the mark. How could a band that plays hard rock/metal type music (invented in Britain and the US) for 14 year old girls singing in broken English represent the cultural identity of Finland. I know that philosophers are masters at coming up with concepts but this is outrageous. To me, and I'm sure to many other Finns, HIM is an embarrassment. And they are not particularly original either. This sort of stuff has been around for years, and not exclusively in Finland.

Posted by: Kalle | June 5, 2005 12:40 PM

ll societies have their part of hate missionaries. This hate is generally directed towards minorities. In Finland this is directed towards the Swedish-speakers. In Germany Suomalaisuuden liitto got into power (Nazis). Do you remember what happened
***
The Swedes considered Finns to be lesser race, not the other way around. Had the Germans believed the Swedes, what would have happened ?

Last year, 7.2 percent of Finns did not graduate from high school because they did not pass compulsary Swedish. Add to that all those who did not pass during earlier years and quit school because of that.

Compare that with the less than five percent of population that are Swedes.

Posted by: | June 5, 2005 01:20 PM

Jani,

First off all congrats that you changed your style out from left handed mocking into a more serious tone.
Now, I do not represent any organisation, group nor fundamental ideology. I am out for the truth. I don´t support violence and I do share your consern about overwhelmed nationalism.
In order to get things into point where problems can be solved there is couple things wich are on the "must do list first":

1. Admit there is a problem
2. I can be wrong
3. what are the facts without abundant amount of "explanations"

Now, if we agree on these terms then perhaps the solution might pop up.

Posted by: Risto Aallonharja | June 5, 2005 01:20 PM

I know that philosophers are masters at coming up with concepts but this is outrageous. To me, and I'm sure to many other Finns, HIM is an embarrassment.
***
Never listened to it. Probably most Finns have not.

Posted by: | June 5, 2005 01:23 PM

Finns, a lesser race forever.
http://www.sci.fi/~eiry/alersuom.html
" Niin myöhään kun 1922 Ruotsin valtio perusti Upsalaan valtion rotubiologisen laitoksen. Sen tehtävänä oli ylläpitää arjalaisen rodun yliherruutta ja rotupuhtautta. Alempirotuisiksi se määritteli mm. mongolit, saamelaiset ja suomalaiset.""
Racebiological faculty

http://www.concordia.fi/lehti/2001/12001/3.htm


In English: (searches for information about uppsala and racial biology, uppsala was the foremost university in the nordic countries at the time)
http://www.google.com/search?hl=en&q=racial+biology+uppsala&btnG=Google+Search

Posted by: | June 5, 2005 01:51 PM

Someone was saying something about the slippery pavements: Yes. That is a problem Finns do not even try to do anything about. Would be cheaper to cover them than to pay for the hospital bills. Someone did the math. Donot remember where it was, the calculation.

Used to be roads were better, but every year the pavements or is it sidewalks get worse. Without a car it is not healthy to live in Finland.

Posted by: | June 5, 2005 01:56 PM

"Seppo Heikinheimo was one of the most hated persons in Finland. He used to work as a critic for the biggest newspaper in Finland. In his writings you could really see that he didn't feel well."
To US readers, the text above written by Jani Kolehmainen is totally based on his own bias and have nothing to do with general attitude of the finnish people. Now, when comparing union of finnishness to nazis he makes a public insult which can be left ignored because its stupidity. What he doesn´t realize is that while he is condemning the union of finnishness, he makes no reference to the swedish speaking party which is based on racial attitude towards finnish speaking majority. Strange isn´t it?

Posted by: the second Finn | June 5, 2005 01:58 PM

"What he doesn´t realize is that while he is condemning the union of finnishness, he makes no reference to the swedish speaking party which is based on racial attitude towards finnish speaking majority. Strange isn´t it?"

Not strange. They only started calling finns nazi after it became negative. Before that that called Finns a lesser race. Always the most negative things = Finns.
They do say directly "urfinnar", meaning our mongolese origins - in their minds.

BTW, something still missing about in Finnish culture is kesäteatterit, summer theaters that are outside They are really popular, much more so than the institutions inside.

Posted by: | June 5, 2005 02:04 PM

I watched the last slideshow from the Finnish Diary. Under the last picture I read this text:

"The Harjuntorinkatu is the only sauna in the country that still uses a wooden fire to heat stones, which when doused with water create the sauna's steam."

That's pure crap by the way.

I think that most Finns still prefer a wooden fire in the kiuas (the stove). I don't know well public saunas outside of Tampere, but my favourite sauna is definitely heated with wood.

I suppose that in Finland the total number of saunas heated with wooden fire still is more than hundred thousand.

Posted by: Nikolas Ojala | June 5, 2005 06:15 PM

"For information, when this mistake originally was made, Microsoft had a Swede as their PR officer for Finland, today the Swedish GM of Finnish Broadcsting Company YLE. YLE uses 20% for Swedishness, when the share of Swedes in Finland is 5%."

It is not onlyt he media that decides not to talk about certain matters. Finnish schools too teach history in a totally false manner. It is achieven by political corruption on a massive scale.
,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,
haavanlehti 09:22


Suomen presidentti allekirjoitti Suomen kielilain Ruotsin kansallispäivänä 6.6.2003.

Oiken kunnon lipasu sossupresidentiltä.

Kielilakikomitean pj. Pekka Hallberg sai ansioistaan Ruotsin kielen hyväksi korkean ruotsalaisen kunniamerkin.

Kielilakikomitean sihteeri Sten Palmgren,OM, palkittiin 10 000 euron kulttuuripalkinnolla ansioistaan kielilakikomitean sihteerinä.
Kulttuuripalkinnon antoi Svenska folkskolan vänner ry. Palmgrenille. Eli edunsaajataho.

"Suomessa ei ole korruptiota" hhehheh.
Kun päättäjät sanoo niin niin alamaisuskollinen suomalainen on samaa mieltä tietenkin mitään kyseenalaistamatta.
^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^
http://www.google.fi/search?q=uppsala+racial+biology&hl=fi
About the racial biology in Sweden and Uppsala university, from 20s to 60s.
Although racial biology was common elsewhere too, what is notable to Finns is that Finns were considered to be a lower race in Sweden. In the same manner as the Germans considered some races but not including Finns lower in Germany, eventually deciding to wipe out the lower races. Finns had luck the Swedes were not believed by the Germans and been taken to the ovens and gas chambers.
Germany was occupied and nazism ceased to exist. In Sweden the same regime continued and still continues to rule.
http://www.google.fi/search?hl=fi&q=racial+biology+oslo&meta=
For example:
"Mjoen, an active member of the governing Liberal Party, found considerable support for his eugenic ideas among government officials. By 1915, the party platform included a call for the study of practical methods for treating folk-disease - "fokesykdommer." Mjoen was also able to convince the Parliament to create the Institute for Genetics at the University of Oslo in 1916. Ragnar Vogt, founder of Norwegian psychiatry, was placed in charge of it. "

Finnish and not only Finnnish school children should be taught the truth about Nordic countries instead of the rosy and totally false picture they now are given.

Posted by: | June 6, 2005 06:22 AM

That's pure crap by the way.

I think that most Finns still prefer a wooden fire in the kiuas (the stove). I don't know well public saunas outside of Tampere, but my favourite sauna is definitely heated with wood.

I suppose that in Finland the total number of saunas heated with wooden fire still is more than hundred thousand.
--
Must be much more. The wooden fire-stones are sold in hardware shops alongside the electric stoves.
Public saunas do exist in all swimming halls. There probably is one in all towns in Finland.
One can go to sauna and then dip in the water for a while. Some Finns who are not that fond of swimming do that.

Posted by: | June 6, 2005 06:25 AM

Main points: 1)1918. The summar states that the leftist were in supported in 1918 civil war by Soviet troops; there were no Soviet troops at that time, but remnants of the Czar's army in Finland;

--
That is indeed a huge difference.

Posted by: | June 6, 2005 06:29 AM

kurosawaguy wrote:
Please report on the status of the indigenous peoples, especially the Sami. I know that historically they have been treated rather shabbily in Sweden, but have not heard anything about those in Finland. Is their right to retain their language, culture and traditional land respected?
----

http://www.kotus.fi/kielet/saame/ind_inenglish.shtml

Posted by: J.M.T.K | June 6, 2005 06:36 AM

To Risto Aallonharja:

Glad to notice somebody answers my questions. Heikki Tala never does. The only answers I get from him are:

1) Mandatory Swedish is about to be removed
2) Finland is going to be one-language country at least in the year 2017 (The 100th anniversary of Finland's independence)

Despite what I ask.

But when Swedish is not an important language in Finland it certainly will be dropped out. That's what the author, Arto Paasilinna said. It will take a long time. Nobody ever has made an amendment about Finland being one-language country in the parliament.

Posted by: Urja | June 6, 2005 07:15 AM

"Finns are stupid people" Casimir Ehrnrooth in his companys partin from finnish paper industrys marketing association (HS(newspaper) 7.4.90.) He´s a well know finnish a business executive.

"Jutta Zilliacus spread in one of her journeys at UN headquarters her own idea that only swedish speaking people are intellectual in Finland "finns are boors"(Veikko Vennamo: Kulissien takana. A politicians memoirs)

"foolish, illiteral finnish must be taught to become internationals" (Per Stenbäck TV-news 16.9.87.)

"finns are not at the same level as culture countries are", Elisabeth Rehn (presidential candidate for swedish speaking party) at Siuntio 5.1.91. (Al 6.1.91.)

From the pressure of minister of education Ole Norrback (swedish party) Helsinki university adds the allotment of the swedish speaking students in the forensic science department with 50 % v. 1991.
As a protest to this move the professor Erkki Havansi, the chairman of the screening test board, resign from his post.(HS 1.3.91.)

Autumn -89 into the sweadish speaking high school students got into the school with average of 5,28 and all the applicants we taken in, but into the finnish high school the average was 7,40 and over 400 students was left without a place in school.
During same autumn in Vaasa city the averages were 5,8 to the swedish speakers and 7,6 for the finnish speaking students. 7 swedish speaking student places were left without filling, 40 finnish students were left without high school places.

Swedish prime minister Ingvar Carlsson said in EU council meeting in Strasbourgh
21.6.95 : "Sweden cannot join the EU minority language agreenment because it would bring the rights of the minority language to the finnish minority in Sweden."
(HS 25.6.95.)

Something to think about.

Posted by: the second Finn | June 6, 2005 07:36 AM

>>>>>>No, no, no... macaroni box is different. It's sort of a stiifer verion of Macn'cheese and it has small lumps ofmeat in it. You make it from scratch. There is no runny sauce in it.
There is also:
- Carrot bax
- Tunip box

Dear Troll, If this "Macaroni Box" is made from scratch, as you say, then why is it called "Box?" What does the box indicate?

thanks, curious

Posted by: curious in USA | June 6, 2005 10:38 AM

Urja: "Nobody ever has made an amendment about Finland being one-language country in the parliament."

I just wonder was that the reason why Marshall Mannerheim knew that this nation is allways better than their government is. He probably knew that Finnish government is allways, at least in to distant future, be pested with delusional treaties, pacts and "hush hush" contracts forced by parasites attached to the core of the system. From east and west. Therefore I quess our achievments are done in "yes, yes I agree, surely, You are right as allways, You can have it your way we just do these lil things in the mean time".
Well, this is about to change. You can´t fool a man who is aware about the facts.

Posted by: | June 6, 2005 03:06 PM

oops, I forget to add my name. Previous was from me.

Posted by: Risto Aallonharja | June 6, 2005 03:08 PM

Yep, writing down and publishing them in hurry is not that smart move.. I´ll make an addition to my previous post.

..our achievements are done in "yes, yes I agree, surely, You are right as allways, You can have it your way we just do these lil things in the mean time".... Way and worlds biggest cruisers are sailing out from our shores into world to amaze and entertain. They just sail away in modesty and quietly.

Posted by: Risto Aallonharja | June 6, 2005 03:36 PM

Is your Macaroni Box homemade or is it out of a box? Please advise.

Posted by: | June 6, 2005 04:57 PM

Ok here we go,

cook some macaroni,
fry some minced meat
chop onion and fry it,

Mix some tomato based souce with fried meat,

Mix all together, including cooked macaronies.
Add some salt & pepper.

Take casserole (box)
Put the mix in.

Brake one egg into amount of milk which is sufficient to cover the mix in casserole, however in a way that mix doesn´t drown in this egg/milk. (Egg/milks task is to make this whole thing solid after the oven)
Check salt balance and add other spices of your choise. Garlic is very suitable.

Now you have quite milky mix in casserole. Add cheese on top (Lots of it). I personaly like to add extra blue cheese top of this basic cheese.
Put into oven 200 degrees of Celsius and wait about 30 min or until it is golden coloured.

As an extra, You can add raw baconslices under the cheese. Awesome.

Posted by: Risto Aallonharja | June 6, 2005 06:15 PM

The macaroni "box" ( LOL ) actually refers to a macaroni casserole. I guess the usage of the term "box" here is a (either a joke or a misguided but admittedly funny) literal translation of the Finnish word makaronilaatikko. "Laatikko" in itself means "box", but in the context of the dish "makaronilaatikko", you really cannot use the word 'box'.

Same goes for the 'Carrot "box" & the Turnip "box" ' (lol, again), the correct term is Carrot casserole and Turnip casserole, both traditional Finnish Christmas foods.

And, "Curious"; the "box" refers to the form, i.e. the rectangular (covered) aluminum casserole dish that you buy it in, or, if you make it from scratch; it often is also the form of the casserole dish that you bake it in.

Since I am on the subject of food:
One more note about my favorite bread, the dark sour rye bread. Nowhere in the world is it as delicious as in Finland. I have tasted the Russian version, the Swedish version, and the only version I found here in New York, at Balthazar Bakery in Soho, but the Finnish version is the winner.
And preferably it has to be a "Häälimppu", which is a bit moist in the middle. Oh, boy.

Posted by: FinnInNewYork. | June 6, 2005 06:48 PM

Oh yeah, that "box" is very "lollable". xD

If we want to be precise where the best dark sour rye bread comes from it definetly is from north carelia! Here in south where I live, here used to be good ones, but they are too "factory" tasting nowadays..
Selfmade, in knowing hands, beat ofcourse every other found from stores.
Btw, if you are going to go sauna and you happen to have beer in your hands, try tossing some with water to the rocks. Very delicious odour, like fresh baked dark sour rye bread.
Friend of mine from US didn´t believe this at first, but after we tried, that became a ritual to him as he lives here and has his own sauna.

So when you come to Finland ask some beer on hot rocks. ;)

Posted by: Risto Aallonharja | June 6, 2005 07:24 PM

I didn't read all posts, about two-thirds perhaps, but the Swedish-Finnish language debate seems quite heated, to say the least. It's interesting that the same people that seem to think that to promote Swedish is somehow racist then invariably go on to explain that the so-called Finn-Swedes really were 'Finnish' by race. Supposedly making them superior by that fact?

Finlandssvenska, which is what 'Finn-Swedish' is called here in Sweden is fully understandable by anyone, I dare say. More so than some southern accents from Skane (Scania). It's seen as a quite beautiful accent and as someone said quite a few TV and culture personalities speak this accent and are quite beloved. So hopefully what some people have said about Finlandssvenska being 'non-eligible' in Sweden is utterly untrue.

There was a remark that no services were carried out for the minority languages but, annoyingly, there are news in all minority languages and even nationally broadcasted channels in several, including the 'new' ones like arabic, turkish etc. Granted, those are only available to homes that bought a digital TV reciever, but that's still most of the metropolitan areas. There are also children's shows in Finnish at the state channels.

The charge that Swedes are racist compared to Finns is simply utterly ludicrous. We take in the third most refugees in the world after The UK (first) and the USA (second), total. Which per capita of course makes us so overwhelmingly number one not even the Netherlands comes even close. Integration is still extremely poor, granted, but that has got more to do with the politicians general incompetence than lack of good will.

I would also remind Finnish nationalists here that 'Finlands sak är vår' and that many Swedes died defending Finland during the Winter War. Those men went there defending their brothers not giving a rats ass about Swedens famed armed neutrality.

To the journalist. What has the Nobel Peace Prize being given out in Oslo go to do with anything?

It was simply strange, and slightly alarming, to read these threads. I've never heard of this resentment before and doubt many people in Sweden have. I rarely defend Sweden like this, but there were just too many factual errrors to let through. Remember the golden principle of Charity. Always interpret your opponents argument in the kindest possible way and never enter a discussion unless you are prepared to admit that you might be wrong. The thread was preceded by an interview with a philosopher for chris' sake.

A final remark about the other Nordic countries making fun of us. We're in the middle, we're the biggest, we have the largest population and the largest economy. Of course you're making fun of us. :)

To the hate-filled lunatics I've seen in this forum: Get a grip on yourselves.

Nice work on the reporting from Finland btw.

Lund, Sweden

Posted by: Daniel Sjöström | June 6, 2005 09:45 PM

At May 24, 2005 03:08 PM vision kirjuutteli notta:

"OK bad joke, but a running one in US Nokia offices. Hey, Finns get all the promotions/never get laid off at Nokia. But it's their company, so cannot expect better I suppose."

Hmm? I'm a Finn and I got laid off from Nokia 8/2003 as did more than 1000 other engineers most of them (baut 800) Finns.

By the way, when I were working as porter in portugal 20 something years ago I did recognize us Finns from our habit to stare our feets, unfortunately that's not a joke.

Posted by: J.M.T.K | June 7, 2005 01:42 AM

To Daniel Sjöström, your post which though had some points was mostly just dodging the subject.
Few clarifications, i don´t think most of us who oppose compulsory swedish language, are agains swedish speaking people or Sweden itself.

If you would have been reading the posts above then you would have noticed that we consider those 10 000 men who volunteered to fight and die for Finland in Winter War as heroes. So, with that you would understand that we are not against swedish people, just the politics done in Finland and Sweden.

What we are opposing is the situation where minority can dictate the majority what to do in Finland (e.i. forced swedish at school) or we disapprove the way finnish speaking minority is treated in Sweden. How would you like as a swedish if you would be forced to read finnish and to have a state office you would be reguired to pass certain language test in finnish? In your own mind, do you think finnish speaking people in Sweden are treated as equal as are swedish speaking in Finland?

You made a comment about how much people Sweden takes in as refugees. Ok, that is nice, but that has nothing to do with the way finnish speaking minory (about 500 000 people) are treated and how their native language is pressured politically. Just read how many schools, kindergartens, high schools, etc. have been closed or pressured to stop teaching finnish language in Sweden. Racism, hmm.. how would you comment such statements like this in swedish newspapers from violent crime" en finne igen"?

This isn´t "hate filled lunatics" rant, just some observations from person who keeps his eyes open. I suggest you do the same.

Posted by: the second Finn | June 7, 2005 02:24 AM

Dear Finno-Swedes,you have to be thankful to the Finns that the Finns have not copied Sweden's system,because there were:

-No higher education in a minority language
-No mandatory education in a minority language
-No public service in a minority language
-No quotas for the minorities in the higher education
-Constitution has no word of minorities
-The state is monolingual
-No autonomous reagion for the minority
-No army unit for a minority
-No own departements for the minorities in the state administration
-No officially bi-lingual municipalities
-No own municipalities for the minorities
-The state recognizes the existence of the minorities just in the lower legislation
-No street-signs in a minority language

If the Finns get an idea to copy Sweden's system in a minority politics it is the end for the Swedish speaking minority in Finland!

If I was a Fenno-Swede I would pray every evening that the Finns do not get the idea that Sweden's model is better and cheaper.

Just few weeks ago Swedish minister gave a statement that bi-lingual services in Malar-valley would be disaster economically. And Malar-valley is just a little part of Sweden!

Posted by: First Finn | June 7, 2005 05:16 AM

"If you would have been reading the posts above then you would have noticed that we consider those 10 000 men who volunteered to fight and die for Finland in Winter War as heroes."
Swedish nationals of Finnish origin the most were. Some Swede (in Finland) also told how they also go to military in Finland just as Finns and are as eager to fight and how proudly they were "lahtareita". Well- yes: fight Russia that is. Every second time Finland has however been invaded by Sweden.

Posted by: | June 7, 2005 06:22 AM

Mr. Daniel Sjöström.
I would also like to recommend that you try to read whole topic. You´d find many issues which are not openly discussed elsewhere in Finland or international forums, without immediate censorship.

This issue is not against anybody or getting people kicked out from here.
Issue here is that everything our 5 % of population is dictating and demanding for the sake of thin air are not only blatantly delusional they are also strikingly arrogant.

Posted by: Risto Aallonharja | June 7, 2005 06:27 AM

Like I said, I read the top two-thirds and I responded directly to posts made. We have a much smaller Finnish minority than you do a Swedish-speaking and as for compulsory teaching of other languages than Swedish, we do have that albeit English. To study compulsory English, and then in high school another third language is of course justified because the better part of the world understand nothing of the Nordic languages. However, I can get by perfectly well in Denmark and Norway with my Swedish. I suppose one of the justifications of learning Swedish in Finland is, apart from the cultural bonds, that you are better equipped to understand your neighbours. That said, I do believe in liberty and if you want to learn English instead of Swedish that is understandable. What I don't understand is why you want to alienate yourselves from the rest of the Nordic countries. It isn't just a matter of principles, is it? As for how the Finnish speaking minority is treated, according to your own argument, they shouldn't be 'treated' at all should they? Is it either 'abolish Swedish education in Finland' OR 'they must learn Finnish to the same degree in Sweden'? Those are two entirely different issues. Our Finnish speaking minority is much smaller; in the parts where there are mainly Finnish speakers everything is bilingual; there are nationally broadcast news in Finnish on SVT everyday. (As well as increasingly news in other minority languages.) You on the other hand have over 200 000 Swedish speakers. That may be a minority, but it's still 200 000 people. Switzerland still has Romansch as an official language you know. Perhaps you should retain it for the same reasons we still read about the holocaust in school? Or archeologists still learn arameic to understand parts of history. It's your history.

"Dear Finno-Swedes,you have to be thankful to the Finns that the Finns have not copied Sweden's system"

You already have. All Nordic countries copied the Swedish model and used it as a blueprint to their welfare ecnomies. I'd say you're fairly successful with it, wouldn't you. More so than Sweden at the moment certainly. The Malar-valley btw consists of a few hundred persons speaking their own peculiar dialect. There are no half million Malar-valleyers in Sweden, as would have been the equivalent in Finland.

And again 'second Finn', I understand the debate was not aimed at Swedes but the fact that you have to learn Swedish. Nevertheless there have been many hateful posts with the word 'Swedish' peppered through it which is why I reacted, and quite a few factual errors that I tried to address. I am not here to propagate that you must all learn Swedish, I was merely trying to offer reasons why you still do.

Posted by: Daniel Sjöström | June 7, 2005 06:34 AM

A quick correction to Daniel Sjöströms post, the percentage of populations are almost equal. There are about 300 000 swedish speaking citizens in Finland which is about 5,7% of the population. In Sweden the same percentage is 5,6% (about) 500 000 from 9 000 000 people. So, the minority numbers aren´t that far apart.

Posted by: the second Finn | June 7, 2005 06:53 AM

Here is the link: http://www.rskl.se
(Sweden's Finnish Centralorganization)

The number of Finnish speaking Swedes is considered by Sweden's Finnish Centralorganization being 450 000.

Mr. Daniel Sjoström is completely wrong that Finland had copied Sweden's system.
Because it ment:
-No higher education in a minority language
-No street-signs in a minority language
-No bi-lingual municipalities
-No autonomous region for a minority
-No quotas for the minorities in the higher education
-Not a word of the minorities in the Constitution
-No own departements for the minorities in the state administration
etc. etc. etc.

I have never heard any Fenno-Swede demanding similar minority administration system for Finland as there is in Sweden!

IMHO. Mr. Sjoström is only badly informed person.

If Finland followed Sweden's example Finland declared Swedish dialect spoken in Finland being a language of its own.

Such an administrative decision was made by Sweden's administration concerning so called meänkieli on Northern-Sweden.

I have been over there and can you believe!
Those people are illiterate in their own mother-tongue! Rich Sweden "cannot afford" education in their own mother-tongue that they could read and write it! Just the contraty,Sweden banned speaking Finnish within the school-yeards for several decades!

So late as the year 1918 Sweden still attacked Finland and tried to take benefit of Finland's fragile independence by occupying a part of Finland.

Posted by: First Finn | June 7, 2005 07:41 AM

Why don´t you Daniel Sjöström read the previous posts. These are allready been asked and answered.

What would you say to an idea, far fetched at the moment, that what if Finland and Sweden would stand together as a sovereign nations without artificial and delusional burdens and would rock the hell out in the world scene? Conserning real freedom and real welfare, not nannying from gradle to grave, but supportive and pushing drive for achvievment? In all areas from arts to jumbojets if necessary?
These ancient, and once again, delusional "elite" ideas are factually complete nonsense and keeps us down for nothing.

Well, anyways. I am going out to see MÖTLEY CRUE to Helsinki Icehockey stadium and I have a strong feeling that I have a headache tomorrow. ;)
Just a year ago in june I was sitting at my backyard reading Mötleys "the dirt" -book and never would have guessed that they end up together once again and start their European tour from Helsinki.

Posted by: Risto Aallonharja | June 7, 2005 07:52 AM

To Daniel Sjöström:

There are very few people who want Finland alienate from the Nordic countries, and ofthem all who can any English, have written their opinions here.

Posted by: Urja | June 7, 2005 08:05 AM

Where did the excellent Finnish school system originate in ?

http://www.absoluteastronomy.com/encyclopedia/E/Ed/Education_in_East_Germany.htm

There are places for 25% of graduates (from high school) in engineering colleges of the lower, non-university level in Finland.
Most go there as they cannot find any other school to go to and quit when they finally find one.

Posted by: | June 7, 2005 08:52 AM

To Risto Aallonharja

"What would you say to an idea, far fetched at the moment, that what if Finland and Sweden would stand together as a sovereign nations without artificial and delusional burdens and would rock the hell out in the world scene? Conserning real freedom and real welfare, not nannying from gradle to grave, but supportive and pushing drive for achvievment? In all areas from arts to jumbojets if necessary?
These ancient, and once again, delusional "elite" ideas are factually complete nonsense and keeps us down for nothing."

This is indeed what I have been implicitly arguing for. I have read the top two thirds of this five million word thread and reacted mostly to people like 'LanguageWarrior'. I will now read everything.

To whomever wrote that there are about half a million Swedish-Finns, you are indeed correct. I was looking at the number of Finn-Swedes that number appr. 100 000 (and haven't been given minority status, as opposed to Swedish-Finns, Samis, Gypsies (Romer) and Jews.) There are minority rights in the constitution, as stipulated by the UN in 94, enacted in Sweden in 99 and Finland two years before that, in 1997.


Let me now address the below statement:
"Mr. Daniel Sjoström is completely wrong that Finland had copied Sweden's system.
Because it ment:
-No higher education in a minority language

Really? As far as I know all minority languages were offered in Lund until very recently. They have now moved to some of the new Universities. The reason why some languages might be dropped is that nobody studies them (someone has to apply you know). There is still research being done however.

-No street-signs in a minority language

Where would those be? Do you have that? That is indeed ludicrous. We can't have street signs in hundreds of languages.

-No bi-lingual municipalities

I wouldn't know about that, but all information can be translated and obtained in the official minority languages and most other.

-No autonomous region for a minority

The 'Same-ting'?

-No quotas for the minorities in the higher education

Why in the heavens should we have that? People are admitted on merit alone. If you have quotas, I'm with you. Drop them!

-Not a word of the minorities in the Constitution

See above

-No own departements for the minorities in the state administration

Well there is of course the minister for democracy, urban areas, integration and equality. "Jens Orback
Demokrati-, storstads-, integrations-, och jämställdhetsminister, Justitiedepartementet" www.regeringen.se Go read about him.

Posted by: | June 7, 2005 02:08 PM

The above was of course from me.

Posted by: Daniel Sjöström | June 7, 2005 02:12 PM

Risto A.;

About hand made sour rye bread: I wish I could get my hands on a piece of "juuri" (rye dough "root"[= base]) over here! (Not allowed to bring it or any bread with me, when I return from visiting good old Finland. :-( )

I have no doubt that the best sour rye bread comes from northern Carelia.

While I am talking about Carelia:

I am relieved that my Dad (who's family came from Viipuri/Wyborg, losing everything, when Soviet Russia stole that part of Karjala/Carelia from Finland.) did not have to see the recent events:
Russia's atrocious, repeated violations of Finnish air space and the very cavalier attitude toward the Finns' official protests and demands for an explanation. There have been about 20 incidents this spring!

I have also heard that Russian officials have called, yelling, to some Finnish politician/official, having the audacity to say (yell) (well, in effect, actually threaten) that the Finns better keep their journalists (critical of Putin -for good reason) in order. (Or else?)
To me this is extremely alarming. And extremely infuriating. Who the h--ll do they think they are?

Quite frankly, all you people who quibble about this Finnish-Swedish utter nonsense -issue on this board, I am surprised that you do not raise hell about RUSSIA'S EGREGIOUS OFFENSE toward ALL OF US FINNS, whether Swedish speaking, Finnish speaking, or bi-lingual!

Also:
Why do I not hear/see serious reports about Russia's violations of Finnish air space in the U.S. media?

If Russia attacked Finland, would Finland be alone, AGAIN?
(Except for volunteers from Sweden ;-/ )

Posted by: FinnInNewYork | June 7, 2005 03:51 PM

FinnInNewYork has of course a point. However, we have to remember that these violations of air space have been "hidden" until channel mtv3 vent public with them. Latest news about the issue are that situation has been cleared with russia and they promise to check the flight courses better (they say that the internation air channel is so thin when flying from Kaliningrad to st Petersburg). We will see how things go. I believe that if such thing like war would broke out between Finland and Russia then these language disputes would be forgotton in a second, after all Russia has been our enemy through ages.

Posted by: the second Finn | June 8, 2005 01:40 AM

Do you know that the finnish numbers from 1 to 0 (1234567890) describes the creation of the alphabet? Works like tis:

1 is "YKSI"
2 is "KAKSI"

Now the "KS" is actually "X". Ii the old Greece alphabet the X is "Xia".

3 so we got "YXiakaXI"
4 Lets spearate lower-case and uppe-case. We got "YX iaka XI".

"iaka" = "jaka" = "divide/split in half".
5 "jaka X I" means "split the X with the I" so we do that.
6 and got K (X/I=K) which is the first letter in the next number (Kolme) ... .. .

And when all numbers "done" you got: "This is the Opus of XY and The Time of Noa".

Posted by: Matti E Simonaho | June 8, 2005 01:57 AM

By studying the Finnish language using the Lingual Genetics -method you find out that the people in the ancient times was far much intelligent than described in the history books. For example the word PHILOSOPHY comes from Greece words PHILOS (problem) and SOPHIA (solution).

But when studying the words using the Lingual Genetics method, we find a definition of PHILOSOPHY in Finnish matching the current definition of PHILOSOPHY. This means in short that the words PHILOS and SOPHIA got the root in ancient Finnish.

Lingual chromosome: PHILOS
Lingual chromosome: SOPHIA
Lingual DNA for PHILOS (soundings added for each letter): PE.HE.II.EL.OE.ES
Lingual DNA for SOPHIA (soundings added for each letter): ES.OE.PE.HE.II.AE

Finnish can be read from left to right and from right to left:
PHILOS: PE.HE.II.EL.OE.ES ES.OE.EL.II.HE.PE
SOPHIA: ES.OE.PE.HE.II.AE AE.II.HE.PE.OE.ES

When looking for Finnish Lingual Gene in the Lingual DNA we find:

1. "pahoillaan oleminen (peheiiel oees)
on häpeämistä (es oeelii hepe),
sopikaa aihe pois (esoepeheiiae aeiihe peoees)"

"To be sorry is to be in shame. Agree and get rid of the shame."

2. "pahuus elää (peheii eloees)
pohjimmiltaan häpeästä (esoeelii hepe),
sopikaa aihe pois (esoepeheiiae aeiihe peoees)".

"Basically the evil lives of shame. Agree and get rid of the shame."

Posted by: Matti E Simonaho | June 8, 2005 02:24 AM

Here is the recent document from Winter War which will be out soon: http://www.mastersworkmedia.com/fireandice.htm worth to look at.

Posted by: Wulfe | June 8, 2005 03:02 AM

"Quite frankly, all you people who quibble about this Finnish-Swedish utter nonsense -issue on this board, I am surprised that you do not raise hell about RUSSIA'S EGREGIOUS OFFENSE"

There is a huge difference between a couple of planes flying far above the ground in the open skies to the fact that Finland is continuously being under Swedish rule and that all have to comply to their demand of having to understand their language. The Russians are not even demanding their language should be learned by all. The Russian language is also much more useful and widespoken than Swedish. There are world-known literatural masterpieces that were written in Russian. The average american might know theres Russian books such as Dostojevskis the Idiot or Tolstoys War and Peace. Ask the average Finn and they know almost nothing about Russia except that the Soviets invaded Finland.
About Sweden Finns think they know a lot. They are told in school it is similar to Finland and that the Nordic countries are all a big happy family. They are _not_ told about how Finns are considered to be like in the other "nordic" countries.
http://home.swipnet.se/~w-15266/cultur/fyodor/fdbooks.htm
http://www.underthesun.cc/Classics/Tolstoy/
http://directory.google.com/Top/Arts/Literature/World_Literature/Russian/
http://www.learningrussian.com/library/
Yet most Finns probably cannot name any Russian authors.

Posted by: | June 8, 2005 05:19 AM

"There are very few people who want Finland alienate from the Nordic countries, and ofthem all who can any English, have written their opinions here"

Not that many write to _any_ blogs in the net.
Of the Finns, 96+ percent are against compulsary Swedish in schools.

Posted by: | June 8, 2005 05:23 AM

"Of the Finns, 96+ percent are against compulsary Swedish in schools."

That's not what I heard. Where did you get that information? From Suomalaisuuden liitto?

Posted by: Urja | June 8, 2005 07:36 AM

Urja, almost all Finns think the same as "suomalaisuuden liitto" but they s..t up about it for good reasons.

There are two big lies that all believe.
One is the two-language country. Reality is that Finland is a occupied country. Swedes took over in the 60s using psychological warfare.
Finns are too simple to have noticed that. The army does not teach that. The schools are no better.

Another is the welfare state. Americans have a lot more of it. They do not have to kill themselves if things go bad.

Posted by: Janne | June 8, 2005 08:28 AM

I'M A FINNISH NAMED PERSON FROM MINNESOTA, WISH I WOULD HAVE LEARNED MORE ABOUT THE FINNISH PEOPLE WHEN I WAS GROWING UP. MY GRANDPARENTS CAME FROM FINLAND WAY BACK. ANYWAYS IM 100% BLOODED FINN, AND PROUD OF IT.
THANKS TERRY E. RYTKONEN
**************************
You can visit Finland sometime if you want. Or whole of Europe. There is "Ryanair" that you can look up in the internet, they have cheap tickets that you must book in advance for intra-european travels.
In Finland, there is not really anything special to see, rent a summer cottage and visit the sauna, eat smoke grilled meat and sausages..
..that is about it.
But that is what lots of Finns value the most, their summer cottage (in July when most have vacation when it is the warmest, cheaper cottages to rent, June and August are just as good, a bit less warm, but August - usually warm like July but more rain, June - not warm, less rain (have to be drunk to swim in the lake))
http://www.google.fi/search?hl=fi&q=kes%C3%A4m%C3%B6kki+vuokralle&btnG=Google-haku&meta=

http://www.google.fi/search?hl=fi&q=kes%C3%A4m%C3%B6kki+vuokra&btnG=Hae&meta=

kesämökki = summercottage
vuokra = rent
vuokralle = for rent

(I do not want to talk to any company that rents them here as I own one that is for rent so only Google link)

Posted by: | June 8, 2005 08:38 AM

"Really? As far as I know all minority languages were offered in Lund until very recently. They have now moved to some of the new Universities. The reason why some languages might be dropped is that nobody studies them (someone has to apply you know). There is still research being done however."

Not sure you understood...or maybe I didn't ;-) In Finland there are whole tertriary intstitutions where teaching is in Swedish e.g. a very big business school in Helsinki, a very respected University in Turku etc.etc.

Anyway, I think that this thread is ridiculous and a bit embarrasing for the Finns. Remember, it's Washington Post! I bet that most Americans will have one look at the first thread (which is this) and decide that they don't want to read the Finland Diary. Shame. :-( The explanation for these weird posts is that Finns become very boring (and go crazy perhaps) when they are bored/have an empty life.

Posted by: | June 8, 2005 03:11 PM

I would like to read some comments from Finns and others who have seen the Finnish tv miniseries RAID and the movie sequel of the same name. It was shown here in Washington DC recently and has quite a cult following. I think the tv series is a true masterpeiece. We dont have anything on American tv nearly as good. RAID is the best thing I have seen in many years. Thanks to those who made it and those who brought it over here to the USA for us lucky ones in Washington DC who got to see it.

Posted by: lefty stewart | June 8, 2005 03:58 PM

I go home now and make big Macaroni Box. Yum Yum. Why is casserole dish referred to as Box? Because it has 4 sides? OK, Box then.

Posted by: | June 8, 2005 04:55 PM

Street signs are bilingual in Finland only in historically Swedish-speaking or bilingual areas where there is still a sizable number of Swedish-speaking people (e.g., Helsinki).

There are no quotas for minorities in Finland. Such quotas would not work because you may define yourself as you please, and nobody has a right to challenge that. You may also change your self-definition arbitrarily.

There are, however, some quotas at Helsinki University and in certain government departments for people (regardless of background) who have taken a test to show that they know some Swedish -- in addition to Finnish. The government wants to ensure that there will be a few people capable of serving the Swedish-speaking population.

The tests are easy -- fluency in Swedish is seldom expected. The existence of these tests is not so remarkable. After all, there are university courses and government jobs for which you need to prove that you know English. In the private sector in particular, there are jobs for which other languages such as Russian, German, and French are required.

Posted by: Tor Aschan | June 9, 2005 03:16 AM

Tor Aschan: "There are, however, some quotas at Helsinki University and in certain government departments..."

Indeed, Swedish children lag intellectually more than one year behind the Finns. This is due to the åpårtheid, which separates them from Finnish teachers, who are the best in the World.

Business and Law Schools, i.e. the Schools of the coming Rich and Powerful, the Swedes have 20% quotas, when they have 5% of the population. No wonder that there is lack of Swedish-speaking nurses and helpers, where Swedes want to force Finns to go (and learnd the Yoke-Swedish).

In ALL non-trivial positions, the skill of Swedish language, is more important than any shown skill on the substance. E.g., a Finn wants to go to Finnish Consulate in South Africa. You are not tested as per any African language, nor against English; you will be dropped, if you do not speak perfect Swedish. The certificate for perfect Swedish, will be given by a Swede. Thus you have to pass the purely racistic validation committee before you can go to South Africa that fights against racism.

Posted by: LanguageWarrior | June 9, 2005 04:53 AM

The Swedish knowledge of writing and whatever is related to it developed after 13'th century. The Swedish Å -letter was developed between 1450-1550AD.

Current "viking age" have never existed. It's quite simple to prove because the current translation of the rune writing is based on scandinavian/german language and alphabet (after 4'th century) while the rune writing itself originates 1500BC when the swedish/german characters did not exist.

Another thing is the rune alphabet itself. All alphabets are in the ABC -order but the rune alphabet is not. Exept for the Dalecarlia -runes - those are in AB order. So the current FUTHARK -order was created after 15'th century and the "ancient swedish" words is not older than 300 years. And please note that it has never being proven that the s. c. viking age ever existed. It has never being proven that the s. c. viking age items are of swedish/german origin. One more thing, a language and a culture develope during thousands of years. It is impossible that the whole swedish population forgot their language, culture etc within 200 years. Becase prior 15'th century the s. c. vikings never existed. An finally, every language has a Lingual Genetic Code. Current rune alphabet, the translation and the swedish language code does not match the Lingual Genetic Code. So the viking age have never exist - it's a made-up story after 15'th century.

If you know Finnish you might find this interesting. "I speak Swedish" in Swedish is "jag pratar svenska". We add the Lingual Genetic Code for each letter and got the Lingual Genetic DNA: "iaaeenge peeraeteaeer esvaeneskeae". Then we look for the the Finnish Gene in the writing and got (read left to right and right to left): "iaae enge peerae teaeer esvaen eskeae aekees eneevaes eraete aeerpe ingeaeia" (j.ag pra tar sven ska aks nevs rat arp ga.j) which actually is a confession.

So when you speak or write, you phonetically tell "who/what" you are and/or who/what the language you use represent. Might be that Finnish actually is one of the Lingua Genere's.

Source: http://www.suomalaiset.org

Posted by: Matti E Simonaho | June 9, 2005 06:36 AM

"tertriary intstitutions where teaching is in Swedish e.g. a very big business school in Helsinki, a very respected University in Turku etc.etc."

Used to be they simply said they are more clever and so on. Have not heard that claim used anymore after the Pisa statistics. Now they say they are a "minority" - any other minority does not have similar quotas with several times more places in universities.

Posted by: | June 9, 2005 07:16 AM

"And therefore, when the prohibition was cancelled in the twenties, finnish drinking culture has never been the same. "

The state alcohol stores have very bad selection too. Many pubs have a lot more varied selection of beers.

Posted by: | June 9, 2005 07:18 AM

"The tests are easy -- fluency in Swedish is seldom expected. The existence of these tests is not so remarkable."

Most people can not pass them.
They are hard for Swedes too.

Posted by: | June 9, 2005 07:22 AM

There are Finnish roots in ancient Egypt also. Finnish "Taivaan neito" -´Maiden of heaven´ is in egypt "taebn neith".
In egypt they also had "Wenemune" (Väinämöinen, Finnish god from the Epic Kalevala)in their ancient legends as well, who was also very much into making boats.

And if you are open minded the saga of Ior Bock is, at least, very entertaining and thought provoking:

http://www.bocksaga.com/

According to Ior Bock Finnish language is built from swedish and it was used as a root language. (rootsing --> ruotsi). (ruotsi is Finnish word for Sweden).
According to him finnish words can be "opened" by using swedish language. For example, word: "tarina" (story) would be "ta ring A" --> Take Ring of Alphabet.


And according to other nordisc mythologies there were Kings in Finland and one of the strongest was called Frosti and his sons Snorri, Svea and Dan herited the lands of Norway, Sveariket (sweden) and danmark (denmark).

Well, something to think about.

Posted by: Tommi | June 9, 2005 09:55 AM

Pardon my ignorance of language affairs, but is the Finnish language compulsory in Sweden? Is it an language option in most schools there? Is there a sizable minority of Finns living in Sweden, like there is of Swedes living in Finland? Maybe sizable is wrong word, but you know what I mean I hope.

I am wondering how fair language reciprocation is, or if it even should be.

Posted by: Maine on my Mind | June 9, 2005 10:31 AM

" Is there a sizable minority of Finns living in Sweden, like there is of Swedes living in Finland?"

There are almost 500 000 Finns living in Sweden. Almost 300 000 immigrated there is 1960`s and 1970´s, the rest have been living there longer.

Posted by: | June 9, 2005 12:47 PM

Swedes have more fun than Finns.

Posted by: pertti | June 9, 2005 03:40 PM

To Maine on my Mind, look up my post few steps up there i have given the percentages for language minorities in Finland and Sweden. I don´t know excatly if the finnish language is even available for studies everywhere in Sweden but i do now that it isn´t compulsory.

Posted by: the second Finn | June 9, 2005 05:32 PM

"According to Ior Bock Finnish language is built from swedish ..."

Oh, that's why "sweden" in finnih is "ruohtsi" meaning "they are not of same stock, they are the destroyers of the holy seed"? (ervaoehete esii, iies teheoevaer). See also the latin word ruo: destroyer.

Posted by: Ior Bock | June 10, 2005 03:40 AM

"There are almost 500 000 Finns living in Sweden"

A bit more as all are not counted as Finns because they were not allowed their own language and culture they did their best to become Swedes. Often when young moved to other town they tried to keep it a secret that they have Finnish origins, if they looked aryan enough.

Posted by: | June 10, 2005 04:53 AM

"There are no quotas for minorities in Finland. Such quotas would not work because you may define yourself as you please, and nobody has a right to challenge that. You may also change your self-definition arbitrarily.

There are, however, some quotas at Helsinki University and in certain government departments for people (regardless of background) who have taken a test to show that they know some Swedish -- in addition to Finnish."

The tests are demanding. The Swedes do not have to pass them. I knew a Finn who lived in Sweden and thus had better Swedish than Finnish. She could not pass the test despite having had the best score in her Swedish report card in Swedish.

Posted by: | June 10, 2005 04:57 AM

"the rest have been living there longer."

Northern Sweden has lots of such who cannot speak Finnish despite their parents having been/are able to do that. Finns in all other countries have usually blended in with the locals and taken up the local cultures but in Sweden that has not happened as the locals did not/do not like the Finns so the Finns in Sweden tend to have both parents who are Finns.

Posted by: | June 10, 2005 05:05 AM

To "language warrior",

I am living on Aland, the place you seem to describe as living hell if you are a Finn. You really should get your facts straight before opening your mouth. You say e.g. "Finnish language must not be taught in public schools". WRONG! Fact: learning Finnish language at schools on Aland is simply not compulsory any more. Most pupils still choose to learn the language. And that liberally exploding mailboxes thing is also just bollocks.

My soon to be wife is Finnish speaking and I've met many many Finns that come here with prejudices about Alanders hating Finns and that you can't get any service here etc. All of them have acknowdledged that it simply wasn't true and it was an image they had created from talking to other Finns who never even had visited the island.

I could of course continue your line and say that on the mainland of Finland you can liberally destroy cars with aland registration plates. Or that you can liberally hit people in the head from behind if they speak Swedish standing in line to get a hamburger. Or that police can liberally harrass you and charge you on incorrect grounds if you speak Swedish. Fortunately I'm able to realize that you find idiots in every society so I won't follow your line. Hyvä kesä sulle!

Posted by: Krister | June 10, 2005 07:34 AM

"simply wasn't true and it was an image they had created from talking to other Finns who never even had visited the island."

Were Ahvenanmaa under Swedish rule instead of Finnish, Finnish language would be allowed there and any Finn could move there if they so wanted.

Posted by: Lusikka | June 10, 2005 08:35 AM

Have they taken many - any - refugees to Åland yet ?

Posted by: | June 10, 2005 08:37 AM

I'm glad Matti E. Simonaho is here to claim about his own history.

And I think the term "macaroni box" is from the early 70s when we were taught "box" is an English word for "laatikko". It sure is, but nobody taught us hen what is a "casserole"

I think the fennomaniacs a.k.a. Swedish-haters have more difficulties than that in their knowledge concerning foreign languages.

Posted by: Urja | June 10, 2005 08:51 AM

Yep, I've been in Ahvenanmaa/Åland, and had no trouble to be served in Finnish.

I guess there are people living in there who have no or little knowledge of the Finnish language. But not in the professions of the client service.

Same here in Finnish mainland, the ones who don't know or don't want to know any Swedish, are not employed in client service professions.

Posted by: Urja | June 10, 2005 09:02 AM

Shouldn't it be fair then that Swedes make Finnish compulsory in Sweden?

Posted by: | June 10, 2005 11:06 AM

" I'm glad Matti E. Simonaho is here to claim about his own history. "

It's not my history. It's the people of Suomi's history. Regradless you (really) like it or not, I am kicking the gothic "oei aei voe" (ÖÄÅ : no brains) -format way of _composing_ history. I rather look for the written history than make a story-board for a soap-opera like it has being made the past 300 years.

Like I write on the website: "Today we hear people use only 10% of their brain capacity". No wonder, because the past 2000 years people have being forced to only use the 10% by people with only 10% capacity.

Regarding the Finnish knowledge in many modern areas it's not really suprising for me. Because the technology of today and the knowledge of the past matches. The ancient finnish writing system is based on math, a 16x16x16 character set with math functions. That's one of the reasons why we have the world's longest word that can be read in both directions: SAIPPUAKIVIKAUPPIAS.

By skipping the ÖÄÅ using the old latin character set, you can write a book that can be read page by page from 1:st to last page reading left to right direction, and from the last page to 1:st right to left direction. My guess is, you cannot find many languages in the World matching the Finnish language.

By the way, Finnish language works like a "watermark" as well. If original text has being altered you can see it in the Lingual Genetic Code. Tacitus' and Jordanes writings are fakes - a cut and paste work done after 16'th century.

Posted by: Matti E Simonaho | June 10, 2005 11:19 AM

Krister,

Your own M.P., per quota, said in Finnish Broadcasting Company YLE M.O.T. programme (MOT = QED) that it is OK to discriminate against Finns in Aland, if you do it nicely. This is not a joke but a true expression. Also the Aland pact gives the permission to Alanders to discriminate against Finns just exactly as I have told. Perhaps you know that your countrymen, public servants, most often cannot participate in any seminars held in Finnish language, no matter, what the topics are.

Why did Aland not ratify the EC directive 2000/43, racism-directive? Do you have there any problems with Africans? With Chinese? No, you have there a problem with Finns.

BTW, tne name of Aland is Ahvenanmaa, originally. We use Aland here, because of older language murder (term comes from Skuttnab-Kangas, a Swede), you Swedes have forced Finns to convert to Swedish-speakers.

This is not from Aland, this is from Sweden, which is the goal of extreme-Alanders:

I was badly sick. with my young daughter n Stockholm. We went to Huddinge hospital dejour. The receptionist refused to speak Finnish with me, even if she was a Finn. "It is seriously forbidden. But with the doctor, you may speak English, if it goes better." She said that in Finnish, after first chcking that no Swede can hear us.

When I came from a long flight from Asia to Stockholm aiport (Arlanda), was very tired, and asked the gate to Helsinki in English, the SAS officer refused to speak English. She said, "You are a Finn, you must speak Swedish here." And really, because of not studying Swedish at school, but "East-Swedish, the Yoke-Swedish dialect, I could not understand her advice. Nor could my friend, who was even working in a Swdish-owned company."

This is from Finland, Inkoo (Ingå): A famous business consultant was sailing with a crwe of Norwegians and they had serious trouble at sea. The Swedish-speaking fishermen did not accept their (even perfect Swedish, but from different dialects). They did not help the poor people. Finally, the Swedes showed from the sea map the positions, bu only against huge paymnent. This happened twice to those guys in the same night.

It seems to be embedded in the hardware of the Swedes, to murder Finnish language where ever possible. This is a characterization of a scientific theory, written by the Swedish scientist, named above.

I do admit that in certain cases, your shopkeepers may speak even Finnish, if it has a direct connection to their business. But why on Earth, I can easily get Finnish service in Canary Islands, Bali, Greece, Turkey, Morocco... but not in Aland and Sweden, who have the population of 6-8 percent Finns? What is the handicap in Swedes?

Posted by: LanguageWarrior | June 11, 2005 12:25 AM

Matti E. Simonaho is a famous internet personality here in Finland.

He thinks Kalevala is a documentary of Finnish history.

Posted by: Urja | June 11, 2005 05:31 AM

Matti E. Simonaho is a famous internet personality here in Finland.

He thinks Kalevala is a documentary of Finnish history.

Posted by: Urja | June 11, 2005 05:33 AM

Not too famous. Never heard of him before.

Posted by: | June 11, 2005 10:06 AM

"Matti E. Simonaho is a famous internet personality here in Finland."

I am no famous but my website is ;) Here's a bit history what the website's all about:

" Located in Sweden; suffragan to Hamburg (990-1104), to Lund (1104-1164), and finally to Upsala (1164-1530). This diocese, the most ancient in Sweden, included the Counties of Skaraborg, Elfsborg, and Vermland. It was founded about 990 at Skara, the capital of the country of the Goths (Gauthiod), the whole of which it embraced until about 1100, when the eastern portion of the Diocese of Skara was formed into that of Linkoping. At the beginning there was no strict division of the country into dioceses, and the missionary bishops went about preaching wherever they would. Thus it is that, though Odinkar Hvite the Elder was apparently the first bishop stationed at Skara about 990, Sigurd, a court bishop of King Olaf Tryggveson of Norway, is named as the first Bishop of Skara in the list of bishops written down about 1325 as an appendix to the Laws os the Western Goths (Vestgotalagen). It is added that he founded three churches in Vestergotland, and he also seems to have baptized Olaf Skotkonung, first Christian King of Sweden, at Husaby near Skara in 1008."

Source: Ancient See of Skara, Catholic Encyclopedia, 2004

990 Sweden did not exist because southern Sweden of today was The Country of the Goths (Gauthiod) and the capital was Skara. 1164-1530 the name was sill The Country of the Goths (Gauthiod) - Sweden simply did not exist prior 1530. Olaf Skotkonung was NOT the first king of Sweden, he was the first king of The Country of the Goths (Gauthiod). King Olaf Tryggveson was NOT the king of Norway simply because Norway did not exist at the time. So the rune writing is not "ancient swedish". Most likely the "viking age" is one of the biggest hoaxes in the World.

Posted by: Matti E Simonaho | June 11, 2005 04:42 PM

Regarding the Lingual Genetics, Old English is closer to Finnish than Swedeish. Might be that English in original does not even belong to Gothic language group.

Like the Finnish language, English language has changed because of later Gothic influence and of course faked history. The weekdays points at that direction and like in Old Finnish, in English there is no ÖÄÅ (oei aei voe) -characters.

Because the English language was widely spread (today World Wide) it was at some point important to connect it to the Gothic family of languages. Through marriages the Goths got influence in high positions like the royal families in Europe, science, church, etc.

The History today is told through theories: Few facts and the rest is the authors imagination. It's a Gothic tradition from 500 AD based on the Gothic christianity and the Bible: Parts are true, parts are Gothic tradition (the tradition of drinkin blood and eating the flesh of Jesus), parts are lies, and parts that does not fit in has being removed/left out.

Posted by: Matti E Simonaho | June 12, 2005 08:10 AM

An acquiantance of mine works as a nurse. She went to work at Aland Centralhospital the summer 2003.

The Finnish speaking nurses were banned to speak with eacher others Finnish at the hospital. Not only in the presense of patients but in the rest-room of the nurses!

Some years ago there was a case of a gymnastic teacher,who had said to a pupil "hyvä" (good in Finnish)during the lesson.

A parent of a pupil made a complaint to Regional Administration of Aland. (Maakuntahallitus). The teacher was officially forbidden to say a word in Finnish to the pupils!

The point is if he had said in English for ecample "excellent" no one had made a complaint. So deep is anti-Finnish rasism on Aland.

There is a Finnish speaking minority on Aland and despite the autonomy Aland does not give to their kids education in Finnish.

Even so called home-language education is not available for the kids from the Finnish speaking families.

When the parents complained about it referring to the fact that the kids of Kurdish families got home-language education the decision makers said,that the Finnish speaking Alanders are not refugees;) (Source: Alands tidningen)

So there is always a reason to discriminate Finnish speaking Nordics.

Mr. Gunnar Jansson said openly in a television interview that "discriminating Finnish speaking people is correct if it is done gently."

I saw the programme by my own eyes.

The point is that Mr. Gunnar Jansson is former parlamentarian and recieved from the Swedish People's Party so called Freudenthal-decoration just a year ago.

Freudenthal,whose name the decoration bears, was a person who created SFP:s idelogy of "lower and higher races in Finland."

Posted by: Stop rasism on Aland! | June 13, 2005 04:51 AM

Anybody here know about the fiction author Robert E. Howard? He made up his own history which happened 10,000 - 20,000 years ago.

I guess The "E." in Matti E. Simonaho reminded me about Mr. Howard.

Simonaho should write fiction adventures novels based on his own made-up history. That's what would make Finland famous, stories about Finnish kings, sorcerers and warriors.

Posted by: Urja | June 13, 2005 04:52 AM

How do you, Urja, know what is fiction and what is not? Are you aware that many finnish historian consider that Kalevala has historical i.e. real roots which have formed it into mythical story during ages?

Posted by: the second Finn | June 13, 2005 05:33 AM

" That's what would make Finland famous, stories about Finnish kings, sorcerers and warriors. "

Actually there is no gothic type of "heroes" in the history of Suomi.

Making rapists, burners, killers, slave hunters etc and everything connected to those a "hero of the royal race" belongs to those who are outside this simple math of the OPVS: XX/XY.

" Simonaho should write fiction adventures novels ... .. . "
The history as told the past let's say 1500 years is a "fiction adventure". Strange is that the scholars of this century follow the gothic "oei aei voe" -format of 500AD basically writing soap-opera storyboards peresting it as "true history". A "theory" never equals to "truth" no matter how old the theory is or how many and how high positioned scholars support it. It's still a soap-opera á-la gothic mind of 500AD.

Humans were given brains and intelligence to search and find the truth. It is said that we only use 10% of our brain capacity. It's not suprising because for 2000 years we have being forced to use the same level as those who only use only 10%. The past 400 years of World history pretty much tell us the result of it. It's a big difference in using 100% of 100 instead of using 100% of 10.

According to Church History Sweden was The Country of The Goths (Gauthiod) 1530. So Gustav Vasa was not "king of Sweden", he was king of the Country of The Goths. Most likely, the name "Sweden" was selected after 1530AD and have somthing to do with thw first historical hoaxes presented by the Goths/Swedes: Rudbeck: All superioir races was of swedeish origin, Atlantis was sunken outside Stockholm etc. Bång: Adam and Eve were swedes and Adam worked as a priest in Kaelkestad in Sweden and all religions of the world was of swedish origin. Ofcourse those theories was proven wrong (swedish language is not the language of faith) but it was the starting point for agressive racial thinking instead (viking history, worlds first racial institute in Uppsala Sweden, etc).

Posted by: Matti E Simonaho | June 13, 2005 08:12 AM

The comments from "Stop rasism on Aland!" are not to be taken seriously. Swedish speaking Finns are 5-6% of the total population and now and then some instable person like to step on their feet.
Ja se siitä!

Posted by: No rasism on Aland! | June 14, 2005 08:53 AM

Finland obviously has enough multiculturalist-diversity type problems with the Swedes- don't import even more problems! I know the Swedes are a humorless and self-righteous lot, but there are even bigger potential problems out there.

Finland should model itself after developed countries like Japan and South Korea that discourage immigrants, refugees, and asylum seekers. It is preferable to help Third World people (for example) in their own countries so those countries can develop.You don't want to replicate the situations in the US, UK and France where societies are devolving into warring tribes based on race and religion.
I am sure you are familiar with the riots which crop up now and then in France and the UK- and of course the high rates of street crime. The US, aside from being known for violence, is a place where even the feeeblest attempts to control illegal immigration are met with angry demonstrations and cries of RACISM!!! Immigration (both legal and illegal) is now entirely outside the democratic control of the US voting public.

Posted by: steve risher | June 14, 2005 10:23 AM

Steve,
We do have quite harsh policy towards immigrants..
I personaly like very much the idea of US historical policy towards immigrants. That if you want US citicenship one needs to study the language, history and swear loyalty to the US as an effort to really make new A m e r i c a n s.
Loose politics that everyone can have double loyalties to where ever, everyone can stay out of the national selfimage etc, by law Is very shortsighted policy. I think it is based on pitty and "justice" without considering (or without the slightest clue) the effects what you mentioned.
I am watching, with consern, this "Minutemen project" development in the US. What happens there, eventually happens everywhere..
However, Thumbs up for the minutemen.

Btw, Mötley Crue show in Helsinki was one kickass show! One of the best I´ve seen for sure. New bands really needs to look at them and figure out how to make a SHOW.

Posted by: Risto Aallonharja | June 14, 2005 02:15 PM

Seems like the Swedes in Finland are ancestors to those who invaded Finland in the first place.From that point of view there's no point yelling for human or minority rights.What I don't get is that most of the Swedes in Finland have lived there for several generations and they -still- need services in Swedish?A frind of mine worked and studied in Finland for 3 years and did manage in Finnish after 1 1/2-2 years. Does the Swedes in Finland live in ghettos or something? The "swedish-speaking finns" -term also points at some kind of serious identity problem.

Posted by: Antonio | June 15, 2005 02:47 AM

Mandatory Swedish is not just mandatory Swedish. It is a tip of the iceberg so to say.

Mandatory Swedish is the symbol of opression,unjustified and unfair practises and structures.

Thefore it is the target. Same way as mandatory Russian was in three Baltic states. Both Russian and Swedish has an ugly past in the Baltic Sea Reagion from
the viewpoint of the Finns and Baltic peoples.

Therefore mandatory Swedish debate is heated because both sides know its symbolic value. The Finns want to change the paradigma and the Swedes want to maintain the present one as it is.
(Swedes=Swedish speaking people)
Why they wanted to change the system that is beneficial for them;)

Why there is no universities in Sweden where the language of instruction is Finnish dispite of a common history?

A wise reader understands that it is the point in a common history. The opression and discrimination. The Finns want the change. The Swedes oppose it.

The old starting point of Swedish thinking is this: The equality between Finnish speaking Nordics/Scandinavians and Swedish speaking Nordics/Scandinavians is discrimination of Swedish speaking Nordics/Scandinavians.

Of course it is not nice the Finns change the paradigma and perhaps turns it up and down.

Posted by: Riksu rulez | June 15, 2005 03:43 AM

Dear Antonio,

Those who speak Swedish in Finland seldom have Swedish origins. If they have foreign roots,they are usually from Central Europe, Holland, Germany, Switzerland etc. During the time when Finland was part of Sweden (ca. 1150-1809) Swedish gradually became the language of administration and commerce instead of latin (church, administration, education) and German (commerce, military). This had the effect that those who wanted to advance their carreer in civil administaration, church, army or business had to know the language. This in turn meant that many families especailly in the coastal areas that had closest ties to Sweden over the sea gradually became Swedish speaking and in many areas in the coast Swedish became the dominant or only language, not by use of force but through a natural process. At the peak at the end of the 19th century, some 20 % of the population spoke Swedish. In the inner parts of the country Finnish remained dominant especially in the rural areas.

Swedish in Finland is certainly a heritage of the time when Finland was part of Sweden but it is not a result of large scale Swedish immigration to Finland. The traffic has usually been to the other direction, when Finns who climbed up the social ladder moved into Sweden or as in the 1960's went their to find work and better living than Finland could provide back then. In this respect, those who want to retain their language are Finns that happen to speak Swedish. You call them Swedes in the bar after a couple of drinks, and you may well have a black eye.

At the end of the 19th century many Swedish speakers actively switched their home tongue to Finnish so that their children became Finnish speakers and often forgot Swedish completely. This transition has then continued when the Finnish speaking population from the rural areas has moved into the previously Swedish speaking coastal areas in the South and West of the country.

For example, when I was born, what is today called city of Vantaa had some 30.000 inhabitants out of which almost half where Swedish speaking. Today Vantaa has some 180.000+ inhabitants out of whom some 6.000 speak Swedish as their mother tongue. I had friends in my childhood who had one Swedish speaking parent but who still did not know Swedish because parents wanted their children to become Finnish speaking.

Swedish and Finnish speakers have mixed more and more over the years and Swedish has usually disappeared in the process. However, in the 1980's when the world started to open for Finnish companies and private persons, language skills got new emphasis. This means that today most families where two languages are spoken try to support both languages. This often gives some benefits in learning other languages, because Swedish is closely related to languages like English and German.

Swedish speaking Finns, when asked, seldom identify themselves as Swedish speaking Finns. That term they would use only if they have to identify themselves by their language. And as a Finnish speaker I would use the term only if for some reason it is important to stress the fact that the mother tongue of someone is Swedish spoken in Finland. Otherwise the identity would be a Finn or the equivalent of a "New Yorker" for some Finnish town or location.

Regards,

Jari

Posted by: Jari | June 15, 2005 04:26 AM

"The comments from "Stop rasism on Aland!" are not to be taken seriously. Swedish speaking Finns are 5-6% of the total population and now and then some instable person like to step on their feet.
Ja se siitä!

Posted by: No rasism on Aland! | June 14, 2005 08:53 AM"

No foreigners or refugees in Ahvenanmaa either so the instances of racism only occur when someone for some reason tries to settle in there.

Does the Swedes in Finland live in ghettos or something?
-
The wealth is inherited so they live in bigger houses than the Finns.

Posted by: | June 15, 2005 04:28 AM

Unlike the american inherited wealth which was made up a couple of generations ago by hard-working people the Swedes' inherited wealth often came from land they were given by the King by sword. They got servants and peasants who lived in the land, taken from the Finns, who had to pay taxes to the noble and the King.

Posted by: | June 15, 2005 04:29 AM

"In this respect, those who want to retain their language are Finns that happen to speak Swedish. You call them Swedes in the bar after a couple of drinks, and you may well have a black eye."

Not so. You may well get a black eye because you speak Finnish near them but they call themselves Swedes and do not mind if anyone else does that as well. That can be easily noted if you write "svenska site:.fi" to the google search, all of their societies, clubs, parties, etc. start with "svenska" (Swedish)

Posted by: | June 15, 2005 05:20 AM

You may want to explain then how come the Swedish state economy was so bad between 1700-1809 that the state in practise had to declare bancruptcy a couple of times? You could also go back to your "books" and give an explanation to how Finns paid more taxes a) to king and b) to nobelity in a situation where land in Finland was far more often held by small landowners than in Sweden where farmers often were subjects of a landowner belonging to the nobelity and who had the right to tax them?

You seem totally overlook the fact that Swedish wealth started to accumulate in earnest first after 1814. Since then Sweden has not fought a single war.

Sweden was not significantly better off than Finland before 1809 when Finland was separated from Sweden. For example in 1634 when Gustav II Adolf was burried, Swedish diet decided that no foreign quests were to be invited because they would then see how poor Sweden was and what a joke for a town Stockholm was compared for example to German cities of the time. The situation was not much different in 1809.

There are rich families in Sweden who can trace their wealth back to the 30-year war. But they are not the reason to Swedish prosperity. Hard work is, just like it is in any country. Idle money (castles etc.) doesn't increase prosperity.

Posted by: Jari | June 15, 2005 05:34 AM

"Sweden was not significantly better off than Finland before"

Yes it was. If you talk about history books, read them first. Finns had a very low income in comparison to rest of Sweden.

"But they are not the reason to Swedish prosperity. Hard work is, just like it is in any country."

In this case, hard work of the immigrants. Swedes do their best to evade work.

Posted by: | June 15, 2005 05:47 AM

"svenska" Swedish"

Your translation is misleading because just like English means both nationality and language so does "svenska". It would be hard and clumsy to say that some institution or club is Swedish speaking without mentioning the language. In Finnish there is more variety but the nuances are not easy to translate.

BTW, you could try what happens if you call Irish English because they speak English. You don't even have to travel to Ireland to try this. In Helsinki you could try it personally at Molly Mallone's. Just keep insisting that every Irishman present is English and see what happens.

Posted by: Jari | June 15, 2005 05:47 AM

AUTHOR: Jari
EMAIL:
IP: 213.31.196.164
URL:
DATE: 06/15/2005 06:57:59 AM

Posted by: Jari | June 15, 2005 06:57 AM

I don't really know how many non-Finns or non-Swedes actually read this thread, but in case there is any interest I could brifely describe what Aland is as it's been mentioned here and there.

Aland, which is spelled with a dot above the "A", consists of some 6000 islands between Finland and Sweden. There is the main island Aland where you also find the only town, Mariehamn. Above 25,000 people live on these islands and about 13,000 of them in the city.
Aland is a self-autonomous area within Finland. We have our own government, police, post office, educational system, health system and to some extent own laws. We do pay our taxes to the Finnish tax authorities but there is a system of clearing the tax revenues so that each year we receive a certain sum from the Finnish state.
The reason why we are self-autonomous (with our own flag) is that when Finland declared independency from Russia on the grounds that a "nation" should have the right to determine its own destiny, the people of Aland also did the same and requested to be re-united with Sweden. Aland has a Swedish culture which is many ways is quite different from the Finnish culture.
Finland refused to grant the people of Aland this right and eventually the issue was brought up to the then existing League of Nations. There it was decided that Aland should continue to be part of Finland but that we where guaranteed special rights that would guarantee our Swedish culture. From that things have evolved up to what we have today.

Aland is today a prosperous area heavily dependent on tourism and shipping. The unemployment rate is less than 2% and as in the rest of Finland we have a very nicely working health and educational system. Aland is sometimes called the Islands of Peace since no military personnel or equipment is allowed on the island. On the other hand we have the highest number of guns per capita since so many hunt seabirds. Gun related crime is non-existent though.

Swedes and Finns share a common misconception regarding us islandeers - they both think that we want to belong to Sweden! Nothing could be further away from the truth! A very very tiny group of people have been vocal about this and they get, of course, medias attention. Most people wants things to remain the way it is.

Swedish is the only official language on Aland but most pupils learn Finnish. 93 % state Swedish as their official language and about 70 % of the population is born here.

When it comes to sports we are very very much Finns! :)

Posted by: | June 15, 2005 09:03 AM

It was solely swedish maneuver to claim Aland to themselves during the time of tremendous pressure towards Finns from russia. Swedes had turn their backs all the time and when finally, after the ingredible Hell what Finland gave to russians, the negotiations for peace started. That point Swedes saw their moment and made the reguest about Aland to the league of nations. In the very damn moment when Finns needed all the support available!! Anybody out there?
Well, there were righteus and wise men in The League of Nations making decisions and ofcourse this outrageus reguest was rejected.
My gut feeling tells that swedes had their own "hush hush" deals with russians. Probably, that to the swedes it was okay that Finland would have been wiped out from the maps as long as sweden would remain "neutral". There is nothing else which would explain swedes behaviour. Truth however is that you can´t make deals with the devil. Finns had also all sorts of deals, but when moment came where russia decided otherwise those deals were wiped out.
Well, luckily for all, Finns gave them Hell and Sweden can keep having their tee parties where "accidental fart" is the worst thing possible.

Posted by: Risto A. | June 15, 2005 11:49 AM

Speaking of minority and human rights:

500 Gothic christian faith was born in Hamburger-Bremen (Thuringia)
700 The Goths attacked "England"
800 The Goths Attacked "Denmark"
900 The Goths attacked "South-Sweden"
1008 Note that Olaf Skotkonung was NOT the "first christina king of Sweden". He was the first christian king of the Country of the Goths. The rascistic ideas of the Goths were adopted by leaders and scientists all over Europe (The Goths got influence by marrying themself in in high positions).
1164 The southern "Sweden" up to Stockholm area was Country of the Goths
1154-1530 "Sweden" up to Uppsala was The land of the Goths
In 1517 Martin Luther started the "german reformation" basically meaning reconstructing the Bible history. Contact with the Catholic Church in/and Rome was broken.
In 1527 Gustav Vasa, king of the Country of the Goths
1526 The first bible in swedish was published (Olaus Petri). The Å -letter was introduced officially.
1527 Gustav Vasa took all the church funds and material. The name of SVERIGE was an attempt to conect the name starting with SVE to SVEBI(SUEMI). It failed because the RIGE/RIKE -ending in the name.
1600 Theory on that all successful races, cultures, faiths and Anadm and Eve were of SWedish origin presented (Rydbeck, Bång). It was naturally proven wrong but the racistic ideas survived and used in the next theory.
1600-1800 The Viking age theory was set up basically using parts of the pervious theory. Graves were plundered and humiliated by swedish scientist who hunted skulls for measuring. A picture of a "roylar race who have not merged with another race" was built up. The Viking age also covered up a holocaust in Europe 500-1700. Still in the 16'th century, the Swedes planned/talked offically about killing the remaining people of Suomi (Nesselius).
1800 The first racial institute was built in Uppsala Sweden, soon followed by a similar one in Germany. The ideas of that institute was used by the Nazis. Among many other things, the reconstructed Bible with WRONG information (Romans and Jews DID NOT kill Jesus) on who killed Jesus was used in the propaganda.
1800+ Racistic ideas of the Finns and Sápmelas was spread. All ancient knowledge (like writing) was destroyed. The goths "translated" all ancient alphabets getting their characters in the sets (rune stones, rune writing etc). However, most of the theories after 500 AD can be proven wrong today.

The Goths never "moved from sweden" because they never were there prior 800AD. The Goths did never disappear, only the name changed. It has never being proven that the "viking age" items actually are made by swedes/germans/vikings. It has never being proven that the FUTHARK character set order is true and tat the writing is "ancient swedish". It's esay to prove the "viking age" wrong because in the translations, characters and sounings after 500AD are bing used, while the rune alphabet and writing originates to atleast 1500-1000BC when german/swedish characters did not exist. Also, the Lingual Genetic Code (s.c. mother line) does not match any language. So the "ancient swedish" is not more than 300 years old. Between 500-1800 a worldwide holocaust took place. Most ancient high developed cultured was ALMOST lost forever. World War II was partly because of the racistic ideas of the Goths. So that's in small packet what the World of Today is dealing with. And why the world is like it is. And that's why "jag pra.tar sven.ska" ("i speak swedish") Lingual DNA is: "iaenge peerae.teaeer esvaen.eskeae" meaning "i am the devils angel who hit Jesus (or People of Jesus)". So it's not surprising at all the Finns don't want use the language.

Posted by: Matti E Simonaho | June 15, 2005 01:56 PM

Risto,
the request to be reunited with Sweden was brought forward by the people from Aland, originally on the 20th of August 1917. More than 90% of the people voted for a reunion and the petition was handed over to the Swedish government. Wether the Swedes had a secret agenda I really can't tell, but the history books teach that it was the islanders that initiated the whole thing.

Posted by: | June 15, 2005 02:12 PM

>>Aland has a Swedish culture which is many ways is quite different from the Finnish culture.

Fascinating summary of Aland, thanks. Could you tell, what are some of those cultural differences that you note between swedish and finnish culture?

Thanks. US

Posted by: US | June 15, 2005 02:28 PM

You asked about what cultural differences there are. First it is of course dangerous to generalize about culture. The culture in the northern parts of both countries differs from what you find in the southern regions. And the capital areas are different from everything else.

But you find cultural differences like how midsummer is spent, how wedding ceremonies are performed. In Sweden you often sing short funny or dirty songs when you take a schnaps while this is unknown in Finland (except if you go to college). The mentalities are very different. Swedes are much more open, talkative and like to socialize more. Finns are much quieter and only speaks when they really have something to say. Sometimes I prefer the Finnish and sometimes the Swedish mentality! :) Sweden is a much more open society towards the rest of the world and has lots of immigrants and foreign cultures. In Finland you meet some immigrants in Helsinki but they are quite few. I'm sorry to say that in that respect Aland is more like Finland. I love the cultural variation you find in Stockholm with food, music, languages etc.

Finns usually are a man of their word. You don't need a written contract to have a deal. A handshake is worth as much as a thousand signatures. In Sweden, IMHO, it's more like every man for himself.

But Finns and Swedes are also similar. Most have a deep love for nature and spend as much time as possible at cottages. We don't like bragging people and saying that you are good at something is often not taken lightly! :) Rule no 1: Don't think you are better than anyone else!

In both Finland and Sweden everything that comes from abroad is usually considered better. So on Aland you often hire consultants from Stockholm instead of local, equally gifted people. And in Sweden everything from the US or some other countries is better than domestic products/skills.

Now, much of what I have said is probably just stereotypes I have in my head. And considering how widespread broadband is in both Finland and Sweden, it's most likely that these stereotypes are falling apart quite rapidly.

Most people from Aland considers their mentality to be a mix of the Swedish and Finnish one. We do like to travel around the world a lot and I guess it's because we come from a small island where you simply have get away once in a while to broaden your vision!

And btw, I went to the US last year for the first time and found them to be a very friendly bunch of people and very very curious about where we came from. !:)

Enough rambling!

Posted by: | June 15, 2005 03:49 PM

Well, timing for claiming land from Finland was anyways dead wrong and a very low sneak from below every decency. Unless we are talking about two enemies.
Russians came with incredible arsenal and they were tossed back until the point where they had massive casualities and Finland was near collapsing. Peace was earned solution. What did Sweden do? Twist the knife behind our back and thought that was okay thing to do.
I Just want this to be clear.
If North is about to get closer together, then all the nasty rats from the closets needs to be cleared out. So, all these must be admitted and then forgiven. There isn´t really any other way.
Forced swedish out and freedom to choose instead. Everyother option is delusional and arrogant to the rotten bone.
Now, how bad this can be?
Denial raises hell, Acceptance raises Heaven.

Posted by: Risto A. | June 15, 2005 06:01 PM

The best description of the differences between the Finns and Swedes is shortly this:

-The Finns are hard outside but soft inside.
-The Swedes are soft outside but hard inside.

Where the Swedes rule there the minorities don't have any mercy. They are not permitted own autonomies,no higher education in their own language,no army units of their own etc. etc.

A good example of the difference is also the history of Sami assembly. (There are Samis both in Finland and Sweden.)

Finland's Samis got the right to establish by themselves a Sami assembly. That took place decades ago!

How about Sweden? When finally Sami Assembly of Sweden was established it was
established by the State for the Samis!

The King of Sweden opened Sami assembly but he did not bother to say any word in Sami at the opening ceremony.

Also the way of thinking differs a lot. Contents of the words have different meaning for the Swedes and Finns.

For example the word "autonomy". For a Swedish speaker on Aland it means the right to discriminate Finnish speaking Alanders. For a Finn it means the right not to discriminate the Finnish speaking Alanders.

If you say a Swede: "Why there are no higher education available where the language of instruction is a minority language of Sweden" a Swede does not even understand such a question.

For example,so late as the 1990's it was forbidden to make doctoral thesis in Finnish at the University of Stockholm even if the thesis was about Finnish language!

If you don't believe ask Departement of Finnish language at the University of Stockholm. The staff made an appeal to the rectorate of the University about 10 years ago to change the practise. What was the outcome is unknown to me. (Erling Wande and Birger Winsa know about it.)

If the thesis was made at the institutions of any other languages for example at the departement of German language there was not such ban. Of course not says everyone who knows Swedish culture.

European Council made Sweden to change her anti-Finnish legislation so late as the year 2000. Sweden undersigned that year European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages but on lower level than Finland.
And of course a decade later than Finland.

The Committee who worked in order to give recommendations to change Sweden's legislation to meet EC:s demands sat at the Ministry of Agriculture
for about 10 years!

If you don't believe it contact http://www.rskl.se

The problems of horses, cattle-breeding,cage-chickens and Sweden's Finns were estimated at the same ministry!

Nordic Council has not risen its fingers against such practises allthought it has existed since the 1950's.

The year 1975 when European Security and Co-operation Conference (ETYK in Finnish) was held in Helsinki, Soviet-Union,Turkey and Sweden joined their forces to put aside the motion to take on the agenda the status of minorities in the states participating conference. They succeeded.

At that time Turkey called Kurds "Mountain-Turks" and Sweden considered all the Finnish speaking Swedes being "immigrants".

First the year 1972 Sweden offcially admitted that there are Finnish speaking Swedes in Sweden that are not immigrants after a considerable pressure.

Allthough Finnish speaking Swedes have existed as long as Sweden herself!
(Reference for example,Tarkiainen: Finnarnas historia i Sverige)

If you look at Sweden's Statistical Yearbook they are still non-existent. You don't find them in any official statistics;)(Norway has a similar practise btw.)

A socialist welfare-state is very tricky in this respect because its aim is to unify everything and everybody.

True working class of Sweden has allways been partly non-Swedish speaking.

When Sweden's prime minister Olof Palme demonstrated against USA:s Vietnam war in Sweden's own backyard a lingual genocide was completed in Sweden . The last Finnish speaker of so called Forest-Finns died in 1960's. No one payed any attention to a such minor incident that an entire nation dies out.

The tolerant reputation of Sweden may come from it that unlike in earlier times a Finn was not hanged because of speaking Finnish but he/she is only banned to speak his/her own mother-tongue.

I have met lots of Swedes who are illiterate in their own mother-tongue.
They were not permitted to learn it.
They are Fennophones of Sweden.

It seems to me that a wealthy prosperous member of the international community can behave differently than the poor ones.
There are clearly double standards.

Estonia is critizised because of its politics concerning Russophones of Estonia.
Fennophones of Sweden can only dream of a such an open minded policy what poor Estonia practises in terms of her Russophones.

Norway's case is similar but in addition she is a Nato country which means that her backyard is not investigated by otherwise so active human rights activists in the US.

(Reference:The Kvens and their humilation in Northern-Norway)

Posted by: To notice | June 16, 2005 03:54 AM

When Sweden occupied the Åland Islands, Finland was in the middle of a civil war that could equally well have ended in the reds winning the war. Had that happened, the Swedes would possibly have had a hostile nation 50 km from their capital, given that socialist Finland had been sucked in to the bolsevik Russia as Lenin planned. Even after the Whites won, Finland's political stability when looked from the outside was in doubt for a number of years. Put yourself in the trousers of the Swedish governmnet and tell me that you would not have done the same that they did? Sweden's effort was helped by the local population that indeed was willing to join Sweden after the horrors of the civil war in Finland, although ålanders were not hard hit by it.

In general, Åland Islands are strategically important for both Sweden and Finland. For us, because through their waters is the shortest and easiest to defend sea route to Sweden and to the high seas. For Sweden, because they extend the defence of their capital Stockholm, which otherwise is actually a "border town" that can be taken from the sea.

Sweden helped Finland during the Winter War more than any other nation, even risking its own defence by lending us for example considerable part of their own AT-capacity (AT-guns). It is an other matter, that for Sweden it was immaterial if Finland lost Karelian Isthmus as long as the rest of the country remained. From Swedens point of view, the promised allied help to Finland that would have required passage through Northern parts of Sweden, would have meant getting involved in the war against Germany. To this Sweden was not militarily prepared. Again from Swedish point of view, it was better that Finland made peace with Russia with harsh terms but continued to live on as an independent nation. Sweden had the luxury of being able to make such a decision and stay out of the war, Finland did not. After the Winter War Sweden was prepared to form a state union with Finland and thus guarantee our existense. This initiative was accepted by our government but both Soviet Union and Germany shot it down.

When thinking about the Swedish policies during WWII it should be remembered that in 1939 Swedish army could have mobilized only 5 infantry divisions by using their reserves. At the same time Finland could mobilize 9 and 2 more were formed during the Winter War. In 1941 Finland could mobilize 16 infantry divisions and two brigades and a formidable artillery and decent air force. Sweden reached this level first in 1944. Swedens policy decisions during WWII were thus made in a situation where the country was militarily very vulnerable. This fact is not usually appreciated in Finland because we too often tend to think in terms of what Swedish defence looked like during the cold war era, when Sweden was prepared for the onslaught of the "Big Red" and had for example a modern jet fighter force of 300+ planes. Today, BTW we are back in the situation where Sweden could mobilize only half the number of mechanized infantry brigades that Finland could.

So what is it exactly that we should forgive and forget before North can get closer together? I think we are together as far as one can speak about nations being together in the first place.

Posted by: Jari | June 16, 2005 04:12 AM

During the course of war it never was obvious that Finland would loose only Carelian isthmus and have the luxury to accept only that loss. Quite the opposite. Whole world thought that winterwar would be a week or two battle. While Finns had 9 divisions russia had ten times that +superior material support.
Our divisions whatsoever, were organized way better than russians, thanks to Mannerheim, but any additional troops was needed badly. So, Swedes didn´t have any luxury in the heart of war to stay out. It was for them just very fortunate gambling with death that Finns stormed the red plague back to where it came from. (Hell)

Mannerheims vision about Swedish/Finnish coalition for defence was ofcourse justified and very logical. Swedes didn´t want to do that. Why bother because Finlad can allways defend Swedes without any efforts from Sweden.

Posted by: Risto A. | June 16, 2005 05:05 AM

"During the course of war it never was obvious that Finland would loose only Carelian isthmus and have the luxury to accept only that loss."

Sweden was informed by Soviet Union that it was willing to conduct a peace with Finnish government that would not set Finnish independency at jeopardy before it publicly declared that it would not help Finland militarily. This took place in February 16, 1940. From Finnish point of view that proclamation was of course harmfull, because it reduced uncertainty in Moscow. But contrary to what you say, Swedes knew that the question was not about existence any more but about land. They did not know that it was about Isthmus, it could well have been something else. But from their point of view the buffer, Finland, would still be there and that is what mattered at political level. On a private level Swedes continued to help and the Swedish governmnet allowed this to happen.

Before you go on ranting about Swedish behaviour, you could stop for a while to ponder how we behaved towards Estonia. When Estonian ambassador in Helsinki asked to meet president Kallio after Estonia had been invited to send her foreign minister to Moscow in 1939, Kallio refused to receive him. What the ambassador wanted to discuss? How Finland could help Estonia acording to the lines that had been discussed between Finnish and Estonian military. Similar discussions had been held between Finnish and Swedish military and even Finnish, Swedish and Estonian military. All planning the military had done become null and void when the shooting in Europe started and at the end of the day it was "everyone for himself". If you want to ponder further how states behave, you could think about the rebirth of Estonia, Lithuania and Latvia in early 1990's and how eager Finland and Sweden were to commit themselves in recognising them and thus change the status quo in the Baltic Sea. Both wanted to be really sure that the bear (Soviet Union) was "dead" before acting.

Posted by: Jari | June 16, 2005 06:46 AM

"If you want to ponder further how states behave, you could think about the rebirth of Estonia, Lithuania and Latvia in early 1990's and how eager Finland and Sweden were to commit themselves in recognising them and thus change the status quo in the Baltic Sea. "

Regarding Estonia and the liberation of Estonia, did not Sweden send pro-swe agitators there and those guys ended up dead?

How about the national gold reserves Estonians shipped over to Sweden during WWII, have hose being returned yet?

How about the self-destruction JAS aircraft, have the Swedes managed to translate all russian codes yet to keep the aircraft flying? (some systems in the JAS was stolen from Russia by SWedes).

Posted by: Matti E Simonaho | June 16, 2005 09:20 AM

" Sweden helped Finland during the Winter War more than any other nation ... "

Yes of course they did. Thousands of children was shipped over to Sweden and they have to sleep in barns and work for food. Many of che children was also abused. Oh, that's the part which is not allowed in the history books. Nor is the fact that 6 months before the terrorist attack in the USA. Mr Bin Laden visited relatives and met Swedish officials/businessmen.

Posted by: Matti E Simonaho | June 16, 2005 09:29 AM

Sweden solely stole 15 000 Finnish kids during WW2.

So casualties at war against Soviet was not enough. The other neighbour stole kids who were supposed to be returned after the war.

What else Sweden still expects from the Finns. Cash?

Posted by: Disgusting Sweden | June 16, 2005 10:56 AM

You fools. Sweden and Finland are great friends but we must submit to fact that Sweden is our elder grandparent who taught us to have culture and the finer things in life. We Finns are by nature more hardworking maybe but also rougher and coarser like a pesant at the opera.

Sweden polished the rough stone of Finland and made it a little bit more of a gleeming gemstone. But even now, we lack culture and class. This board makes me ashamed to be Finn! :-(
-eero

Posted by: Eero | June 16, 2005 01:11 PM

War is hell.
Those who like to monger more wars should study these writings and millions of others similar.
Scars lasts throughout generations.
Those countries in the need of help should receive all the help available. Fake blind eye towards those is a crime and has pretty much the same effect as has the actual offence. Sometimes deeper, you can allways kick&kill the enemy, but there is nothing what can be done to a "friend" who never was a friend.

However, Sweden and Finland are in the same boat, wheter people realize it or not. Or even like the idea. Turning back to another leads to black hole without easyway out.
It is btw, much more easier and cheaper to stand together and be brighter than the sun in the face of chaos, If things start to roll in that direction in future. Finland has allready proven that it can be done.

As a statement, Finland is never in any debt to Sweden nor to anyone else. Sweden has never, in truth, any place to make demands for anything.
Delusions and false ideas of superiority would be in fact just ridiculous if this wouldn´t be this tragic subject.

My optimistic estimation is that in 2020 these things are solved and in 2021 forgotten. Not before, way too heated, so much so, that I could basically fry some eggs from the heat I receive from the swedish speakers.. It just proves that "rat" in the closet can be an elephant or a goddamn Rex Thallionis.
So, I would like to counsel that keep it civilized.

Posted by: Risto A. | June 16, 2005 01:19 PM

" You fools. Sweden and Finland are great friends but we must submit to fact that Sweden is our elder grandparent who taught us to have culture and the finer things in life. "

'The modern picture of witchcraft and paganism derives from one of the most beasty times in the Christian Age. No modern human believes in witches. The picture of a witch we have today, and the "witch culture" of today is a bi-product of violent christianity. Most likely we can say the same of satanism and what's called occultism over all. People was scared by the gothic priests with the devil and the pain and fire of hell. Witch is a christian word for people who who knew old writing, customs and language. All knowledge built during thousands and thousands of years the Goths did not understand and saw as a threat was erased. Thousands of people in Europe were humiliated, raped, tortured, and killed by burning. Sure, the victims did feel the pain of fire and hell BEFORE they died - as promised by the Gothic priests. This picture turns up several times in the Goth -history: In modern Africa, Middle-East, South-America, North-America and Asia. Everywhere where the picture of a bloody man hanging on a cross was brought, a holocaust took place. People were shipped from one part of the World to another and sold as slaves. According to official history, the last "witch" in Finland was burnt as late as 17'th century. It is easy to say "We brought you christianity and civilization" when no-one kows the truth. It is easy to say "We help you if you believe" after you have killed most of the population and stolen everything that's of value. '

Sure, the Swedes brought their faith and their culture here but I refuse to call it for civilization. Sure they, built a lot of cities and Gothic churches here, but those cities and churches are funded on human bodies. Sure "have a cookie and imagine its a slice of a human flesh. Sure have a bit wine and imagine it's human blood". Does not sound like "civilization" to me.

Source: http://www.suomalaiset.org : Runo Memorous Project [ in english ]

Posted by: Matti E Simonaho | June 16, 2005 02:51 PM

" Those countries in the need of help should receive all the help available. "

When other countries were busy negotiating for peace in the former Yougoslavia, the Swede officilas were negotiating deals for their construction companies. I guess am uncivilized when sayin "it's uncivilized".

Posted by: Matti E Simonaho | June 16, 2005 04:04 PM

Well, Iraq was seen as great opporturnity for business in Finland also. Allready before Bush declared "Mission accomplished". With bad results when two Finnish businessmen was shot in their vehicle in Baghdad.. Individuals are responsible for their own actions.

For the sake of clarity, I am not here to promote hate towards Swedes. Just the truth and pretty crazy idea that delusions of Swedish superiority and Finnish fabricated poorness would come down to earth for real examination and possible (far fetched) correction.

Posted by: Risto Aallonharja | June 16, 2005 04:32 PM

Like i write on the website:

" The History has the past 1000 years being presented through thories. A theory never equals to true regardless how many known facts support the theory. Nor is a theory true even if all scholars of the World support a theory. It's still a fairy-tail supported by known facts. In order to find the truth we must know the facts and leave out all theories. We must combine all known scienses and base the description and presentation of history on the findings and facts. One of the facts is that the current presentation of history is based on Gothic Christianity in Europe after 500 AD.

I present the history in very short terms, especially in this English version. My naitive language is Finnish and the main audience is the People of Finland and the Ancient History of the People of Finland. I don't write for scholars, I write for the common people and common sense.

Because of the short way i present the history you might experience some parts agressive and/or unpleasent. We must understand that the way the history has being presented since 500 AD is one of the reasos for why we have had two world wars. It's also the reason why ancient civilisations and the knowledge of those civilisations has being lost - almost forever. And it is also the reason for racisim, slavery, and many, many other things. So please Mr/Mrs Scholar, before you start pointing with the "nationalist finger", please have a look in your own closet.

The Runo Memorous Project is all about finding the truth. I see a big difference in the Gothic christian root and the People in Faith of today. This because the Gothic christianity and the customs related to it has being forced to most peoples during the past 2000 years. Those who are in faith today are, as I see it, innocent. The one who is educated from the wrong books is not educated, he is misled and teaches wrong. Those who are misled can learn, change and teach right. Those who are being misled can throw off the burdon of the past, rise, and develope as intelligent human beings again. Because that's what this website is all about. To Search for answers, to find the truth and to develope as human beings. One of the keys of Learning and Finding is the Lingua Genere, The Language of Birth. "

Posted by: Matti E Simonaho | June 16, 2005 04:51 PM

" Well, Iraq was seen as great opporturnity for business in Finland also ... .. . "

True. There is on differece though. The reason why the Finns were in Iraq was known even before they went there. That was not the case with the Swedes, they were in the Former Yougoslavia for "peace negotiations" but left that for others offering deals for whoever wins the war. I guess that was the case in WWII too. Speaking of Iraq, the Swedes got a swetty time to get people to Iraq when the war started. Atleast in the mid 80's Iraq soldiers got part of their military education in Sweden and the Swedes have to get there and get the information "off record".

Posted by: Matti E Simonaho | June 16, 2005 05:29 PM

"to notice" is right in his post. For US readers, check the CIA fact book and what it says about minorities in Sweden -->
No numbers or percentages!!
Only mention of some minorites, includings finns.
Now, if you check the same about Finland you can clearly see the percentage and amount of swedish speaking minority.
Since both countries have almost same amount of minority in the others language, isn´t that a bit strange, ha?!

Posted by: the second Finn | June 17, 2005 01:49 AM

It is interesting how things get twisted here. During WWII cities were bombed. Finland was one of the first countries to experince this even if casualties during the Winter War were counted in hundreds not thousands of dead civilians. Later at WWII tens of thousands could die during one bombing attack. Remember names like Cologne, Coventry, Berlin, Tokio? Finns were very concerned that this would also happen to Helsinki, Lahti, Tampere -you name it. Our children were shipped to Sweden, Denmark and Norway to escape this faith. This decision was done by parents of the children. Nobody was forced to send his/her child. Especially after the first heavy bombing of Helsinki in February 1944 thousands of children were sent to Sweden. The decision was made in haste but it was the parents who made it. My mother for example was put in a train and sent to safety to Sweden.

In Sweden and in the other Nordic countries the fate of these children varied a lot. However, most of them were treated well and welcommed as family members. There were also cases where treatment was not good and especially many cases were siblings were separated from each other. Finns had sent the children in a hurry and Swedes had to create an organisation overnight to take care of them. There was a lot of confusion especially in the beginning and often the only thing that was known about a child was a name in the cardboard tag that hung around their neck.

When children were to be returned home, many Swedish families and Finnish children had grown together and did not want to part any more. War had also left its marks in the Finnish society and there were thousands of single moms in the country, sometimes with more children to take care of than they had the means to. These two things combined meant that some 15.000 of the 75.000 children that had left Finland never returned. They were adopted by their foster families in Sweden, Denmark or Norway. Most adoptions were without friction but there were tragic cases where parents in Finland wanted to have their children back but did not. These things had to be resolved between authorities of the countries in question but many children remained abroad.

Those who returned, often found it very difficult to adopt to life in Finland where everything was rationed compared to Sweden where everything was abundant. Some children had also difficulties with Finnish language, because in Sweden they had gone into school in Swedish (or Danish or Norwegian in those countries).

In retrospect the decision to send the children away was a mistake. Even in hard times own parents seem to offer more stability to their children than anyone else can provide even if the surroundings are better. On the other hand people did not know back then that the Soviet bombings would be the flop they were and that we would not see firestorms in Finnish cities. It has been estimated that had even one of the Soviet attacks against Helsinki been a success there could easily have been 20 or 30 thousand dead and the wounded on top. Pretty strong incentive to send the children into safety.

Those people who were in Sweden have first now started to talk about their experiences as war children. There are as many stories as there were children, some good, some bad and most in between. But again it remains a fact that Sweden did its best to help and it was not their fault that the operation was not quite the success it was expected to be. We did not know better and they did not know better. Both are that much wiser now.

My grandparents, who made the decision to send my mother to Sweden said that the first bombing of Helsinki was hell. They decided to walk back home from the Helsinki rail road staion along the railroad line during a lull in the activity. Before they reached home that was about 6km away, the attacks started again and they heard bombs whistling everywhere. They were lucky to escape unharmed but the decision to send their daughter overseas was quickly done after that, allthough it was not a pleasant one. When my mother returned, she had a difficult time adjusting to the after war poverty, bad nurishment etc. I believe that at times she wanted to go back to Sweden and that thought still sometimes haunts her as being somehow shamefull.

My father who was then 5, stayed in Helsinki but he still hates the sound of the alarm sirens when they are occasionally tested.

Posted by: Jari | June 17, 2005 03:40 AM

"Speak Swedish or leave the school!"

http://195.255.83.67/cgi-bin/mediaweb?Newsp=hbl&Date=020406&Depa=inrikes&Model=ajuttusivu.html&Story=05172899.txt#toppen

The Swedish speaking schools did worse in PISA survey than Finnish speaking schools in Finland.

The staff of Swedish schools should practise more modern teaching methods in order to get better results in the education.

Germanic ordering is does not give best results in the education.


Hardly,because for a Swedish speaking principal at "a Swedish school" in Finland everything is language politics,even education.

If you want a good start for your kids do not put them in a Swedish school. That is the lesson in the aforementioned article.

Posted by: Lahden Ahkera | June 17, 2005 04:36 AM

" Finns had sent the children in a hurry and Swedes had to create an organisation overnight to take care of them. "

Well, it takes a hell of log time for a swede to learn. According to investigations 1980-2000, more than 500 children has disappeared from the refugee camps in Sweden. No-one knows where the childrn are.

" They were adopted by their foster families in Sweden, Denmark or Norway. "

Some of the children were sold to parents who could not get children.

" Some children had also difficulties with Finnish language, because in Sweden they had gone into school in Swedish (or Danish or Norwegian in those countries). "

That's the Gothic way of melting people even today. Finnish was forbidden till 1970 in Swedish schools. According to latest news from Sweden, all non-swedish "non-royal race" people are treated different in hospitals (bad and less service but pay more than the "royal race"). The race biological ideas of the instituts of 17'ths century are still there - in year 2005. So the facts and figures shown up does not match the reality. Nor does the smile.

Posted by: Matti E Simonaho | June 17, 2005 06:11 AM

" Both Swedish and English are germanic languages ... "

I don't think so. Only the Gothic languages, or Gothic influenced languages like Finnish after 14'th century have ÖÄÅ ("oei aei voe"). Prior the the developement of the Gothic languages, (alphabe and writing after 500AD) the Finnish language did not have ÖÄÅ and it can be proven 100%. The ÖÄÅ is outside the range of the Lingual Chromosome/DNA because the alphabet end in XX/XY.

Posted by: Matti E Simonaho | June 17, 2005 06:21 AM

"There are rich families in Sweden who can trace their wealth back to the 30-year war. But they are not the reason to Swedish prosperity. Hard work is, just like it is in any country. Idle money (castles etc.) doesn't increase prosperity."

Swedes in Finland are those who got their wealth by violence.

Nobody wanted to go to Finland. They got huge areas of stolen land. That is why they came.

Posted by: | June 17, 2005 07:45 AM

" Both Swedish and English are germanic languages ... " PART II

English language is OLDER than the Gothic language. Like Finnish it has being influenced later by Gothic language (Gothic christianity, Gothic science). The ÖÄÅ in Finnish was introduced in 14'th century by Goths (Gothic christianity, Gothic science) but prior 14'th century, Finnish language did not contain the ÖÄÅ -letters.

A detailed Lingual Genetic Map will be added on the site later on.

http://www.suomalaiset.org
Runo Memorous Project [ in english ]
The English version updated July 17 2005.

Posted by: Matti E Simonaho | June 17, 2005 07:51 AM

Could we say that the Finnish, or should I say Finno-Ugrig, language is a synthetic language but the other languages spoken in western Europe are analytical languages. The others use prepositions an articles which the Finnish language do not have, at least so much. The words are compined. Coud you think that the Finnish has some 16 declensions in comparison to Swedis 2, German 3 and English 1.

Posted by: Jerry can | June 18, 2005 06:26 AM

" Could we say that the Finnish, or should I say Finno-Ugrig ... .. ."

The 16 declensions is one tiny pice of the total. It is said that Finnish is tough to learn, sure it is. But what is the true reason for that? If we skip the ÖÄÅ in Finnish we find the answer: Finnish can be read in 2 (or even 4) directions. Also, by knowing the old Finnish language in detail, it easy to learn any language.

I know that the ancient character set is built up of a matrix of 16+7 by 16+7 by 16+7 charactrs (23x23x23=12167 characters) including alphabet, numbers, math functions etc. The humans of the past was far much intelligent than ever told by the history books. They were killed as "witches", "pagans" etc. That's the reason why we know so little about ancient cultures today: they were simply ersed because gold were for the Gothic kings and queens more valuable than knowledge. That's the reason why I sit here using a 1200mHz computer of 2005 realizing that it's "est 5000 years behind the schedule".

Posted by: Matti E Simonaho | June 18, 2005 07:55 AM

Matti,

It is possible that you are a genius with revolutionary ideas, but remember that many many geniuouses have died in misery and in complete oblivion.
->Because, they all were too far away from anyone else.
Why don´t you just accept that possibility and hone up your case and accept the reality as it is? You can´t go back and kill the goths, right?
What you can do is, that you go above the norm and try to seduce common people into the higher grounds OR just make the case as water proof as possible and enjoy your life. If your case has enough proofs and you are good at presenting it, You have a statue right after your death at some market place.
Thats how it goes. There is never applauding audiences to a man who shoots straight and speaks the truth. But, only after his death when he/she doesn´t pose threat to the norm.

Posted by: Risto A. | June 18, 2005 04:27 PM

A short story:

Once upon a time there was X and Y. X and Y is of the holy root. After the sun the Z was born. The Z looks like a human being but it is not of the holy root. In other words, it don't have soul. So the only way for the Z to live and gain control is to kill and/or make slaves, mix with the X and Y and force it's traditions. The Z got it's feed from the tradition and those traditions together with Z language etc affects people. Result: We only use 100% of 10 of our brain cpacity.

" Why don´t you just accept that possibility and hone up your case and accept the reality as it is?

The reality you speak of is an illution. It's better for the man kind to skip the illution and live in reality. It's the only way to develope as human beings. I prefer to use 100% of 100 of my brain capacity than 100% of 10.

" You can´t go back and kill the goths, right? "

Science and knowledge is a way to understand where it all went wrong and why. The history is there to learn from.

No war is needed to remove the evil. In Finland for example, people can refuse to speak swedish because the language itself is of bad seed. The people can stop voting for politicians who are Pro-Goths. The same goes for the Church, people don't have to accept barbarian Gothic traditions. Jesus was an intelligen human being of the holiest possible root. I don't think an intelligent human being, not even in sybolic meanig, teach other human beings to "drink my blood and eat my flesh". Hanging people on cross, drinking blood and eating humans was a gothic tradition in the ancient times.

i have read some very old documents and based on that, I don't believe there is a hell, devil etc. Those are created to scare people - Gothic threts. All tortured people in the past (see withes) felt the pain of the hell and saw the hell BEFORE they were burnt/killed by the Gothic priests.

So insted of killing human beings, we kill the barbarian traditions that feed the evil. Big step forward for the man kind and human mind. That's how it goes.

Posted by: Matti E Simonaho | June 18, 2005 07:06 PM

" You have a statue right after your death at some market place. "

I dislike pigeon shit on my shoulders. It's better to have a "statue" in peoples heart. And if someone want to give me the Nobels price, I tell him where he can shovel it in ;)

Posted by: | June 18, 2005 08:52 PM

" You have a statue right after your death at some market place. "

I dislike pigeon shit on my shoulders. It's better to have a "statue" in peoples heart. And if someone want to give me the Nobels price, I tell him where he can shovel it in ;)

Posted by: Matti E Simonaho | June 18, 2005 08:52 PM

" You have a statue right after your death at some market place. "

I dislike pigeon shit on my shoulders. It's better to have a "statue" in peoples heart. And if someone want to give me the Nobels price, I tell him where he can shovel it in ;)

Posted by: Matti E Simonaho | June 18, 2005 08:52 PM

Am sorry for the "stuttering". My browser went nuts because of too many windows open at the same time.

Posted by: Matti E Simonaho | June 18, 2005 09:16 PM

Matti,

There is huge amount of BS, just waiting someone to toss it into the fan.
We are not there yet where we can "purify" all the f*cking nonsence away.
Anyways, keep doing your research and take the fuel, what you need, out from somewhere else than from public support. (worst)

From soul perhaps?

Posted by: Risto A. | June 18, 2005 09:58 PM

Risto A: "From soul perhaps?"

There is an old saying "The eyes are the mirror of the soul" basically meaning that what you see/do is reflected to the soul. And quality of your soul is reflected back and shows in your eyes. What you hear and adopt affects your soul. What you say is important because when you speak hear what you say but we also hear the soul.

An example of speech: A priest say:
"Let us preay" and that's the "body".

But the soul (lingual DNA is the words read from left to right and right to left):

PREY: YAAEEIERPE
US: ESVA
LET: TEEIEL
LET: ELEITE
US: VAES
PREY: PEEREIAEYA"

Quick translation: "Don't live by Jesus, feed the evil". And it make sense because the Goths only worship themself and their root. The GOD -name lingual DNA is: GOD DOG: GEOETE TEOEGE ("you are Goths") meaning GOTH. In Swedish GUD: GEVATE which equals to GVTI (The Guti -mountains of ancient North-Iran). So the in the Gothic christian faith, the "holy root" is the last king of the Goths in Guti and his name was Tirigan. The weekdays displays the ancient root and the faith. This is the scandinavian weekdays:

MÅN[DAY] is a topic. NAM/NAMN/NAAME (NAME)
-----------------------------------------
TIR[SDAG] : Tirigans day
ONS[SDAG] : His wifes/sons day

THOR[SDAG] : Another topic: ROHT (Root)
-----------------------------------------
FRE[DAG] : Blood (the day of blood drinking)
LÖR[DAG] : Lives (victim alive)
SÖN[DAG] : Eaten (victim eaten)

Mos likely, the scandinavian word DAG "day" derives from IGAN (compare to IDAG: "today").

By the fact that English does not contain the ÖÄÅ -letters, English is not a Gothic language - and it's far much older. However, English is a widely spread language, spoken by many people, so at some point in history it "must be" Gothic.

Posted by: Matti E Simonaho | June 19, 2005 03:33 AM

Correction on "Let us prey":

PREY: YAEIERPE
US: ESVA
LET: TEEIEL
LET: ELEITE
US: VAES
PREY: PEEREIAEYA

In Finnish the "Let us prey" is "Rukoilkaa" (modern "rukoilkaamme") and the lingual DNA is:
"ERVAKEOE IIEL KEAEAE" in modern words meaning "It's time to live right, separate from the evil".

Posted by: Matti E Simonaho | June 19, 2005 03:57 AM

The nice thing in Finnish is that the alphabe it built the way that we can "travel back" in time (you can follow and date languages). And the cool thing is that the "Let us prey" lingual DNA message equals to the Finnish "rukoilkaamme" lingual DNA message when using older character set (prior the Gothic). This among many things proves English language older then the Gothic language(s).

The same goes for Finnish. The soundings (lingual DNA) for the SUOMI -name today is "ÄSUUOOÄMII" and its unnatural far away from how SUOMI is pronounced. By using characters and soundings prior the Goth ingfluence SUOMI is "ESVAOEEMII" which is close to how SUOMI is pronounced.

I guess that's what happend with English language too after Gothic influence (Christianity, science etc. See also all lands where "whitches" were burnt). In Finland the last "witch" was burnt only est 250 years ago.

Posted by: Matti E Simonaho | June 19, 2005 04:27 AM

And had a bit fun with the very much used F.U.C.K -word. The lingual DNA is "VE.VA.CE.KE KE.CE.VA.VE" which in English is "it's bothering me because it's so difficult". ;D

Posted by: Matti E Simonaho | June 19, 2005 04:38 AM

To wrap things up nicely (apologises for my rusty English), and regarding "the eyes are the mirror of the soul", by WWII we know the final result on what will happend when the soul is lost.

A historical theory eqals to few facts and the rest is the scolars imagination. Remove the facts and there's nothing. So a theory is basically a manuscript for a soap-opera based on facts. It's like the Gothic christian bible and the "viking" sagas: parts are true, parts are lies and those parts that does not fit in the picture of "royal race" has being erased or left out.

If you take 1Theory from the past and prove it wrong, all theories built on the 1Theory are not valid either. (Read the Viking Age Hox on the website). So we can basically say "good bye" to Mr Darwins evolution theory and the Viking Age -theory to mention a couple. Because both are more or less fairy-tales.

Posted by: Matti E Simonaho | June 19, 2005 07:29 AM

If the premises are ripped of the wall, nearly anything can be proved true in our little heads.

Posted by: jerry can | June 20, 2005 03:59 AM

New Page: The Secret of the Numbers: The Time of Creation (htp://www.suomalaiset.org)

" The Finnish numbers 1234567890 and the numbers Lingual DNA is very interesting. Like the alphabet the numbers tell part of the human kind history. Among many other things, the numbers 1 and 2 in Suomi -language tell how the K -letter was created. "

I'd like to see atleast some connection to the past in the current translation of the rune alphabet (FUTHARK) and the translations of rune writing, but there is none (Se the Viking Age Hoax -page).

Posted by: Matti E Simonaho | June 20, 2005 07:34 AM

If you wish to look at the negative side of the Finnish character, it is aggression that can build up way beyond reason, amounting to sham rage, whatever the costs.

Finland is being held hostage by the blue-collar workers, whose Central Trade union is the SAK, "Suomen Ammattijarjestojen Keskusliitto". The whole national economy is tuned to satisfy the needs of this Mafia-like organization, and conversely, especially if you have an academic degree, you might seriously consider working abroad at least for a while, to keep to yourself something of what your work has produced, instead of financing the self-made taxation hell.

Currently, the sham rage of the Paperworker's Union is costing the Finnish national economy a fortune, because in the currently ongoing labor dispute nothing has satisfied the greed of power of these Mafiosos; it is not about money (as they well know it would go to taxes) but it is about the decision-making power: the blue-collar Mafiosos demand for themselves the right to decide whether or not paper mills can hire workforce for various tasks outside their own Union.

The Finnish society is totally helpless in these kind of labor disputes, where things get escalated out of proportion by precisely the kind of primitive rage that I am referring to.

Posted by: Finnish Taxpayer | June 20, 2005 02:17 PM

It seems that many comments on this blog are based wrong assumption and believes not to facts. I recommend some of you to check Finland facts somewhere example from here: http://www.gofinland.fi/gfcp/gftp?L2=L2_threecols&L3=L3_article_history&action=article

Posted by: Ilkki | June 23, 2005 05:25 AM

"check Finland facts "
The official travel agencies do not tell all.

Posted by: | June 23, 2005 06:50 AM

It has being told that Russia got the name from swedish rowers or a swedish county named Rosala. In the ancient times a lands name was given by the known root of the people - not after a swetty "viking" rower. And the Rosala county in Sweden did not exist at 7'th century because Sweden did not exist. First we have to figure out where the Rus -name derives from ... .. .

http://www.suomalaiset.org
(C) Runo Memorous Project [ in english ]
The English version updated July 23 2005.

Posted by: Matti E Simonaho | June 23, 2005 04:49 PM

I browsed through this page with interest in the begining, but got quite bored on those biggots rambling about Swedes and mandatory swedish language on finnish schools. As an issue on finnish media it has been just another smokescreen in odrer to turn public intrest to safer area with no real content. Lots of blowing hot air, nothing else. When brought up, that issue allways atracts some biggots which media loves so much. More listeners/viewers/readers equals more money into their pockets, it's simple as that. It's allmost as good as collecting loose points in political field with speaking how drugs are the main reason for every problem in society.

This Matti E Simonaho is total stranger to me but he sounds like disciple of one other "famous" finn, who thought that drinking glass of your morning urine is the best kind of breakfast one can get ;). Or maybe Matti has read the book "Jättilästen maa - Vendien ja Vandaalien muinaishistoria", ("The land of the giants - The ancient history of Vends and Vandals")without knowing that it was a joke, totally fictional and had no real facts or history as it's basis. All those "historical facts" and "linguistic proof" he presents sounds like quotes from that book or from that urine-drinkers speeches.

There were some discussion about unemployment and it's reasons in Finnland and another populistic idea was introduced, free loaders of what ever they are called, people who like living it easy on social safety net. Well, Finnland is small country with no international signifigance or power, so "thought-control"-role of media is not so important as it is for example in USA or was in USSR. Certain amount of cencorship has been essential part of "free western journalism" at the late century, in Finnland as well. Truth or facts rarely play any role on public debates on such issues as unemployment or drugs or mandatory swedish on schools or should buying sex from prostitutes be illegal or not and so on. Like with issues as unemployment the real reasons are, i quess, quite same as everywhere in world today. Like this fairy tale of Nokia. They made rubberboots and wintertyres in the beiging and was owned by Finns. Then became cell-phones and success-story began. Finnish share-holders clapped their hands joyfully and sold out their shares, now only 6% is owned by Finns. And it had it's effects, there is no manufacturing of phones in Finnland anymore, Nokia has transferred production to China and Hungary and to other "low-labour-cost" (=slavelabour) countries. Nokia is just one example, every week Finnish factories and companies are sold to giant global corporations which close production here and transfers it out, like Leaf was sold this week and closed immediately (Leaf was one of the biggest candy-factories in Finnland). Globalization has been discussed on Finnish media frequently and unemployment too, but never at the same time or in a sense of causality, that is taboo and it's a grave sin to do so.

Another taboo is "low cost labour" which really is slavelabour at best, in fact it's a crime defined in finnish law called "hädänalaisen tilan hyväksikäyttö" (dunno how to translate this correctly but it's something like "abuse of persons grave stress" example: you are walking behind old lady who slips on icy sidewalk and brakes her leg,you see an opportunity and offer to call the ambulace if she pays you 10.000$ for it). All Finnish corporations capable of doing it are moving to Chinas free-trade areas and to former Eastern Europian countries and so on. If, for example in Zimbabwe, you have 2 options, to starve to death or to work with 1$ a 12-16h day for global company i call that slavelabour as it truly is and not as "low labour cost", offcourse that later name of that procedure sounds much much better.

About WWII and winter war, it's so enlightning to boast how our forefathers gave their blood as sacrifice on behalf of indipendence and freedom of Finnland and at the same time betray their sacrifice by selling Finnland out piece by piece for benefit of very few and for misery of many. Finnish civil war was mentioned too, but not as related with winter war. Another name for that war was "red-rebellion", those fighting parties were the Reds = communists (peasants, factoryworkers etc poor people) and the Whites = early form and roots of later fasistic party in Finnland (landowners, industrial capitalists etc rich people). That war was maybe one of the bloodiest civil wars in human history through the whole world. The slaughtering of the Red-army remnants after war got into insane magnitude: today computers gives means for calculations and old archives on winter war, that has been classified since, but opened recently, provide material for such calculations, it's now publicly discovered that approximately 80% of those who died in that winter war was offspring of those Reds who lost that civil war. Quite a skeleton in cabin i'd say.

So we Finns are not quite as homogenic as it could seem on surface, there are a lot of old grudges to moan and bitch about and forgiving is just as difficult to us as it seems to be all over the world. Accepting neighbor as he/she is seems to be that last option, option that is taken only if there is non others available. And what is acceptable in me is not acceptable on Swedes or on Russians, we are just as hypocrisy as any other western country, heck, the hypocrisy seems to be essential part of that "western way of life".

Posted by: wexi | June 26, 2005 03:18 AM


Mr. Matti Simonaho is a well-known maniac. His credibility is on the same level as Erich von Däniken's. Ignore him.

Regarding the Finnish civil war, it is simply not true that the Whites were "an early form of a later fascist party". Like you said, the Finnish civil war is also called "the red rebellion" because it was a rebellion by Reds (i.e. bolsheviks) against the Finnish government. The so-called Whites were the army of the Finnish government. They had nothing to do with fascism. The Finnish government was a democratically elected, constitutional government, supported by a majority of the parliament.

The Russian bolsheviks (Lenin, Stalin, Trotsky) supported Finnish Reds against the Finnish government. Therefore the Finnish civil war was a part of the Russian civil war, but it ended the opposite way. The bolsheviks won in Russia, but lost in Finland. This is why Finland became independent.

You claim that "80% of those who died in the winter war" were sons of the bolsheviks who rebelled against the Finnish government in 1918. This is simply not true. This is utter and complete crapola. Ask any historian at any university.

Posted by: Mikko Ellilä | June 26, 2005 11:34 AM

Well, personal insults does not prove that the rune writing is made by s. c. vikings. Nor are any archalogical finding ever proven made by the s. c. vikings. As a matter of fact I can prove that English language does not belong to the Gothic languages (today wrongly called German language family). Like the Finnish language it got Gothic influences at later date (500-800AD).

The English character set contain exactly same removal instructions of Gothic letters like the Finnish one: I'll give you a tip: "BCDEF" equals to "becide iief" equals to "beside if".

Can you find something like that in the current FUTHARC? You cannot because it's a fake.

The swedes tried to prove in the 15'th century they were the original root to all successful races and religion and all successful cultures of the World were of swedish origin (Rydberg, Bång 1679). But the current FUTHARC character order does not meet any high-culture character set order, nor does the lingual DNA because the ÖÄÅ is outside the lingual DNA system of 23 characters. Nor does the swedish language of today.

Nor does the ancient German language belong to the Gothic language family - I can prove that too. There is only one place in mid-europe that can be related directly to the Goths - all others are located in modern Sweden (West Goths : Visigoth : Västergötaland and East Goths : Ostrogoth : Östergötaland etc). The Church history is interesting, because it tell exactly the same.

So please, give me some evindence on that the rune writing and the s.c. viking age items are made by the s. c. vikings (swedes). If you cannot, then the s. c. viking age did never exist. It's a made-up story: A big, fat, Gothic/Swedish fake.

Every time you say:
"jag pratar svenska" ("I speak swedish") you do a confession:

Lingual DNA: "iaaeenge peerae teaeer esvaeeen eskeae"
Modern Finnish: "olen pirun enkeli joka Jeesukseen iski"
English : "I am the devils angel who hit Jesus"

But not in the "ancient swedish":
"... satr aiftir siba kuþa sun fultars in hons liþi sati at u -ausa-þ ... .. . ", now that dounds like a Goth with serious P-problems ;)

Source: (C) http://www.suomalaiset.org

Posted by: Matti E Simonaho | June 26, 2005 01:11 PM

I wish I didn't have to read Matti E's diary (or any other finn) here.
I'd rather read about "foreiger's" experiences and other comments about Finland itself and it's people.
I have to add that "Introduction to Finland diary" was the best I've ever read about our nation. Thank you for a job well done!

Posted by: JK | June 27, 2005 04:09 AM

If planning to visit Suomi, a good idea might be to contact a person of Suomi who knows English. That would give the visit more value, meaning and deep than the "regular tourist stuff".

The people of Suomi are a bit shy, but if you get a friend here, you got a friend for a lifetime.

I pretended to be foreigner using English and had no problems chatting with people (in the city and close to the city area) est 20-45 years of age.

When using English, avoid local expressions people might not know here (you have to explain them all the time more or less killing the conversation). On the other hand, a good idea is to fill in on proper space (not flooding with them though) with "your local expression" telling what it is in "proper english" ;)

Most people find the "you know" in every sentence annoying - you know. But - you know - it's easy to get attached to it - you know what I mean. Oh well, it's time to get my bones of this chair before someone shovels 'em in a coffin - you know what I mean - you know. ;)

Posted by: Matti E Simonaho | June 27, 2005 05:33 AM

Mr. Matti Simonaho is a well-known maniac. His credibility is on the same level as Erich von Däniken's. Ignore him.
-------
Most of the history is made-up anyways so what is the difference ?
In Finland, the history has never been written by Finns but by the invaders who enslaved Finns.

Swedes had the world's first racial biology faculty which found Finns to be lesser race. Before and after the nazi Germany sterilized people, Swedes did the same. The same regime is still in power in Sweden.

And Finns are more and more under their rule.
All have to study their language and culture.

Posted by: | June 27, 2005 08:41 AM

Finns have never been slaves. Sweden was on the contrary one of the very few countries that didn't ever practise serfdom. The finns could, though, have turned into slaves during the russian rule if Bobrikoff would have succeeded in his russification campaign.

Posted by: | June 27, 2005 09:37 AM

Posted by: June 27, 2005 08:41 AM: " All have to study their language and culture. "

True. All people should. The history as it is presented today does not meet the reality. Scolars of 2000+ still follows a Gothic tradition of 500AD presenting the history through theories. Kill one old theory and the whole history based on the old theory collapses. The so called Viking Age is one good example.

When I discovered the ancient Lingua Genere, it is qute easy to back-check and cross-check all theories. All languages has a specific lingual ID making it possible to date the language (+-200 years). Also, faked documents (like Tacistus, Vinland map etc) can be esily be proven as fakes because the old language works as a water mark. If the original text has being altered, it shows in the writing.

Posted by: JK June 27, 2005 04:09 AM: " Mr. Matti Simonaho is a well-known maniac. "

Sure I am. But note that there is a big difference beetween maniacs: I am a "maniac for peace", not "maniac for war". I am "a maniac" following the message in the Finnish weekdays:

"The Holy Spirit unites you in the FIVE Advices of Life. Remember you always carry the heritage of LIVING Jesus. Remember violence is NEVER right. Always present the 5 as ADVICES and RIGHTS, NEVER forcing them on people. Wherever you meet people, tell the truth and you all be united by the Light".

It's a bit different to the "blue-eyed, yellow haired, royal race who never have mixed with another race (whatever connected to it) presented the past 2000 years - with all it's consequences.

Posted by: Matti E Simonaho | June 27, 2005 10:01 AM

I'll try to comment on this, although my English sucks because of my young age. I'm a 15-year-old Finnish girl.

About our school system. I just can't figure out why young Finnish people seem to be so good at school when compared to, for example, other European countries. In France, so I've heard, kids spend a lot of time doing their homework in the evenings. From me it takes about 15 minutes to 25 minutes to finish them. Many kids don't do their homework at all, or they do it at school, during the breaks or on the lessons copying from their friends who maybe have done theirs. And we don't really have to READ our homework: we read only for a test to come, otherwise we just make the exercises our teachers give us, and they don't take much time.
I can spend two to three hours reading for a test that's tomorrow. No more than that. And I do get good grades, actually I think I had the second best school report in our class.

At school, the kids to be teased are the ones who get good grades. The situation is this during whole comprehensive school and also in high school, though it's not that usual there anymore. Someone said that we have to decide at the age of 14 if we are going to high school or somewhere else. That's not true. We decide it when we are 15 or 16 years old. Many of those who have not-so-good grades decide to go to high school anyway because they don't know yet what they want to do with their lives. They think their time studying in high school is, like, extra time to make their decision, so they don't take it seriously at all.

STILL, Eddie or who was it, you're so wrong with this: "Then, the students who go off to university rarely would
date or even imagine marrying someone who did not have a university degree." Um, my father is a highly-educated man working in paper industry business, he also has lots of business journeys abroad to train the people there. My mother is a nurse, she didn't even go to high school and her earnings are small. Which is, by the way, SO wrong because her work with old people is important.

Eddie also said: "They call the people who go off to junior college (vocational school) "AMMIS" and it's not a compliment."
There was a typo, it's "amis" (: And although it's not a compliment, it's definitely not an insult. In Finland they are actually trying to increase the value of people like hair stylists, plumbers and other "real workers", which makes me angry because after all they are those low-educated people and they don't deserve to be as appreciated as lawyers and, hm, bank managers (:

No, there is no respect for teachers, but in Finland it's not insulting to call people by their first names. Or at least in this case it's not insulting. If I called some of my teachers by his/her first name, my whole class AND the teacher would probably laugh at me, because they'd think i'm joking.

Swedish should not be a compulsory subject at school. That's my opinion and that's the opinion of most of Finnish teens. If somebody asked me to name one school subject that has the worst attitude towards it, I'd name Swedish. No, we don't hate Sweden or something, but we just don't need Swedish! I don't know anyone who's Finnish-Swedish, but I live in Southern Finland and Swedish-speaking people are more common in Western Finland, I think.

Gay and lesbian in Finland.. Two of my friends say that they're lesbian, but I'm quite sure they're just curious and they'll pass it soon. Not that I'd have something against being gay, I think it's ok and as acceptable as love between a man and a woman. Sadly, my opinion is quite rare here, especially in my age class. If they told everybody they feel like they're lesbian, there would be so much bullying and talking behind their backs. They're quite independent people both, so they probably wouldn't care, but some Finnish people really should reform their attitude.

And then: the Eurovisions! (: Finnish people don't take Eurovisions seriously anymore. I among many others have been amused to see our representatives there. The people of Finland can vote who is going there every year, and unfortunately people over 40 years are eager to vote for people like Jari Sillanpaa, who NEVER could win.. There should be a few people from music business who'd decide our representative, then we maybe could have some chances and Finnish people would be more interested in Eurovisions, too. I like metal music and Japanese rock music, but I think that our little 100 % Finnish cute boy and pop-musician Antti Tuisku ( http://www.anttituisku.net ) could succeed, even though here in Finland his fans are mostly 7 to 10 years old (: (:

Posted by: Elli | June 27, 2005 10:04 AM

" Finns have never been slaves. Sweden was on the contrary one of the very few countries that didn't ever practise serfdom. "

Oh ... I must have wrong information here then.

" The finns could, though, have turned into slaves during the russian rule if Bobrikoff would have succeeded in his russification campaign. "

In the 16'th century the swedes spoke about totally wipe out the people of Suomi (Nesselius, Runeberg). In the propaganda during 17'th century the swedes say there's no people of Suomi left. In fact because of those swedish threats the Russians came to Finland and saved the people of Suomi.

The swedes killed Bobrikoff helping the Bolsjeviks to gain power in Russia (later Communism). The last relation to the past of "Old Suomi" was killed: The Russian Royal Family was related to the people of The Land of RUS (see website for details on origin of the RUS name).

Posted by: Matti E Simonaho | June 27, 2005 10:15 AM

Yes, you have wrong information. In fact, everything you write is complete nonsense.

Posted by: | June 27, 2005 10:28 AM

" Yes, you have wrong information. In fact, everything you write is complete nonsense. "

Even if I am wrong in the eyes of a Goth, it still does not prove the fact that there is no evindence on that the s. c. viking age ever existed. There are no evidence at all proving that the "viking age viking made items" actually are made by the s. c. vikings (goths/swedes). And finally, there are no evidence on that the rune writings are made by s.c. vikings (goths/swedes).

By using the old Suomi writing system, you can actually hide a message in Finnish in any old language. It's not that easy with modern languages, but it still works. Adam von Bremen mention Winland in his book Descriptio insularum Aquilonis:

" Praeterea unam adhuc insulam recitavit a multis in eo repertam [occeano, quae dicitur Winland], eo quod ibi vites sponte nascantur, vinum optimum ferentes ".

By using the soundings of each character on the [marked] part we find a message in the Suomi -language telling that:  "oececeeiaeenoe, kuovaaeei teiiceiitevaer Veiienelaeente, which in English is "The picture of Winland is a fake". And today we know it is.

Guess what, many/moset old documents are witten using the very same technique and regarding the slaves: People of Suomi was sold as slaves.

The knowledge of writing, maths etc was too much to handle for the Gothic brain. Only those who goths selected for the writing their documents were kept alive. The rest of people of Suomi was hunt down and burned as "witches" because among many other things they knew the power of language. Last "witch" was burnt in Finland less than 300 years ago.

If you can torture, reape and burn people to death, you most likely can use and sell them as slaves as well. If you can build a racial institute you most likely don't hesitate to use and sell people as slaves. If you are in war for several hundred years in a row, you most likely don't value human beings very hig: you most likely use and sell slaves. Look in the closet - might be that it's not nonsense after all.

Posted by: Matti E Simonaho | June 27, 2005 12:50 PM

What's fake with "the picture of Winland"?

Posted by: | June 27, 2005 01:05 PM

"What's fake with "the picture of Winland"?"

The Gothic scholars proved with the Winland -map that the s.c. vikings found America before Columbus. It's proven fake. And the Lingual DNA says so in the Adam von Bremens text (Written est 1000-1100). That's how the Lingua Genere works. At this point I have found 58 documents (including the Adam von Bremen's text) telling the document itself or another document(s) is a fake.

Posted by: Matti E Simonaho | June 27, 2005 01:24 PM

So you mean that you have proof that the vikings never were in America?

Posted by: | June 27, 2005 01:48 PM

" So you mean that you have proof that the vikings never were in America? "

The Vinland -map is a fake and my finding confirms it. The vikings were never in America simply because there has never being any vikings.

Posted by: Matti E Simonaho | June 27, 2005 08:43 PM

To Hank W.:
If you are jewish in Finland you certainly do not pay tax to the Church of Finland, but to the jewish community which you belong to, e.g. the one in Turku of Helsinki.

Posted by: Jfinland | June 28, 2005 03:41 AM

"The Vinland -map is a fake and my finding confirms it. The vikings were never in America simply because there has never being any vikings."

Well Matti, this is of course breaking news since every archeologist on this planet thinks otherwise. It's 100 % sure the vikings visited America, there's not even a discussion about it. The only question that's not solved is what part of America the name "Vinland" refers to. Is the settlement in L'Anse aux Meadows the actual Vinland or is it towards south in present day US. Whether the famous Winland map is a fake or not is completely irrelevant.

Posted by: | June 28, 2005 04:02 AM

" Well Matti, this is of course breaking news since every archeologist on this planet thinks otherwise. "

Archelogists have found items, sure. But if you go to a museum in London for example and look at all items, even if the items are located in England, it does not mean that englishmen made all of them. So an archaologial finding does not proof the s.c. vikings made them.

There is an instruction on the V-map text: "Cut the "Vinland" off the map, place it over the map of Sweden today, and you find the exact location of Vinland.

Posted by: Matti E Simonaho | June 28, 2005 05:31 AM

Posted by: Matti E Simonaho | June 28, 2005 05:33 AM

Correct, if you visit a museum in England you will find many items made by vikings there aswell. As we all know, the vikings were everywhere. From America to Baghdad, and of course in Finland too.

Posted by: | June 28, 2005 05:51 AM

What a collection of utter bullshit and crap. If these kind of stories are considered as "high quality journalism" in USA, i don't wonder at all why you people are totally brainwashed and lost on what is going on in the world, hell i even understand why you "elected" that massmurderer as your president.

Posted by: | June 28, 2005 06:03 AM

" Correct, if you visit a museum in England you will find many items made by vikings there aswell. As we all know, the vikings were everywhere. From America to Baghdad, and of course in Finland too. "

Does it read somewhere (written 700-1000AD) on the items "Made by Vikings" or what? What proofs that those items are made by the s.c. vikings?

Posted by: Matti E Simonaho | June 28, 2005 06:21 AM

I think I know why Finns are so good at school. We have many subjects: Finnish, English, Swedish, math, chemistry, physics, biology, geography, history and social studies, religion, sports. And we choose about four other subjects too. I dont know about the US but Ive heard that you study a lot less subjects. (Hope you understood my bad English.)

Posted by: Ansku | June 28, 2005 06:47 AM

There was discussion earlier about BBC and their banning of some subject-matter:
it seems the english tax-payers have employed a "finland-swede" in their bbc world tv-channel:

text-tv page 133: they tell in english what european big newspapers have to say: from finland: "jakobstadt tidning" which not too surprisingly, being in swedish, takes a strong opinion for the employers in the trade dispute where the workers want to continue having holidays during the christmas and juhannus breaks and let the factories be maintained during the time. I do not know where where jakobstadt is and do not care but cannot be too large a town and apparently not finnish at all.

Posted by: | June 28, 2005 06:58 AM

For quite a long time the "finnish" newspapers there have been in fact those of the swedish-speaking.

Posted by: | June 28, 2005 07:00 AM

Sweden DID have serfs! They were called "liv-egna" which means basically "owned for life". They got a roof over their heads but worked for nothing for their masters. In their spare-time they (couple of hours a day) they could also grow their own crop on a very small piece of land and maybe sell the produce... if they managed to get enough money, they could buy their freedom... which basically never happened!

Posted by: | June 28, 2005 08:27 AM

"Sweden DID have serfs! They were called "liv-egna" which means basically "owned for life"."

Oh my God. That's exactly what I'm saying:

SWEWDEN DID NOT HAVE SERFDOM. THAT IS "LIVEGENSKAP" IN SWEDISH, STUPID. FINNS AND SWEDES HAVE OWNED THEIR OWN LAND WHICH IS UNIQUE FOR EUROPEAN PEASANTS THROUGHOUT HISTORY.

Then we have this bright head:

""jakobstadt tidning" which not too surprisingly, being in swedish, takes a strong opinion for the employers in the trade dispute"

Do you mean that the strike is connected to language?

Posted by: | June 28, 2005 10:58 AM

"Does it read somewhere (written 700-1000AD) on the items "Made by Vikings" or what? What proofs that those items are made by the s.c. vikings?"

Now we're getting somewhere. Good question! If you start studying history and archeologi you'll learn the answer. You see, we have pros who know these things. No need for happy amateurs playing with home made "lingual DNA" :).

Posted by: Mr. Knowledge | June 28, 2005 11:09 AM

"Does it read somewhere (written 700-1000AD) on the items "Made by Vikings" or what? What proofs that those items are made by the s.c. vikings?"

Now we're getting somewhere. Good question! If you start studying history and archeologi you'll learn the answer. You see, we have pros who know these things. No need for happy amateurs playing with home made "lingual DNA" :).

Posted by: Mr. Knowledge | June 28, 2005 11:10 AM

Now we're getting somewhere. Good question! If you start studying history and archeologi you'll learn the answer. You see, we have pros who know these things. No need for happy amateurs playing with home made "lingual DNA" :).

Posted by: Mr. Knowledge | June 28, 2005 11:13 AM

Now we're getting somewhere. Good question! If you start studying history and archeologi you'll learn the answer. You see, we have pros who know these things. No need for happy amateurs playing with home made "lingual DNA" :).

Posted by: Mr. Knowledge | June 28, 2005 11:21 AM

To get some orientation in the matter of serfdom (we are all here of course interested in the historical truth based on recent research, and not in anti-swedish propaganda) we can do a quick search on "serfdom" and "finland":

http://www.google.fi/search?biw=781&hl=sv&q=serfdom+finland&meta=

Interesting right? Let me quote a bit from the prime search results:

"The Swedish traditions and customs of 'Old Finland' were so strong that noble tenure never worked on the same level as defined in the zhalovannye gramoty. It is very obvious that all the participants, the nobility, the estate peasantry and the officials in the local and central government clearly understood 'Old Finland's' exceptional position among the other gubernii of the Empire. Eighteenth century Russia was a multicultural and multinational Empire which included many different historic and legal traditions. So also the estate peasants of the different parts of the Empire did not have equal rights and obligations, as the case of 'Old Finland' shows."

"By the end of the Middle Ages there were six towns in Finland; Turku and Viipuri were the largest. As late as the 14th century, the majority of merchants in the towns were Germans. In contrast to the peasants of continental Europe, the farmers of Sweden-Finland were free men."

"The Russian ruler guaranteed religion, properties, laws and privileges of the inhabitants of these territories. However, in small details, circumvention occurred, as Russian administrators and military were unfamiliar with Swedish system, and were used to a different system with its enslaved peasants, serfdom."

"Finnish vapaa, "free," was borrowed from a Slavic language--compare the Slavic root svobod-. Obviously the Finns did not need such a word when there was no slavery or even serfdom amongst the Finns. These were alien, Slavic concepts."

And so on and on...

Posted by: | June 28, 2005 11:56 AM

" You see, we have pros who know these things. "

Yeah, and those "pros" cannot explain "viking age" prior 14'th century. They don't even know for sure from where the word "viking" derives from. I know because in the alphabet says "In the past Goth Burnt (Getei [Veigni=Viking]) us to death. Learn, they killed Jesus in year 10".

Note that the alphabet is older than the Bible. Also note that "Getei Veigni" have accused Romans and Jews for killing Jesus. The World's first racial institute was constructed by "Getei Veigni" and everything related the history created by those "pros". There is only one single place in Europe where "Getei Veigni" and all it stands for is locates. Where might it be? Maybe the asnwer is in the Vinland -map and it's text.

Posted by: Matti E Simonaho | June 28, 2005 02:32 PM

People, do not believe Mr Simonaho, hes current location is never never land.

Posted by: HuH | June 29, 2005 04:50 AM

"Yeah, and those "pros" cannot explain "viking age" prior 14'th century. They don't even know for sure from where the word "viking" derives from."

Who cares about the word "viking"? The swedish viking identification was an outburst of 1900th century nationalism when national myths actuallt were created. The same creation of national myths also happened in Finland. Today we know that these myths to a large degree are invented and quite destructive aswell because they seem to foster an almost xenophobic variant of nationalism. This finnish xenophobia have been internationally displayed in this "discussion". "Vikings" refer simply to scandinavian prehistoric late iron age people.

Posted by: | June 29, 2005 05:20 AM

" The swedish viking identification was an outburst of 1900th century nationalism when national myths actuallt were created. "

There is not many myths in the World that can directly or indirectly be connected to what the WWII represent. The "prure royal race who never have mixed with another race" -theory together with the racial institute of Uppsala (later in Berlin as well) became a ticking time-bomb. The "facts" in the Gothic Bible has used several times in history as propaganda against Rome and the Jews.

Still today there are people who believe in those gothic ideas. Those ideas are causing, and is reason for, many wars even today. I am sorry, but the Swedish-nationalistic (Gothic-nationalistic) propaganda is not even close to Odysseus or Kalevala.

Posted by: Matti E Simonaho | June 29, 2005 08:19 AM

Interesting reading these sorts of debates in english for a change... Anyway, all I wanted to say was I cannot understand why this has to be such an issue. Multilingual countries with several groups of people are not uncommon.In my opinion, if one language slowly is dying there would need to be some sort of political help to enable it, and the people who speak it, to keep existing. Especially when the percentages look like they do in Finland. Yes the majority is Finnishspeaking, but does that mean that the swedishspeaking don't have the same right to live on this geographic location, as they have done for thousands of years?

I think any country should embrace the different people and languages it contains, and try to preserve them. Diversity is a richness.

If a country, as a concept, is very important. (Which it seems to be to a great deal of the finns) then a basic knowledge of this countrys languages would be practical, of course you cannot force a finnishspeaking finn to learn swedish, and you cannot force a swedishspeaking finn to learn finnish, but if You have a good friend that speaks differently, wouldn't You like to learn at least to understand his language, instead of just speaking my language and totally disregard his? especially if you are sharing the same flat.

Finally, learning another language is never ever bad, as long as you keep your mothertongue alive and strong. Because of the exposure to finnish in Finland, the swedishspeaking minority needs to concentrate on preserving their own language. If they learn and speak too much finnish this naturally becomes a threat to their own mothertongue, since it is so much weaker, percentually that is. This is already happening, especially in the area around the capital, Helsinki-Helsingfors.
This is not the case for the finnishspeaking majority. learning to speak swedish can never be a threat to their mothertongue, yet the largest protests in learning another language seems to come from the finnishspeaking side. This does not make sense to me.

The previous posts here talked about the finnish xenophobia. There certainly seems to be xenophobic elements in this debate, and that is sad. I just hope we grow up soon and learn to embrace what is different instead of rejecting it... The majority of the language debate in Finland is very childish, and it makes me ashamed of my country.

Posted by: Finlander | June 29, 2005 09:12 AM

"The previous posts here talked about the finnish xenophobia. There certainly seems to be xenophobic elements in this debate"

Yes, the ruling swedes do hate finns.

Not only in BBC (see earlier posts) there is a finland-swede, also in readers digest, finnish edition, its the same:
"finns beat up their children, swedes do not" (june issue) - very obvious, that but the kind of readers it has, half of them believe the hatred " i am finnish, therefore i am a child-beater " and the continuous (using words some swede here in these blogs used) mindwashing and propaganda. To be under opressive Swedish rule, very sad for Finns.

Posted by: | June 29, 2005 09:46 AM

Fair points all the way Finlander, and your thinking represents in many aspects the mainstreem opinion in Finland. It's just a shame that these tragic elements in our society embarras us all who take pride in being finns.

Posted by: | June 29, 2005 10:10 AM

Who are these finland-swede "editors" at BBC and Readers Digest?

Posted by: Mr. Knowledge | June 29, 2005 10:29 AM

your thinking represents in many aspects the mainstreem opinion in Finland.
-
not true. nobody thinks that way. except the five percent elite who forces others to do as they say.

Posted by: | June 29, 2005 10:29 AM

" Yes the majority is Finnishspeaking, but does that mean that the swedishspeaking don't have the same right to live on this geographic location, as they have done for thousands of years? "

If I move to any foreign country, I learn the language, culture etc, communicate and use the loacal peoples language not forcing anything of my culture, language etc on the local people. It's up to me on personal level if I want to keep up my naitive toungue or not, the people of my new homeland have nothing to do with it. If I did the opposite, I'd be ashamed as human being.

Another thing is the history itself: How did the Goths/Swedes came here: By several hundred years of war, torture, burning, killing and eating people. Even if they have developed as human beings, the Gothic mind's still there. I use to laugh my heart out when I time to time hear the expression "Swedish speaking Finn" because there is none. There is only people of Suomi and the Goths/Swedes.

Another thing is that Gauthiod/Sweden is the neigbour country (Turku Stockholm: est 400km over the sea) with est 9 million Swedish -speaking people. It would be different if the countries was like 3000 km away from each other. If they want services in Swedish and use the Gothic language: Move to Sweden not bothering the people of Suomi with the Gothic mambo-jambo. That' what I would do instead of behaving like a Gothic moron. Or if they want services in swedish in Suomi, fine, but THEY pay for the services in swedish, NOT the people of Suomi.

So we have to learn that the Gothic mind usually is the opposite to what is right (see history over all).

Posted by: Matti E Simonaho | June 29, 2005 10:48 AM

You see Matti, the native people in Finland speaks many languages. It's not a question of moving to a foreign country, like when huge numbers of finns moved to Sweden after WWII to find jobs. For the swedish speaking finns it's a question of living on the same spot as their forefathers have done as long as anyone can remember. These are the facts, whether or not you keep on making a fool of yourself. As anyone else, swedish speaking finns pay taxes and accordingly pay for service in swedish, when that's needed.

In the future there will be even more languages because of increased immigration. What do you think about immigration to Finland?

Posted by: | June 29, 2005 01:13 PM

Some notes to Finlander's writing:

"Multilingual countries with several groups of people are not uncommon."

Yes, but it's very uncommon that minority (5 %) tells to majority (93 %) what languages majority's children may study at school. It's also very uncommon that every person of majority must have good knowledge of minority's language if he or she wants to be a civil servant - even in regions where nobody speaks the minority's language.

"In my opinion, if one language slowly is dying there would need to be some sort of political help to enable it, and the people who speak it, to keep existing."

Yes, but you should remember that 'keeping a language existing' must not mean the violation of the human rights of people who speak some other language.

"I think any country should embrace the different people and languages it contains, and try to preserve them."

It's OK when Swedish speaking minority is trying to preserve their own language. But it's not OK when they force the Finnish speaking majority to study Swedish at school - although Swedish is useless language globally (and almost useless even here in Finland), and therefore many Finnish student would rather spend that time with learning some more important languages (for example English, French, German, Spanish or Russian).

"Finally, learning another language is never ever bad"

Yes, that's correct. But the truth is, that some languages are more important (or should we say more useful) than the other ones. You Swedish speaking Finns (and especially your political party) do force every Finnish Speaking schoolboy and schoolgirl study Swedish language at school for several years - althouhgh Swedish is almost useless language for themselves! That's wasting their time and resources, and wasting huge sums of taxpayer's money too!

"Because of the exposure to finnish in Finland, the swedishspeaking minority needs to concentrate on preserving their own language. If they learn and speak too much finnish this naturally becomes a threat to their own mothertongue, since it is so much weaker, percentually that is."

If you like to preserve your own language, that's OK. But forcing Finnish speaking majority to learn and use Swedish is certainly not the correct way. That kind of method reveals that you don't care about human rights at all. You are sacrificing human rights for the benefits of Swedish speaking elite and Swedish language.

"The majority of the language debate in Finland is very childish"

That's an example of your (and your party's) typical labelling tactics. Since there are no proper arguments for your unfair politics, you have to use that labelling method, i.e. state that everyone who disagree with you is childish, insane, racist, fascist, communist - or perhaps several of those at the same time!

Posted by: Timo Raunio | June 29, 2005 04:32 PM

" You see Matti, the native people in Finland speaks many languages. It's not a question of moving to a foreign country, like when huge numbers of finns moved to Sweden after WWII to find jobs. "

It is like moving to a foreign country. And the presence and influence of the Goths/Swedes partly caused WWII (se also racism and everything connected to it). And during and after the war, you took advance of people hurt by the war whitch has being the Gothic way since ages. I know history and I know the Goths/Swedes.

" For the swedish speaking finns it's a question of living on the same spot as their forefathers have done as long as anyone can remember. "

There is no "swedish speaking Finns". Only people of Suomi and Goths/Swedes. They Goths are described as mountain people of ancient Mesopotamia (Guti Mountain). Very little is known about the Gutian domination and the period appears to have been one of general political turmoil and cultural stagnation. Picure matches through the history in all areas the Goths set their dirty foots on. After Jesus was killed, the Goths was driven off and est 100 years later they came to Europe (Thuringia in modern Germany).

I remember. I know they moved in after 14'th century burning, killing, raping, stealing. Thousands of people of Suomi were forced and killed in swamps, killed in lakes, in houses and burnt in, thusands were burnt as witches, hundreds of thousands of people died because of starwing and all palgues the Goths wars spread around.

And today you are a minority here and want "service in swedish" telling how you helped us during and after WWII. As I wrote earlier: " So we have to learn that the Gothic mind usually is the opposite to what is right ".

I know how badly you want to be part of Suomi. I also know the reason why. But it will never happen as long as you hang on the Gothic root forcing it to other people. I don't want to worship a Gothic animal in the Guti mountains calling him a GUD (GUD=GVTI=GUTI). That's what it's all about: Develope as humans - nos as animals.

" As anyone else, swedish speaking finns pay taxes and accordingly pay for service in swedish, when that's needed. "

"Swedish speaking Finns" does not exist, there is only people of Suomi and the Goths/Swedes. Do you have problems because you repeat that so often? Get it: There is only people of Suomi, and the Goths/Swedes.

As far as I can see it, there is no point for the people of Suomi to pay tax for a language they don't need, don't want to know and and do not want to give a swede "service in swedish".

" These are the facts. "

Posted by: Matti E Simonaho | June 29, 2005 05:38 PM

" What do you think about immigration to Finland? "

I don't mind people moving in Suomi. Actually I know a lot of people who have moved in the past 4-12 years. Most of them knew Suomi -language after 3-4 years and do not need "service in their own language" like you Goths/Swedes.

What is strange is, that some of the people I know are those who you call "lower race", but obviously they are far much smarter than you, because many Goths/Swedes have lived in Suomi for several generations and _still_ need "service in swedish".

Posted by: Matti E Simonaho | June 29, 2005 05:57 PM

A little note to a writing with no author's name:


"For the swedish speaking finns it's a question of living on the same spot as their forefathers have done as long as anyone can remember. These are the facts"


No, these are not the facts. That's only a part of the truth. The other part is that those Swedish speaking people's forefathers may have been living there for several hudreds of years ago - but most of them did not speak Swedish then. They spoke Finnish.

There are quite few Swedish speaking Finns who have 'genuine' Swedish roots. Most of Swedish speaking Finns are originally Finnish and their forefathers spoke Finnish language too. However, especially in the 18th century it was quite popular to turn yourself to 'Swedish' and change your language to Swedish. That's because it was the only way to rise your social and economical status. We should remember that Finland was part of Sweden then, and therefore the upper class of society was Swedish speaking.

In 1809 Russia took Finland from Sweden, and that ment the end of Finland's swedification - although the social and economical elite still remained strongly Swedish speaking. In 19th century nationalism rose in Europe. Then Finland's Finnish speaking majority began to ask for their rights. Little by little their situation was getting better, but even nowadays there are some undemocratic privileges still existing.

Posted by: Timo Raunio | June 29, 2005 07:10 PM

If one million "goths" moved to Finland, it would be ok? What do you think Matti?

Posted by: | June 30, 2005 04:22 AM

" If one million "goths" moved to Finland, it would be ok? What do you think Matti? "

It really depends if they move to Suomi or Finland. The lingual DNA of SUOMI is ESVA OEEMII IIEMOEVAES meaning "Jesus is of the Holy Spirit" while FINLAND's DNA is of later Gothic origin: FEIIEN ELAEENDE DEENAEEL ENIIEF meaning "enemy land we deny".

Posted by: Matti E Simonaho | June 30, 2005 05:44 AM

[F]E[I]I[EN] = "fien" = enemy
E[L][A]EE[N][DE] = "lande" = land
[DE]E[NA]E[EL] = "denael" = deny
E[NI]IE[F] = "nif" > Gothic "ni/we" = you/we

Posted by: Matti E Simonaho | June 30, 2005 05:52 AM

"Based on my personal experience, a major difference between Finland and the U.S. is that in Finland, issues aren't simply talked about as they are in the States.

Posted by: G | May 24, 2005 03:31 PM"
Well if issues were spoken about, also the forced Swedish would be spoken about, would be hard to forbid one and talk about others. So we talk about all kinds of irrelevant crap, the real issues are not talked about.

"Norway's case is similar but in addition she is a Nato country which means that her backyard is not investigated by otherwise so active human rights activists in the US.

(Reference:The Kvens and their humilation in Northern-Norway)"

Another reasons in addition to the NATO is the huge amounts of (oil) money they use to fund organizations to look other way and the smallness of the country. They dislike Finns even more than Swedes (of which Finns of very small numbers have visited the country, are totally unaware of, thinking its a northern friendly-to-all country like Canada is; however, some construction workers etc. been working there, so they would not pay wages at all, just for the fun of it, etc.) but happily there is no Norwegians in Finland.

"There are quite few Swedish speaking Finns who have 'genuine' Swedish roots."

There is that Ida Asplund, forefront or spokeswoman of those who are doing their best to convince people that gene tests should be made in order to make sure the finnish-origin crap people who changed their language (not that many in reality) would not be allowed to call themselves Swedes.

"What is strange is, that some of the people I know are those who you call "lower race", but obviously they are far much smarter than you, because many Goths/Swedes have lived in Suomi for several generations and _still_ need "service in swedish"."

It should be noted almost all Finns originally had another language and then they changed that to Finnish, the original language, when they moved in. Only the Swedes have not done that, strangely in Sweden the tradition is that everyone must talk Swedish in schools etc; in Finland you are allowed to talk whatever you want.

Posted by: tp | June 30, 2005 05:58 AM

"As anyone else, swedish speaking finns pay taxes and accordingly pay for service in swedish, when that's needed."

And get a lot more back from the taxes than Finns, too. Own schools and universities where it is easy to get in, own old peoples homes which are above the standard of private care, own doctors and health centers, about the standard of private care, huge agricultural subsidies for those who live outside Helsinki etc.

Posted by: | June 30, 2005 06:09 AM

To be noted too is that the swedes living in Suomi applied for minority rights in Sweden as people of Suomi, while in Suomi they apply for minority rights as swedes. They were denied by the goths/swedes because they in short "are goths/swedes". So when tey did not get the funds that way, they call them self "swedish-finns" and that way got their hands on part of the funds in gauhiod/sweden addressed to the "real" minority: people of Suomi living in Sweden.

Also to be noted: By the statistic we know there are est 300.000 people registered as swedish or swedish and suomi speaking. Regardless the people want it or not, they are counted in the statistics because they use two languages: swedish or swedish and suomi. However, if we go by the personal national identity (selected by them in person), the 300.000 is reduced to est 100.000.

Posted by: Matti E Simonaho | June 30, 2005 06:28 AM

However, if we go by the personal national identity (selected by them in person), the 300.000 is reduced to est 100.000.
--
And only maybe (I do not know, there are no Swedes in small towns like the one I live in) 1000 of them do not speak Finnish so the whole idea of the 5.3 million all having to speak swedish, is absurd, unless one notes the political influence and the money the self-proclaimed minority has. They are not minority, Finland is clearly part of Sweden. Were it not, there would not be compulsary Swedish.

Posted by: | June 30, 2005 06:38 AM

"And get a lot more back from the taxes than Finns, too. Own schools and universities where it is easy to get in, own old peoples homes which are above the standard of private care, own doctors and health centers, about the standard of private care, huge agricultural subsidies for those who live outside Helsinki etc."

Eh, where are these "own doctors" and "own health centers" and "own old peoples homes"? I haven't seen them yet. Or are you simply spreading lies about Finland?

I live in a bilingual city with a huge finnish majority. When I need a doctor I visit my health central which is the same as everybody else uses, pay the same fee as everybody else and meet the same doctors as everybody else.

And what about "own schools"? Don't finnish speaking kids have their "own schools"? Or do you mean that finland swedes living in more or less swedish communities should go in finnish speaking schools?

And then these subsidies. Do you mean that finnish speaking farmers don't get any subsidies?

Posted by: | June 30, 2005 07:03 AM

I haven't seen them yet. Or are you simply spreading lies about Finland?
--
You are. They live in their own areas with better services. Also in same areas with Finns, the treatment in Swedish is better.

Or do you mean that finland swedes living in more or less swedish communities should go in finnish speaking schools?
--
Yes.

Posted by: | June 30, 2005 07:42 AM

"nif" > Gothic "ni/we" = you/we

Posted by: Matti E Simonaho | June 30, 2005 05:52 AM
***********
Kesäkuu = June
Kesä = summer
kuu = month
Warmest time of the year, end of June.
And it's 13 and raining.
Kind of like in Douglas Adams' "perfectly normal beast" which appeared from nowhere and disappeared to nowhere and was named perfectly normal so that it would be assumed perfectly normal.
Summer month = now it is warm and it is summer. Do not notice it is only 13 celsius.

Posted by: | June 30, 2005 08:01 AM

[F]E[I]I[EN] = "fien" = enemy
E[L][A]EE[N][DE] = "lande" = land

That they have made clear during the centuries.

Posted by: | June 30, 2005 08:03 AM

"The majority of the language debate in Finland is very childish"

That's an example of your (and your party's) typical labelling tactics. Since there are no proper arguments for your unfair politics, you have to use that labelling method, i.e. state that everyone who disagree with you is childish, insane, racist, fascist, communist - or perhaps several of those at the same time!

Posted by: Timo Raunio | June 29, 2005 04:32 PM
*************
it is not only in the language matter, they love to label finns everything negative in other matters as well, all of the time. inviduals as well as the whole nation and populace.

Posted by: | June 30, 2005 08:05 AM

German language was the first one and most influenced by the Gothic language (and later ideas) (est 100 AD, The Goths settled first in Thuringia). However, ancient German language is not related to Gothic. Can be proven.

Ancient/Old English language was influenced by the Goths but not as much as the Ancient German (no ÖÄÅ in the alphabet and there is instructions on how to remove the Gothic from English). This can be proven as well.

Ancient Icelandic was not Gothic language. It has later being influenced by the Goths (after 800AD). This can be proven.

Ancient language of Suomi has being influenced by the Goths after 14'th century (ZÖÄÅ). Removal instructions of the Gothic letters in the alphabet, the history in the alphabe and in the numbers (root in Lingua Genere). Can definitely be proven.

The "German language family" is actually based on the Gothic way of describing history - especially after the 14'th century. Because both German and English became important (world wide) languages, the Gothic language (and people) "must be" related to both. However, that's not the case if we dig deep enough in the history.

So the "German language group" could be defined as "Gothic influenced languages".

Posted by: Matti E Simonaho | June 30, 2005 10:11 AM

" And only maybe (I do not know, there are no Swedes in small towns like the one I live in) 1000 of them do not speak Finnish so the whole idea of the 5.3 million all having to speak swedish ... "

You may put it this way: 100.000 utilize the law, hiding behind different names, statistics and living wealthy and healthy on "finnish-swedish identity" or "swedsih-finnish identity" (depending where they are located). The trurh is that the "finnish-swedish" identity does not exist, the "Finnihs-Swedish identity" equals to Gothic/Swedish manipulative identity which in turn is what the GUTI -identity has being since ages.

Posted by: Matti E Simonaho | June 30, 2005 10:35 AM

"They live in their own areas with better services. Also in same areas with Finns, the treatment in Swedish is better."

That's quite strange because I am finland swede and usually get health service in finnish in a bilingual city. That's not a problem since many doctors understand swedish, which is good because it's quite hard to describe pain etc. in a language other than your mother tongue. Couldn't you please tell me where these "better own swedish health centrals" are?

So you think that finland swede children should go in finnish school? Why? So that the finnish speaking kids will learn swedish better perhaps?

Posted by: | June 30, 2005 12:47 PM

"The other part is that those Swedish speaking people's forefathers may have been living there for several hudreds of years ago - but most of them did not speak Swedish then. They spoke Finnish."

How do you know that?

Posted by: | June 30, 2005 12:54 PM

"How do you know that?"

That's a generally known historical fact. It's told in several books about Finnish history, written by historians who have researched that issue. One could also say that everyone interested in genealogy is pretty well aware of this.

Posted by: Timo Raunio | June 30, 2005 04:19 PM

"That's a generally known historical fact. It's told in several books about Finnish history, written by historians who have researched that issue. One could also say that everyone interested in genealogy is pretty well aware of this."

Well, name a few books and then I name a fem that says the contrary.

Posted by: | June 30, 2005 06:54 PM

The lingual DNA can be used to trace family names. Like Carolus Linnaus he was not a swede, he was of people of Suomi but is called "famous swedish botanist". Traditionally Gothic names contain the letters TH or SON and of course ZÖÄÅ.

Posted by: Matti E Simonaho | July 1, 2005 03:30 AM

Why is it a problem for the nameless poster that most of swedish speaking finns were originally finnish speaking? Does that make you somehow inferior, being orignally finnish?

Posted by: the second Finn | July 1, 2005 03:49 AM

in addition to readers digest, bbc: theres one tv channel that used to be pan-european, thus promoting european values: now its "nordic" - mtv nordic. its on on a tv next to me right now, have not seen a finnish advert there but in addition to international ones, theres been today something promoting driving drunk http://www.rattfull.nu/ (just watch it to see, someone driving over someone who looks like someone should drive over) a swedish one and a norwegian one promoting some kind of fighting school, wongchun or something.

Posted by: | July 1, 2005 06:12 AM

That's quite strange because I am finland swede and usually get health service in finnish in a bilingual city.

- In a certain town with less than one in five swedish speaking the social office net was broken into rather recently by people who I know well. All Swedish speakers got lots of money, although not many of them asking for it. Finnish speakers with one exception did not get much at all. Refugees got slightly more than the Swedish speakers.
Same town had a policy of taking summer workers who are usually young adults 1 to 1: one swede to one finn.
Biggest difference is in higher education: to the highest paying work there are many times the places proportionally for the swedes.

Posted by: | July 1, 2005 06:19 AM

To the second finn:

It's not a problem at all, I'm only interested in the truth.

Is it a problem to you that swedes colonized coastal areas in Österbotten, Nyland and Åboland during middle ages? We know that it happened and it's backed up by loads of historical and linguistic evidence.

What's so strange about it anyway? A population expands and looks for new places to live. At those times there were no states or countries and the sea were the highways. There are no attested conflicts between e.g. finns and swedes in our history, so why try to create them today? Even the finns have colonized the country at some point and explored new parts of it through rivers and lake systems. Some people are just too stupid to understand that there were no Sweden or Finland as we know them today a thousand years ago.

History and archeology are interesting topics, but if some finn, or swede, today feel that they must choose side in a completely unattested conflict said to have taken place 800 years ago, then, I can tell you, those persons have some serios mental problems, or must get laid more often.

It's even worse when these people try the history as an argument in language politics today. When they say that finland swedes are originally finns they are looking for arguments to make these people "finns" again, i.e. get rid of everything that's somehow related to swedishness in Finland. They're obsessed by the ideology of one people, one mind, one nation, one language and an official history that supports that ideology. In other words, they use history for political goals and when needed they create a history. They belong to a completely different century.

Posted by: | July 1, 2005 08:00 AM

" Some people are just too stupid to understand that there were no Sweden or Finland as we know them today a thousand years ago. "

Sweden did not exist prior 14'th century. The Goths arrived to modern sweden after 7'th century and the southern part of modern Sweden was called The Country of the Goths til 14'th century.

"Finland" did not exist because the Gothic writing did not exist. However, SVECIA (SUECIA) existed before the Goths came to Europe (Thuringia in modern Germany). Because the SVECIA -name is an ancient European name, the Goths tried to use the SVECIA in the 15'th century when the first theory was presented of the Goth origin: All successful races was of Gothic origin, all great religions and cultures was of Gothic origin. It all failed because the Gothic language is not "a language of faith". So they have to settle with a name close to the name of SUECIA: SVERIGE - but they did not realize what the RIGE -ending _really_ means. The next Gothic theory was based on racism instead: The Viking Age and we all know the result of it - world wide.

Source: http://www.suomalaiset.org Runo Memorous Project [ in english ]
The English version updated July 1 2005. (C) Matti E Simonaho (New page: The origin of the Goths)

Posted by: Matti E Simonaho | July 1, 2005 08:43 AM

" I can tell you, those persons have some serios mental problems, or must get laid more often. "

Sounds like the age of Iron Curtain to me.

" They're obsessed by the ideology of one people, one mind, one nation, one language and an official history that supports that ideology. "

Atleast the ideology have not killed millions of people.

" They belong to a completely different century. "

Actually, I found a document tellin the Goths "are born after the sun". Might have something to with the fact that ZÖÄÅ is outside the range of AA-XX/XY?

Posted by: Matti E Simonaho | July 1, 2005 08:53 AM

I think the main difference between finnish people and "american" (usa) people is that we still have some values in life. Quality of life is not only on money basis here like it is in USA, even poor people are considered human here and they have right to exist. To us religion has lots of good advices on moral or ethical issues, not only means to make money as it is in USA. There are greedy people in Finnland too, but greediness is not state religion here like it is in USA. Our goverment tries to do things on democratic basis here, they take in consideration what people say to them, USA's goverment is not like that, they serve only those rich people and help them to make more money and spread misery all over the world. We finns are not war-crazy either like all people in USA, our only war with some other country was second world war against Russia, but USA have been constantly at war with everybody they think has something worth money for over a century.

Posted by: | July 2, 2005 10:17 AM

"but greediness is not state religion here like it is in USA. Our goverment tries to do things on democratic basis here, they take in consideration what people say to them"


Yes, our government takes all money by taxes. All power to a handful politicians, no one else can get rich. Much jealousy in Finland, everybody is bitter. Those with ambitions move to USA. Soon industry will go to Asia, no way to make profit in high tax-land Finland.

Posted by: Pepe | July 2, 2005 01:47 PM

"Those with ambitions move to USA."
I guess Jorma Ollila never had ambitions, since he stayed in Finland.

Posted by: paskat | July 3, 2005 03:34 AM

I was born near Jyväskylä, and lived there until the end of 5th grade. Then, I moved to the U.S. with my mother, where I completed grades 6,7 and 8. After that, I was sent me back to Finland for a year (for personal reasons).
Thus, I entered the 9th grade in Finland, not knowing Swedish at all. This made my adjustment harder than it would have been otherwise; I struggled to learn 9th grade Swedish, when all the other kids in my class had been studying it for 2 more years than me. Otherwise, I was fine with the curriculum; in math I was actually 1 year ahead of my classmates (meaning that I had already learned their 9th grade math in 8th grade).
I survived the Swedish class (but only learned enough to earn a passing grade), and then was shipped off back to the U.S., where I have resided ever since.
If Swedish was optional, I could have excelled in other classes more, and actually have more practical knowledge that could have helped me later on in my academic career. Instead, I was forced to learn Swedish, a language which holds no real significance outside of Sweden.

It was a waste of time and energy for me to attempt learning a marginally useful language such as Swedish. I should have been given the option of taking another language (more useful than Swedish, e.g. German or even Russian), or another subject altogether-- one that would have had more significance in the world.

And that's what so many youths in Finland are pushing for these days-- the ability to CHOOSE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Posted by: vitut | July 3, 2005 03:42 AM

To the nameless one, i have no problem that there were some immigrants coming from Sweden and settling to some of the coastal areas, but it is uttely nonsense to claim that all of the residents of those areas were swedes. The majority of the inhabitants were finnish but due to political and economical benefits they changed their language to swedish (later). There is no historical or linguistic "evidence" which would back up your claim for their swedishness. If you have done any reading on the subject, you would know that those areas were already populated by finns and were not empty.
Btw, calling someone mentally ill is a insult which should again give our readers some view of the mind of these swedes or hurri as we call them.

Posted by: the second Finn | July 4, 2005 03:20 AM

To the second finn:

Really, this is no topic to even discuss. For example, different villages were taxed according to swedish or finnish customs based on if these villages were considered finnish or swedish by origin.

You say that the finns changed their language to swedish "later". Hm, the funny thing is that the swedish dialects in Finland have loads of traces from middle age swedish preserved. Traces that are long gone in standard swedish today.

Not one single village around the inland Åbo, the capital in Finland, have ever been swedish. If your theory is correct, why didn't they "change" their language? Since Åbo was the power base for the king in Finland it should have been quite natural to change language around Åbo if there were something to be gained from it. Didn't happen. But, then, in far periphery Ostrobothnia they changed. Why?

And then we have Nyland. What finnish tribed lived in Nyland? Never heard of it. Strange even that it's called "new land" even in finnish. It's also strange that the middle age parish Helsinge have the same name as Hälsingland in Sweden, and that the people in Helsinge followed the same rule as in the county Hälsingland ("Hälsinglagen"). A bit later Hälsingelagen applied to every county in Finland. I could go on like this for a long time. Is everything just extremly peculiar coincidents?

If someone today feels hurt by something unknown said to have taken place 1000 years, that person is mentally ill. I'll stick to that. They are like the extreme nationalist serbs who are wining about a battle they lost in 1368, and use that as an argument for commit ethnic cleansing in Kosovo. Or like the most extreme jewish settlers who uses 3000 old texts to legitimate a settlement today.

Posted by: | July 4, 2005 08:23 AM

"Btw, calling someone mentally ill is a insult which should again give our readers some view of the mind of these swedes or hurri as we call them."

It is not okay to call anyone racially inferior in public as that would give away the ethnical ambitions but to call
http://www.cesil.com/protected/itld0298/enciro02.htm

mentally ill has the same effect and does not give away the ambitions. In 50 years something new will come up but they will be using that for some time still.

"If your theory is correct, why didn't they "change" their language?"

The power or the money still was and still is in Swedish hands.

Posted by: | July 4, 2005 10:25 AM

"Btw, calling someone mentally ill is a insult which should again give our readers some view of the mind of these swedes or hurri as we call them."

It is not okay to call anyone racially inferior in public as that would give away the ethnical ambitions but to call
http://www.cesil.com/protected/itld0298/enciro02.htm

mentally ill has the same effect and does not give away the ambitions. In 50 years something new will come up but they will be using that for some time still.

"If your theory is correct, why didn't they "change" their language?"

The power or the money still was and still is in Swedish hands.

Posted by: | July 4, 2005 10:28 AM

"Or like the most extreme jewish settlers who uses 3000 old texts to legitimate a settlement today."
Would that include...

In Finland, too, the "swedish-speaking" supported eugenics. They still do but tend to shut up about it.
www.lib.helsinki.fi/elektra/summatti.pdf

Posted by: Noteworthy | July 4, 2005 10:37 AM

Also the "swedish-speaking" finns liked racial biology:
www.lib.helsinki.fi/elektra/mattila.html

Posted by: Noteworthy | July 4, 2005 10:39 AM

""Those with ambitions move to USA."
I guess Jorma Ollila never had ambitions, since he stayed in Finland."

Bad example.
He does not much seem like someone with ambitions.

Posted by: | July 4, 2005 10:45 AM

"I think the main difference between finnish people and "american" (usa) people is that we still have some values in life. Quality of life is not only on money basis here like it is in USA, even poor people are considered human here and they have right to exist. "

The americans at least try to give everyone a chance. They all go to high school. Not so in Finland where most boys do not attend high school.

The poor often kill themselves in Finland.

Posted by: | July 4, 2005 10:49 AM

Finns sterilized people and liked racial biology too, which many other countries did at the time. It was originally an american idea. In Sweden they discuss it, not in Finland.

http://ethesis.helsinki.fi/julkaisut/hum/histo/pg/pohtila/liianhuo.pdf

Posted by: Juha | July 4, 2005 11:45 AM

" Finns sterilized people and liked racial biology too ... "

Remember: A finnswede (goth) does not equal to people of Suomi. You have to check the history on who controlled science 15'th-17'th century. Then you find the main source.

Posted by: Matti E Simonaho | July 4, 2005 05:17 PM

It is not suprising "people use only 10% of their brain capacity" after they have being forced down to the level of those who only use 10% (Goths). Ofcourse people are "mentally ill" if they only use 10% of their brain capacity.

Posted by: Matti E Simonaho | July 4, 2005 05:30 PM

"The americans at least try to give everyone a chance. They all go to high school."

NOT TRUE IN THE LEAST BIT!
A large portion of Americans never go to high school. Furthermore, unlike Finland, the U.S. does not even have a 100% literacy rate.
I would also argue that the average Finn who completes "peruskoulu" (required by law) ends up with a better education than the average American high school graduate.

Posted by: helevetti... | July 4, 2005 11:22 PM

"Finns sterilized people and liked racial biology too, which many other countries did at the time. It was originally an american idea. "

It was the swedes in finland who liked it.
The goal of racial biology in Finland was to have less Finns, more Swedes. In other words, make the country more aryan.
http://www.lib.helsinki.fi/elektra/summatti.pdf
(summary in english)
http://www.lib.helsinki.fi/elektra/mattila.html
(whole book, where to get, in finnish)

The idea precedes the u.s., nothing new in racial biology and hatred. It changes name but the idea, murdering ethnical groups, stays the same.
http://www.sci.fi/~eiry/alersuom.html
(in finnish)
"alempirotuiset suomalaiset"

"In Sweden they discuss it, not in Finland."
They also are very proud of it in Sweden. The politically correct words hide the pride they feel in their toughness from those not knowing what and why they talk about (it).

"" Finns sterilized people and liked racial biology too ... "

Remember: A finnswede (goth) does not equal to people of Suomi. You have to check the history on who controlled science 15'th-17'th century. Then you find the main source. ""

In Finland it was Finns who were sterilized, yes, it was racial biology like elsewhere, Finns were those who were subjected to it, in Finland, because the country was and is under foreign, Swedish rule.

Posted by: | July 5, 2005 02:34 AM

To the nameless one,

Are you aware that if there were even few swedes in those villages they could easily turn the taxation for their own benefit by confronting the kings representative with their demands because they were swedes, and the taxman would hear their request because he was a swede too? Don´t you know that they wanted to have the swedish taxation because it was much more milder for them that the one given to finnish?
Your argument proves nothing.
Of course the dialect has old features because after those first immigrants the flow became much more smaller and the dialect stayed because those people had no need to change it, then those finns who took the language for their own learned that older dialect because it was the only one they could hear.
Again you prove nothing.

The reason for Turku being mainly swedish speaking during those times is of course the reason that there were civil servants who had come from Sweden, but that doesn´t change the fact that 85% of the population in Turku were finns. Do you think invaders cared to lear the language of those whom country they invaded at that time? The inhabitants of the surrounding villages didn´t need to lear swedish because they could interact with those living in Turku who could, so there were no point of them changing the language, after all, that is a hard job. Ostrobothnia isn´t swedish speaking, just check the statistics. They have some swedish speaking people there, but by far it isn´t swedish speaking area. There are very few places which can even say they are bilangual. The rule of Ostrobothnia was a goal for swedish because there were produced a lot of tar which was the major export product for Finland and of course swedish wanted to control that.
Again you have proven nothing.

Hah, "nyland". Of course its called " new land" if the ruling class desides so, f*ck the natives. For that reason, the natives will start using it if they have no choice or are banned to use their own name for it.

[quote]It's also strange that the middle age parish Helsinge have the same name as Hälsingland in Sweden, and that the people in Helsinge followed the same rule as in the county Hälsingland ("Hälsinglagen"). A bit later Hälsingelagen applied to every county in Finland. I could go on like this for a long time. Is everything just extremly peculiar coincidents?[quote]

This proves nothing, the only thing it proves is that invaders bring their own laws and habits with them and force the original inhabitants to obey their rule. What is so "peculiar" with that?
Also, nobody feels hurt about things happened 1000 years ago, it is just annoying that people make claims based on one sides views (which allways is the invaders view, btw).
Or how do you explain the fact that in older swedish history books (pre 15th century)Finland (or eastland) is allways introduced as a kingdom but at some point all references to that disappear?

I feel sorry for you and your swedish speaking friends since your language is a dying breed. In few decades there will be no swedish language in Finland and that is something which you cannot change.

By any change, are you connected with "Svenska Finlands folkting" organization?

Posted by: the secodn Finn | July 5, 2005 03:03 AM

Second finn:


What's this? Now you're talking about swedish as a "dying breed", swedes are "invadors", finns paid more taxes, there was som ancient "finnish kingdom" that sudddenly "disappeares" in the sources. Have you read too much Yrjö Koskinen lately? For heavens sake, he wrote that stuff 150 years ago and no one takes it seriously today. Are ju perhaps feeling uncomfortable faced with facts?

But perhaps it's your turn to put some weight behind your words. Please, put forward some evidence that supports this highly controversial and (to me) previously unknown "forced language change theory". No speculations, hard facts.

Posted by: | July 5, 2005 06:27 AM

About the facts and weights and words: before Google and net it was rather easy to spread lies about Finns and glorify the Swedes because of the censorship in the Finnish media caused by the political elite.
Now: write to Google "racial biology uppsala" to find out how things really are like.

Posted by: | July 5, 2005 11:20 AM

Finnish national socialism today:

http://www.kansallissosialismi.com/index.php

"Päätavoitteemme on valkoisen rodun ja sen identiteetin sekä sen luoman kulttuurin turvaaminen jälkeläisillemme."

Posted by: Jonna | July 5, 2005 02:36 PM

Posted by: Jonna | July 5, 2005 02:36 PM
"Finnish national socialism today"

And those ideas of "pure race" is directly connected to Goths/Swede ideas if 14'th-17'th century. And that's why the s.c. finnswedes use atleast 6 different names (different identities) and they use them depending on from where tehy collect funds and symphaty (Finland, Sweden, European Union to mention some). So the "swedish identity" does not really exist - only the Gothic one.

Posted by: Matti E Simonaho | July 5, 2005 06:37 PM

To the nameless one,

That was a personal comment which you should have been able to read from the text. To give you something to work on i would suggest a book "siniristilippumme" which can give you references to the texts concerning ancient Finland. Other things like taxation in the middle ages are easy to find so i wont give you any book names for that, you should be able to find them yourself.
Since my comments were ment as a counter comments to your post i think the burden of proof rest on your shoulders concerning the idea that there were only swedish immigrants in those areas you mentioned. After you have brought some facts i will put something on the table.

Posted by: the second Finn | July 6, 2005 01:42 AM

I'm from now on Yrjö Koskinen

Second finn:

In other words you don't have a clue. Really, there has never been any differences in taxation between finns and swedes. Simply old myths. Please, give me some numbers and references as an example at least.

And what's that ancient Finland? Please give me some information at least. Why don't we ever read about it? And who have written Siniristilippumme? When?

You don't seem to understand the point. Since we agree that swedes colonized small coastal areas in Ostrobothnia and Nyland (not in Finland) and the archipelago outside Åbo, what are we discussing? Yes, I think they settled down in areas where they could, i.e. they broke and tilled new land and got new neighbours, just like finns did in America once. Why start educate people to speak som other language? How would they have done it in the 1200th century, since forced identity change has hardly been managed by 2000th century totalitarian states? Are the finns in America (Have you visited Hancock sometime? I have) indians forced to speak finnish?

Your theory is very unrealistic. Could you also in this case give som references to linguistic litterature? People might of course change language voluntarily because of marriages etc. but that's a different thing. There were no benefits att all being swedish. Everybody had exactly the same relationship to the king, and especially to the roman church, which was the true ruler in Finland during middle ages. Sweden was not consisted of "Sweden" and "Finland", that's only how we are used to see it today, Sweden was a multilingual and multicultural christian kingdom that consisted of many different counties in many places.

Posted by: Yrjö Koskinen | July 6, 2005 04:44 AM

Really, there has never been any differences in taxation between finns and swedes.
#############
There was many kinds of taxes. For example, someone who owned land, had to give men and horses to the king, to die far away from home. Swedes did not have to do much of that, whereas the impact to Finnish population was considerable.

There were no benefits att all being swedish.
#############
Sweden is generally considered a nation of lying backstabbers, (except by the gays who sometimes wish to tell their preferences in sexual matters by wearing clothing with word "sweden" or the country's flag, kind of like the rainbow colors in some other countries - see someone with a swedish flag in finland - most probably is not a swede, ps. dont call the gays swedes, they dont like that at all)

Posted by: | July 6, 2005 06:07 AM

A large portion of Americans never go to high school. Furthermore, unlike Finland, the U.S. does not even have a 100% literacy rate.
I would also argue that the average Finn who completes
###########
The state has decided Finland has 100 percent literacy rate. Another matter is if it is true.

Posted by: | July 6, 2005 06:12 AM

before Google and net it was rather easy to spread lies about Finns and glorify the Swedes because of the censorship in the Finnish media caused by the political elite.
###########
More and more censorhip in Finnish pages at least. Two years ago not much yet but very much now. Most of it is such that the keepers of the pages are quick to take out anything that is not allowed to say.


How would they have done it in the 1200th century, since forced identity change has hardly been managed by 2000th century totalitarian states?
#######
Well about the 2000th century we dont know much about yet, do we ?

Sweden we do know about. Who drugged the kids we do not know but it was probably someone working for the Swedish government.

http://www.childrenfirstnow.com/content-1/newevents/april/stop-deport-apathy.htm

http://www.petitiononline.com/Apathy/petition.html

http://www.google.com/search?hl=en&q=racial+biology+sweden

Posted by: | July 6, 2005 06:21 AM

And those ideas of "pure race" is directly connected to Goths/Swede ideas if 14'th-17'th century. And that's why the s.c. finnswedes use atleast 6 different names
##########
Yes. Children in all Finnish schools should be taught about how Swedes openly considered Finns a lesser race not so long ago. That would cause more opposition to possible emerging far-right parties of which there are examples elsewhere and in Finland: the swedish-speaking party here, social democrats in sweden, those directly calling themselves far-right elsewhere.

Posted by: | July 6, 2005 06:24 AM

Yeah, come and see finnish nature, it's beautifull... :) sry for my bad english... :(

Posted by: Rooperi | July 6, 2005 12:00 PM

Yeah, come and see finnish nature, it's beautifull... :)

Posted by: Rooperi | July 6, 2005 12:01 PM

Yeah, come and see finnish nature, it's beautifull... :)

Posted by: Rooperi | July 6, 2005 12:02 PM

"Well about the 2000th century we dont know much about yet, do we ?"

Jeeez...

first century = 0-100 AD
2000th century = 1900-2000 AD

What a moron.

Posted by: | July 6, 2005 01:49 PM

Yrjö Koskinen:

Think it as you may, but its like i said, you haven´t given any weight to your claims so i don´t think i need to do the same. I will, however, give yo the writer of the "siniristilippumme", who is Caius Kajanti, published by Otava 1997. Also, i will give you a book to read from which can find some info concerning the taxation, the "nuijasota". I don´t have more info in the book since it´s many years ago i have read the book. I don´t give you any more than that before you come up with something more than your opinions.
The question concerning changing language isn´t about how educated people are or where you have been on the US continent (which was quite meaningless comment, btw, your analogy isn´t working in that context), but it has to do with the situation back then when finns were second hand citizens in Swedish kingdom and thus were taxated more than swedish origin people. In that context it is understandaple for people to try to immitate the invader in order to survive since living here in far north was hard enough without being stripped from things needed for living. Do not say that finnish peasants were equal to swedish ones, just check how finns were able to present their claims and issues to the king in parliamentary sessions, they didn´t have even their own representatives most of the times!
Sweden wasn´t "multilingual" officially, there were swedes and then there were "others". Those others, meaning finns, were less equal than the swedes.

I would suggest you to take some time to study this, you might be suprised what can be found if the issue is approached from neutral side.

ps. its written 20th century, not 2000th century, that is somewhere in the future.

Posted by: the second Finn | July 7, 2005 05:28 AM

Posted by: Yrjö Koskinen | July 6, 2005 04:44 AM: " And what's that ancient Finland? "

The original name of Finland is SUOMI. The land was called SVECIA prior the Gothic invasion in the 7'th century. The Goths held the southernmost part of modern Sweden til 14'th century and the name of their land was The Country of the Goths Gauthiod.

The Gothic idea on that all religions, all pure races and all high cultures was of gothic origin also included to use of the ancient SVECIA (SUECIA) -name. However, the Gothic theory faild because the language is not "the language of faith". The lingual DNA of SVECIA points out that the name is not of Gothic origin: SVECIA: AEIICE VAES ESVA CEIIAE.

" Please give me some information at least. Why don't we ever read about it? "

The current history of Europe is based on the Gothic ideas and beliefs and scholars following those ideas and the way of presenting history (theories) since 4'th century. Gothic influence in the governments and science since 4'th century, but especially after 14'th century, is the main reason for why we never read about it, or know the true history.

Modern English, German, Icelandic languages (to mention some) are not of gothic origin. The original languages has being influenced by the Gothic language after 4'th century.

The "German language group" presented today basically does not exist. We may call it "Gothic influenced European languages" ... or even better "Gothic influenced European languages and minds".

IOW: Gothic (modern Swedish) is not related to any other ancient European language.

http://www.suomalaiset.org

Posted by: Matti E Simonaho | July 7, 2005 06:26 AM

second finn:

Good bye and have a great life :)

Posted by: Yrjö Koskinen | July 7, 2005 09:25 AM

I agree with nameless poster/Yrjö Koskinen. I studied nordic history and learned that almost no differences existed between swedes and finns.

Litterature:

http://www.helsinki.fi/historia/opiskelu/tenttikirjallisuus_sh.html#keskiaika

Posted by: Mari | July 7, 2005 01:34 PM

This was a real pleasure to read, if only to in a way confirm my view that my own morals are generally quite Finnish. Mr. Himanen's answers to the controversial issues especially garnered a very positive reaction in me. I'm by no means a patriotic person, but there are many reasons here to hold my country dear.
One shortcoming in this that I saw was that Finland's nature was not emphasised nearly enough; I am not aware of specific statistics, but an immense percentage of Finland's surface area is forest. It's the aspect of my country I value most, above all else in a sense. I'm young yet, but this is an idealism I feel I'll never shed, and it's really thanks to the opportunities for feeling a closeness and awe for nature that this country offers.

Anyway, I'm happy to have come across this.

Posted by: Kasper | July 8, 2005 08:44 PM

Oh, and I do hope that the Finnish language will also be inspected. It's a real beauty. :)

Posted by: Kasper | July 8, 2005 08:48 PM

"Jeeez...

first century = 0-100 AD
2000th century = 1900-2000 AD

What a moron."

I think you're the moron...
Here's a bold fact:

20th Century = 1900-2000 AD.

The 2000th Century is in our distant future.

Posted by: Bergele | July 9, 2005 07:20 PM

The difference between Fins and Swedes are mostly in mentality. The Fins speak very directly and often exagerated the swedes like to talk very indirectly and often understate their point. For instance, if you worked with someone you didnt think was competent: as a Fin you would say 'I think youre a total moron', and as a Swede you would say 'perhaps we should be doing things differently'. Neither method is superior as the within each methods the thoughts are clear, though both methods don't mesh (it is a popular notion that swedes and fins don't like doing business together). This is a manifestation of the effects of world war two. The Fins were dessamated, but held off and ultimately remained independent of the soviet union, by a force many tens of times more powerful. The Swedes have never been invaded, or had any serious attempts in remembered history. In short Fins are not unfamiliar with conflict or tragedy and the Swede's are. However, there only exists healthy competition and mutual respect between Finland and Sweden, in the spirit of learning one from the other. The Fins resent the Swedes for not aiding them in world was II and the Swedes are dont really know what to think about the issue and thus remain in a generally pleasent demeanour.

Posted by: A Finnish Canadian | July 10, 2005 05:30 PM

Research has also found that sexual practices are varied and include masturbation and oral sex, in addition to intercourse, and, for many, sexual satisfaction increases rather than decreases as individuals enter into their senior years. In terms of problems, impotence and failure to achieve orgasm as well as failure to find suitable partners are important sources of frustration. These studies have led to the realization - now generally accepted among psychologists and sex therapists - that sexual interest and the need for sexual contact continue throughout the life cycle, although patterns differ somewhat for women and men

Posted by: bruce | July 11, 2005 03:02 AM

Another difference between those who speak Finland's language and those who speak Sweden's language, is that Finns tend to be smarter and happier than the so called Finn-swedes.

Posted by: Why is Finnish better? | July 11, 2005 03:39 PM

The Fins resent the Swedes for not aiding them in world was II
**
No, they do not. The finland-swedes think that way because they consider themselves swedes, swedes consider them nordic but not really swedes. Finns never expected swedes to help them.

I studied nordic history and learned that almost no differences existed between swedes
**
Same as to say there is no difference between brits and french or americans and mexicans or chinese and russians.
(Whereas you could say there is no difference between canadians and americans.. though their systems of government are different, the people are quite similar in thought, hopefully I am not upsetting anyone by this)

Sweden's language, is that Finns tend to be smarter and happier than the so called Finn-swedes.
**
Finns should select karelians for politicians: they both talk well and eat well (just try karjalanpaisti) - eastern finland is neglected as the western finland thinks that is too close to russia, to put it nicely, but the people are hard-working and able to talk etc. In western finland even the finnish speaking sometimes (or mostly) resemble the swedes, no talking, food is what chirac and berlosconi told it to be. Sorry, all people from western finland, but it is true - I actually live in western finland myself and never lived in eastern, only visited maybe for a month total.

Posted by: | July 12, 2005 06:13 AM

"Mr. Himanen's answers to the controversial issues especially garnered a very positive reaction in me."

He has a false picture of Finland. To point out a "Finnish welfare state" is something that is out of line with the reality of those Finns who have no money. They think Finland sucks. Most are unable to leave because of lack of money and/or language skills but if they could, they would. Finland has less of a welfare state than Britain, which is well-known for having lots of homeless: The big difference is that the worse-off British are mostly not aggressive enough to ask for their rights in their social offices, as most Finns are: beat up the cow there once, get the money. I personally have several times bought beers for those who have done just that. Personally I am, alas, unable of being aggressive which has resulted in me being poor.

Posted by: | July 12, 2005 07:20 AM

Food: karjanlanpaisti is ok, but local aura cheese is better than the average roquefort.
Kippari too is better, but Lidl has better smoked cheese "chili räucher" which is cheaper as well and not Finnish.
"(just try karjalanpaisti)"
http://virtual.finland.fi/netcomm/news/showarticle.asp?intNWSAID=26068
Easy to make too. When other Finns ate crappy foods long ago, Karelians did really eat well. Today, there are better recipes available. Reindeer stew too is better.
http://www.dlc.fi/~marianna/gourmet/7_4.htm

Posted by: | July 12, 2005 07:29 AM

Here´s something to think about concerning ancient finns:

http://victorian.fortunecity.com/christy/32/frnjtre.html

Posted by: Bogey | July 13, 2005 08:15 AM

Yrjö Koskinen,

Same to you, enjoy the summer ;).

Posted by: the second Finn | July 13, 2005 09:01 AM

"is that Finns tend to be smarter and happier than the so called Finn-swedes."

Depends where you got your money from, muscles or brains.

Finland-Swedes have often ancestry who got their money with muscles. Same as other Swedes. Someone claiming Finland-Swedes hating the Swedes:
No, they do not, Finns do not hate anything either, Swedes do tend to hate Finns and they use sayings like "Finns hate Swedes" to express their hate.

Posted by: | July 14, 2005 05:45 AM

karjanlanpaisti is ok
--
And Moose. Not uniquely Finnish but good:
http://www.finnguide.fi/finnishrecipes/det.asp?c=4&t=&p=102&pg=cat

Posted by: | July 14, 2005 08:03 AM

Posted by: | July 14, 2005 08:23 AM

" To point out a "Finnish welfare state" is something that is out of line with the reality of those Finns who have no money. "

Finland truly IS a welfare state. Because the Swedes cannot manage to keep up their own language, culture etc, the Finns support them with est 600 USD/year/Finn. It is obvious that Swedes have some kind of serious problem. The Swedes must at some point learn that they have to keep up their culture, language etc without any support from the Finns. As long as they get support, they simply don't develope.

Posted by: | July 14, 2005 06:50 PM

"well-known for having lots of homeless"

And no winter: Finland has it, the homeless die.

"culture etc, the Finns support them with est 600 USD/year/Finn."

Welfare is supposed to go to those in need: In Finland, goes to those who already have most.

Posted by: | July 15, 2005 07:41 AM

I'm sorry, but I think that that is not right. We don't have homeless persons in finland... Well maybe couple, but nothing much. If you compare other european countries, we don't come even close. I think that our politics works good!!! Well this is only my opinion...

Hey does anybody know, where I could chat with other young finnish people in america?

Posted by: TheFinnishOneInAmerica | August 9, 2005 03:07 AM

We don't have homeless persons in finland... Well maybe couple, but nothing much.
***********
Sounds like you are not from one of the worse neighborhoods.

Posted by: | August 12, 2005 07:24 AM

I am surprised by comments from Finns that unemployment is a problem. Seems to me when I worked at Nokia, the Finns never, and I mean NEVER, got laid off. First to go where Americans! Too expensive I suppose!!!
It is very hard to lay off Finnish workers in Finland. Not impossible, but difficult. I think it is written in law or something like that. Must not be very beneficial to the companies, I must say.

That is why there is a lot of "dead-wood" at Nokia-Finland. Or what I would call dead-wood, at least. People who should have been laid off years ago but still exist, with titles like Supervisor of Processes and Procedures and like titles. They would never exist in many American companies (I generalize here). Not exactly 'American start-up/pre-IPO' material if you ask me.

Posted by: Huckleberry Finn | May 26, 2005 03:25 PM

++++++++++++++++++++
++++++++++++++++++++
Well, in Finland it is your social status that decides if you get work or not. Not your abilities. Maybe you talked too much or something.

Good social status when child leads to good education etc. You do not have to be able to think, it is enough to be able to memorize.
Any American "D" student (in high school) would easily pass the Finnish universities.


But it is not hard to lay off Finnish workers. Almost all european countries make it much harder.
And any worker working in Finland is under the same laws, does not matter where from.

Posted by: | August 16, 2005 07:29 AM

Far above somebody spoke about the differences in the corporate cultures in Finland and Sweden. It might be a good idea to note most of the world has the same authoritative culture as Finland which makes decisions fast enough to be on time and the Swedish culture is used in kindergartens for special children where everybody must be taken care of and listened to (or more precisely, they fake to do so, just as in Swedish corporations)

Posted by: | August 18, 2005 03:10 AM

-most of the world including Denmark, also next to Sweden. Swedes working there often do not like Danes who order them do things. (Finns on the other hand, have to obey the Swedish rules, even in Finland: when the boss or someone else says something stupid (or considered stupid), everybody must first agree to it - and then totally disregard it, be it an order or only talk: not okay to tell, 'how about doing things differently')

Posted by: | August 18, 2005 03:14 AM

You gotta check this trailer out!

The Star Wreck:
http://www.starwreck.com/

"Star Trek spoof, great. Finnish. The people that brought you particle cannons, Molotov cocktails, and Linux strike again. The long awaited movie Star Wreck is finally here. The movie has been produced over the last 6 years by a small team around the finnish moviemaker Samuli Torssonen with almost no budget."

Posted by: | August 24, 2005 02:40 PM

You gotta check this trailer out!

The Star Wreck:
http://www.starwreck.com/

"Star Trek spoof, great. Finnish. The people that brought you particle cannons, Molotov cocktails, and Linux strike again. The long awaited movie Star Wreck is finally here. The movie has been produced over the last 6 years by a small team around the finnish moviemaker Samuli Torssonen with almost no budget."

Posted by: | August 24, 2005 02:41 PM

Hello Everyone! I'm back! Yes, it is not August and I am now living in Temecula California. We have been here for 2 months and everything is great! 2 days after I arrived I was hired by an engineering company in Temecula, then one month later we bought a 180 sq meter house in the middle of the city and we are slowly furnishing the house. At least we have the essential beds, washers, fridge and computer.

We have had sooooooooo many visitors already. My wife's mom came from Finland to spend 3 weeks with us. She tells me its still raining every week up there.. surprise surprise! We also had visitors from Manta and now Helsinki. Everyone really loves the food over here.

I'm paying 150 bucks a month for my family's health insurance. The only thing I hate is that property values have skyrocketed in this area over the past 5 years! Can you believe that 5 years ago, my house was worth $180,000 and now I bought it for $405,000! Holy shit! Maybe after a few years I'll move to Oregon or some other cheap land area. But California is sooooo great!

It will be interesting when we go back to visit Finland. But I really don't see us ever going back to live there.

No drunks around here and about as many less homeless people here than in Tampere.

I just saw some idiot post that there are no homeless people in Finland. Go to Helsinki and you'll find some next to their burning fires. Those bodies they find after winter that were covered in snow........ what do you think they were? Typical Finn.... never sees the low standard. They just can't believe that Finland isn't perfect.

And I mut say.... people are SO FRIENDLY here in California... I am still adjusting!

Posted by: Eduardo Hernandez | August 25, 2005 11:38 AM

You are SO right Eduardo. Everything is bigger and thousand times better in USA when compared to Finland. But I'm sorry to tell You Eduardo that Sweden is really the best!

I wonder how those poor Finns (as a nation) have not vanished yet. And they are SO EASY to get provoked. I've seen it here myself. Very pathetic really.

Oh how it makes me angry. I mean that I can't stand that people tell good things about Finland, eventhough there are be far more better examples outside. Sweden is THE BEST one. =) You all should visit in Sweden sometime in your life. (I would hope to meet especially you, Eduardo...) See you soon, I hope.

Posted by: Håkan från Sverige | August 25, 2005 01:23 PM

Typical Finn.... never sees the low standard. They just can't believe that Finland isn't perfect.
---
they just lie. they know how things are like, but they lie.

Posted by: | August 29, 2005 07:00 AM

I have another addition to Eddie's 'colourful' comments in regards to Linux. The design of Linux was based on the design principles of 'Minix' created by Andrew Tanenbaum of Amsterdam. Linux source code is not derived from Unix source code and the similarities tend to appear from the end user's point of view.

I recently went to Finland myself for the first time and thoroughly enjoyed my stay.
I felt that I gained a greater understanding of myself and am very proud of my Finnish heritage.

I do hope to return again in the future to work!

Posted by: Eliza | September 1, 2005 06:42 AM

Linux seems to be finally working (alas,unlike windows). The local computer magazine "mikrobitti" tested some of the newer ones, so i tested the one called ubuntu they put at number one, finally a linux that installed with no problems at all with printer etc.

Posted by: | September 1, 2005 07:49 AM

Posted by: device | September 6, 2005 02:17 AM

another swede, eh ?

Posted by: non-device | September 7, 2005 08:40 AM

The history tells that the Goths/Swedes brought christianity and civilization to Suomi. And a gothic priest, Mikael Agricola (who never have existed) was the "father of finnish language". However, all Gothic/Swede theories can be proven wrong by one single Suomi -word: VASTAUS (ANSWER).

In the latin alphabet there was no U -letter: VASTAUS equals to VASTAVS. And we split the owrd in two: VAST and AVS.

The Lingual DNA for the words are
VEAEESTE "wrong, don't do"
AEVAES meaning "open, right".

THE MATH in VAST:
VE is "less than"
AE is "more than"
ESTE is "wrong"
V-A="wrong or V/A="wrong"

THE MATH in AVS:
AE is "more than"
VE is "less than"
ES is "right" (see also latin word "es").

Also, if we read the VAST from right to eft and left to right we got VEAEESTE TEESAEVE. It's a formula on how the Z -letter was created for the latin alphabet:
1. Make a V.
2. Then make an A at the left of it and connect those letters. Rotate -90 degrees: Z.

The AVS is a formula for creating the S -letter:
1. Make a V.
2. Make an A on the right side of it. Connect the letters and rotate -90 degrees: S

The VAST equals to ZST (TEESSET ZETESTE) meaning "don't do Z" and the Z -letter is not used in Suomi.
The AVS do not change and the Lingual DNA is AEVAES ESVAAE meaning "The key of Jesus".

If you merge the Z and S and rotate the symbol -90 degrees, you got the gothic christian fish -symbol. However, in original it was not a gothic christian symbol. It was a symbol of those who were burnt and killed as "wiches": The people who believed in the words and teaching of LIVING Jesus. The symbol is est 2000 years old and was not created by any Gothic/Swedish "holy father".

The ancient verion of VAST AUS (VAST AVS) is the Kvastika -symbol. It is also a formula for the Z and S -letters. In the ancient time there was no "back" in the K -letter. It looked like the "". If you place the ">" above "" below the "

If you merge the Z and S and rotate the symbol 180 degrees, you got a symbol used in the rune writing. Basically proving that the current rune writing is not correct and the rune writing is NOT of gothic/swedish/norse origin. And the Suomi language "father" is not Mikael Agricola. The lingual DNA of his name is "who never have existed".

The Suomi -language contain information on how and when and for who the characters in the alphabet was created. Basically we can date every character set. Most of the translations and transliterations of ancient writings like cuniform, runes etc is wrong.

Source: http://www.suomalaiset.org

Posted by: Matti E Simonaho | September 11, 2005 04:09 AM

Correction on the missing math symbol:

The ancient verion of VAST AUS (VAST AVS) is the Kvastika -symbol. It is also a formula for the Z and S -letters. In the ancient time there was no "back" in the K -letter. The K -letter looked like the "less than" -symbol in math. The mirror of it is the "more than" -symbol in math.

1. If you place the "more than" above "less than" and merge, you got the Z.

2. If you place the "more than" blow "less than" and merge them, you got the S.

Source: http://www.suomalaiset.org

Posted by: Matti E Simonaho | September 11, 2005 04:18 AM

The history tells that the Goths/Swedes brought christianity and civilization to Suomi.
-
They do tell (not to small kids), it was a struggle between the two churches in the west and east.

Posted by: | September 12, 2005 05:57 AM

" They do tell (not to small kids), it was a struggle between the two churches in the west and east. "

The "struggle between two churches" actually was between people who beleived in the Teachings of Livning Jesus, and those who belived in killing Jesus. VASTAVS and the Fish -symbol belong in original to those who belog to the Teachings of Living Jesus -group, also calld "pagans", "witches", "of wrong faith" etc in the history. You know, those who were tortured for days, rapend, burnt and killed and the bodyparts were shown up in public for days. They felt the pain of hell and saw the devil(s) BEFORE they died. Do you know the expression "The Lost Tribes of Israel"? NONE of them is really lost. Only the names has being changed mainly because of Gothic influence.

Posted by: Matti E Simonaho | September 13, 2005 12:19 AM

http://porno.presselibre.org headremovingsheer

Posted by: owed | September 25, 2005 01:06 AM

Posted by: sliced | September 26, 2005 10:43 PM

If you're interested about studying in Finland as an international degree student, which is a great and low cost way of getting to know the place, check out http://www.tsemppi.com which has more information.

Posted by: JN | September 28, 2005 01:40 PM

If you're interested about studying in Finland as an international degree student, which is a great and low cost way of getting to know the place, check out http://www.tsemppi.com which has more information.
-
in short: it's free for all. like it is in cuba.

food is more expensive ( well,living for a month probably would cost a little less than in us as students get cheap students rooms and flats, also the food in universities is subsidized so it is possible to eat ready-made food for about the same price it would cost to eat at home - which is not cheap).

weather is much worse.
so i'd go to cuba.

Posted by: | September 30, 2005 04:53 AM

(they are about to introduce studying fees for people from outside of eu so now is the time if anyone is considering a "free" education; people from outside the eu can find it harder to find jobs though so in reality some other countries might give a better deal, even if it cost something to study, for example in canada it would be easieer to find jobs)

Posted by: | September 30, 2005 04:57 AM

FAQ 6
Q: What are my degree requirements (that is compulsory courses) ?
A: Generally you can find them from your faculty´s web pages under the name
of "ECTS guides".
----
for example, everyone must study the swedish language (as useless in finland as elsewhere, but compulsary)

Posted by: | September 30, 2005 04:58 AM

Himanen says: "The main idea is equal opportunities: women don't have to choose between having children and work. Society should make this possible, which it does through a universal right to cheap child care run by college-level educated people."

The idea is beautiful, but unfortenately it`s not reality in Finland. High educated women in age of 25-32 have problems finding jobs in Finland, because women are still in 98 procent of familys the ones who will stay at home.

It´s expensive to hire a woman because of the long "motherhoodholidays". Many women have difficulties because of this to find a permanent job. The opportunities are not equal in Finland.

Posted by: Tuuli | October 3, 2005 04:08 AM

Posted by: swiftly | October 29, 2005 05:21 PM

Posted by: swiftly | October 29, 2005 05:22 PM

The Star Wreck:
"It's Finnish. It's Sci-Fi. It's a FREE movie. It's even funny, in a weird northern European sort of way. Carl F. Gauze"

http://www.ink19.com/issues/october2005/screenReviews/starWreck.html

Posted by: Emperor Pirk | October 31, 2005 10:57 AM

I agree with you the way you view the issue. I remember Jack London once said everything positive has a negative side; everything negative has positive side. It is also interesting to see different viewpoints & learn useful things in the discussion.

Posted by: extenders | November 5, 2005 06:58 PM

Posted by: dedicated | November 14, 2005 05:34 PM

Posted by: dedicated | November 14, 2005 05:36 PM

"auditoriumsquintedthan"

A dedicated swede there ?

"they are about to introduce studying fees for people from outside of eu so now is the time if anyone is considering a "free" education;"

The minister currently says it's not the time for such now.

Posted by: | November 16, 2005 06:12 AM

CHRISTMAS GREETING TO ALL FINN.
AM A NIGERIAN, BUT WISH TO FINISH UP MY EDUCATION IN ONE OF THE FINLAND POLYTECHNIC.

PLEASE ADVICE ME ON WHAT TO DO AND THE USEFULL INFORMATION I MAY NEED TO KNOW.

NICE DAY WISHES TO FINLAND PEOPLE

NINA UK/NIGERIA.
email:nellyuk45cm@yahoo.com

Posted by: NINA UK/NIGERIA | November 22, 2005 08:10 PM

Today is the UN & Amnesty worldwide day of hatred against men.

http://www.amnesty.fi/uutiset/lehti_tiedot.php?id=93
(Local announcement, in Finnish)

They make all kinds of claims against men as in "killing of women
continues",
with the purpose of putting men even more down than before. Fact is,
almost everywhere, there is a lot more violence and killing against
men. That the Amnesty or the UN do not see as a problem.

Why the ever-increasing hatred against men is allowed and ever more
wide spread ?

The status of a man in the society is dismal. For example, in Finland
only 1/3 men go to high school, whereas 2/3 of women go there.

Men die much younger, go to higher education in smaller numbers. Single
women have double the income of single men. Married couples, women tend
to decide about most of the money used. Women have hobbies etc. the men
cannot afford as money goes to the women. Men have only a fraction of
the liberties the women have. Men have strict rules of conduct, given
by women. Women have considerable freedom to do things that are not
allowed to men.

The power given to women has also resulted in ever falling numbers of
children born. The need for immigrants becomes ever greater as not
enough children are born to take care of the old. Male immigrants,
especially africans, are welcomed to the society by the women. Female
ones, however, are seen as competition by the women and often end up in
considerably worse conditions than the men. Local men are frowned upon
if they dare talk to the immigrant women, whereas women talking to
immigrant men is ok.

Especially those men who have been falsely accused of all kinds of
things by women have no place in society, strange hormonally caused
mood changes make some women say almost anything against other women,
against men.

They hate men when they get none, they hate men they get some, they
hate men for xenophobical reasons, they hate and blame men for all
things imaginable. The so-called welfare society does exist for women,
not for men, who, if in need, are told by the women who work in the
offices to take care of themselves - which means, kill themselves.

Lots of police are allocated in the hunt for terrorists though nobody
has been killed by terrorists in this country ever. Women murder
thousands of men every year and still do not face justice.

Because of the backing of the society as a whole and organizations such
as Amnesty and the United Nations, any man can be accused of anything
without any kind of testing of the accusers' motives.

If same kinds of lies that the women tell of men were told of any other
group,
women, refugees, gay or religious groups, the marches would not be
allowed and all those who have taken part in such would be under
surveillance.

Now under it are men of whom women have lied about, all kinds of
untrue things are kept indefinitely in police records, destroying mens
lives.

The organizations that spread the hatred against men do it openly and
widely in the media, making men totally casteless and leaving them
with nothing against the lies.

The theoretical basis, created by the organization, for the hate being
so widespread, any man can be killed with simple lies "he is a man, he
is violent" which are believed simply because the man is a man; even
most men believe the lies and start to act accordingly, being violent
against the men who have been falsely accused - of being a man, which,
manhood, is defined by the hateful women as something worse than a
rabid dog.

A man who did not give some or did not want to share a life with a
woman whose living habids consist mostly of alcohol and drugs or
smelly cigarettes, can be killed only because one woman has lied about
him, nobody else is asked anything about him.

It is a truly cruel way of murder, to leave a man out of society,
because of - usually - one woman's lies. If the male in question does
not understand to kill himself, others will help.

Women do not approve of their men talking to solitary men in general
and in case the man is the victim of some woman's lies, the limbo, the
exclusion from the society is total, there can be no work, no meeting
people.

Men should be given human rights, too. Such organizations and their
members that organize days of hatred against men should be treated as
dangerous as they are.

Today, UN is a huge bureaucratic organization, led by whatever group
that makes enough noise. There is no democracy whatsoever, so the UN
makes decisions like having a day of hatred against men in
several countries with militant feminist groups - organization claiming
to be trying to achieve peace is making an act of war against half the
human race.

There are all kinds of wars around, as often corrupt politicians have
something to
gain with the killing of people.

To make UN work, the current structure should be abolished and in its
place created something that is democratic, something like the Swiss
system of direct democracy.

For example, countries could have, depending on their size, 1-3 votes
and people in the countries would be able to vote for each decision
directly or give their votes to either their countries'
representative, who would be voted when the country has general
elections or any group that formed within the UN, so people would be
able to vote for someone/something they felt represented their views
better than their countries representative, when not having the time
or feeling the need to vote for every decision directly.

The money to create a direct-voting system would easily be available
if the current bureaucratic and ineffective system was tuned to work
in today's, instead of yesterday's world.

Posted by: | November 25, 2005 07:42 AM

CHRISTMAS GREETING TO ALL FINN.
AM A NIGERIAN, BUT WISH TO FINISH UP MY EDUCATION IN ONE OF THE FINLAND POLYTECHNIC.

PLEASE ADVICE ME ON WHAT TO DO AND THE USEFULL INFORMATION I MAY NEED TO KNOW.

NICE DAY WISHES TO FINLAND PEOPLE

NINA UK/NIGERIA.
email:nellyuk45cm@yahoo.com
*******************************
Foreign students are taken directly by the universities so ask the school directly:

http://www.minedu.fi/opm/koulutus/yliopistokoulutus/yliopistot.html
Click the university (yliopisto) and
when there click english (or english flag) to get into contact with the university.


Below university level schools:
http://www.edu.fi/koulut/

Posted by: | November 25, 2005 07:50 AM

Posted by: | November 25, 2005 07:52 AM

New information on Suomi -history: Kalevala Rune VIII tell about the one of the biggest meteorite impacts in North-Europe:

RUNE VIII: MAIDEN OF THE RAINBOW.
"Pohyola's fair and winsome daughter,
Glory of the land and water,
Sat upon the bow of heaven,
On its highest arch resplendent,
In a gown of richest fabric,
In a gold and silver air-gown,
Weaving webs of golden texture,
Interlacing threads of silver;
Weaving with a golden shuttle,
With a weaving-comb of silver;
Merrily flies the golden shuttle,
From the maiden's nimble fingers,
Briskly swings the lathe in weaving,
Swiftly flies the comb of silver,
From the sky-born maiden's fingers,
Weaving webs of wondrous beauty."

And this is how it all looks like in "modern language": Satellite pictures and maps proves Kalevala -rune VIII true: The Maiden of Pohjola (In english translation Maiden of the Rainbow) and her Shuttle located in moden Scandinavia: http://www.suomalaiset.org/cgi-bin/suomalaiset/sivu.pl?nayta=pohjanneiti&linkit=muinaishistorialinkit (in Suomi).

Completly different than the swedish-nationalistic "viking" -sagas/fairy tales of 17'th century.

Posted by: Matti E Simonaho | December 1, 2005 03:04 AM

Per some comments posted May 27-28,2005:
I am a Finnish-American, descended from a brother of Henrik Gabriel Porthan (1739-1804), aka father of Finnish history and writing. Hw was not a Swede. Henrik Gabriel Porthan was a professor at the Univ of Finland at Turku. He was responsible for the idea of folk poetry being a key element of Finnish identity. As a result, he and many of his students researched and documented this wealth of cultural history, creating a foundation of information classifying us as "Finns". This includes the Finnish epic "Kalevala".
Also, the name "Porthan" is commonly found in Finnish records, documents, and cemeteries going back several centuries. I know of no Porthan relatives with a lengthy history in Sweden; from what I know, any Porthans in Sweden came from Finland.

Posted by: Caron Porthan | December 5, 2005 01:45 PM

Completly different than the swedish-nationalistic "viking" -sagas/fairy tales of 17'th century.

Posted by: Matti E Simonaho | Dec 1, 2005 3:04:22 AM
--
True, the poems of Kalevala, despite taught to the Swedes to be of violent nature (they do not read them), were of wisdom over violence - but alas, violence won, Sweden invaded Finland and things are not good in Finland because of that, you could also have put your writing from jippii forum here:

From:
http://www.jippii.fi/jsp/forum/thread.jsp?b=kielipolitiikka&t=11763
*Language War in Finland*
The Finnish government opened a forum for the people who wanted to discuss "using your own language" - based on The Finnish Language Act, FLA. The forum turned out to be a nightmare for the Swedish peoples party, SFP, who do not want their politics or the FLA discussed in public, or highlighted in any media.

*Learn more of The Finns*
Finnish-ugrian language(s) have deep roots in Europe. For more information on Finnish-ugrian language, please read Kalevi Wiik's book "The Roots of the Europeans". "The Roots of the Europeans" was chosen among the six best informative books in Finland. It was also chosen among the five best history books in Finland in 2002

*Swedish peoples party: "People with mental problems"*
The Internet cannot be controlled by the SFP. The only way SFP can keep people from discussing their politics and the FLA, is to shut down the Finnish government's (and all other) forums they have control over - including their own. In the SFP controlled newspapers and radio, Henrik Lax and Maj Wideroos of SFP called the Finns who protested against the FLA and the SFP's politics and their actions, for "people with mental problems". A statement that very much belong to the former Soviet Union. It was also a statement expressing disrespect for the fact that the Finnis provided freedom from Soviet Union for whole Scandinavia in World War two. More websites with information of the SFP and their work are published. The SFP has managed to shut down some of the websites. However, they pop up somwhere else instead.

*What is "Strong Swedishness"?*
The SFP uses "Strong Swedishness" as one of their arguments when they market themself for the FinnSwede people. What is "Strong Swedishness"? We need to dig deep in the history to find out what it really stands for. In the Viking age (around year 1000), the Swedish Vikings were split into two groups. Those who went over to christianity, and those who still worshipped the Viking Gods. After wars between the separated groups of Vikings, the christianity took over and the well armed Sveas (later Swedes) brought 800 years of wars to Scandinavia using the chistianity as an excuse for their violent expansion.

Today we know that cristianity had peacefully reached the knowledge of the Finns before the arrival of Sveas in Finland. So we cannot speak of "civilized Swedes". Nor can we speak of a stable, civilized nation. Because of constant wars, internal conflicts, echonomical and ethnical problems and conflicts between the churches and the king(s), Sweden as a united, stable nation did not exist before 1850. Because of all listed problems, the Sveas lost all occupied areas Finland included (Sveas-Russian war 1808-1809) which clearly was a turning point from warfare to peace and civilization. This is in short, the root of the "Strong Swedishness".

*The Swedish People´s Party*
The Swedish party was founded by A.O. Freudenthal in 1870. He studied in Uppsala in Sweden where the first racial institute in the world was funded in 1922. A. O. Freudental brought the Swedish racial ideas and the racial way of thinking to Finland. The Swedish party was very small, only supported by a handfull of Swedish and FinnSwede businessmen. It needed voters and it was renamed to The Swedish People´s Party (SFP) in order to attract voters from the FinnSwede population. Today, with all organizations included, the SFP has est. 30.000 members (10% of the FinnSWedes). A.O. Freudenthal is "the spiritual father" of the SFP, which fairly can be compared to having a party in Israel with Adolf Hitler as a "spiritual father". By a political mistake, the SFP got power in the Finnish government and the result of their work is in short: Segration.

*Forced Swedish and Swedish language showers*
The Swedish language is forced to Finnish students in schools. The students have to read and learn a language they never have any use for. Naturally it is an obstacle for other studies and of course, an obstacle for learning other, for the students more valuable languages. By forcing Swedish to the Finnish students, the resistance for the Swedish language has grown instead.
After 40 years of forced Swedis and billions of misplaced euros, the project is concidered as a big failure. The Swedes and SFP have to find another way to force Swedish and swedishness to Finns. Today they are marketing Swedish language showers for Finnish parents and their small children instead. Language showers for small FinnSwede children are not allowed because it's concidered as dangerous by the SFP. Many Finns see the Swedish language showers as a threat and of course: child abuse. Language showers for small children do not belong to a modern, civilized Finland.

There are several FinnSwede schools in Finland where the FinnSwede studens are not allowed to speak Finnish. Even on the schoolyards Finnish is forbidden. Some public meeting places for teens administrated by the FinnSwedes, does not allow Finnish. When the new FLA was activated in January 2004, the FinnSWede parents, SFP and the headmasters of the FinnSwede schools message to the FinnSwede students was: Use Swedish only. These are actions, that does not belong to a modern, civilized Finland in 2004.

*Scandinavian identity or European & Global identity?*
The SFP strongly point out the Scandinavian identity for the Finns. However, they do not count the Finnsh language or the Finnish culture as part of the Scandinavian identity. A growing amount of Finns who are aweare of this fact say today: "It's better to set the focus on an Finnish European/Global identity, rather than the No Finnish Scandinavian one".

The official total numer of FinnSwedes is est 300.000. According to SFP, there are 100.000 Swedes in Finland not knowing Finnish. The result after 40 years of work for "living multilingualism" of the SFP is the opposite: Segration.

*40 years of work for living multilingualism*
Through the years, SFP has managed to build up FinnSwede areas, also known as lingual ghettos, in Finland. After 40 years of work for "living multilingualism" and billions of euros, there are est 100.000 Swedes in Finland not knowing Finnish. This means we have 200.000 FinnSwedes knowing both Finnish and Swedish. However, many of those 200.000 do not by their identity/heart recognize themself as part of the minority, or Swedes, or FinnSwedes. They recognize themself as Finns. No official number has been published on how many of the 200.000 "FinnSwedes" actually are Finns. So the numbers provided by the SFP do not show up the correct number of the the minority.

*Wrong picture delivered for the European Community and World*
For the European Community and the World, a picture of 1,5 million people in need of services in Swedish is delivered. The truth is, that in those 1,5 million people, all Finns living in a community with a FinnSwede minority are counted in.

*Finnish Language Act: How much does it cost?*
An open discussion of the Finnish Language Act has never being allowed because of the strong influence of the SFP in the Finnish government. The total cost for keeping (by many Finns seen as a totally useless) Swedish as a second language has been a well kept secret for 40 years. In 2003, the minimum cost was estimated to 2-3 billion euro/year by the Ministry of Justice (Koskinen, Helsingin Sanomat 2003). However, the cost can be as high as 15 billion euro/year.

*Is SFT the Swedish government's 'left hand' in Finland?*
The politics of the SFP is a mirror of the Swedish anti-finnish politics concerning the Finns and the finnish language in Sweden through several hundred y