Swedish Finns


November 30, 2021

Swedish Finns (Swedish: sverigefinnar or sverigefinländare) are Swedish-speaking residents of Finnish who speak Finnish and / or Meänkieli as their mother tongue. In a broader sense, the term refers to all those who have moved from Finland to Sweden, which also includes Finnish-Swedish migrants, who number about 170,000. Meänkieli consists of the Jällivaara dialects spoken in Sweden and the Tornio dialects spoken in the western part of the Tornio Valley. However, Sweden considers Meänki to be an official minority language alongside Finnish, among other things. Traces and information on old immigration can be found all over central and northern Sweden. There are already signs of change from the time before the Crusades. In April 2000, the Swedish state recognized Finnish as an official minority language and Finns an official national minority. Swedish Finns' Day is celebrated in Sweden on Carl Axel Gottlund's birthday on February 24. At the beginning of the 19th century, Gottlund made known the oppressed forest Finns living in central Sweden. Incidentally, the Finnish-speaking minority in Sweden has formed mainly as a result of immigration after the mid-20th century. It is estimated that about 220,000 Swedes speak Finnish at the mother tongue level. It is estimated that Swedes account for about a quarter of all emigrants from Finland. However, not all Swedish Finns know Swedish. The term “Swedish-Finnish” can also be translated into Swedish as “sverigefinländare”, which does not refer to a mother tongue or ethnic group. Statistics on Swedish-Finns usually cover this broad group, which includes all those who have roots in Finland, regardless of their mother tongue or ethnic background.


From prehistoric times to the 17th century

In prehistoric times, Finno-Ugric-speaking groups, such as the Sámi ancestors, have lived in Sweden. Groups of Baltic Finns who had close contacts with Finland and Estonia settled in the mid-eighth century BCE. also the coastal area of ​​central Sweden. In the Middle Ages, the city of Stockholm attracted immigrants from Finland from both Swedish- and Finnish-speaking areas. At the end of the 17th century, Stockholm had a population of about 30,000, of whom almost 3,000 were Finns. In 17th-century Stockholm, Finns worked in large numbers as carpenters, seine fishermen and, for example, in the trade unions of wine and iron carriers, and as laborers, maids and slaves. The trade union grouped a significant part of the Finnish settlement in Stockholm for Södermalm. In the 17th century, savannah-born settlers living in birch burning moved to the wilderness of central and northern Sweden. These forest Finns (Swedish: skogsfinnar) finally merged with the Swedish-speaking population at the beginning of the 20th century, but left a place name of Finnish origin in their memory.

From the 20th century to the 21st century

Today, the Swedish-Finnish minority consists mainly of Finns who moved to Sweden in the 20th century and their descendants. The migration of Finns to Sweden increased considerably after the end of the Second World War. During the war, the Finnish Defense Forces in the so-called continuation war

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