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The case of the Swedish-speaking Finns

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It has often beeen stated that the Swedish-speaking population in Finland, compared to other linguistic minorities, has achieved a privileged position. Historically the Finnish nation-state was born and grew by the efforts of both language groups, and the constitution was influenced by this unity. The geopolitical situation has gained from the fact that the resources of the whole population have been taken into account in the development of the Finnish nation and state, located in a Northern Europe, where, for centuries, different political, cultural and religions forces have met. The fact that the Orthodox Church together with the predominant Lutheran Church became the state church is another example of the efforts of the young Finnish state to both integrate and mobilize the personal resources.

Regarding the future it will be wise to support specific traditions, competencies and creative forces from the whole population. The education, rooted in a language and a specific culture can, in such a perspective, probably not be overevaluated. From the Swedish point of view it is therefore of the greatest importance to maintain fundamental guarantees for a Swedish-speaking education. Only far-going guarantees liberate creative resources for the future challenges nationally and above all internationally. Otherwise too much energy and interest will be needed to guard the specific and in itself justified interests.

Today, when the economic prerequisites in a welfare state are not taken for granted it is by all means a wise policy to defend the approved strategy to at the same time integrate and mobilize the total resources from different groups in the society.

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Andersson, H., Herberts, K. The case of the Swedish-speaking Finns. Int Rev Educ 42, 384–388 (1996). https://doi.org/10.1007/BF00601099

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  • Welfare State
  • Future Challenge
  • Personal Resource
  • Specific Culture
  • Language Group