Sweden Finns’ Day Date in the current year: February 24, 2024

Sweden Finns’ Day Sweden Finns’ Day (Sverigefinnarnas dag in Swedish or Ruotsinsuomalaisten päivä in Finnish) is celebrated in Sweden on February 24. It was created to commemorate the birthday of Finnish folklorist Carl Axel Gottlund and celebrate the rich cultural heritage of Sweden Finns.

Finland spent several centuries under Swedish rule. It became part of Sweden sometime during the late 13th century, although the starting point of Swedish rule in Finland has been disputed, and stayed that way for approximately five centuries. So it is not surprising that some Finns migrated to Sweden and settled there. The first mentions of Finnish communities in Sweden date back to the 16th century.

During the Swedish rule in Finland, the Sweden Finns were mostly left alone. However, the loss of Finland to the Russian Empire in the early 19th century eventually led to the introduction of new policies of Swedification and assimilation of the Finnish-speaking population of Sweden. Finnish linguist, folklorist and author Carl Axel Gottlund, whose birthday was chosen as the date of Sweden Finns’ Day, actively opposed Swedification and campaigned on behalf of the Sweden Finns.

Gottlund was born in Finland but came to Sweden in 1816 to study classical languages, history, natural sciences, and philosophy at Uppsala University. He also took regular trips to Finnish-inhabited regions of Sweden to collect Finnish folklore. In the early 1820s, Gottlund took a public stance against Swedification and campaigned for the creation of an autonomous Finnish area; his political activism nearly got him expelled from Sweden.

Today, people with Finnish heritage compose a relatively significant part of Sweden’s population, and Finnish is recognized as an official minority language in the country. The total population of the Sweden Finns is estimated at between 426,000 and 712,000. The majority of them are those who emigrated from Finland in the mid-20th century, when the policy of Swedification was discontinued, and their offspring, while Finns historically residing in Sweden make up a smaller portion of the Sweden Finns.

It should be noted that the term “Swedish Finns” (sverigefinnar) refers to speakers of the Finnish language; it does not include Swedish-speaking Finns who have emigrated from Finland. The term “Finns in Sweden” (sverigefinländare) is used to refer to all people with Finnish heritage regardless of the language they speak.

The Swedish Academy established Sweden Finn’s Day in 2010, and it was celebrated for the first time on February 24, 2011. The main goal of the holiday is to celebrate the Sweden Finns and their contribution to Swedish society, as well as to highlight the fact that their history, culture and language are an important part of the culture heritage of Sweden.

Sweden Finns’ Day is not an official flag day in Sweden, but municipalities with a significant population of the Sweden Finns raise the Sweden Finns flag to celebrate the occasion. Various events are held in many Swedish cities and towns including Stockholm, Eskilstuna, Gothenburg, Nykvarn, and Västerås. They include dance, music and theater performances, meetings with authors, events and activities for children, and more.

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Sweden Finns’ Day, observances in Sweden, cultural observances, Sweden Finns, Carl Axel Gottlund