A blog about Finnish Swedish Heritage Day
Pappa betalar, Tove Jansson and sailboats. Stereotypes about Swedish speaking Finns, used both as laughs and as something that brings us together.
Finnish Swedish Heritage Day, a day founded to strengthen the unity of Swedish-speaking citizens in Finland, which is now a day to respect Finland’s bilingualism and preserve the Finnish-Swedish cultural heritage, is celebrated on 6 November. But what is that cultural heritage, going to the theatre and drinking bubbly, or is it something more, something deeper?
From the point of view of higher education policy, the Swedish language is an important part of Finland’s higher education, and the fact that you can also study in your mother tongue is not only important, but also essential if we are to preserve the status of Swedish as Finland’s second official language. Of Finland’s more than 300,000 students, around 17,000 are Swedish-speaking. Around 7,500 of these students are enrolled in Universities of Applied Sciences, and are thus represented by SAMOK, which is also a bilingual National Union of Students.
In order to be able to offer services in Swedish in the future, such as primary education, health care, etc. we need higher education in Swedish.
The Swedish language is not just a subject that has to be taken in primary school, but also a key to Nordic co-operation and to more language skills. Learning a language is never a mistake, and you will always benefit from that knowledge, whether you choose to continue using that language or not, it opens up the possibility for even more language knowledge, which is important in an increasingly international world. Let’s cherish what Finland is, a multilingual and multicultural country.
Many may ask whether the Swedish language is still relevant, but when we delve into the world of study, for example, and especially into the colourful world of study culture, we see that the Swedish language is not only relevant, but it has shaped the whole of Finland’s study culture.
Everything from Helan går, to spex to overalls, was once exported to Finland from Sweden, but has also been integrated into our own study culture and is now a large part of the identity felt by Finnish students. And it is one of the most important cultural heritages we still carry with us, it is not only part of the Finnish-Swedish cultural heritage, it is part of Finland’s cultural heritage.
Happy Finnish Swedish Heritage Day to you all!