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Swedish as an Asset. Ways to promote Swedish language and culture in Finland. Swedish in Finland. Swedish in finland. Swedish is spoken by 280 000 persons or 5,6 % of the total population Official language in Finland Majority lives in bilingual municipalities

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swedish as an asset

Swedish as an Asset

Ways to promote Swedish language and culture in Finland

swedish in finland1
Swedish in finland
  • Swedish is spoken by 280 000 persons or 5,6 % of the total population
  • Official language in Finland
  • Majority lives in bilingual municipalities
  • Also in ”language-islands”, such as Tampere and Oulu
  • Language registration, officially registrated as either Finnish- or Swedish- speaking

good picture and statistics, see the development

  • Constitutiondeclares that Finnish and Swedish are the national languages, e.g the public authorities are required to provide for the cultural and societal needs of the Finnish-speaking and Swedish-speaking populations of the country on an equal basis.
  • thereshould be social welfare services, primary and othereducation and comprehensive information in bothlanguages
  • The state administration of Finland is bilingual by law, whichimplies that all laws, decrees and otherimportantdocuments are available in both Finnish and Swedish.
the language act
The languageact
  • New Language Act came into force on 1st January 2004
  • Rights and obligations concerning language are set down in greater detail here.
  • Swedish speakers have the right to use their own language in contacts with central government and with the authorities in bilingual municipalities.
  • But it is important to note that the Language Act encompasses both national lanugages equally, not an Act to protect the intersets of just Swdish-speakers.

The authorities are required to provide service in my language on theirowninitiative, withoutbeingasked to do so.

  • The situation of the Swedish-speaking Finns is good in terms of legislation


there are some problems
....there are some problems
  • There are no sanctions if the Language Act is not followed
  • Possibilites to complain to the Chancellor of Justice, to the Ministry of Justice and to the Parliamentary Ombudsman of Finland.
  • Complaints can also be adressed to Folktinget
  • Once in a parliamentary period a report on how the Act has been implemented is given by the Government. Unfortunately this is not uplifting reading, same problems and same proposals on measures to be taken in reports of 2006 and of 2009
the problems some examples
The problems, someexamples
  • Administration reforms, for examplecuttingdown the number of emergancycall-centers
  • Health-sector
  • Finnish Railways and national Post (statecompanies)
  • the other national languagemadevoluntary in the matriculation examination

less interest in Swedish amongFinnish-speakers

less knowledge in Swedish

problems at the universities

difficult to fulfill the Language Act

the swedish day and the swedish week
The Swedish day and the Swedish week
  • Swedish Day is celebrated on 6 November, and symbolizes the right for Swedish-speaking Finns to use their mother tongue freely in Finland. It is also an occasion for celebrating Finland as a bilingual nation.
  • On Swedish Day, a grand party is arranged along with numerous local parties.
swedish week
Swedish week
  • Idea is to offer a wide range of events and happenings free of charge or with reduced prices
  • Through participation institutions of culture, associations, producers and companies can make Swedish more visible.
  • Rock Concerts, photo competitions, football tournaments, theather for youth and children, seminars, theather production in co-operation between Swedish and Finnish schools, Clubs and movie-nights.

This year 10 cities are celebrating the Swedish Week, from unlingual Oulu up north to bilungual Porvoo in the south-east

  • One website and co-operation in marketing the events
  • One budget and the expenses are split equally
i m here for you
i’mhere for you

“I’m here for you” is apocket-sized dictionary for hospital-staff.

Gives them help with the most common phrases that they might need in their job, phrases like “where does it hurt and “here is your medicine”.

The word spread and now the dictionary can be found in hospitals and health care centres all around Finland, so far we distributed around 30 000 copies.

give your child a gift
Give your child a gift

Information on how to raise your child bilingually and what advantages you give to your child by doing so.

We want the parents to understand that a child doesn´t become bilingual per automatique.

Also important for the parents to know that they have the legal right to demand day-care and schools in the preferred language.

give your child a gift1
Give your child a gift
  • In Finland we have a unique system where the State offers every mother-to-be a starting-package for the new baby. The mother-to-be can choose whether she wants a sum of money (140 €) or if she wants to have a box with baby-clothes, feeding bottles, children's picture books and other necessities for a newborn. In this box various information-brochures are included and Give your child a gift is one of them. In other words, we reach almost 98 % (or 40 000 persons) of all parents-to-be.
  • We also cooperate with another organization and have a website called www.svenskskola.fi, where every Swedish day-care centre, comprehensive school and secondary schools is listed in a database. You can search by entering for example day-care and Vaasa, and all day-care centres in the city of Vaasa is listed to you. This web-site also has a map-function, so that the user can see where in Vaasa the nearest day-care centre is compared to the users home.
play me
Play me

Is a combination of a musical and circus and is the biggest event ever on the Swedish Theatre scene, the budget is 1,8 million euro.

Started in 2008 with an audition on the Internet, and then live auditions. Apart from the audition, song writing competitions has been arranged and a CD has been produced. There are also club evenings and an internet game as a part of the whole concept.

Aiming at the Finnish audience a web portal has been created, with material for teachers in Swedish to use. This material has been developed in co- operation with the Ministry of Education and around 3 000 teachers use the Play Me material. The opening night of Play Me was on the 9th of September 2009.

other projects
  • Theatre Bus
  • Movies in the school
  • Cook in Swedish
  • Rent a Swedish-speaker
  • Papper
concerts and clubs
Concerts and Clubs
  • The language has to be cool, important to hear famous rockstars give concerts in your own language
  • Svenskatalande klubben, arranged monthly; artists are always Swedish-speakers, performing in Swedish. Sold-out clubs, many in the audience are Finnish-speakers.
the future
The future
  • Bilingualism is a resourcebutalso a challenge
  • The biggestthreath is the Swedish-speakersthemselves
  • Difficult to reachunity on languagestrategies, different interestcollide
  • Harder to gainunderstanding and interest for Swedish
  • Manyongoing administration reforms in Finland, bigchallenge to safeguard Swedish.
  • Cooperation over the ”language-barrier” and positive language-climate is essential for the Swedish-speakers and a bigchallenge for the future.
thank you for your attention

Thank you for your attention.

Anna Jungner-Nordgren

Public Relations Secretary

The Swedish Assembly of Finland