Finns in Sweden and Switzerland – between cosmopolitans and locals

Author(s) : Krister Björklund

Source :


Towards the end of the 1940s Sweden became the main destination for emigrants from Finland. But there was more than a trickle of Finns moving to other countries
as well; most of these went to West Germany, Great Britain and to the somewhat
unlikely destination Switzerland. The emigration gained momentum in the 1960s
and declined in the 1980s. Although these two migration streams coincided, their
composition differed substantially. Sweden attracted largely unskilled labour from rural areas of Finland, while the rest of Europe attracted especially educated emigrants from Finnish urban areas, the majority being women. Although many of
the emigrants returned to Finland, the majority of the expatriate Finns in Sweden
and Switzerland migrated during the later part of the 20th century. This study describes how the background and socio-demographic characteristics of the Finnish emigrants living in Sweden and Switzerland relate to their present life situation and ethnic identiβication in the context of the different spatial and cultural settings. For this purpose statistical data on Finns in both countries and data from two separate surveys are analysed and completed with interviews.