Finland–Sweden relations

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Finland–Sweden relations
Map indicating locations of Finland and Sweden



Finland–Sweden relations have a long history, due to the close relationship between Finland and Sweden. Particularly in Finland, the issue emerges in frequent exposés of Finnish history, and in motives for governmental proposals and actions as reported in Finnish news broadcasts in English or other foreign languages. In Sweden, this relationship is a recurrent important theme of 20th-century history, although maybe by most Swedes considered to be an issue of purely historical relevance now that both countries have been members of the European Union since 1995.


The area that later became Finland was annexed by Sweden during the 13th century and was ruled by Swedish monarchs up until 1809. Finland was a fully integrated part of the Swedish realm and legally the Finns had the same rights and duties as all citizens. But the language used in administration and education was Swedish. During the 20th century, after Finland's 1917 freedom from Russian rule, much of the governmental administration and higher education was conducted according to old tradition in disproportionate amounts in Swedish.[citation needed]

During World War II Sweden declared its neutrality, but in the Winter war it declared itself non-belligerent and supported Finland's cause to a certain, but limited, extent. This included over 8,000 Swedish army and air force volunteers. Sweden also accepted and cared for a host of Finnish "war"-children during World War II. After the war Sweden had a clear head-start in the post-war economical development, much due to its neutrality in the war, making the Finnish-Swedish relationship similar to that of Finland and Estonia of today since the 1990s. Since the mid-1990s, the inequalities between Finland and Sweden can be seen as balanced, and the relations between the two countries be seen as equal and good.

It is an old tradition for the first official foreign visit of a new Prime Minister in either country to visit the other. Although in June 2014, then newly elected Finnish Prime Minister Alexander Stubb broke with tradition and used his first official visit abroad to visit Estonia.[1]

In 2014, the two countries announced a special defense partnership between them.[2]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Stubb Makes First Foreign Visit to Estonia, ERR Estonian Public Broadcasting, 30 June 2014
  2. ^ O’DWYER, GERARD (24 January 2014). "Finland, Sweden Eye Non-NATO Defense Partnership". Gannett Government Media Corporation. Retrieved 26 January 2014. 

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