Majority of Foreign Language Speakers in Finland find Swedish language “essential” part of the country
According to a recent survey carried out by Helsinki Times and Think Tank Magma, foreign-born residents in Finland have a strong level of awareness of the status of the Swedish language in Finland. Two thirds are able to correctly state the size of Finland’s Swedish-speaking population, and majority of the respondents agreed that Swedish language is an essential component of Finnish society.
“At current fertility rates, we Europeans are basically breeding ourselves out of existence.” This was one of the comments made by Dr Nils Erik Forsgård, Director of Magma, during his opening remarks at the Ralf Dahrendorf Roundtable on Population Decline and Its Effects in Europe, organised in Helsinki on 19 November 2019. Europe as a whole is facing a severe demographic challenge.
The 1990s are generally perceived as the Golden Years of minority rights. However, developments have since taken a different turn. What made the 1990s so successful, and what has since changed? These are some of the main questions raised in this pamphlet.
Magma is a Finnish think tank that was founded in 2008. Magma performs an analytical function and serves as an arena for discussion. It supports liberal values and is independent of party politics. The focus of Magma’s work is creating ideas and debate, as well as knowledge on topical societal issues. Extensive knowledge and expertise in minority issues makes Magma a leading think tank in minority affairs in particular.
Magma undertakes comparative studies within a European context and cooperates with think tanks both in Finland and abroad. Since 2012 Magma has been a member of European Liberal Forum (ELF).
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Nils Erik Forsgård
is Director of Magma. He is a docent of the history of ideas and has previously acted as visiting professor at Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin and as Professor of History at the University of Helsinki. He has written a number of books on themes such as the current state of Europe (”Dagarnas skum. Anteckningar från ett år i Europa 2014–2015”, 2015), Swedish thinker Anders Chydenius (”Ingens herre, ingens träl”, 2014) and Earnest Hemingway (”Hemingway: en betraktelse”, 2011).
is a researcher at Magma. Kepsu holds a Master’s Degree in Human Geography and her main research interests include migration and population issues, minorities, urban development and statistics. Kepsu is finishing her Doctoral Thesis on migration amongst the Swedish-speaking population in Finland. Previously, Kepsu has worked as Project Manager for Education, Research and Business at Hanaholmen – the Swedish-Finnish Cultural Centre and as a lecturer at the University of Helsinki.
is a researcher at Magma. Majander is a docent of political history at the University of Helsinki and previous Director of the social democratic think tank Kalevi Sorsa Foundation. Majander is an active participant in the Finnish public debate and the author of several books on democracy, Finnish political history and other topics, including ”Lukemisen hulluus” (2014), ”Paasikivi, Kekkonen ja avaruuskoira” (2010), ”Demokratiaa dollareilla” (2007) and ”Pohjoismaa vai kansandemokratia?” (2004).
is a researcher at Magma. Markelin holds a PhD in social sciences and her research has focused on state policies on diversity and minorities. Her previous experiences include working as Associate Professor at the Sámi University College in Kautokeino, Norway, and as a coordinator for cooperation between Swedish- and bilingual universities and colleges in the Helsinki area.
is a coordinator at Magma, responsible for the Magma Academy as well as for office administration. Sigfrids holds a Master Degree in Social Sciences and has previously worked with project management for Slush Singapore 2018, and at the organisation Sydkustens landskapsförbund where she acted as a producer.