English

Swedish language literature in Finland

By | English | No Comments

Swedish language literature in Finland 

It is well known that Finns love reading – some 22 million books each year in fact. Thus Finland Swedes have ample opportunity to explore the world of literature. With around 11,000 titles in Swedish available at Stockmann’s Academic Bookstore, these make up around 10% of the total number of books on offer.

Finland Swedes have a long history of producing a great number of talented scribes, including national poet Johan Ludvig Runeberg. In more recent years, authors such as Kjell Westö have regularly topped the bestseller lists.

Drawing on history 

The creator of some of the most ubiquitous characters to come out of Finland, Tove Jansson was born in Helsingfors in 1914 to Finland Swede parents. After writing her first Moomin comic as a reaction to the misery of the Second World War, she quickly became the most read author in Finland. With tales of this family of trolls covering nine books, five picture books, a cartoon series and a comic strip, her legacy lives on and her canon has been translated into 33 languages – second only to that of The Kalevala.

Lucia Festival

By | Did you know, English | No Comments
Lucia Festival 

Saint Lucia’s Day is celebrated every year on 13 December by Finland Swedes around the country. In Helsinki, the crowning of the Lucia Maiden takes place at the Helsinki Cathedral, leading the Festival of Light in a parade through the city.

Crayfish party

By | Did you know, English | No Comments
Crayfish party 

Celebrated around Finland in late August and September, these relaxed and informal events are originally a Swedish tradition imported here by Finland Swedes. With a combination of several schnapps and a party hat, songs are sung all night, with the noisy consumption of crayfish signalling that summer time is drawing to a close.

Baltic Herring Festival

By | Did you know, English | No Comments
Baltic Herring Festival 

This weeklong fishy celebration was first arranged in 1743, with Finland-Swedish fishermen descending on Helsinki’s Market Square. In early October each year, visitors can sample all manner of pickled and marinated herring, fish products and other delicacies tempting the taste buds – all under the watchful eye of the festival jury.

Reading the lingo

By | Did you know, English | No Comments
Reading the lingo

Ever wondered what Harry Potter might say if he could speak Swedish? One of the benefits of all films screening at the cinemas here in Finland are the Swedish subtitles displayed at the bottom of the screen. Read along, practise your language skills and find out what the biggest stars are saying in Swedish.

Literature

By | English | No Comments

Swedish language literature in Finland

It is well known that Finns love reading – some 22 million books each year in fact. Thus Finland Swedes have ample opportunity to explore the world of literature. With around 11,000 titles in Swedish available at Stockmann’s Academic Bookstore, these make up around 10% of the total number of books on offer.

Finland Swedes have a long history of producing a great number of talented scribes, including national poet Johan Ludvig Runeberg. In more recent years, authors such as Kjell Westö have regularly topped the bestseller lists.

Drawing on history

The creator of some of the most ubiquitous characters to come out of Finland, Tove Jansson was born in Helsingfors in 1914 to Finland Swede parents. After writing her first Moomin comic as a reaction to the misery of the Second World War, she quickly became the most read author in Finland. With tales of this family of trolls covering nine books, five picture books, a cartoon series and a comic strip, her legacy lives on and her canon has been translated into 33 languages – second only to that of The Kalevala.

Theatre

By | English | No Comments

THEATRE

In keeping with the rich variety of theatre available in Helsingfors, one of the most enjoyable nights out in the city can be found by attending a Swedish – language performance at Lilla Teatern. Originally founded in 1940 by two actors from the Swedish Theatre that were looking to set up something for themselves, theatre director Pekka Strang currently conducts the performances both on and off stage.

“There are 270 seats, so it is a medium-sized theatre,” he explains. “The architecture is excellent for actors. The audience is very close and the actors can feel and see them.”

Under the banner of Helsinki City Theatre since 2005, the mission is to produce Swedish-speaking theatre, with many Finnish-Swedish writers having enjoyed premieres of their work on this stage.

For all of the hard work that goes into overseeing the variety of performances on offer, one wonders if Strang still has the time to flex his acting muscles. “Sometimes I can’t resist getting on stage,” he laughs. “I’m trying to get down from 120 to 75 performances a year.”

And why provide such theatrics?
“Fun is the main reason!”

A national icon

Located in the heart of Helsingfors, Svenska Teatern, or the Swedish Theatre, was the first national stage of Finland, completed in 1827. The theatre boasts two stages, with a capacity of 750 and 127, respectively. It also houses a theatre school. After a renovation by renowned architects Eero Saarinen and Jarl Ekland in 1935, the stunning facade remains as it stands today, an important landmark in Helsingfors’ artistic history.

Music

By | English | No Comments

The music scene

Finland Swedes are represented across all styles of music. Perhaps the most towering figure in their history is that of Jean Sibelius, the famed composer of Finlandia . Over the course of seven symphonies and numerous other compositions, his music is seen as being integral in the formation of the Finnish identity.

For those seeking more recent sounds, be sure to check out the music of Kim Herold or the young rockers Sturm und Drang from Vasa, and pay a visit to the monthly alternative club Svenska Talande Klubben at Tölö’s Korjaamo. The Radio X3M website is also a really useful way to find out more about what’s happening in your neighbourhood.

www.yle.fi/extrem

Movies

By | English | No Comments

Celluloid Swedes (MOVIES)

Notable Finland Swedes in the past have included filmmakers and actors such as Åke Lindman and Jörn Donner. More recently, the work of Klaus Härö is making the world sit up and pay attention. Letters to Father Jacob is the Borgå native’s third film to be chosen as Finland’s entry into the best Foreign Film category at the Academy Awards.

Clubbing the Finland Swede way

By | English | No Comments

Clubbing the Finland Swede way

Finland Swedes have not only had an influential role to play in times gone by. Many younger artists and musicians hail from Swedish-speaking backgrounds as well. Helsingfors-born Glenn Grip, a.k.a. DJ Physics, is one of a growing number of Finland Swedes who consider themselves fully integrated into the Finnish club scene, yet remaining proud of their roots.

“I pretty much started out in the late 1990s,” he says. “The first nights I did were together with people like Nick Fury, who also has a Finland-Swedish background, and the Original Jungle Riddims nights in Helsinki. After a series of drum and bass parties I have been doing several one-off promotions and these days I run a night called Beatniks, where we bring over DJs on regular basis from the UK as well as showcasing the best in Finnish talent.”

Like everywhere, the music and club scene in Helsingfors is constantly evolving, believes Physics. “I feel there has been quite a big development. It’s not so much about genres anymore; it’s more a mixture of everything that seems to be popular. Also the fact that I’m getting older and the clubbers are getting younger has come to my attention!”

Like many young Finland Swedes, for Physics this aspect of his history still holds some personal relevance. “I think Finland Swedes are very well integrated into Finnish society,” he argues. “Of course there are some differences in culture when it comes to traditions and music, but I don’t think the fact I am a Finland Swede has affected me much at the end of the day. However I am proud of my heritage and I hope I can encourage other young Finland Swedes to get involved in electronic music.”