A neat quote by Topelius about who are the Finns

by , under All categories, Enrique

Zacharias Topelius , a Finnish cultural heavyweight who lived in the 19th century, embraced multiculturalism in the following manner below.

When I read such a quote, I am more convinced that 1939-1995 was an anomaly for this country. Finland was always multicultural — not a “monocultural” nation that fought tooth and nail to exclude people from diverse cultural backgrounds.

“No group can claim to be so pure that not one of their forefathers had foreign blood; nor speak a language that has not shared words from other languages. All nations are builders of the great humankind society, which branches off into many directions.

Ei ole yhtään sukuperältään niin sekoittautumatonta kansaa, ettei sen esi-isissä olisi vierasta verta; eikä kieleltään niin puhdasta kansaa, ettei se olisi sanoja muilta lainannut. Ja kaikki kansakunnat ovat työntekijöitä ihmissuvun suuressa yhteiskunnassa, joka jakautuu moneen haaraan.

Zacharis Topelius: Maamme Kirja (1875)

  1. Tiwaz

    And here you present your ****** again Enrique.

    You are i***** who thinks that having foreign influences somehow equals multicultural.
    It does not.

    Finnish culture has had influences come, I admit it. So does language. That is true too.

    But Finland is not multicultural. Finnish culture is one. What you are speaking of in your stupidity is that putting Lada marking on Mercedes would somehow turn it into Lada. Or mixture of Lada and Mercedes.

    It does not. Gluing “Lada Samara” into Mercedes just makes it Mercedes.
    Same way, Finns having changed their culture over time does not make it multicultural. It just means Finnish culture evolved over time.

    I have another quote for you.

    Adolf Iwar Arwidsson
    “Ruotsalaisia emme ole, venäläisiksi emme tahdo tulla, olkaamme siis suomalaisia”

    For language restricted:

    “Swedes we are not, Russians we do not wish to be, so let us be Finns”

    Besides, today we live according to current situation. Multiculturalism is worst mistake Finland could do. As proven by all other attempts of multiculturalism. Even your wonderful India showed how multiculturalism there only breeds violence when I bothered to kick the sugarcoating you tried to cover it with.

  2. DeTant Blomhat

    I think you have a problem with facts. Back in the pre-war era even the legislation was much harsher against “foreigners”. The immigration laws were by far stricter and you didn’t have much if any minority rights. Basically a foreigner didn’t have any civil rights even to run a business, own property nor be a member of an association unrestricted. Let alone join into politics. All these restrictions were eventually dropped in the 1970’s and 1980’s.

    What comes to the minorities there were the same communities which have survived to this day and even more. However they have “mainstreamed”, some more and some less. So yes, Finland has been diverse community with a common goal and common values. Multiculturalism is destructive to common values, why it is a bad thing.

  3. Enrique

    If we look at foreign investment in particular, you know that the so-called Restricting Act of 1939 was an answer to the “threat” of outside investment. The act limited until the 1990s foreigners from owning mover than 20% in a Finnish company and under special permission up to 40%. It also prohibited non-Finns from establishing enterprises in key areas such as forestry, mining, real estate, refining and securities trading. This is not only a Finnish phenomenon: during the Great Depression years many countries closed their doors to outside trade.

    I disagree. I think that the 1939-95 period was one of the worst in history for Finland since the country was closed but slowly opening up and reintegrating itself politically and economically to Western Europe. So, now, we are returning back to what Finland was. However, this is a new century and there are new realities.

  4. Enrique

    –Finnish culture has had influences come, I admit it. So does language. That is true too.

    Well, I am happy you can admit something like that.

    –Adolf Iwar Arwidsson
    “Ruotsalaisia emme ole, venäläisiksi emme tahdo tulla, olkaamme siis suomalaisia”

    A good quote, like a book, is something that can stand the test of time. The Bible is an example of a “good” book. If we took Arwidsson’s and Topelius’ quote, which one would stand the test of time? Arwidsson’s quote is too inclusive and has lost validity today. Topelius’ words still shine through today over 130 years ago when he first coined it.

  5. Tiwaz

    Topelius has quote which doesn’t say anything. Empty words of poet.

    Arwidssons quote tells us something. Words with meaning.

    And bible is pathetic little storybook which has been repeatedly proven to be so full of it that it is not even funny.

  6. Tiwaz

    What you still have not figured out is that Finnish culture has incorporated pieces from foreign cultures. But it has not taken those cultures as equal. Finns chose little bits which fit Finnish mentality, but did not become anything but Finns.

  7. Enrique

    –And bible is pathetic little storybook which has been repeatedly proven to be so full of it that it is not even funny.

    I did not argue the content of the Bible, but that a book is considered “good” when it stands the test of time. Millions of people still read the Bible.

    –Topelius has quote which doesn’t say anything. Empty words of poet.

    If you like Arwidsson that is fine. I think that Teopelius´ quote rocks.

  8. Tiwaz

    By the way, you asked if I have deed. When I spoke of Finland as my country.

    I actually do. I own land here. Land which was owned by my father. And his father before him. And so forth for as many generations as we have bothered to track our lineage.
    I was born in this country. I embrace it’s culture as mine. My identity is built from that culture.

    Can you say the same? You who were not born here, did not grow here. Do not have uninterrupted lineage here…

    You cannot.

    That is why you try to demean definition of Finn. Because it makes you feel inferior I guess. Because you have no same kind of strong identity to build yourself with.

    And as said, Topelius was right. But he did not say Finns are not Finns. To build on my mercedes example and make it more clear….

    You can take Lada-sticker, or component from Lada, and put it in Mercedes. It does not make Mercedes some kind of Mercedes/Lada hybrid. It becomes Mercedes with Lada sticker.

    Once that sticker has been altered and turned into permanent part of Mercedes, it stops being Lada sticker and is just Mercedes.

    Same is true for Finnish culture. Some bits and pieces are gained from abroad. But that does not turn Finnish culture into anything else. Everything is turned Finnish, changed to fit the greater whole of Finnish culture. and in that process whatever is added stops being related to where idea for it came from. It becomes Finnish.

    Thus, Finnish culture is not multicultural. Finnish society is not multicultural. It assimilates ideas from others, but key is that everything is assimilated to Finnish culture and shaped to fit that culture. Culture is not changed to fit idea which is to be assimilated.

  9. Enrique

    –Can you say the same? You who were not born here, did not grow here. Do not have uninterrupted lineage here…

    That is a very simplistic exclusive point. And, by the way, we live in the new century not in the 16th. But if you want to weigh me with your very narrow yardstick, I have descendants who come from a very rural part of Savo for God knows how long and Finnish descendants that married foreigners and lived in countries such as China, Afghanistan etc.. Contrary to you, I have learned to travel culturally; a coffee at a shop in Savonranta can be as invigorating as having tea at the Dorchester Hotel in London. It is only a question of enjoying the moment and not going off the wall and conjuring imagined conflicts and “how threatened my culture is.”
    But these those qualities you mentioned on what makes you a Finn is your definition. People have different ones and their bond to this country varies.
    Please get out of the mentality of your 1980s geography and history class. Times have changed radically.

    –Thus, Finnish culture is not multicultural. Finnish society is not multicultural. It assimilates ideas from others, but key is that everything is assimilated to Finnish culture and shaped to fit that culture. Culture is not changed to fit idea which is to be assimilated.

    Finland has always been multicultural. The problem is that you grew up in a period when Finland’s foreign population dwindled because of the country’s geopolitical isolation.

    I see this new period returning back to what Finland was but in a new century and environment.

  10. DeTant Blomhat

    Yes but if you destroy the Finnish culture there won’t be a coffee shop in Savonranta. Back before 1939 the most foreigners were refugees from the Russian revolution. Before that it was Russian citizenry, before that it was your odd merchants. But in all cases those who stayed for more than two or three generations became “Finns”. And thats what we are. I can trace a lineage to various people but that does not make me any less of a Finn.

    Finland has never been a multicultural ghetto country and it never shall be, you can bet on that.

  11. Tiwaz

    -Finland has always been multicultural. The problem is that you grew up in a period when Finland’s foreign population dwindled because of the country’s geopolitical isolation.

    I see this new period returning back to what Finland was but in a new century and environment.

    Finland has never been multicultural.
    Every culture that has set foot in Finland has had to do it either by subjecting itself to Finnish culture or with armies to keep Finns down.

  12. Enrique

    One thing that I notice about you is that if the comments aren’t of your liking, you attack people by getting personal. Do I use these words against you?

    I think the problem is that you do not understand what multicultural means. It means a country were there are people from diverse cultural backgrounds. You have, in my opinion, a very narrow view of what is multiculturalism. Maybe I can understand your stance because you have not lived abroad, but DeTant’s views are quite incredible. He lived in the US and equates multiculturalism with ghettos. It sounds more like a person that lived in a rural part of Alabama or Wyoming.

  13. Enrique

    Tiwaz, since all of us are so ignorant about what Finland was in history, maybe you should write a book and enlighten us with your “knowledge.”

  14. Tiwaz

    -One thing that I notice about you is that if the comments aren’t of your liking, you attack people by getting personal. Do I use these words against you?

    Perhaps if you started actually answering to points I make instead of doing one of following:

    1) Try to proclaim me as nazi
    2) Avoid the issue
    3) Just declare them wrong without actually proving them wrong

    I would feel less inclined to insult you since you might feel like person worth of debate instead of blind spewer of nonsense who cannot support his position with facts.
    As such people are in my opinion idiots, I call them as such.

    You are of course free to do the same to me, I will not feel insulted any more than I do now when you try to destroy my culture, country, language and through those my identity.

    As for multiculturalism. I take at as world has it. Every time it is attempted, results are ghetto, conflict and suffering. Something is fundamentally wrong with multiculturalism. By the way, do you know where I have lived? Hmm?

    I guess you have always been one of the fortunates. Guy with silver spoon in the mouth, with nice house in good neighborhood and so forth. So you think that multiculturalism is all the good stuff. If you had ever bothered to look downhill from your little castle, you would have seen the reality of multiculturalism. The conflict, the suffering, the crime… But you never did. It would have destroyed your whole view of the world if you had to face the truth.

    As for Finnish history. Read books. See how many speaks of anything but swedes (armed invasion), russians (armed invasion), Lapps (culture subject to Finnish culture in sense of them not retaining cultural traits which are in gross violation of Finnish culture) and Finns. Gypsies are your only hope for “multicultural” Finland. And want to guess how loved they were in history and today…

  15. Enrique

    –As for Finnish history. Read books. See how many speaks of anything but swedes (armed invasion), russians (armed invasion), Lapps (culture subject to Finnish culture in sense of them not retaining cultural traits which are in gross violation of Finnish culture) and Finns. Gypsies are your only hope for “multicultural” Finland. And want to guess how loved they were in history and today…

    I take multiculturalism to mean a country where people of diverse backgrounds live. They are diverse because 100% integration is not possible. Things do not happen in that way — people are “prisoners” of their culture; some can part with it easier than others. Even so, nobody can throw it away and embrace another culture 100%.

    The big challenge I see happening in Finland is accepting other types of Finns. I do not know about your grandparents, but mine spoke Russian and were proficient in English and Swedish as well. There was always an “international” multicultural environment in my grandparents’ home. It could be very Finnish and international/multicultural at the same time. How is that possible? By learning to travel culturally not only geographically. There is great joy and no threat in enjoying a variety of cultures at the same time. I can be in a savu sauna in the 1960s in rural Savo speaking with farmer relatives and the next day in Paris watching the Eifel Tower and hearing French; the day after I can be in LA seeing a totally different variety of cultures. Both of the experiences are beautiful. Why? Because I accept them for what they are — moments in time, rich in themselves.

    There are many good things about Finnish culture. Like any other culture, it is not perfect. However, there is one thing that cannot be accepted: exclusion and discrimination of others because they do not fit into the “prototype Elovena-type looking Finn.”

  16. jaakkeli

    Enrique, Finns do not expect first generation immigrants to become Finnish. An Italian/German/Turk/whatever who moves to Finland will always be an Italian/German/Turk/whatever, even if he gets citizenship. Claiming that he’s a Finn gets him rejected. There aren’t going to be any “different types of Finns”.

    This is an ethnic nation and we like it that way. You better be willing to intermarry or let your children intermarry and acquire the blood link. If not, then you *should* be excluded.

  17. Enrique

    Well, I agree with the first part of your comment but disagree with the second. Finnish culture nor the foreign culture that lives in Finland does not remain in a state of suspended animation. It changes and conforms. How much depends on the person and which part of Finland he lives in. Children of immigrants live in two or more cultures, or swim as fish in all of them. Some call this phenomenon “hybridculture.”
    Anyway, the most important matter is that you and your peers feel good about yourself. Society is an opportunity not a place where obstacles are placed before your path.

  18. Tiwaz

    Society is group of people. For it to function properly, everyone must adhere same rules and principles. These rules and principles are twofold, legal and cultural. Adherence to both is essential requirement of functional society.

    If some people do NOT follow either legal or cultural rules, result is conflict. Only way to avoid this conflict is to enforce single set of rules.

    That is why multiculturalism is impossible. It fails to create single cultural set of rules which everyone knows and is able to follow. Result is conflict, as we see in history. Why you insist on importing such disaster to Finland is unfathomable.

    So, every immigrant must be made understand and accept that in Finland only cultural rules that matter are Finnish. We do not care if farting to the face is polite where you come from, here it is rude. Learn not to follow your cultural norms here, or face being excluded. Because we do not want to interact with rude people.

    Yes, Finnish culture changes. But it changes in ways that fit us, Finns. Not you immigrants. Because it is OUR culture. We change it to fit US. Not to fit you.

    No, you will not become Finn. But every immigrant must learn to act properly in Finnish cultural context. We do not care what your culture says about proper behavior, in Finland Finnish culture rules. You may educate us on your culture when we come to your country, do not presume to tell us how to live in our country.

    • Enrique

      –Society is group of people. For it to function properly, everyone must adhere same rules and principles. These rules and principles are twofold, legal and cultural. Adherence to both is essential requirement of functional society.

      OK, granted, but what does the Equality Act state? Under whose cultural norms should we “behave.” Is being gay Finnish?
      Is being Mulsim Finnish? What about if I am an anarchist? Is that Finnish too? Your definition of what are cultural
      norms are too simple and short to be valid. Every sensible person makes an effort to be a part of society. However,
      this does not mean I have to be like you — nor you like me.

      –Because it is OUR culture. We change it to fit US. Not to fit you.

      Are you sure? Some Finns read your comments and they would not like to FIT in your world.

  19. Tiwaz

    Have you ever thought WHY Finland and Finnish culture are the way they are Enrique?

    Because we Finns like it that way. We do not want your small talk. We do not desire your ways. We have our ways, we have our silence. It is what Finns love and value. And you coming here and telling we have to start smalltalking or doing things your way. No way jose.

    Learn to be silent, learn to let your words have meaning. Learn how Finns interact. Because we will not change our culture for you. We change it only if we want change to it. If we do not, we do not. And your whining that we are Finns and how Finnish culture should not be like it is but like you want it to be only annoys us.

    Learn how people live in this society, then learn to imitate that behavior. Else you are troublemaker and rude. And nobody wants to deal with rude troublemakers. So you end up excluded. It is not racism, it is how Finns treat such people. Finn or foreign.

    It is you, who are racist, by presuming that we should follow your cultural norms.

    • Enrique

      There you go again throwing labels with character assassination weapons. I think the person who
      has a problem understanding what Finnish culture is you. Isn’t racism exclusion? By the way,
      you are not very knowledgeable on Finnish law either. Ever read the Yhdenvertaisuuslaki/Equality Act?
      Here is the link: http://www.seis.fi/suomi/yhdenvertaisuuslaki/. After you have read it come to talk
      to me about how much of my identity you want to destroy to conform in your very narrow worldview of
      others. You are not a member of a tribe. You are a member of a modern society comprising of many people
      with different backgrounds. This is not Finland of the 1950s or 1960s.

  20. Tiwaz

    -Are you sure? Some Finns read your comments and they would not like to FIT in your world.

    They haven’t thought what they do. They have not bothered to think WHY they keep 1,5 meters distance to other people. Why they avoid contact with unknown people. Why they do not swing their hands around like windmills like for example Italians. They have not yet understood how huge part of their everyday life Finnish cultural norms are.

    -OK, granted, but what does the Equality Act state? Under whose cultural norms should we “behave.” Is being gay Finnish?
    Is being Mulsim Finnish? What about if I am an anarchist? Is that Finnish too? Your definition of what are cultural
    norms are too simple and short to be valid. Every sensible person makes an effort to be a part of society. However,
    this does not mean I have to be like you — nor you like me.

    Yes, so why do you immigrants whine how you are treated? You are, essentially in most cases, treated like Finn of your situation would be treated.

    Do you think that if somehow there was Finn who was not able to speak Finnish and was not able to act properly he would be treated any differently than foreigner who does not speak Finnish or act properly?

    What you immigrants want is not equality but preferential treatment. You do not want to speak fluent Finnish or act Finnish to make yourself equal. You want to be treated like Finns while not being able to do things Finns can do.

  21. DeTant Blomhat

    “Maybe I can understand your stance because you have not lived abroad, but DeTant’s views are quite incredible. He lived in the US and equates multiculturalism with ghettos. It sounds more like a person that lived in a rural part of Alabama or Wyoming.”

    It is because I’ve seen myself the ghettoes in NYC and Miami. These “no-go” areas. My sister lives in Paris. It is definitely “multicultural” – its French parts + banlieue ghettoes where you have to feel scared and intimidated to go to because “you do not belong.” That is not the kind of developement I want in Finland. I want – as it is said in the act you provided – that there is no discrimination and everybody is equal, so people can walk the streets without being afraid that you get gangs shooting at you.

    See my problem is that I have been abroad and lived in places and seen what the reality is. Most of the people wanting multiculturalism to Finland have not.

    And multiculturalism isn’t being gay or muslim. Multiculturalism is the muslim discriminating the gay and wanting him killed. and the jews. Finland is that you can be as gay as you can be a muslim but there is no discrimination allowed. That is why multiculturalism is bad and should be opposed. One set of rules for the society for everybody.

    • Enrique

      Yes, and unlike you, Topelius understood that cultures comprise of many and these are positive matters.

  22. Kristian

    Cultures comprise many peoples, is that what you are saying? I don’t deny that foreigners have integrated into Finland as the times have passed. That you think I do shows how little you really understand the arguments of people for national identity. Like it or not, despite the completely normal occurence of migration and assimilation, Finns still form a biological entity, as well as a cultural and national entity. You can even tell with great accuracy which historical province any given Finn is.

    And if something like multiculturalism is positive/negative is surely a matter of opinion? Or is it good just because?

    • Enrique

      National identity is a myth and something fabricated. One of the biggest myths is stating that Finns are a tribe or are biologically different. So? Does that mean you act differently or belong to such a diverse culture that nobody understands? It is not a matter of whether you are for or against multiculturalism. It is a matter of how do people from diverse cultures function in a society. What is the most effective matter to find synergies and have them, as well as the majority culture, contribute to this noble project we call Finland? That, I believe, is the bottom line at the end of the day.

  23. Tiwaz

    Finns ARE a tribe. Our genetic background is remarkably uniform and separate from other populations in Europe.

    Short of minor influxes from Sweden and Russia, Finns originate from smallish group of settlers who started life here.

    People from diverse cultures do not function in society if they are not told to respect the rules and traditions of that society. Finnish society has rules founded on Finnish culture.

    Finland is not project, it is our home. Our ancestral home. Part of our very identity. That you foreigners come here and have arrogance to try to tell us how to live in our home is absolutely disgusting.

    • Enrique

      Finns ARE NOT a tribe, full stop. That is a myth.

      –Finland is not project, it is our home. Our ancestral home. Part of our very identity. That you foreigners come here and have arrogance to try to tell us how to live in our home is absolutely disgusting.

      Don’t you think it is quite rude and arrogant to force others to live by your standards? Finland is not the Soviet Union or a tin-pot dictatorship. It is a modern society with modern law that strive for equality. I am not telling you how to live. That is your choice. I am an adult and know how to behave and live in a society. I don’t need to be placed in a crib and be breastfed your values.

  24. Tiwaz

    -Finns ARE NOT a tribe, full stop. That is a myth.

    How about proving that?

    We have very limited origin. We come from small group of settlers who shared culture and were small enough to have clear genetic relativeness.

    -Don’t you think it is quite rude and arrogant to force others to live by your standards? Finland is not the Soviet Union or a tin-pot dictatorship. It is a modern society with modern law that strive for equality. I am not telling you how to live. That is your choice. I am an adult and know how to behave and live in a society. I don’t need to be placed in a crib and be breastfed your values.

    Yes, it is wrong. And that is why I oppose your arrogant attempts to force ME to live according to YOUR standards in MY country. You want to live in argentinian or whateveristan society, MOVE! Leave Finland FINNISH. Stop trying to tell us Finns how to live in Finland.

    Either in Finland like Finns, or honest f*** off. Because you are not contributing to long term stability of this society.

  25. DeTant Blomhat

    “Don’t you think it is quite rude and arrogant to force others to live by your standards? ”

    Well Finland isn’t an anarchy.

    “Finland is not the Soviet Union ”

    Yes its not, one is free to leave at any time with no restrictions nor obligations.

  26. DeTant Blomhat

    Well, I think Finns are tribes (in the plural) and Finland is an ongoing project – with limited resources and a spandex schedule.

  27. DeTant Blomhat

    “Tiwaz: Fortunately, we don’t have Slavery in Finland”

    Calculator man: Unfortunately not *yet* but as you can see we are getting there
    yle.fi/news/id94173.html
    now that is a huge employer, but we see small companies do even worse.

Leave a Reply