Henrik Dettmann: Finland is an “extremely intolerant” country

by , under Enrique Tessieri

Is Finland a racist country? Henrik Dettmann, head coach of the Finnish national basketball team, agrees and claims that Finland is an ”extremely intolerant” country that isn’t a favorable place for foreigners.

Kuvankaappaus 2013-11-18 kello 12.47.24
Read full story here.

“Yes [Finland is a racist country],” Dettmann is quoted as saying on Verkkouutiset. “If I compare what I have experienced [in different countries], nowhere have a bumped into such narrow-minded attitudes towards foreigners as in Finland, nowhere else.”

He said that if a party like the Perussuomalaiset get 20% of the votes in an election  by fueling anti-immigration sentiment, that already says a lot about the present state of Finland.

Dettmann has worked as a coach of the German and French national basketball teams.

It is a positive sign that more Finns are speaking out against racism in this country, which continues to be denied or played down.

If we had the opportunity to move twenty years ahead in time, how would we look at Finland’s darkest period in the new century?

One matter is for certain: Not enough voices spoke out against racism and intolerance.

  1. JusticeDemon


    Have you ever wished you were better informed?

    There were no native speakers of Serbo-Croat in Finland in 1991, but more than 2000 a decade later. Finland introduced a special Act of Parliament (no. 14 of 8 January 1993) to enable express approval at local police stations of asylum applications from citizens of the former Republic of Yugoslavia who arrived before 22 July 1992.

  2. infrasounds

    Hei, Demon.
    Just have a walk outside, listen to the people, take a bus, take a train, travel the city, and you’ll know better about the issue, than just giving us some dumb numbers in some kind of pathetic disbelief that Finland IS a racist country. Give me a break, man! Why you finns are so unable to think realistic about yourself? Why you always try to put on some theatrical pretend while talking or thinking the truth about yourselves? Come on!

    • Mark

      So who’s generalising then?

      The question of whether Finland ‘is a racist country’ is unhelpful. The real question is whether there is racism in Finland and what the prevalence and effects of that racism are.

      Anyhow, Demon is not a Finn….lolol. I guess you were just not paying attention!

    • JusticeDemon


      Perhaps you didn’t read the referenced article?

      Dettmann perustelee rajua kantaansa “mikrotason” kokemuksilla siitä, miten kantaväestö ottaa eri maista tulevat ihmiset vastaan. Mieleen on jäänyt Balkanin sotakin. Dettmann muistelee saksalaisten ottaneen pakolaisia vastaan 50 000, kun Suomen osuudeksi jäi 50.

      This is the source of your “dumb numbers”. Dettman suggests that Finland only accepted 50 refugees from the Balkan wars, whereas Germany accepted 50,000. This is an extraordinary claim coming from a basketball coach, as basketball is one of the most popular sports among immigrants from the territory of the Former Republic of Yugoslavia. It is quite likely that Dettman has personally seen more than 50 such refugees playing this very sport in Finland.

      For smarter numbers, we can consult the official population statistics. These indicate that Finland admitted about three to four thousand immigrants from the Former Republic of Yugoslavia in the years following the Balkan wars. Bearing in mind that the population of Germany is sixteen times greater than that of Finland, it is absurd to draw the comparison that Dettman attempts, although this is emphatically not to say that both countries could not have done more. The Finnish Parliament even approved a special enabling Act to assist the resettlement process. No such legislation was enacted in Germany.

      Here are the figures for residents of Finland born in the Former Republic of Yugoslavia:
      smarter numbers

      Of course apart from being better at certain sports like basketball and football, there is little to tell the average Finn and Yugoslav apart. This is not a particularly visible minority.