Two different centuries: A new Finland awakens

by , under All categories, Enrique

If we look very generally at the previous century, Finns worked hard at building a sense of national unity: surnames were Finnicized and personal histories about our “foreign” background were erased for the common national good.

Our Finnish identity got a further boost in the Winter War (1939-40), when the Soviet Union invaded our country. Through war, unfortunately, we were able to strengthen our identity as a nation.

Our short history as an independent nation and how we forged our national identity still dictates how some of us see the outside world: as a threat or an opportunity?

But we live today in a new century and totally different reality when compared with before. Our world is globalized and Finland needs skilled immigrants to plug the ever-growing labor shortage.

I personally believe that the biggest and most exciting challenges facing Finland today is building a new sense of national identity for this century. That new identity will be vastly different from the previous one because it will be much more inclusive to people who want to form part of this great family we call Finland.

If  in the previous century we were supposed to hide our foreign roots because we wanted to stress our Finnishness, in this century it will not only be acceptable but encouraged to show our diversity.

We are from different backgrounds but we are Finns.

  1. Tony Garcia

    “We are from different backgrounds but we are Finns.”

    For the very first time I do agree with you 100%…

    Our background/culture/religion is completely irrelevant. We are first and foremost Finnish citizens or Finnish residents. That triumphs everything else and should dictate our lives.

    Enrique, honestly, well done.

  2. Hannu

    “Through war, unfortunately, we were able to strengthen our identity as a nation.”

    So i assume your parents were in Terijoki goverment and had to flee because of that?
    Isnt it really shame that Finland didnt become Finnish Democratic Republic…

    • Enrique

      Hannu, a good example that people from diverse backgrounds can meet and talk is this blog. Thank you for participating.

      Hearing and glorifying war is a totally different story than swimming in its chronic squalor and becoming one of its mortal victims.