Finland–Sweden relations

Source: Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.
Finnish–Swedish relations
Map indicating locations of Finland and Sweden


Diplomatic mission
Ambassador Nicola Clase

independence from Russia in 1917, Finland and Sweden have been close partners, enjoying a special relationship. The number of Finnish-Swedish connections and the quality of cooperation in most areas of the government is unique when compared to other international relations involving both countries. The Swedish language has an official status in Finland, whilst Finns form the largest ethnic minority in Sweden, estimated to be about 675,000.[1]

Prime minister of Sweden Ulf Kristersson visiting Prime minister of Finland Sanna Marin
meet in Helsinki on 28 October 2022

Both Finland and Sweden joined the

2022 Russian invasion of Ukraine. Russia has since stopped its electricity export to Finland, with Finland expecting to import from Sweden as a result.[7]

Finland has an

On a larger scale both Finland and Sweden also share a special relationship with all the other Nordic countries (Denmark, Iceland and Norway). The two countries became members of the European Union in 1995.

Country comparison

Prime Minister of Sweden Magdalena Andersson visiting Prime Minister of Finland Sanna Marin
in Helsinki in 2022
The border between Sweden and Finland in Haparanda and Tornio
Finland Sweden
Flag Finland Sweden
Coat of Arms
Coat of arms of Finland.svg
Great coat of arms of Sweden.svg
Population 5,553,000 10,481,937
Area 338,455 km2 450,295 km2
Capital city Helsinki Stockholm
Largest city (metropolitan area) Helsinki – 1,536,810 Stockholm – 2,415,139
Government Unitary parliamentary republic Unitary parliamentary constitutional monarchy
Current leader Sauli Niinistö (President)

Sanna Marin (Prime Minister)

Carl XVI Gustaf (King)

Ulf Kristersson (Prime Minister)

Current Foreign minister Pekka Haavisto Tobias Billström
Current Minister of Defense Antti Kaikkonen Pål Jonson
Main language Finnish and Swedish Swedish
Official or recognized minority languages
Sami languages, Romani, Yiddish and Meänkieli
Main religions 67.8%
1.7% other religion
29.4% no religion
60.2% Lutheran
8.5% other
31.3% no religion
GDP (nominal) $267.61 billion $603.92 billion
GDP (nominal) per capita $53,745 $56,361
GDP (PPP) $231.3 billion $684.45 billion
GDP (PPP) per capita $42,165 $63,877
Real GDP growth rate 1.15% 1.29%
HDI 0.940 0.947
Currency Euro Swedish krona (SEK)
Military expenditure 1.41% of GDP 1.18% of GDP
Labour Force 2,685,000 5,268,520


Viking period and Swedish crusades

Contact between Sweden and what is now Finland was considerable even during pre-Christian times. The

Vikings were known to Finns due to both their participation in commerce and their plundering. There is evidence of possible Viking settlements on the Finnish mainland.[10]
The Åland Islands were probably settled from Sweden during the Viking period.

During the 11th and 12th centuries, Sweden gradually became a unified Christian kingdom. According to the archaeological finds,

bishop of Finland. There were several secular powers who aimed to bring Finland under their rule but the Swedish regent Birger Jarl established Swedish rule in Finland through the Second Swedish Crusade
, which is most often dated at 1249.

Middle Ages

Finland gradually became an integrated and important part of Sweden. Finland became known as

Åbo. Åbo was one of the biggest towns in the kingdom of Sweden, and its population included German merchants and craftsmen. Otherwise the degree of urbanization was very low in medieval Finland. During the 12th and 13th centuries, great numbers of Swedish settlers moved to the southern and north-western coasts of Finland, including Åland
and the archipelago between Åbo and the Åland Islands. In these regions, the Swedish language is widely spoken even today. Swedish came to be the language of the high-status people in many other parts of Finland as well.

In 1362, representatives from Finland were called to participate in the elections for

king of Sweden
. That year is often held to signify the incorporation of Finland into the kingdom of Sweden. As in the Scandinavian part of the kingdom, a gentry or (lower) nobility consisted of magnates and yeomen who could afford armament for a man and a horse. These were concentrated in the southern part of Finland.

After the

stood against a Russian siege.

Vasa era and Cudgel War

Jakob Bincks

In 1521 the Kalmar Union collapsed and

. The state administration underwent extensive reforms and development too, giving it a much stronger grip on the life of local communities as well as the ability to collect higher taxes. Following the policies of the Reformation, in 1551 Mikael Agricola, bishop of Åbo, published his translation of the New Testament into the Finnish language. In 1550 Helsinki was founded by Gustav Vasa under the name of Helsingfors, but remained little more than a fishing village for more than two centuries.

King Gustav Vasa died in 1560 and his crown was passed to his three sons in separate turns. The common people of Finland suffered during this period because of drafts, high taxes, and abuse by military personnel. This resulted in the Cudgel War of 1596–1597, a desperate peasant rebellion, which was suppressed brutally and bloodily. A peace treaty (the Treaty of Teusina) with Russia in 1595 moved the border of Finland further to the east and north, very roughly where the modern border lies.

An important part of the 16th-century history of Finland was growth of the area settled by the farming population. Farmers from the province of Savonia settled the vast wilderness regions in Middle Finland, and the original Sami population often had to leave. Some of the wilderness settled was traditional hunting and fishing territory of Karelian hunters. During the 1580s, this resulted in a bloody guerrilla warfare between the Finnish settlers and Karelians in some regions, especially in Ostrobothnia.

19th century

In 1809 Sweden lost Finland to Russia after the Finnish War.


In 1917 Finland got independence, during World War I. Sweden recognized the independence, but required Åland Islands to become part of Sweden. During the Finnish Civil War 1918 Sweden occupied Åland. The League of Nations solved the dispute by not changing the border, but requiring the Swedish language of Åland to be kept.

World War II

During World War II Sweden declared its neutrality, but in the Winter war it declared itself non-belligerent and supported Finland's cause to a limited extent. This included over 8,000 Swedish army and air force volunteers. Sweden also accepted and cared for a host of Finnish "war"-children during World War II. After the war, Sweden had a clear headstart in the post-war economical development, much due to its neutrality in the war.

In September 1944, Finland relocated elements of its signals intelligence capabilities to Sweden as part of the Stella Polaris operation, allowing Sweden access to intercepted Soviet communications in exchange for security in the event of a renewed Soviet invasion of Finland.[11][12]

Postwar era

It is an old tradition for the first official foreign visit of a new prime minister from either country to visit the other. However, in June 2014, the newly elected Finnish prime minister Alexander Stubb broke with tradition and used his first official visit abroad to visit Estonia.[13] Since then, Antti Rinne also made his first official visit to Estonia but Juha Sipilä and Sanna Marin both made their first official visit to Sweden.[14][15][16]

In 2014, the two countries announced a special defense partnership between them.[17]

As the COVID-19 pandemic hit Europe in 2020 and 2021, Finland and Sweden chose to respond to it in differing ways. Sweden implemented generally laxer restrictions while Finland closed its borders among other things. This is due to the countries' differing histories: Finland's traumatic experiences during World War II have left their mark on Finnish society and the country has thus maintained a larger preparedness for crisis, whereas Sweden cut back on its preparedness after the end of the Cold War and decided to use the funds for other purposes. What, if any, impact this will have on official state relations is unclear, but officials in both countries have had to comment on public concerns relating to Finnish–Swedish relations in the countries' medias.[18][19][20][21][22][23][24][25]

European Union

Both countries became members of the European Union in 1995.


Both countries had not pursued

Russian invasion of Ukraine in 2022, the two countries applied for NATO membership on 18 May 2022.[26] However, the two countries compare it to the membership veto due to Turkey's objections.[27]

See also


  1. ^ "Kahdenväliset suhteet Ruotsiin (Bilateral Relations to Sweden)". (in Finnish). Embassy of Finland, Stockholm. 16 September 2013. Retrieved 21 February 2015.
  2. ^ "Suomesta virallinen vähemmistökieli Ruotsissa (Finnish becomes an official minority language in Sweden)". (in Finnish). The Institute for the Languages of Finland (KOTUS). 2000. Retrieved 21 February 2015.
  3. ^ Welle (, Deutsche. "Finland's ruling party backs NATO bid | DW | 14.05.2022". DW.COM. Retrieved 2022-05-15.
  4. ^ Bellamy, Daniel (2022-05-15). "Finland's president and prime minister announce intention to join NATO". euronews. Retrieved 2022-05-15.
  5. ^ Basu, Zachary (2022-05-15). "Sweden's ruling party announces support for NATO application". Axios. Retrieved 2022-05-15.
  6. ISSN 0362-4331
    . Retrieved 2022-05-15.
  7. ^ "Russian operator to suspend electricity supply to Finland". BBC News. 2022-05-13. Retrieved 2022-05-15.
  8. ^ "Suurlähetystö (Embassy)". (in Finnish). Embassy of Finland, Stockholm. 21 November 2012. Retrieved 21 February 2015.
  9. ^ "Ambassaden & konsulat (Embassies and Consulates)". (in Swedish). Sweden's Ministry for Foreign Affairs. Retrieved 21 February 2015.
  10. .]
  11. .
  12. .
  13. ^ Stubb Makes First Foreign Visit to Estonia, ERR Estonian Public Broadcasting, 30 June 2014.
  14. ^ Hakala, Heidi. "Kort men kärt möte mellan Rinne och Löfven: "Vi är gamla vänner"". Hufvudstadsbladet. Retrieved 13 September 2020.
  15. ^ "Sipilä besöker Sverige". Vasabladet. Retrieved 13 September 2020.
  16. ^ Andelin, Jan-Erik. "Sanna Marin på sitt första statsbesök till Sverige: Tas trupper hem från Irak sker det i samarbete med andra aktörer". Hufvudstadsbladet. Retrieved 13 September 2020.
  17. ^ O’DWYER, GERARD (24 January 2014). "Finland, Sweden Eye Non-NATO Defense Partnership". Gannett Government Media Corporation. Archived from the original on January 27, 2014. Retrieved 26 January 2014.
  18. ^ "Finland is ready to defend itself at war as against pandemic. Interview with Finnish ambassador to Vilnius". 6 August 2020.
  19. ^ Guardians of the North: The Finnish Army Improves Readiness and Mobility to Counter Hybrid Threats, by Dr Michael Jonsson & Dr Johan Engvall
  20. ^ "Ei valmiuslakeja, ei valmiusvarastoja – Korona paljasti Ruotsin "Ikea-syndrooman"".
  21. ^ "Huoltovarmuusvarastojen ovet ovat auenneet vain muutaman kerran tällä vuosituhannella – mitä kaikkea varastot pitävät sisällään?". 24 March 2020.
  22. ^ "Sverige stängde beredskapslagren och brände miljoner ansiktsmasker".
  23. ^ "Finlands president: Det är inte mot Sverige".
  24. ^ "Korona Ruotsissa". 11 January 2021.
  25. ^ El-Shanti, Lubna (22 May 2020). "Sverige används som skräckexempel i Finland - Godmorgon världen". Sveriges Radio.
  26. ^ "Finlandiya ve İsveç NATO'ya resmi üyelik için başvurularını yaptı" (in Turkish). 2022-05-18.
  27. ^ "Türkiye'den Finlandiya ve İsveç'e veto" (in Turkish). Aydınlık. 2022-05-18.

External links