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The real intolerance in Finland The real intolerance in Finland
by Edward Dutton
Issue 16
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Foreigners living in Finland are a disparate bunch, many of whom get by in English. They are here for a variety of reasons, frequently because they’ve ended-up marrying a Finn. It can be very difficult being a foreigner in Finland especially as, if many of it’s tiny number of English language news sites and magazines are to be believed, Finns really don’t want foreigners in their country at all.

A June 2006 and article in an Oulu (Northern Finland) English-language web-newspaper 65 Degrees North, exemplifies the way that articles in some of Finland’s English-language media seem to portray Finns. Nigel Watson’s article on why he left Oulu - ‘Good Bye Oulu’ - painted Oulu (and by implication the whole country) as a collection of unfriendly, intolerant racists.

Mr. Watson’s main reason for leaving Oulu is that he felt ‘not accepted, let alone welcome’ and that there is a general Finnish attitude that you should adopt a Finnish way of life or leave. In my experience, the people of Oulu bend over backwards to accommodate me as an Englishman. ‘Oululaiset’ are more than happy to speak in English, which is hardly a sign of not welcoming foreigners. In fact, younger Oululaiset tend to be so enthusiastic about speaking in English that I’ve basically stopped trying to practice my Finnish.

When I have had to use it, with elderly Finns, they have been perfectly amiable and have slowed right down. My elderly Finnish neighbour always chats to me. I’ve no idea what he’s saying half the time but if he is saying, ‘Go back to your own country! You people make me sick!’ he’s saying it in an extraordinarily friendly way, frequently with offers of coffee. I was once told (in English by a young man) to ‘Go home! This is not your country!’ This was in a branch of Alko in Kokkola (a tiny country town) while a friend and I were speaking in English. Every Finn to whom I have relayed this incident has been amazed and slightly angered that a fellow Finn would behave in such a way.

Of course, like Mr Watson, I am English. I do not stand out as a foreigner and perhaps my experience of Oulu would be less pleasant if I did. But even so, I think that the city has to be given a chance. Until about fifteen years ago, almost everyone that lived in Oulu was Finnish. This, together with unemployment amongst Oulu people, is bound to lead to resentment towards those who are conspicuously foreign. But to be fair to Oulu residents, they are not rioting or electing large numbers of openly anti-immigrant politicians onto Oulu City Council. This is precisely what happened in cities in Britain and France a similar period after immigration began there.

The real intolerance in Finland is not racism. Even academic experts on Finland’s ‘far right’ such as Prof Kyösti Pekonen admit that racist violence, for example, is exaggerated by the media and is, in fact, pretty rare in Finland by European standards. The real intolerance in Finland is found amongst those who hold a particular ideology – that a multicultural society with lots of people from all around the world is a wonderful thing – but who think that anyone who does not agree with them is evil . . . or, in their language, a ‘Nazi’ a ‘Fascist’ or a ‘Racist.’

These terms relate to such strong taboos that they basically mean ‘evil’ or ‘heretic.’ Nigel Watson heavily implies in his 65 Degrees North article that the idea that foreigners should integrate into Finnish society is racist. Oulu City Council should hire people not on merit but because they are foreign and if they do not then I guess that they are probably racist as well.

Similar articles to Mr Watson’s are published in SixDegrees, which claims to be ‘Finland’s only English Language Magazine,’ except here they are far more common. If you are a foreigner in Finland it is difficult not to have come across SixDegrees. It is highly political, packed with articles which imply that Finns are ‘racist’ because they are not sufficiently enthusiastic about a multicultural Finland.

To provide just a few examples, the April 2005 issue carried an article entitled ‘Racism in Layers,’ which pontificated about Finnish racism, especially in schools. The November 2005 issue carried an article entitled ‘Racist Pack Design,’ criticising apparently racist packaging of chocolate in Finland. The essence of the article was: the packets are racist and should be banned. If you don’t care, you’re probably a little bit racist. In other words, you are with us, or against us. Multiculturalist or Racist.

Good or Evil. The only intolerance I have ever experienced in Finland is when I wrote an objective article about what random Oulu people thought of the Prophet Mohammed cartoon furore for 65 Degrees North. I was accused, by one Oulu reader, of being ‘racist’ and ‘Nazi’ just for pointing out that some people – not even necessarily myself! – disagreed with his or her views. That is intolerance, fanatical intolerance, which is far more worrying than some idiot telling me to ‘Go home!’

Indeed, SixDegrees has been heavily criticised amongst Finnish nationalists. One discussion forum contributor claimed that: "SixDegrees has a constant theme that it’s always hammering home: Finns are ignorant, stupid, ugly, evil and racist, and the only way they can ever be accepted by the rest of the world is to open the borders for everyone to come here (although, of course, Finland is such an awful country and the Finns are such racist bigots that no-one would want to come here anyway, which is why we must welcome the thousands or hundreds of thousands clamouring to come here)." (Stormfront, a White nationalist discussion forum).

Other Finns on the forum chorused agreement. And it is this kind of attention that is worrying. The problem with many of the articles in SixDegrees and Nigel Watson’s article in 65 Degrees North is not just that they reflect what is basically an extremely intolerant form of an ideology. They distort the way that Finns see foreigners and foreigners see Finns. For a foreigner reading SixDegrees, Finns are racists (albeit not too openly) and they don’t really want you in Finland.

For the Finn reading the same newspaper, foreigners are basically extremely ungrateful and are laughing at them because many of the contributors or interviewees are foreign. They have come to Finland and are now complaining that the Finns aren’t nice enough to them. In reality, neither is generally the case. So the magazine’s slant is bad for race relations. It helps to separate the foreigner from the Finn. It is THIS intolerance, and not racism itself, that may indirectly lead to racial problems in Finland in future.

Finland, in my experience, is basically a welcoming and friendly country. There is probably some racism, but far less than in some countries in Europe. The creeping intolerance in Finland is not racism. It is the view that if you don’t rigorously promote a certain ideology then you need to be publicly attacked and ostracised or even worse. It is the same intolerance that led, for example, to Prof. Tatu Vanhanen (the Finnish Prime Minister’s father) being ‘investigated’ (basically intimidated into shutting up, because he was never prosecuted) for publishing an academic book on IQ and race and reporting his findings to the Finnish newspapers.

It is the same intolerance that led to the Finnish website Suomen Sisu being ‘investigated’ (and again not prosecuted) for publishing the Mohammed cartoons. Like any ideology taken to extremes, the multiculturalism of SixDegrees reflects intolerance of dissenting opinion....intolerance that could have some very nasty consequences in Finland in the future.


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Eleftheria Pappa2008-02-20 13:23:40
I read your article with great interest. A friend of mine recently moved to Oulu. She holds a joint Swedish/French nationality and the only reason she decided to move there was because she followed her fiance. She is highly qualified with studies in France and Britain and yet she is told she will not find a job, unless she is willing to wait for a year to work as a cleaner.She cannot have a bank account or even health insurance as is not employed. I was frankly utterly surprised to hear all this,and myself coming from a southern European country which has a reputation for being xenophobic, I was struck by such attitudes that I would never find at home. I would be very grateful for any comments/sugegstions.


Asa2008-02-21 09:31:15
Eleftheria, you might want to try asking the same question at www.iesaf.fi on the forum. Somebody there may be able to suggest something to help.


lostinlovewithoulu2008-06-11 12:07:48
It is a fact that physical and voilent racism is practically non-existent in OULU as well as other parts of Finland.
It is rather a mental game. Firstly, if you are a foreigner you skin color does play a deciding role to the amount of racism you would encounter in you daily life.

Again, I don't call it racism I call it jealousy and hate.

The idea goes like this if you have a dark complexion. People will not even sit beside you in a bus. I rather see it as a chance to enjoy the ride alone.

Again, being a man or a woman also plays a important role. I think the man faces more of this small and insignificant curses than women. I may be wrong. Do correct me if I am.

But, I also have to mention that Finnish people are very intelligent if they understand that, they require you they can be your best friends at times.

Getting a job is very difficult even for a Finnish person nowadays. So, if you are a ordinary foreigner you always will get the last preference or as I put it stay unemployed.

Even if you get work, you have to be atleast few times better than a Finn to be considered for the job.



Mr Sargeson2008-09-11 11:31:29
Been in oulu for 4months, and as the old saying goes, it not what you know its who you know! I belive oulu is the birth place of that saying. Mr N Watson is just a cry baby, Since i have been here i have made friends i will keep for life, love this place. Harden up Watson!!
I have a bank account, got on a finnish course, play football and rugby in oulu and have many job offers, as do my friends from New Zealand, South Africa and England. And once i started talking to people i found that some were interested in speaking english and some werent, its the same everywhere. Also if people were to come to Australia i would want to live the aussie way and not the way they lived ín there home country, that includes leraning the lingo.


Finne2009-02-17 21:28:06
I liked this article,


TJ2009-02-19 14:43:22
Eleftheria,

It's who you are and how you organize your life, not who the people around you are. Not getting a bank account or health insurance is simply not true. I wonder how that is possible. I have foreign citizenship an no probs!


Finn2009-06-10 11:41:35
I love you Edward for writing this article!! :)


Anon2009-07-11 23:37:58
lostinlovewithoulu, no one in Finland wants to sit next to anyone on a bus, and, by the way, no one wants to talk to anyone on the street either, if you thought that was racism as well.

If the seats are filling up, grannies will try to sit next to grannies, schoolchildren next to other children, etc. In fact, very often people will stand even if there are seats left, because private space is more important.

What do you expect will happen in such an environment to an obvious foreigner, who no one expects to have anything in common with? They don't hate you, they just want to be left alone.

It's people like you who come here and expect us to treat you differently because you're a foreigner who cause the problems. How about you immigrants try to understand our culture for a change? I guess I'm racist too for saying something like this?

And no, you're not going to get work unless you're much better than a native, because you don't speak the local language properly, and have that huge negative value to overcome. Businesses aren't a charity. Try applying to large international companies where the office language is English anyway.

Just for fun, you should also try applying for non-international jobs in the US with a Finnish Master's degree. They're going to look at your application for one second, notice your school isn't accredited in the US, and stop reading. That's not racism either, if you were wondering.


Mike2009-09-18 19:52:02
The opposite of multi-cultural _IS_ uni-cultural: a single culture to which all must belong or be expelled. The difference between that and racism or nazism is minuscule at best. They are only specific approaches towards uniculturalism.


Dave2009-09-24 15:07:44
As an Englishman Finland has to be one of the easiest countries in the world to live and get by. Most information web sites are in English and Swedish. You can speak to the authorities, tax people, banks etc.. in English. Where English isn't the native language there can't be many other countries in the world like this, just the other Nordic countries perhaps.


Mike from Canada2009-10-12 16:22:51
I would like to offer a different point of view. I have lived in Helsinki for a few years (I have a Finnish wife). Compared with other Western countries, I have found Finns to be a bit more xenophobic. Contrary to what Mr. Dutton says, I don't think Finns are so open to foreigners and foreign ideas -- at least when compared to other Western nations. I am "white" and I speak Finnish, and in general I don't have too many problems. I have lots of Finnish friends and they treat me well. However, I have experienced some anti-immigrant tension, and I have also seen several scary racial incidents on the streets, one involving a few Finns attacking a black man (it was not even reported). Most darker skinned people in Finland experience these things, but they will not say anything for fear of reprisal. Trust me on this. Another big problem for foreigners is that Finns will not hire you (except as a cleaner). Even if you have an advanced degree from a well-known institution, they will always hire a Finn first. Contrast this to American or even Swedish or Norweigian institutions, all of which have a wealth of foreign talent (there is quite a bit of nepotism in Finland). In sum, if you are white and don't mind a cleaning job, Finland is not a bad place to be. However, if you are not white or if you desire a profession other than cleaning, I would recommend another country. I don't want to sound too harsh; I do like Finland -- and my wife and kids are Finnish. But I think Mr. Dutton has only given half the picture -- and the other half is that Finns need to rethink their attitudes toward outsiders and outside ideas. Otherwise Finland will continue to experience brain drain and gather a negative reputation around the world.



Henk2009-10-16 12:10:59
"She is highly qualified....and yet she is told she will not find a job, unless she is willing to wait for a year to work as a cleaner.She cannot have a bank account or even health insurance as is not employed."

I think getting a bank account or insurance is not difficult for an EU citizen, you just have to register yourself in the local magistrate. I have plenty of experience in helping foreigners in these matters and can´t figure out this story at all.


The problem with employment concerns also the educated young natives, altough requiring the knowledge of finnish language makes it extremely hard for foreigners.



Nieminen2009-10-16 14:41:52
This was a well-thought out of arguement and closelly parallels mine. Well done.


M2009-10-16 19:14:39
Mr Dutton, I think discussions about racism are very important to the functioning and well-being of any society, so I thank you for allowing me to present my viewpoint. You begin your article by suggesting that there is a prevailing narrative among journalists that wrongly criticizes Finns because it is said that, ‘Finns don’t want foreigners in Finland.’ You suggest that these writers are ultimately ‘intolerant multiculturalists,’ and you do so by drawing out a surface-level paradox: that the multiculturalists, or those who advocate tolerance of foreigners, are really intolerant because for some reason they do not tolerate racism. That strikes me as a rather bizarre argument. What you have done is conflate “free speech” issues with those relating to “tolerance.” You do so by pointing to the investigations of Tatu Vanhanen and Sisu Suomen as evidence that the multiculturalists have been intolerant. There is problem with this approach. Finland has been in fact racking up a rather dismal free speech record in the EU, and the issues involved vary greatly. In other words, the investigation of Vanhanen and Sisu Suomen have little to do with alleged multiculturalists’ intolerance of racism; rather they relate to Finland’s frequent less-than-desirable free speech policy.

My next point is that you imply that in journalism, particularly English language journalism in Finland, Finns have become victims to overly harsh criticism about their views on foreigners. The majority of journalism I have read – in English or Finnish – simply suggests that a fairly high percentage of foreigners feel somewhat unwelcome. Mr. Watson’s piece is but one variation of this. I don’t know whether Mr. Watson was right or wrong, but one thing I do know: Finland is growing more international in business and demographics, and therefore immigrants’ perspectives ought to be handled with care and consideration. Numerous articles (in both Finnish and English) point to substantial and growing tension between Finnish immigrants and native-born Finns. Therefore I feel a less reactionary approach is absolutely necessary. Best wishes, M


Tommy J2009-10-19 10:24:09
Well, Ed Dutton.

If foreigners come to Finland the least we can demand from them after living a few years here is to realize that they are in a Nordic European country and not an Arctic society or ... Greenland.


Bruno Garcia2009-11-08 00:38:55
I'm Brazilian, from a Spanish/German family, and I was very welcome in Finland. I was there for a month, and in January I'm going again, this time for three months. I met a lot of Finns, loved their culture and everything. By the way, I'm staying at my Finnish friends house which also enjoys multicultural environments. There are xenophobic people everywhere! I live in Florianópolis, Brazil, where a number of foreign people come every day. I always welcome foreigners, but I've heard complains about Brazilians been rude to them not just once.


just me2009-12-30 22:19:39
Eleftheria
Well, duh. If it's really hard for even native speaker to get a job, what the hell do you expect to happen with foreign people. Even more, most of the job situations require interaction with co-workers, in some form or another, and you must know by this stage that English is hardly universal language. ("older people" speak hardly any English at all) Considering all this, what do you expect to happen to the foreigner who doesn't speak the language? Give her a job just out of solidarity and let the business take the fall?

Not to mention, I find the claim ridiculous that she can't get bank account etc. Also, it would pay to try to apply for the job to multinational corporations, where they have more English day-to-day basis.


lostinlovewithoulu
Like someone already said, Finns don't even talk to, nor sit next to, each other so why are you taking this as a racism? You should at least know the native culture and try to adjust (if nothing else than just attitudes) on that, rather than just go by yourself and call people racists who clearly have no idea what you are yelling about.
Again, like someone said, when all the double-seats are taken (meaning there is someone sitting on either bench), there will still be people standing on the isles just because they want to be left alone. Granted, in Finnish society there is lower chance of someone sitting next to you (specially if you have darker skin color), but 9 times out of 10 this has absolutely nothing to do with racism. Again, which you should know: Know the culture. Personal space is very very important in Finnish culture and in the end people will most likely "pair up" with people whose personal space they feel, they would be less likely to invade.

Mike from Canada
Again, it would pay to know the culture. There is a saying that "In school you learn how to learn", meaning that the real learning for a profession starts when you actually land a job and start working. School is there just to get you to the very basic level, where you can start off. Even native graduates rarely get a job straight out from school, unless they got the connections from "work training" courses, which again, school is most useful to - getting yourself connected with the right people. What I'm trying to say that in here, work experience triumphs over school diploma seven days in a week, thus if you come to Finland with just your diploma in your hand, expect landing the cleaning job. Simple as that. Plus, not to mention the standard of education is quite high in Finland so if you're getting 50 applications in a day, the applications with no "know standard to Finns" get swiped aside pretty quickly. (ie. no-one wants to spend valuable time for trying to figure out the standards of the university this fellow graduated from) And add to the fact that fluent Finnish is practically mandatory for every job (since, surprise surprise, not everyone speaks English), and that Finnish is notoriously hard to learn for foreigners.

The getting beat up part again is not necessarily racist, though if the people doing the beating are wearing camo jackets, there regrettably it is just that. Violence, sadly, is part of Finnish culture time to time and I've seen things like this happen even to the most Finns out there. Every now and then things just get out of hand and bad things happen.

That said, I'm sure there is xenophobia in Finland. Hell, I've even witnessed it. EVERY COUNTRY OUT THERE HAS IT, there are always misfits who do stupid things.
There is also a special case as there might be reservations towards dark skinned guys, let me explain why: In early '90s there was a surge of refugees from Somalia to Finland. The work expectations being what they are, specially to non-Finnish speaking (next to none) many of them turned to crime, thus making the population vary of these "Somalians", and as we all know this "first expression" is very hard to change. I still find myself getting more aware of my surroundings when I'm in the vicinity of dark skinned people, specially around Helsinki. I don't want to, it just happens.

What this all boils down to is: Know the culture. If you're feeling unwelcomed and hated, just stop and think if, just if, there might be something to blame on your side too. Learn the culture and respect it. Even though you would think it as xenophobic you still have to respect it. The equivalent would be me going to Italy and telling everyone not to talk to nor touch me - respect my personal space. This wouldn't be fair to them since they have been living like this thousands of years. Guess what? So have Finns. When I'm in Italy I respect the culture, even though I tend to jolt a bit (and generally feel uneasy) when people grab me by the arm when talking to me.

Let me put it this way. If you go to a country, don't respect the culture and instead just start screaming xenophobia, then you sir, are an idiot.
Just because it's in Europe doesn't mean it's just like any other European country. In fact, Finland is probably one of the most unique ones as far as culture go.


John2010-01-12 00:53:55
Basically Oulu people are okay. I sometimes found some strange cases, but I think this may be the same as in other countries.


Esko2010-03-27 14:51:38
"Just me" I think you are wrong about your assumption that racism began with the immigrants from Somalia. In the 80s in Oulu the main pub in town would not let blacks in. The same owner then opened a bar called "lakupekka," which is a very racist term. Also in other parts of Finland public displays of racism (such as signs saying things like "no blacks allowed") were surprisingly common at least until the late 90s. And today Finns are definitely more intolerant and racist than other Western countries. I hate to admit it (I am Finnish), but it's true. Sure, racism is in every country. But it's worse in Finland, and what makes the problem even more troubling is that we Finns don't really address the issue.


Kwa2010-04-20 14:43:58
I like Mr.Watson’s three words "good bye Oulu". If you not willing to accept this culture say good bye and go. We have perfect equal services in Finland. No Beggars and No Ghettos. Let's accept til we say Good Bye Finland.


lostinlovewithoulu2010-05-24 13:45:20
I am a foreigner who pays a handsome amount of tax (i think the authorities are using it really well actually better than my own coutry so no regrets at all), follow all the rules, respects the Finnish culture, loves to eat Finnish food etc.etc. In short, I am trying to blend in. But, unfortunately, I cannot get a house loan myself as I am a foreigner (been here several years). I still need my Finnish wife to sign with me before bank gives me a cent. Even though I have had my bank account since the first day I came to work here in Oulu.

People are not welcoming but, they don't bother at least in face. Due to certain types of foreigners here who have reaped the benefits of the Finnish social care
most people think that
foreigner = living on social benefits + doing criminal activities.
The only office where I have always received a honest smile is the tax office here. They have always been nice to me and my family.
Job situation is not very good for anyone now so foreigners should not complain.
I have different approach to some ill treatments I donot not complain I intend to work harder and make life in this beautiful country.
Yes, I will remain a foreigner and my children will be so but, what the hell it is "don't care don't bother in Finland".
It will take several decades for Finns to appreciate the foreigner do have morality, intelligence and self-respect. But, by that time I belive Finland will have more foreigners and more problems as my Finnish friend says.

Finns will say if you donot like it here go back. Sorry, I have invested too much in terms professional and personal life in this country I cannot go back. Currently this is my country as I live here and I also do like it here. Just that I tasted few bad apple doesn't mean all apples are bad.


bla2010-06-29 01:55:42
"In fact, Finland is probably one of the most unique ones as far as culture go." = Why should Finnish culture be so unique compared to other EU countries?


Ghetto queen2010-07-09 00:11:44
I like reading these kind of stuff, they are just like comedies to me!!! cimeon people, life is how you make it, im an immigrant in this country by choice, i could go back to wherever i came from if i so wish. I could care less of who thinks what about me, i love my life, I have studied in Finland, i can communicate in Finnish with no problems cos i choose to learn the language too. I have a good job, some finnish work under me, i live a better life than most of them, im not bragging, i just want people to stop using their immigrant tittle and improve their lives rather than waiste your time minding who is a racist or who is not.I here these words alot when i passby "go back to your country" sometimesi just walk away, sometimes i saw the finger and continue with my life. Finland is a beutiful country to live in, i have "asunto laina", im a single lady, got so many friends internationally finns included nice colegues at work, i drive a nice car, cos i work soooo hard, i dont need to sit next to a drunk stupid person in a public transport. Life is how you make it, no matter where you are living. You dont like it here..go look for greener areas thats my 5 pence.


Mike2010-08-14 19:36:29
Finland? Well, it is a nice country, and Finns are good people (I lived there for a few years). If you visit Finland, I recommend sauna, hiking, and seeing some gigs. Finnish musicians and songwriters are now getting to be world class. I wouldn't recommend Finland as a place to immigrate -- especially if you are highly qualified or educated. Finns are very reluctant to hire foreign talent. Trust me, I've lived in many countries and Finns are probably the worst with regard to recognizing, recruiting, and utilizing foreign talent. This is probably the biggest downer to Finnish culture. Most countries view highly qualified foreigners as an asset, a way to learn new things. In fact, recognizing and using foreign talent is what has made America so successful in business and university education/research. Finland is a nice country, but not such a good destination for educated people. I now live in the UK...like the Americans, the Brits are pretty good at getting the best of foreign talent.


BB2011-04-25 20:57:47
Well, given that the nationalist True Finns won big in the recent elections, I think Mr. Dutton ought to rethink his argument. Most of the comments here seem to indicate that foreigners feel Finns are a bit xenophobic, and the recent election results totally support that.


BB2011-04-25 20:59:39
Oh, I forgot to add that the nationalist True Finns won big time in Oulu...so I guess that Nigel Watson dude was on to something.


random Karelian2011-06-22 22:29:53
It's becoming more and more socially acceptable to make foreign nationals feel unwelcome again. It's a depressing zeitgeist, more for the ones it's directed at but also for the majority of Finns who I would say are not xenophobic. Of course there might be legitimate reasons to limit immigration at some point but I don't think we are there yet. Finland has space to triple it's population and I for one welcome any good-willed person as my neighbor.


telodicoio2011-12-02 01:17:27
finland: a bunch of closed-minded hillbillies weirdos, in finnish and english.
after years i just can't trust them.



cecil henry2012-05-06 22:18:24
This intolerance is covert genocide of European peoples/

Follow the white rabbit people. See FTWR radio.


Bonded2012-05-26 20:54:34
I find this debate a pretty important one as a foreigner, and I must say there's truth on both sides of the argument about xenophobia and intolerance in the Finnish society toward immigrants. I am a foreigner from Africa, I've been in Finland for seven years, got two master's degrees here, speak Finnish language very well, but still face the most pertinent challenges faced by new comers: hard to find a job,face occasional overt gestures of racism in public places. On a positive note: As far as peace, security, civil order and respect for personal space are concerned, Finland is the best place to live in, at least hypothetically. However, only foreigners, especially people of colour, can paint a true picture of the hidden menace they've got put up with on a daily basis, especially the refugees. Only recently are Finns coming to terms with the fact that not all Africans in the country are refugees, so the popular bitterness that refugees are here to enjoy their hard-earned tax wealth through Kela gets reflected in their general attitudes toward blacks, even graduates like myself willing to settle for the cleaning jobs not even coming my way nowadays. My biggest problem with the typical Finnish attitude is the sense of xenophobia perceived, but that of pretence, and unrealistic superiority stance, even when talking addressing a a foreigner who is more educated, well travelled, and much more knowledgeable about the world around us.
MY PERSONAL EXPERIENCE OF NEPOTISM or what you may call it: Two years after my second Master's degree (2010), I was greeted by the rare opportunity of a part-time teaching job in Finland (Ammatikorkeakoulu), but for less than the normal salary for a master's holder, due to my lack of pedagogy training. I embraced everything, was loved by students, my evaluation ratings were quite good, got a good remark from the administration, but when it was time for my contract to be renewed for a longer term and better salary, I got thrown out and my courses were given to a Finn who came along, less qualified than myself in all ramification, can't even express herself well enough in English. To make matters worse, she was handed my notes and teaching material without my permission, and she openly admits her difficulties explaining the subject matter to students, admitting that these notes are not her's. To cut a long story short, my opinion is that foreign graduates in Finland short endeavour to seek greener pastures elsewhere, because it is an indisputable fact which for the sake of decency or out of shame, many open minded Finns wouldn't admit, that a high concentration of higher degree foreign graduates in the country is perceived as threat to job security for less educated Finns. This concern is clearly seen in the recent policy putting an end to entrance examinations for African students aspiring to pursue studies in Finland for a start, and many other hints of tougher conditions to come. To this end, with thanks to tuition-free education, I'm planning my exit, else my certificates would become worthless, because as an African, cleaning will always be my best hope in Finland, even though my fellow African colleague is already a project manager in a huge multinational corporation in Dublin. IN A NUT SHELL, FINLAND IS NOT THE WORST PLACE FOR FOREIGNERS IN EUROPE!!!


Will2012-05-30 05:08:42
I'm American born and both my parents are Finnish immigrants to the USA. I've been to Finland several times in my life, most recently in 2010. I've noticed some negative vibes from people in Finland myself which was non-existent in the 1980's. In my opinion the Finn's don't want racial problems attention, in other words the talk of discrimination and bigotry makes at least some Finns squimish and want to avoid any reality of any ethnic or racial issues in Finland. Compared to the USA, Finland to me doesn't have all the racial tension that still exists in the USA and other European countries I've been to like the U.K. And France. Sure there are folks with issues, people with insecurities, that will be found anywhere in the world.


Nate2012-07-10 00:28:45
Finns were racist with me almost on a daily basis. I got tired of their god damn xenophobia after working there for 6 years. I lived in Helsinki. For Finns, everything that's different is wrong and the worst part is that they are so narrow minded that once one Finn tells another that you are a horrible person (as in you are too different), they will keep spreading the intollerant speech about you until they leave you out of everything. I was even kicked out of a climbing hall because I have a different technique from the one used in Finland. In the university and at work I had also really annoying experiences with Finns and their fear of what's different. I got tired, went back home and now I will give Finns the same intollerant treatment I received in their piece of shit country.


2012-08-22 04:32:06
Finland is also known as the country that does not speak to the world. Its the only country in the world were the general population understands that democracy is a idiocracy were money rules as dictator.


A FOREIGNER IN FINLAND2013-04-19 15:55:48
"Finns really don’t want foreigners in their country at all".
Really? This would sound as if all the Finnish people are but fascists,stupid and racists people .Sorry,no.I can not believe this.Not them all,aol least,are so.
Not they all are.I met some who were better Finnish. Intelligent,sensitive,honest people existimg also in Suomi Finand,not onlym the worst ones.Just like in every country. In Finoland ,when I was a young and roamntic man, I met some Finnish people who were goodf and gentle.Thank you Anna-Liisa and Thank you Kauko.

When I was a vagabond poety,a poor, living(or trying to live)there,just in Finland. In Helsinki and surrou8nding.But yes indeed many Finnish people were horrible people to foreigners(maybe they were fascists or mentaly very disturbed,instable people.Or: Who do they think they are?Why do not they stay home,together there in Finland,instead than going on holydays or working or to marry and make suffer foreigners?In Italy and in other ountries we had and have have our best women too.And our best jmen too. Surelly we did not need to go to Finnish to find a girl and merry her. At all. Let thoser stupid fascist people stay there and never go out of Finland,please.Delinquents are unwanted (all the dcountries have own ones,no need to add more). But ,listen to me well, I am notb a stupid or aq faqscist nationalist of another country, I am an intelligent honest and sensitive person
( even if I am not a Finnish,thanks Heaven) .In Suomi Finland did not meet only bad people butmn aolso good people,wonderful people,real Finnish people with qa very good heart. yes there were many,perhaps,but I met some . Best ,real, Finnish people who were(and maybe still sre,I hope so) gentle,friendly,honestm,sensitive peopel,generous people(I am a poet and I call people having these feelings and not the bad ones, Behaviourt poetry people,even if they do not use tio write poems. They were real Finnish people,Finnish people who do Suomi Finland ,and themselevs,honour. Right? Tyhey were noty at all fascists or nationalist Finnish people,but honest,tgentle,generous,frierndly,sensitive pertsons,just like my good(and poor) motyher fromm Rome,Italy,weas and my ex aprt6isdan father wqas . Finnish people ,and Italian people, having a golden human heart for virtues and we became friends.And when they left their country(Suomi Finland)and came to visit me in Rome, Italy, I was as splendid as them . Many Finnish people left (and leave again)their countryfor some good reasons(just like the Italians and everybody else).And become (wehat a bad word) : foreigners . I think therybn are myn brothers and my sisterrs. Yes indeed the bad people exist and make the others suffer butn also tyhe good pepole esxist,all over the world. Not all Finnish people were rich or are rich ,many poor people exist and existed in Italy,Finand and everywhere. There were among the "Suimalaista" and the "Itaolialaista" and so on. not them all behave well,going abroad, some ebhave horribly.They left their bad instead than their good in matter of behaviou. They do not to Suomi Finland honour to habave so very badly abroad abnd in theirm own country. As it is for everybody in this world. Finnish or not Finnish.

But better people here and there gave and received love and friendship. Thank thenm very much. Social and mental peoplems exist all over the world ,also in Finland and the Finns.In Italy and the Italians.P.S. Remembering my lonelliness and social degradation, emargination in Suomi Finland myself as as foreigner ,I would be tempeted to say : What a horrible country Finland is and how very much horrible the Finnish people are.But in writing this would be unjust and incorerct. Bad people please do not go abroad,stay home.Good people welcome.

I do not want to mix up.

Why do not the worst people stay always in theirm own country insetad that going on holydayn or working or geting marry abroad mnaking parten suffer? Mankind evrywehre is a complicated creature,full of contradictuions.And the book of destiny is not written for everybody written by ame type of ink. I am intelligent,sensitive,honest,not not so stupid person,I know what I say. I traveleld ther world( or nearly).A foreigner in Finland I also was ,not a rich ne but a poor one,just like sojme Finnish were and I met some in other countries. Because this is the main problem.If a person is rich money(markka before and euros now) would be accepted aqs good (if honestly made they werea nd are) everywhere and many problems did not exist. I met ALSO a few of best Finnish people who gave me love and friendship and received by jme the same.The best humankind we were and are. Very different and very same in the meanime.Thank you good Finnish,get losty bad Finnish. Thank you Kauko Rasanen (sorry my keyboard does not have the two dots on the a of family name. I am using PC of "foreigner",and in the emantime I hagve become an old man. I was a poet of the road and I am still a poet,a poet and stop. Thank you Anna-Liisa /(we lived in Vuosaari,,Anna-Liisa born in Mikkeli,Juva. I Luckly met these better Finnish people .When I was in Finland as a foreigner, many many years agioo.And there I returned. Thank you honest,tgentle,generous,
sensitive Finnish people.The best Finnish people I met you are destinated to remain into myself. We all were not rich. The Finnish capitalists and owners of firms and restaurants,and so on, did not give me a job,consequentely I could not remain. by Vladimirto Rinaldi(Rinaldi and Ranuzzi),Italian author and professional photographer of social thems, art and nature (envirtonent).


apoesidi2013-06-18 23:54:18
In Finland among the Finnish people ,being a penny less foreigner,a vagabond poet of the road. When I was in Finland as a poor foreigner traveling hitchiking and by train and ship.. I was young and full of dreams(day dream) and a hope ,to arrive to a better country than Italy,where I came from(Rome) and find a better humanity.But human kind is same ,everywhere(more or less) Yes indeed I enjoyed Finnish nature during summer and autumn so very full of colours of forests . I enjoyed very much the good company of two true Finnish persons ,how very good were they,so kind,honest,
generous and friendly persons.Thank you (kiitos paljon )Kauko and thank you too ...you honest and lovely woman of Finland of the best kind , I do wish not to name you in this comment. Not to know the language of the locals is a very difficult everywhere,and poor is unwajhnted everywhere(or no ?). You were both very good. I was young. Thirty years passed.Only two good Finnish peosons I met in Finland. Thank you Kauko and thank you honest, lovely Finnish woman of the best kind of that time in Vuosaari ,you did not make me feel alone during my stay in Finland as a poor and unknown poet of the road ,a vagabond ,one like many tjhere and everywhere ...There I was and you were ,in the country of Sibelius,Eino Leino,
Alval Aalto and many unknown wonderful Finnish people (I am sure they exist, even if I met only two of them.
I was lucky to met two.I've been told many other foreigner in Finland in other foreigners in Finland traveling or trying to get a job did not meet any of them.


John2014-11-19 04:15:39
Finns are mostly jerk and unbelievably uncivilized! Their style of life and their culture is too primitive! They cannot grow at all!


Hammer Nine2018-07-17 14:40:47
Finland is a former satellite Sovjet state. It was so by choice. This is to illustrate the forma mentis of most Finns. No, not every Finn course, but the exception confirms the rule. This same forma mentis has been the reason of Finland's unreliable behavior in WW2. This dark history is covered up by most Finns and explained as a form of 'independence' and 'neutrality'. It is not though, it is twisting the meaning of the words 'independence' and 'neutrality' in a mix of nationalism and 'denialism'.

The appearance of Finland to the outside world is on crucial points a fabrication that is fundamentally out of sync with the core values of Western nations. This is the root cause of the intolerant behavior discussed in the article above. The kind of intolerance may change over time, but the goal it serves is essentially still the same.

Anyone who thinks about moving to Finland should be thoroughly aware of what they are getting in to. After all, in the Sovjet union and their satellite states, everything is (I would have preferred to write 'was') propaganda and the people are nothing but a means to an end to serve the state rather than the other way round.


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