Anti-Finnish sentiment Source: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Anti-Finnish_sentiment

The bodies of civilians killed by Soviet partisans have been laid out on the grass in the village of Seitajärvi in Finnish Lapland. Discussion of the mass murders of Finnish civilians has been largely off-limits. During the war itself, the authorities even went so far as to order those who knew of the cross-border attacks on Finnish villages to keep their silence.

Anti-Finnish sentiment (sometimes known as Fennophobia) is the hostility, prejudice, discrimination or racism directed against Finns, Finland, or Finnish culture.


During the 1960s and 1970s there was a significant influx of Finnish economic migrants into Sweden. Between 1950 and 1980 the number of Finns in Sweden increased from 45,000 to over 300,000.[1] Attitudes towards Finnish immigrants were quite negative in Sweden. Derogatory expressions "en finne igen" ("yet another Finn") and "finnjävel" (equivalent to "Finnish bastard" or "Finnish devil") were commonly used.[2][3] An anthology Finnjävlar was published, in which 15 Finns in Sweden describe their lives and lives of their parents in Sweden.[4] In Sweden also the Tornedalians were once seen as an inferior race and speaking Finnish was banned in school. However, the Swedish state started an investigation about the treatment of Finns and Tornedalians in 2020.[5][6]


Finnjävel (singular) and Finnjävlar (plural) are derogatory terms used in Sweden for Finnish immigrants, mostly during the 1950s and 1960s. In this context, jävel or djävel, literally meaning "devil", is a generic strong insult.[7]

United States[edit]

The prominent role of Finnish immigrants in the 1907 and 1916 Mesabi Range strikes in Minnesota led to blacklisting of Finns. It was the time of anti-Finnish sentiment in the area, and one could see signs "No Indians or Finns allowed."[8] When many Finns came to America they started to set up schools, saunas and political unions, and the involvement in unions caused a bad reputation to Finnish people. Finns also had problems learning English and because they were "new" Finns faced much discrimination. The fact that the Finnish language is a Finno-Ugric language and not related to most other European languages, was used as proof that the Finns were not European and thus a fair subject to discrimination.[9][10]

China Swede[edit]

China Swede was a derogatory term used for Finnish immigrants in the United States during the early 1900s,[11][12] particularly in northern Minnesota and Upper Michigan.[13] Another term was "roundhead"[14][15]


Finns have been emigrating to Norway since at least the year 1000. There exists a Finnish minority in Norway, the Kvens. Speaking a Finnish dialect or a closely related Finnic language (their form of speech is now called Kven) was forbidden in Norway, and they have been discriminated against.[16] Before WW2, Norway feared mass immigration and invasion from Finland. This was used as an excuse to discriminate against Kvens.[17]

Russia and the Soviet Union[edit]

In Russian, there is a derogatory word for Finnish and Finnic people; "chukhna".[18] The ministry for foreign affairs of Russia called for Russians to not use the word.[19][20]

Ingrian Finns were heavily persecuted in Soviet Russia, including being subject to forced deportations.[21] 8,000–25,000 Finns were killed during the Great Purge, including the Finnish Operation of the NKVD.[22]


In Åland Finnish people are sometimes discriminated against and insults like Finnjävel ”Finnish devil” are used against Finns.[23]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Lehtinen, Lasse (8 May 2017). "Lasse Lehtisen kolumni: Suomensukuisten pakolaisten pahat teot". Ilta-Sanomat.
  2. ^ "En Finne Igen" suomi24, December 28, 2007
  3. ^ "Too many Finnish politicians and parties are ignorant of their country's migrant and refugee history". September 29, 2014.
  4. ^ Radio, Sveriges (10 October 2016). "Finnjävlar-antologia kirjoittaa uusiksi Ruotsin suomalaisten historiaa - Sisuradio". Sveriges Radio.
  5. ^ "SVT: Ruotsin hallitus selvittää suomalaisvähemmistön kohtelua – Suomalaisille tehtiin pääkallonmittauksia eikä suomen kieltä saanut puhua". 14 February 2020.
  6. ^ "Ruotsi aloittaa selvityksen suomalaisvähemmistön kohtelusta – rotubiologit määrittivät suomalaiset ruotsalaisia alempiarvoisiksi".
  7. ^ "Artisans created all the dishes and other objects for Finnjävel restaurant". Helsinki Design Week. 7 April 2016.
  8. ^ Scorich, Jason (January 13, 2016). "Mesaba Co-op Park". MNopedia. Minnesota Historical Society.
  9. ^ "How Finnish immigrants battled racism to help build America". Ink Tank. 2015-09-27. Retrieved 2021-09-20.
  10. ^ "MPR: Finland Was a Poor Country". news.minnesota.publicradio.org. Retrieved 2021-09-20.
  11. ^ "MPR: Finland Was a Poor Country". News.minnesota.publicradio.org. 1997-06-10. Retrieved 2017-03-01.
  12. ^ Nybergh, Thomas (2015-09-27). "How Finnish immigrants battled racism to help build America". Inktank.fi. Retrieved 2017-03-01.
  13. ^ Tristram McPherson; David Plunkett (24 August 2017). The Routledge Handbook of Metaethics. Taylor & Francis. pp. 349–. ISBN 978-1-351-81791-2.
  14. ^ The Routledge Handbook of Metaethics, 2017, p.934
  15. ^ "Finland Was a Poor Country: Part 2 By Mary Losure and Dan Olson June 10, 1997"
  16. ^ "Suomalaissyntyiset syrjittyinä Norjassa". mtvuutiset.fi (in Finnish). 2008-03-27. Retrieved 2021-09-20.
  17. ^ "Nasjonalbiblioteket". www.nb.no. Retrieved 2021-09-20.
  18. ^ "Tšuhna". www.suomisanakirja.fi (in Finnish). Retrieved 2021-09-20.
  19. ^ "Venäjän ulkoministeriö varoittaa: Älä käytä ryssä-sanaa – älä viittilöi, äläkä melua". Yle Uutiset (in Finnish). Retrieved 2021-09-20.
  20. ^ Savolainen, Veikko (2017-03-24). "Venäjän ulkoministeriö varoittaa sanomasta: - Hui, tsuhna ja ryssä!". Uusi Suomi Puheenvuoro (in Finnish). Retrieved 2021-09-20.
  21. ^ "Inkerin kansan raskas tie – paluumuuton takaraja loppui tänä kesänä". Ilta-Sanomat (in Finnish). 2016-10-08. Retrieved 2021-05-28.
  22. ^ Torvinen, Pekka (2021-01-27). "Stalinin vainoissa kuolleiden tai kadonneiden suomalaisten vaiheiden selvittämistä jatketaan". Helsingin Sanomat (in Finnish). Retrieved 2022-01-06.
  23. ^ "IL-reportaasi paljastaa suomenkielisten karun arjen Ahvenanmaalla: Haukkumista, kiusaamista ja syrjintää - "Totuus on se, että kaikista maailman kielistä suomi on vihatuin"". www.iltalehti.fi (in Finnish). Retrieved 2021-05-26.

Further reading[edit]