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


In recent[when?] years, anti-Finnish sentiment has grown in Estonia, particularly in areas with many Finnish tourists and residents.

Finnish tourists and residents have experienced verbal harassment and at times physical violence.[1]


Finns have been emigrating to Norway since at least the 11th century. 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 experienced discrimination.[2] Before WW2, Norway feared mass immigration and invasion from Finland. This was used as an excuse to discriminate against Kvens.[3]

Russia and the Soviet Union

The Russian word chukhna (чухна́) is a derogatory term for Finnish and Finnic people.[4] The ministry for foreign affairs of Russia called for Russians to not use the word.[5][6]

Ingrian Finns were heavily persecuted in Soviet Russia, including being subject to forced deportations.[7] 8,000–25,000 Finns were killed during the Great Purge, including the Finnish Operation of the NKVD. (These numbers are estimates; official numbers might be much higher)[8]


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.[9] 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.[10][11] An anthology, Finnjävlar, was published, in which 15 Finns in Sweden describe their lives and lives of their parents in Sweden.[12] In Sweden the Tornedalians were also once seen as an inferior race and speaking Finnish was banned in school.

Both Finnish and Meänkieli (spoken in Meänmaa) became official minority languages of Sweden in 2000, and the Swedish state started an investigation into the historical treatment of Finns and Tornedalians in 2020.[13][14]


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, meaning something like 'bastard', is a generic strong insult.[15]

United States

See also: Definitions of whiteness in the United States § Finnish Americans

The prominent role of Finnish immigrants in the 1907 and 1916 Mesabi Range strikes in Minnesota led to blacklisting of Finns. It was a time of anti-Finnish sentiment in the area, and one could see signs "No Indians or Finns allowed".[16] When many Finns came to America they began to found schools, saunas and political unions, and their union involvement led to a bad reputation. 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 fair subjects of discrimination.[17][18]

China Swede

China Swede was a derogatory term used for Finnish immigrants in the United States during the early 1900s,[19][20] particularly in northern Minnesota and Upper Michigan.[21] Another term was roundhead.[22][23]

Jackpine savage

The term jackpine savage was used in northern Minnesota during the early 1900s, referring to the term Indian savage used for Native Americans. Finnish businesses were also harassed with the pretext that they were illegally dealing liquor to Native Americans.[24]

See also


  1. ^ "Jokin Tallinnassa muuttui parissa vuodessa - Vironsuomalaiset ilmapiirin kiristymisestä: "Enää ei arastella sanoa suoraan, jos suomalainen ei miellytä"". Iltalehti (in Finnish).
  2. ^ "Suomalaissyntyiset syrjittyinä Norjassa". (in Finnish). 2008-03-27. Retrieved 2021-09-20.
  3. ^ "Nasjonalbiblioteket". Retrieved 2021-09-20.
  4. ^ "Tšuhna". (in Finnish). Retrieved 2021-09-20.
  5. ^ "Venäjän ulkoministeriö varoittaa: Älä käytä ryssä-sanaa – älä viittilöi, äläkä melua". Yle Uutiset (in Finnish). 24 March 2017. Retrieved 2021-09-20.
  6. ^ Savolainen, Veikko (2017-03-24). "Venäjän ulkoministeriö varoittaa sanomasta: - Hui, tsuhna ja ryssä!". Uusi Suomi Puheenvuoro (in Finnish). Retrieved 2021-09-20.[permanent dead link]
  7. ^ "Inkerin kansan raskas tie – paluumuuton takaraja loppui tänä kesänä". Ilta-Sanomat (in Finnish). 2016-10-08. Retrieved 2021-05-28.
  8. ^ Torvinen, Pekka (2021-01-27). "Stalinin vainoissa kuolleiden tai kadonneiden suomalaisten vaiheiden selvittämistä jatketaan". Helsingin Sanomat (in Finnish). Retrieved 2022-01-06.
  9. ^ Lehtinen, Lasse (8 May 2017). "Lasse Lehtisen kolumni: Suomensukuisten pakolaisten pahat teot". Ilta-Sanomat.
  10. ^ "En Finne Igen" suomi24, December 28, 2007
  11. ^ "Too many Finnish politicians and parties are ignorant of their country's migrant and refugee history". September 29, 2014.
  12. ^ Radio, Sveriges (10 October 2016). "Finnjävlar-antologia kirjoittaa uusiksi Ruotsin suomalaisten historiaa - Sisuradio". Sveriges Radio.
  13. ^ "SVT: Ruotsin hallitus selvittää suomalaisvähemmistön kohtelua – Suomalaisille tehtiin pääkallonmittauksia eikä suomen kieltä saanut puhua". 14 February 2020.
  14. ^ "Ruotsi aloittaa selvityksen suomalaisvähemmistön kohtelusta – rotubiologit määrittivät suomalaiset ruotsalaisia alempiarvoisiksi".
  15. ^ "Artisans created all the dishes and other objects for Finnjävel restaurant". Helsinki Design Week. 7 April 2016.
  16. ^ Scorich, Jason (January 13, 2016). "Mesaba Co-op Park". MNopedia. Minnesota Historical Society.
  17. ^ "How Finnish immigrants battled racism to help build America". Ink Tank. 2015-09-27. Retrieved 2021-09-20.
  18. ^ "MPR: Finland Was a Poor Country". Retrieved 2021-09-20.
  19. ^ "MPR: Finland Was a Poor Country". 1997-06-10. Retrieved 2017-03-01.
  20. ^ Nybergh, Thomas (2015-09-27). "How Finnish immigrants battled racism to help build America". Retrieved 2017-03-01.
  21. ^ Tristram McPherson; David Plunkett (24 August 2017). The Routledge Handbook of Metaethics. Taylor & Francis. pp. 349–. ISBN 978-1-351-81791-2.
  22. ^ The Routledge Handbook of Metaethics, 2017, p.934
  23. ^ "Finland Was a Poor Country: Part 2 By Mary Losure and Dan Olson June 10, 1997"
  24. ^ David R. Roediger (8 August 2006). Working Toward Whiteness: How America's Immigrants Became White: The Strange Journey from Ellis Island to the Suburbs. Hachette UK. pp. 51–54. ISBN 9780786722105.

Further reading