What Do Swedes Think of Finns?

Sweden and Finland, often grouped as brother countries, have had much in common for centuries.

Relations between these two Nordic countries have been overwhelmingly positive since the Viking Age, and their peoples have stayed close throughout many wars and power struggles in Europe. 

Swedes think of Finns as friendly neighbors, and the two countries have many common interests and values.

Swedes generally see Finns as reliable, honest, quiet, modest people that have little humor and display little emotion. 

The Finns have a unique reputation as intelligent, trustworthy, honest people who share historical ties with Sweden.

As allied countries, Finnish and Swedish people peacefully interact along the border, although both nations still have unique characteristics and cultures.

Also see Why Didn’t Sweden Fight in World War 2? to learn more.

Swedes and Finns
What kind of reputation do Finns have internationally? See below

What Kind of Reputation Do Finns Have Internationally?

Internationally, Finns have a reputation as diligent and precise workers. They’re seen as quiet, kind, honest, sports-loving, and humorless.

They are known for their high-rated government, fair justice system, and high living standards. 

Overall, Finland is one of the world’s safest, most crime-free, and best-developed countries. [1]

Finland has the highest literacy rate, the lowest infant mortality rate, the cleanest air, and the most humane justice system in the world. 

It is also the best place for fair business and has the 7th best-performing economy according to the Global Innovation Index. [2]

These statistics show that Finland has an international reputation for being socially and economically fair, individualist, and resistant to power struggles.

Other countries also see Finns as highly educated, realistic, reverent to tradition, and healthy.

Accordingly, Finnish people are seen as fair, hardworking, and intelligent.

They also have a reputation for developing new technologies and political organizations that evolve with the global climate, helping their country rank among the best in the world for lack of crime, equitable work conditions, gender and racial equality, and fairness under the law. 

Finns are also known as pragmatists that rarely display emotion or joke around.

Although this stereotype cannot be accurate for all Finns, the country’s acclaim as a pacifist, highly developed, and economically prosperous nation reinforces the concept that Finns have a business-oriented mentality. 

Also see Why Does Swedish Sound So Unusual? to learn more.

Sweden Finland
Are Sweden and Finland allies? See below

Are Sweden and Finland Allies?

Sweden and Finland are allies. Finland was once a part of Sweden, although Russia claimed it at the end of the Finnish War in 1809.

Finland retained its close relationship with Sweden, even under Russian rule, and re-established itself as a Swedish ally when it claimed independence in 1917. 

During the Viking period, Finland and Sweden coexisted peacefully and shared many values. These neighboring lands were home to Viking settlements, and the primary economy was piracy. 

However, during the Swedish Crusades, Swedish Christian King Eric IX sent bishops and armies into Finland in an attempt to annex and Christianize Finland. [3]

They eventually succeeded, and Finland, then called Österland (or Eastern Land), fell under Swedish rule around 1250 A.D.  

Finland saw increased ties with Sweden in the following years, gaining the right to vote for the Swedish kings in the early 1300s.

During this time, the Finnish and Swedish developed a common culture while maintaining distinct cultural differences. Finns still spoke Finnish, but many Finnish nobles spoke Swedish as a second language.

However, in the aftermath of the Finnish War with Russia, the Swedes were forced to give up Österland to the Russians, splitting Finland from Sweden.

Finland reluctantly existed under Russian rule as an autonomous principality, keeping Finnish culture quite distinct from Russia’s. 

However, Russian rule over Finland was short-lived. After the abdication of Nicholas II of Russia in 1917, the Finns saw the ideal window to declare independence and exit the power struggle between Russia and Sweden. [4]

During this year, Finland drafted its declaration of independence, and many of the world’s most powerful countries were quick to recognize the new country’s autonomy officially. 

Finland’s independence put the country in a position to become formal allies with Sweden, and the two countries often worked very well together, particularly during the Second World War. 

Since Finnish independence, it has become a tradition for the prime minister of either country to visit the other as the first official visit. [5]

In addition, the border between these two countries is very peaceful, and neither nation has sought to start a conflict. 

As such, the relationship between Sweden and Finland is close, and they are grouped as “brother nations” with a close alliance. 

In modern times, Sweden and Finland still share a close bond. Finnish students must take courses in the Swedish language as part of their secondary school education, and Swedish people also take Finnish.

Finnish and Swedish exchange students are also typical in these countries.

This early, mandatory communication between Swedish and Finnish children strengthens the social, economic, and political bond between the countries with every passing generation. 

Still, Finland and Sweden are rivals in development, sports, and international acclaim.

This relationship is never aggressive, but it pushes them to continue improving. Hence arises the claim that Sweden and Finland are brother nations. 

Also see Are Scottish Descendants of the Vikings? to learn more.

Swedish people
What do Finns think of Swedes? See below

What Do Finns Think of Swedes?

Finns think that Swedes are blonde, sophisticated, fashionable, slightly snobbish people with an interest in the sea.

However, many Finns see Sweden as a close ally that served as the basis for the Finnish political structure, and they admire Sweden’s more diverse, international-oriented culture. 

Finnish people generally see Swedish people as more elevated or refined than Finns.

The Finnish stereotypes surrounding the Swedish pose them as intellectual, polished, stylish people who thrive in social situations. 

According to a survey from the Ethnologica Europaea, most participating Finns indicated that Swedes are more talkative, polite, spontaneous, expressive, self-respecting, and authoritative than Finns. [6] 

Finns also note that Swedish people seem more worldly, potentially due to the more diverse population in Sweden. 

On the other hand, Swedes generally see Finns as isolative, primitive, hardworking, honest, and traditional.

In many cases, Finns are stereotyped as cold and unfeeling, which corresponds with Finns’ belief that Swedes are more social and readily express their emotions. 


Finland and Sweden share a friendly rivalry. Swedes think of Finns as hardworking, honest pragmatists, while Finns see Swedes as stylish, worldly, social people. 

Also see Why Are Scandinavians So Strong? to learn more.

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Christian Christensen

Christian started Scandinavia Facts to explore his family heritage, raise awareness of one of his academic interests as a professor, and civilly promote the region. Please see the About page for details.

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