26 January 2009

Swedish in the Nordic region

Swedish was chosen over English ages ago to be the language of Nordic cooperation.  The status of Swedish in Finland has always been a shakey one, however, and the most recent poll released shows just how extreme this may be.  (Article reprinted in full because I've not yet been able to find the articles from Norden i veckan online, only in the email digest.)

Wednesday 21/01/2009

Finns: Yes to Nordic Region – No to Swedish

The majority of the Finnish-speaking population considers it important to belong to the Nordic Region but contacts with other Nordic citizens should be in English, not Swedish, the newspaper Hufvudstadsbladet reveals.

A recent Taloustutkimus poll commissioned by the Finland-Swedish think-tank Magma quizzed Finns about their views of Nordic identity. No fewer than 93% consider belonging to the Nordic Region and having a Nordic identity to be important.

On the other hand only 9% agreed with the statement that Finns should speak Swedish and not English with their Nordic neighbours. Some 70% disagreed or disagreed strongly.

The position of Swedish as an official language in Finland is a controversial issue, and many of the respondents stressed the importance of English instead. Opposition is strong, for example, to all pupils in Finnish-speaking schools having to study Swedish. The regulations have been loosened up somewhat – since 2005 Swedish has no longer been a compulsory subject for Finnish-speakers taking high school exams.

The official Nordic co-operation, both in Nordic Council and the Nordic Council of Ministers, remains to promote the use of Scandinavian languages between Nordic citizens. The Nordic Youth Council would however prefer a bigger role for English.

Article in Hufvudstadsbladet: http://www.hbl.fi/text/inrikes/2009/1/21/w22446.php

Nordic language co-operation: http://www.norden.org/sprak/sk/index.asp?lang=1

09 December 2007

Some shots from my new life

On top of work becoming increasingly involved, there have been a lot of changes in my personal life as well. I finally purchased a car. Below are some photos of my new ride. I'm thinking it needs a name- suggestions are welcome.

I also moved to a new town. I'm now living in Narragansett, Rhode Island. This is the view from my kitchen table. It's a little dreary today, but you get the idea.

Portland, Oregon

Over the next couple posts I'm going to update everyone on what's been going on since I dropped off the face of the Earth. They'll cover since July (extremely cliff-noted). Starting things off, I took a trip to Portland a few months ago. It's truly an amazing city.
The city

Tram- public transport in this city is unbelievable
The World's smallest park...
...and an explanation.

02 November 2007

Enola Gay Pilot dies

The only reason I decided to post this little tidbit is because I had no idea this guy was living in Columbus. The guy who piloted the plane [the Enola Gay] that dropped the two atomic bombs on Japan died the other day. I wonder what kind of funeral he'll have, and if he'll be buried in Columbus...

30 October 2007


Originally uploaded by Jasper Kaarna.

Every now and then I remember this blog exists...

12 September 2007

Viking ship found under pub parking lot

Seriously, it happened in England. I love how one can stumble on a 1,000+ year old boat in the most unexpected places.

19 August 2007


Originally uploaded by Miguel Frutos.

Revisiting the Security and Defence Policy

A working group has been assembled to research and report on Finland's stance militarily in an international system that "has entered a new development phase." At issue will be NATO, the UN and EU security guarantees, the defensive policy of non-alignment, and an eye towards an increasingly unknown player directly to the east, i.e. Russia. The group's report will be presented sometime in 2008, though I'm already a bit nervous about revisiting the NATO question. I guess we'll just have to wait a few months.

15 August 2007

Tampere to the Champions League?

While not quite as improbable as Finland winning Eurovision was, landing a Finnish team in the Champions League would be quite an accomplishment. Tampere will attempt to continue their march to do just that tonight.

14 August 2007

Nokia Battery Recall

A la Dell battery recall a year or so ago, due to batteries overheating while charging. 46 Million Matsushita-maufactured units to be replaced. See if you are affected. Poor Nokia=/

10 August 2007

07 August 2007


Originally uploaded by mwri.

Finnish summer gold. The best berry in the world- eaten alone or with ice cream or pancakes (lettuja or pannukakku) or as a jam or wine or one of the countless other options. Cloudberries are one of the things I miss most when not in Finland.

Left Alliance and Greens speak in favor of sending troops to Darfur

While Finnish PM Matti Vanhanen has voiced his political support for the African Union-UN joint venture in sending troops to Darfur, there are those in Parliament and in his government who believe he has once again come up short. As if being the man who made the text message breakup famous wasn't enough...

Sirpa Puhakka (Left Alliance) and Labour Minister Tarja Cronberg both made calls for Vanhanen to put his money where is mouth is and add Finnish troops to the ranks. Finland (and much of Scandinavia) has long harvested the image of the Jiminy Cricket of the world- the ideal security community where fighting is unthinkable among it's members but willing to go elsewhere to help maintain the peace and bring a little piece of their culture to the world. I'd have to agree with these two- even only a few symbolic troops to demonstrate commitment would be better than what Vanhanen is currently doing.

And speaking of text message breakups...

(don't ask)

05 August 2007

Hiking in Finland

Those of you who enjoy getting close with nature will appreciate this link. The Finnish Ministry of the Environment maintains a page in English with information and trail maps for the country's national parks, protected areas, etc. The views from many of these locations are astounding, sometimes even more so in the winter.

I took this picture in Lapland in April. There are tons of views like this in the Pallas area.

Helsinki skyline, summer night sky

Helsinki skyline, summer night sky
Originally uploaded by delayed gratification.

Amazing capture of the contrast between the light sky and the artificially lit city below. Another amazing summer view from Helsinki, as summer slowly starts to wind down