The address to the head office:
- Bellmansgatan 15 nb
SE-118 47 STOCKHOLM
- Phone: Int 46 (0)8 702 0110
- Cellphone: Int 46 (0)72 329 3131
- Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Facebook: FRIS – Finlandssvenskarnas riksförbund i Sverige (in Swedish only)
– Chair Inger Nyblom Hermansson, ordforande(a)fris.nu
– Vice chair Alexandra Hibolin, viceordforande(a)fris.nu
There are two groups of migrants in Sweden, originating in Finland: those whose mother tongue is Finnish, (the Sweden Finns), and those whose native language is Swedish, (the Finland Swedes).
FRIS promotes and campaigns for the rights of the Swedish-speakers (Finland Swedes) living in Sweden. Our objectives incorporate the cultural and social spectrum as well, working towards maintaining and developing our heritage. FRIS has no political, religious etc. affiliations.
FRIS co-operates with public authorities in Sweden (and in Finland) in the interest of influencing policies and gaining information for dissemination to our members. We are part of the Sweden Finnish Delegation, founded in 1999, and co-operate with many other organisations for Finnish people in Sweden, for example The National Association of Finns in Sweden, NAFS, the largest organisation for Finnish speaking Finns in Sweden. We also work together with many organisations for Swedish speaking people in Finland, and value our ties with The Swedish Assembly of Finland highly. Work within the Finnish Expatriate Parliament and its Speaker’s Council is growing in importance. Within this organisation FRIS and its members make up the lion’s share of the worldwide region for Swedish speaking people originating in Finland.
Our present main goal is to achieve minority status for members of our organisation, either as a part of the larger group of migrants from Finland, or as a separate group in our own right, under the Framework Convention for the Protection of National Minorities (Council of Europe, European Treaty Series, ETS, No.157), ratified by Sweden in June 2000. The Finnish language has been given greater rights in Sweden, according to the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages, ETS No. 148 and Swedish Minority Law, and we applaud this development. However, as this minority status is tied to language, it means that we, as Swedish speakers, are left out in the cold. This has resulted in an anomaly by which Finnish-speaking immigrants in Sweden have minority status, but their Swedish-speaking fellow nationals do not. We campaign to change this
History and background
People have been migrating between Finland and Sweden, in both directions, for centuries. Finland was part of the Swedish realm from the 13th Century until 1809, during which time there was a flow of migrants in both directions.
As a result of Swedish migration to Finland, the country is now officially bilingual, with Finnish and Swedish being the national languages.
Following the Second World War, a particularly great influx of both Swedish- and Finnish-speaking immigrants entered Sweden, continuing this centuries-old tradition, albeit on a larger scale than earlier.
As Sweden does not register residents according to language there is a lack of census data and hence it is impossible to state the number of either Finnish-speaking or Swedish-speaking people originating in Finland. But roughly 20 and 25% of the migrants from Finland to Sweden after the Second World War spoke Swedish as their first language (L1) or mother tongue. Since the percentage of Swedish-speakers (Finland Swedes) in Finland makes up only c. 5% of the total population, this suggests that the flood of Swedish-speaking emigrants from Finland is proportionately much larger than that of those who spoke primarily Finnish
In total, at least 70 000 Swedish-speakers have moved from Finland to Sweden since the Second World War. Those from this group (Finland Swedes), and their descendants, form the basis for the organisation FRIS. Our variety of spoken Swedish differs from that in Sweden in much the same way as American or Australian English differ from British English. Swedish is a so called pluricentric language, and the differences also present themselves in our culture and traditions.
FRIS was founded in 1969 and is now made up of 17 local sub-organisations dispersed across Sweden, from Scania (Skåne) in the South to the city of Umeå in the North. But the first of these local groups stems from further back, in the 1940s. Today FRIS has 1 700 members and its central office is located in Stockholm.