The Swedish Cultural Foundation: Highlighting Swedish in Finland
The mission of the Swedish Cultural Foundation in Finland is to promote and strengthen the culture and education of the Swedish-speaking minority in Finland by supporting education, arts and culture and social cohesion through non-profit organisations. The main task is to annually grant scholarships and contributions to individuals, working groups and communities, who enhance the Swedish language in various contexts in Finland. The foundation promotes good relations between the language communities and encourages a positive language environment.
The Swedish Cultural Foundation in Finland was established in 1908 – at a time in history when the rights of the Swedish-speaking population to use their own language and have their own culture, was threatened. Today, the foundation is an umbrella designation for nearly 500 individual funds, introduced through the wills and gifts from private individuals, companies and communities. Annually the foundation contributes around 40 million euro of funding and receives close to 8 000 applications.
Finland is an official bilingual country with two national languages, Finnish (majority) and Swedish (minority). Swedish and Finnish speakers have equal legal status in the constitutional act of the country, and both language groups learn the other national language in school. The Swedish-speaking minority group has the right to education – from pre-school to university level – and a wide range of public services in their native language.
The Swedish Cultural Foundation focuses on:
- Supporting and strengthening the Swedish language in Finland
- Developing knowledge, skills and creativity among Swedish-speakers in Finland
- Supporting Finnish-Swedish affinity and identity
- Supporting the status of the Swedish language as a societally important language in Finland.