Why this blog?
I am writing this for two reasons. First, I have reached a point in my life where I have accumulated enough experience about Finland that I want to write them down in order to make sense of my own Finnish past. Historians aim to master the past. Here I want to try to master my past experiences. Since August 1982 I have lived and worked in Finland on an off. I have witnessed a country that has gone through significant changes. Despite Finland’s reputation as a stable country, many of the institutions and operating assumptions that existed in 1982 no longer exist. In less than twenty years after 1982 the country’s official foreign policy became obsolete, Finland joined the European Union, the euro replaced the mark as the country’s currency, a woman of African ancestry was chosen Miss Finland, and the country elected an unchurched, unmarried woman president of the republic. Nokia went from being known for making toilet paper and tires to becoming synonymous with mobile telephones. All of these changes were inconceivable in 1982. In the last twenty years Finland has seen the end of Nokia as a mobile phone giant. The growth of the far right on the last decade has achieved levels of support that the far left had in 1982. A country that has been identified as a world’s happiest is dealing with growing problems of income inequality, declines in education, and unexamined xenophobia toward a growing population of immigrant background.
The second goal of this blog is to give historical analyses to current problems. For some blog entries, I envision giving a history of the present. I hope that in pursuing both aims readers might find useful insights. Many of the entries will be drawn from the everyday.
For those who want to read yet another account of a foreigner expressing awe about an “exotic” country will be disappointed. I do not consider Finland exotic or inscrutable. I do consider it interesting enough to have kept my attention for most of my life.