Monday, 18 October 2010

Identities

Swedish author and translator Ulf Peter Hallberg recently visited Helsinki and wrote about what he perceived to be a "slightly alarming" social and cultural uniformity (entydighet) in the place and its citizens. When the piece was reviewed in Hbl (with an accent on Hallberg's pessimistic take on the future of Finland-Swedishness), some commenters took the opportunity of pointing out that because of its unique history, Finland and the Finns play a special role in today's Europe, preserving the concept and practice of national identity in an era when it has been less than fashionable to do so. Hallberg's reactions to Finland are particularly interesting in the light of German chancellor Angela Merkel's recent remarks about the failure of multiculturalism in her country.

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