Sven Tagil (ed)
C. Hurst and Co
38 King Street, London, WC2E 8JT
ISBN 85065 216 3
ISGN 85065 239 2
Sven Tagil has edited an important collection of essays on Nordic Nation Building. Nine scholars from Scandinavia have collaborated under the sponsorship of the Joint Committee of the Nordic Research Councils for the Humanities to produce a survey of multiculturalism.
Part four, written by Harold Rublom, is particularly interesting dealing as it does with immigration to Scandinavia after World War II. Rublom points out how international migration has served as a dynamic element in Nordic societies since 1945. Migration has altered the ethnic and linguistic variety, and confronted individuals and local committees with a spectre of new life styles. Immigration also challenged traditional behaviour and policies in education, justice administration, medical services and the church.
Rublom points out that Finland has led the way in migration search, when a special centre was set up for the purpose in Tarka at the Institute of Migration. This is itself a curious development, as Finland has the lowest percentage of total population by number of foreign citizens. According to table on p.285, Runblom shows Finland with 17,269 foreign citizens a rate of 0.4 per cent was well behind its Nordic neighbours and the major recipients of migrants, West Germany and France and for different reasons, Switzerland.
In the (mysteriously selected) year of 1986, Sweden had 390,800 or 4.6 per cent foreign citizens, Denmark 116,949 or 2.4 per cent and Norway 109,286 or 2.6 per cent. The Swiss borders contained 956,000, or 14 per cent, the West German 4,483,600 or 7.4 per cent and the French were hosts to 3,680,000 or 6.8 per cent.
Behind the broad figures were several complex issues. In Sweden, for example, (in 1989) the largest group of immigrants were Finns, 123,867. Although the Swedes did always think so, Finns were not particularly foreign, compared to contact with the Turks who, while numbering only 24,152, were far more conspicuous. More Turkish was heard on some underground stations than in areas of Istanbul and the Kebab culture made savage and welcome inroads into the land of the Korv. But as Runblom pointed out: