Main content

Neighbourhood: We Might as Well be Finnish

Talking to Finns about what it means to be a nation squashed between Sweden and Russia.

How has Finland been shaped by its two very different neighbours, Sweden and Russia?

These days, Finland is considered to be one of the best governed, least corrupt, most educated nations in the world. It has even earned itself the title of 'World’s Happiest Country'. Yet the self-deprecating Finns have long seen Finland as a scrappy underdog wedged between two much bigger countries, Sweden and Russia. There’s even a saying of sorts that captures this sentiment: “We can’t be Swedish. We don’t want to be Russian. We might as well be Finnish.” Kavita Pillay travels to Finland during the country’s centenary of independence to find out how this Nordic nation has been profoundly shaped by its two much bigger - and very different - neighbours.

Image: Composite by D8 Design Agency

Available now

26 minutes

Clip

Broadcasts

Amazing documentaries from 2017

Catch up on some of the most powerful global stories from the last year

In Detail: Moving Pictures

Take time to discover the detail in old masterpieces using your phone, tablet or computer

Space

Stargazing - from eclipses to the spacecraft changing our view of the Universe

The Documentary Podcast

Every episode of The Documentary, on your mp3 player, to play wherever you are

The Compass

The essential take on big ideas, issues and trends from the 21st century