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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

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