Fennoman movement

The Fennomans were members of the most important political movement (Fennomania) in the 19th-century Grand Duchy of Finland, built on the work of the fennophile interests of the 18th and early-19th centuries.


After the Crimean War, Fennomans founded the Finnish Party and intensified the language strife, yearning to raise the Finnish language and Finnic culture from peasant status to the position of a national language and a national culture. The opposition, the Svecomans, tried to defend the status of Swedish and the ties to the Germanic world.

Although the notion of Fennomans was not as common after the generation of Juho Kusti Paasikivi (born 1870), their ideas have dominated the Finns' understanding of their nation.

The mother tongue of many of the first generation of Fennomans, like Johan Vilhelm Snellman, was Swedish. Some of the originally Swedish-speaking Fennomans learned Finnish, and made a point of using it inside and outside the home.

Several Fennomans were from Finnish or bilingual homes. Some originally had Swedish surnames, common in Finland at that time.

Most of the Fennomans also Finnicized their family names, particularly from the end of the 19th century.

In the last years of the 19th century, and in the first years of the 20th, the Fennoman movement split into two political parties: the Old Finnish Party and the Young Finnish Party.


The Fennoman motto attributed to Adolf Ivar Arwidsson was actually coined by Johan Vilhelm Snellman: "Svenskar äro vi icke, ryssar vilja vi icke bli, låt oss alltså vara finnar."

"Swedes we are not,
Russians we cannot become,
therefore Finns we must be."[1]

Prominent Fennomans

See also


  1. Kari Tarkiainen: Adolf Ivar Arwidsson, in Matti Klinge (ed.): Suomen kansallisbiografia 1. SKS, Helsinki 2003, ISBN 951-746-442-8 (page 406)
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