A story for Finnish Swedish Heritage Day: Östermark

Today people in Finland celebrate Finnish Swedish Heritage Day. Time for me to publish the following fictonal story. No offence is intended.


A normal student party at Uusi-S across the street from Turku University. Samuli and Pekka had been drinking a fair amount of booze. As it was normal in a Finnish student party. But what should you else do. Drinking and having a good time.

“Hey are you going to the independence day event tomorrow?”
“Ah why not, if I’m awake.”
“You are such a lazy patriot.”
Pekka turned around and fell.
It must have been some time when he woke up.

A well hung guy in a nurse uniform spoke to him in Swedish.
“How are you?”
“I’m not sure, my head hurts. Where am I”
“In the the Karl-Gustav Hospital.”
“What is the Karl-Gustav Hospital?”
“The central hospital here in Abo, capital of the eastern province of the Kingdom of Sweden, Earth.” The male nurse said with a friendly smile.
Only then Pekka realized, that the nursa had answerd in Swedish.

He tried to sit up.
“Hey, be careful, we are not sure how long you lay there.”
“Where did I lay?”
„On the opposite side of Abo Academy Student house. You were found there this morning by an ethnography student, doing work on Swedish Student culture.” Pekka was baffled for a moment. He was sure he couldn’t be in Sweden. Was his hung over so bad, he had taken the ferry to Stockholm?
„You are always mentioning Sweden and speaking Swedish to me, but the last thing I remember was being in Turku in Finland?”
The nurse laughed. “Good joke, you students always like to prank, but lets get some rest, a concussion is nothing to take like heartedly.”

Pekka decided to follow the advice and lay back. Maybe this was prank, by one of his friends, who studied nursing. Whatever he was glad his head had stopped hurting. And he tried to sleep a little bit.
Some time later, he woke up when a doctor came to his room and examined him. He asked him why he spoke Swedish with such a bad Karelien accent. Was he part of the Finnish speaking minority from Karelia?
No Pekka replied, he came from Turku and had lived all his live here, but his parents spoke Finnish with him at home.

“Yeah some people are really set in their ways, but boy you can go home. Get your stuff. The nurse will take care if you need any help.”
“But Doctor, its normal that people in Finland speak Finnish.”
The Doctor had been about to leave an turned around.
“Finland? But that is only a term used by his hard core separatist from the East. No one say Finland, we are here in the eastern province of the Union of Scandinavia.”
“No we are in Finland….”, for a moment silence ensured. “At least we were before I fell down the stairs at the student party house.”
“Boy I think its best you talk to our hospital psychiatrist before you leave.”

The doctor wondered, OK, there was no information about the guy in the hospital system and the student card he had carried with him looked a little bit strange, but thee had not been any sign for serious head injury seen on the CT scan.”

„A story for Finnish Swedish Heritage Day: Östermark“ weiterlesen

What is a youth council?

What is a youth council and what does correspond to the institutions we in Germany know as youth-city-councils (Jugendgemeinderat)? The definitions what youth councils are differ from country to country.

Tampere with dramatic light

Even in Germany there are several definitions that seem to be equally valid and good:

  • „A youth council is a democrativly elected body compromised of people mostly aged between 13 and 20 years, that works on a regular, continuous basis and exerts influence on local policy“ (concept08 was a meeting of Finish and Baden-Württemberg youth councillors in Summer 2008)
  • “youth councils are representing the interests of youth toward local politics. They are a model of participation and offer young people an entry into politics without getting bound to a party. Ideally these have the right to talk in the city council and the right to make formal proposals in the city council. Ideally they have their own budget for publicity, events and other projects”  (Interessenvertretung der Jugend, von der Website des Dachverbands der Jugendgemeinderäte http://www.jugendgemeinderat.de/index.php?id=21, abgefragt am 15.2.2011)
  • “through youth councils youth in their municipality are formally represented. (…) they offer the possibility to transport wishes, suggestions or proposals for improvement of youth towards the political system. Through this youth can participate in the community. (…) they offer all youth political means of participation and creating a political will. (…)
    Youth councils are directly, democratically elected by youth and represent different ages and school types. Youth can participate at planning and projects, which concern their interests within a reasonable way. The elected youth gain deeper insight into local politics and learn on how to take responsibility and represent their position in the public (…)” ( Landtag von Baden-Wu?rttemberg Drucksache 14 / 6762 State Government of Baden-Württemberg
    (in response towards questions of the green party group)

Internationally the definiton seems to be very variable. For example nuva ry the finnish umbrella organisation of youth councils defines them as follows: (Senni Raunio, Salo 2011, „Suomen Nuorisovaltuustojen Liitto – Nuva ry. The Union of Youth Councils in Finland“ Vortrag beim Treffen der Delegation des Dachverbands der Jugend- gemeinderäte Baden-Württemberg und des Finnischen Dachverbands der Jugendgemein- dera?te in Salo am 9.4.2011)

  • „The age of the representatives in Youth Councils varies typically from 13 to 20 years
  • The amount of the representatives varies from 7 to 60 members
  • Members are usually selected via election, but also other methods are being used
  • They are trying to make sure that decision-making in municipalities is fair to the young people
  • Being a part of the municipal boards and other groups
  • Taking part to the public discussion and start new discussions by highlighting the problems that young people are facing“ „What is a youth council?“ weiterlesen