Thoughts on multiculturalism and why it matters.


Around a week ago Finns Party MP Olli Immonen wrote a Facebook post declaring war on multiculturalism in Finland.

He spoke about this ugly bubble his enemies live in and that he believes we should fight through it for one true Finnish nation.
Luckily this led to a huge debate and even more protesting.

With my background as an immigrant to Finland and looking at all the international people I am working with every day I have to share my two cents on this issue.

Moving to Finland

We started our company booncon four years ago in Finland because we felt welcome, it soon became our new home. When we arrived here the vibe around Helsinki was amazing. Abroad, only a few people knew much about it so the people here were sticking together to make a difference.

Nokia was on the verge of going down and many had to look for new opportunities. A lot of startups grew and people started learning not to be afraid of doing so.
We and many others called it Europe’s Silicon Valley 🙂

To fail is to succeed was the mantra preached at so many events around our early days.
Finns had to learn how to take risks. I am saying that because I strongly feel that the bubbling mix of cultures around the capital area was a big help in doing so.

Why the Facebook post does not help anyone

I was so happy about how international Helsinki and its surroundings started to feel.
I felt proud of choosing a new home where it was possible to end up at a table with 5 people and none of them would speak the language of the country they lived in (but everyone tried).

That made Finland special.

With this stupid Facebook post Finland is making itself look stupid internationally. Already after the last elections (with the push to the right) people abroad started asking questions. I hope this is not the answer to how things will develop from now on.

If I would have read about this 5 years ago, I am not sure if I would have ended up in Finland.
Given how important it is for the economy here for people to take risks, politicians should push for people abroad wanting to come here.

Moving forwards

Companies like ours, with a healthy mix of nationalities, help to find a solutions to many problems. I see everyday how different perspectives, experiences and cultures create more versatile, out of the box answers to questions.

I know that most of the people don’t feel like mister Immonen, let us all show him and many others what great things we can achieve not being afraid of the unknown.

Finland is a wonderful country to live in and I want it to move forwards, not backwards 🙂