Interaction across the Gulf of Bothnia (2000-2003)


objective of this research programme was to study the close ties of interaction and cooperation as well as other influences exchanged between Sweden and Finland in the past and present. At the same time the purpose is to promote cooperation between Finnish and Swedish researchers.

The programme was grounded in the ongoing process of integration in Western Europe and in the continuing globalisation of the economy, which means that Finland and Sweden will be faced with very similar challenges in the future. The research projects were set up against a backdrop of what has been a relatively unique relationship between the two countries, which share a long history in common and which also have very similar social structures and sets of values. They have similar problems in the fields of politics, language, religion, culture, as well as in their relationship to national identity, communications, integration and regionalisation both with respect to their mutual relations and with respect to their relations with the rest of Europe.


Working within the humanities and the social sciences, this bilateral research programme studied and compared the social life, administration and culture of these two countries, both from an historical and a contemporary point of view. They also include comparisons of major-ity/minority issues in Sweden and Finland and proceed to examine the unfolding social, psychological and linguistic processes.


The programme comprised 17 projects, all of which involved researchers from both countries. A total of over 120 researchers were engaged in these projects. The organisations involved included: the universities of Helsinki, Joensuu, Lapland and Turku (Fin); the universities of Gothenburg, Karlstad, Lund, Stockholm, Umeå and Uppsala (Swe); Åbo Akademi University (Fin), the Helsinki School of Economics and Business Administration (Fin), the Stockholm School of Economics (Swe), the National Defence College of Sweden (Swe), Gotland University College (Swe), Karolinska Institutet (a medical university) (Swe), Mid Sweden University, Härnösand (Swe), the Research Institute of the Finnish Economy ETLA (Fin)  and Kuntokallio (Centre for Gerontological Training and Research) (Fin).


The budget of the programme was about EUR 4.9 million.  In Finland the programme was funded by the Academy of Finland (EUR 1.3 million) as well as by the Society of Swedish Literature in Finland, the Åbo Akademi University Foundation and the Foundation for Swedish Culture in Finland (a total of EUR 1.3 million). In Sweden, the Swedish Council for Research in the Humanities and Social Sciences and the Bank of Sweden Tercentenary Foundation committed a total of EUR 2.4 million.

Duration 2000-2003


Interactions across the Gulf of Bothnia evaluation.pdf


The research programme was coordinated by coordinator Nils Erik Villstrand, Åbo Akademi.

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