The history of Africans in Finland

Research and book project

Very little is known about the history of Africans in Finland – and about Africanness as a part of Finnishness.  We are in the process of writing the first scholarly work in Finnish that comprehensively compiles the history of the African diaspora in Finland up to the 1990s, when the number of African communities began to grow rapidly.

Our book project on African Diaspora in Finland (working title) is a joint project of two researchers – Anna Rastas (University of Tampere) and Leila Koivunen (University of Turku). It focuses on the diversity of the African diaspora and how the presence of Africans and different African diaspora communities in Finland have shaped Finnish society and culture.

We have signed a preliminary agreement to publish the book with Gaudeamus, one of the leading academic publishers in Finland.  The purpose of our project is to contribute to academic knowledge production on the history of the African diaspora, as well as to promote contemporary documentation of the topic and thus create a basis for future research that examines diaspora communities as minority communities and cultures and at the same time as part of Finnish society. Our work builds on the material collected for our previous research projects, supplemented by interviews, archival and other material. The project involves cooperation with Finns of African background.  We organize events with our project partners and seek dialogue at various stages of the book project.

The privacy notice of the project can be downloaded here. The notice is in Finnish but we will translate it into English if necessary.

Consent form for interviewees

Partners (list will be updated)

Afroeuropeans Net – Network for African European Studies

Afrofinns ry

Decolonizing History-Writing: Transcultural Production, Mobilization and Transformations of Knowledge in Finnish-Namibian Relations 1870-1990 (FinNamKnow). Research project directed by Leila Koivunen, University of Turku.

Fest Afrika

Helinä Rautavaara Museum

Helsinki City Museum

The Migration Institute of Finland

Photo: Elvis Fuamba / Afrofinns ry.