SLS – A Scholarly Society
The Society of Swedish Literature in Finland (SLS) is a scholarly society for the preservation and dissemination of knowledge about Finland-Swedish culture. SLS publishes scholarly literature, maintains archives and libraries, funds research, awards literary and scholarly prizes, and gives grants for scholars. SLS’s activities are made possible by private donations. SLS Endowment is one of the largest private funds for the benefit of the public in Finland. SLS has around 1,000 members, with around 100 employees in Helsinki and Vaasa.
SLS was established in 1885 in memory of the Finnish national poet Johan Ludvig Runeberg, during a time when it was felt that the Swedish language and Swedish culture in Finland were under threat. Leading cultural figures endorsed the need for an organisation to preserve and mediate Swedish cultural heritage in Finland. They also sought to strengthen the identity of Finland’s Swedish-speaking population, and their understanding of their own culture.
Swedish is one of Finland’s two national languages, enjoying equal official status with Finnish. Today the Swedish-speaking minority makes up around 5.5% of the population. A large number of organisations and media operate in Swedish. Members of the Swedish-speaking population have a right to education, health care and government services in their own language.