Finland is becoming home to an increasing number of multicultural families, including Finnish Thai couples. An estimated 150,000 people belong to a multicultural family in Finland.
Around 3,000 multicultural couples – where one partner is a Finn and the other is a foreigner – tie the knot in Finland annually. According to Statistics Finland, Finnish men most often marry foreign women from Thailand, Russia, or Estonia.
Meanwhile, Finnish women tend to marry foreign men from Turkey, Britain or the United States.
“We are moving about, travelling and working abroad more than ever. The opportunity to meet people from different cultures is much greater than in the past,” says Elli Heikkilä, the research director at the Institute of Migration.
Multicultural families face a variety of challenges that mainstream Finnish families may take for granted – such as choosing which country to live in and learning a new language and culture. However, Heikkilä says there are also many positive aspects to belonging to such a family.
“When children with parents from two different cultures grow up, they have the ability to get along with people from a variety of backgrounds. It is a kind of richness to be able to understand differences and a variety of viewpoints and cultures from an early age.”