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Published: 2009-06-22

Citizens of northern Sweden have many international contacts

NEWS Swedes who live in the northern region of the country known as Norrland often speak a language other than Swedish, have an extensive network of international contacts, and consistently maintain a positive view about the consequences of globalization. This is shown in newly published study of the regionalization of the northern parts of Sweden - a collaboration among the three northernmost universities in the nation.

In the past year, three out of four citizens of northern Sweden have had international contacts at work in some form. In Norrbotten County, it is most common with associations in Finland and Russia. Jämtland Country residents typically have contacts in Norway, while those in Västerbotten and Västernorrland predominately have contacts in other European countries.

Two-thirds of citizens in northern Sweden use a foreign language (non-Swedish) in their work or studies. The majority of these people are also positive towards the effects of globalization, in particular with increased collaboration in police forces and that certain products have been less costly. On the other hand, there was some expected criticism regarding the possibility of heightened competition for jobs and that Swedish politicians’ freedom of action can be limited.

“Norrland’s citizens are more internationally oriented than one might have assumed” says Professor Nils-Gustav Lundgren, Luleå University of Technology and associated with the Centre for Regional Science (CERUM) at Umeå University, who led the study.

“The position of the export industry in northern has a significant role in the results, in addition to today’s mobility across borders,” continues Lundgren.

Norrbotten Country citizens are routinely those that are the most internationally oriented in northern Sweden, by means of being multiple language capacity and many with contacts in Finland.

The study is included in the 2008 study of regionalization of the northern parts of Sweden, which is based on responses from a citizen survey of randomly selected citizens in the four northernmost counties of Sweden (Västerbotten, Norrbotten, Jämtland and Västernorrland). The three universities involved were Umeå University, Luleå University of Technology and Mid Sweden University. The project has been funded by respective county councils.

Contact information:Professor Nils-Gustav LundgrenPhone: +46 (0)90-786 56 85Mobile: +46 (0)70-33 44 518
E-mail: nils-gustav.lundgren@cerum.umu.se

Project website
Centre for Regional Science (CERUM)

Editor: Camilla Bergvall