I noticed that Sweden has been successful in pacifying a bitter rivalry with Denmark overtime. Last time they had a conflict was just 200 years ago. But many other countries still have really rancorous rivalries and ethnic conflicts. It seems like once all external threats have been subdued in one way or another, the population has nothing else to do but to improve their own condition, so Sweden blossoming into what it is now makes sense. But how did they do this? Not only integrating leftover Danes from annexing what is now southern Sweden(Scania most notably), they also had an influx of Walloons 500 years ago, Finns 300 years ago, and in the ancient past Geats & Gutes who were conquered. I haven't been successful in finding any books discussing this, only books talking about who conquered what, who went where, who lived where and facts like that.

Why is it that all of these just integrated into Swedish society and accepted their role as Swedes instead of harboring resentment for hundreds of years such as Serbs in Slavonia against Croatia for instance, or Northern- and Southern Yemenites, Catalonians and Spaniards, or ethnicities in Central Asia which have the same predominant religion and history, same ethnic family(Altaic/Turkic), so many centuries of unity through empires, but still they don't count themselves as, for instance, Kazakhs if they are Uzbeks living in Kazakhstan?

  • 4
    The Walloons were not numerically significant (900 according to Nationalencyclopedin, apparently). Saying "X conquered Y" in early Swedish history is not based on facts as presently understood. The Gutes are the Jutes = Danes?
    – Tomas By
    Aug 24, 2019 at 23:23
  • Gutes are the people of Gotland, which at least linguistically were/are very distinct from other Scandinavians. Otherwise I agree.
    – andejons
    Aug 25, 2019 at 19:52

2 Answers 2


Wrong premises lead to wrong conclusions

First about Croatia - it did not exist as an independent country until 1991. Until 1918 it was part of the Habsburg Monarchy, later Austria-Hungary. After WW1 it was part of the Kingdom of Serbs, Croats and Slovenes, later Yugoslavia. During WW2, it was a German puppet state, so called Independent State of Croatia . Sadly, animosity and hatred towards Serbs was and is part of the Croatian national identity. This was most evident during WW2, when Ustashe movement ruling the Croatia strove to kill, expel or convert any Serb they could find, but continued after the Croatian war of independence when the majority of Serbs living there was forced to flee. Unfortunately, popularity of the Ustashe movement, especially among young Croats is high even today, with incidents against remaining Serbs happening regularly link in Croatian.

Concerning Skåneland or so called Eastern Denmark, Swedes actually did a lot of things Croats later employed against Serbs. Granted, they did neither create concentration camps not they employed murder on a systematic scale, but they did forbid usage of the Danish language, especially in church and official business, appointed Swedes exclusively as priests and civil servants, banned inhabitants of Skåneland from enrolling into Copenhagen University etc ... Any rebellion was crushed with brutal force and harsh punishments. Of course, since this happened mostly during the 17th and 18th century, it was not considered as something uncommon. Today, it would be classified as ethnic cleansing and forced assimilation.

As for Finland under Swedish rule, this started in middle ages. Essentially, the ruling class of Finland came from Sweden, while Finns remained largely a subjugated peasant population. The Finnish language did survive, but it was not in official usage. Assimilation did not happen mainly because there were not enough Swedish colonists, and latter the Finish territory came under dispute between Sweden and Russia, with Russia eventually winning and creating the Grand Dutchy of Finland.

  • 2
    Worth noting perhaps that the Serb Croat thing is also heavily driven by religious differences.
    – user31561
    Aug 24, 2019 at 21:32
  • I thought "ethnic cleansing" meant removing the target population from the area - that is not what happened in Skåne. Also, the Swedish-speaking population in what is now Finland is very old. I'm not up to date with recent research on this topic, but I believe they may have been there before the Finns arrived.
    – Tomas By
    Aug 24, 2019 at 23:14
  • 1
    About swedes and danes, there were no remarkable cultural differences. But it's true the swedes treated the danes in a brutal way. I think we could see it as a brutal enforcement of loyalty towards the swedish throne. Anyway, it proves that Sweden hasn't used a particular formula to become what Sweden is today. Aug 25, 2019 at 10:05
  • 2
    @TomasBy Depends on definition, but ethnic cleansing is simply cleansing certain ethnicity from the area, not necessarily physically removing everyone but also forcibly assimilating them (cultural genocide) . Danish ethnicity was effectively erased from the region in question.
    – rs.29
    Aug 25, 2019 at 11:42
  • 1
    @UlfTennfors Not remarkable but sufficient for divide and eventual conflict. I agree with the notion that Sweden used to be harsh as any empire in its heyday.
    – rs.29
    Aug 25, 2019 at 11:47

There is no formula for this. It's rather the fact that it was a long time since Sweden was involved in a war, that makes swedes reluctant to fight wars. After such long period, aggressions against other nations, tend to fade away.

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.