Finland is not the first place that many Indonesians here have moved to, with some coming directly from countries such as Argentina. Once they have arrived in Finland, they insist however on maintaining a sense of Indonesian community. Today, the 350-400 Indonesians that now live in Finland gather regularly, as some move between cities such as Helsinki and Turku on business matters, while others spend their time in Jyväskylä for educational purposes.

Compared to several other minorities in Finland, Indonesians have a well-organised community. On the one hand there are religious clubs such as the Muslim Indonesians in Finland (IMMI) and the Christian Indonesians (macro.if), of which both have monthly events. The IMMI regularly invites a sheikh to its Islamic styled sessions, while the Christian community organises events around occasions such as Christmas at the embassy. On the other hand there also exists culturally oriented clubs, such as the one for young Indonesian students in Finland (PPI). The PPI focuses more on exposing Indonesian students who have spent their lives in Finland and grew up here, to their Indonesian culture and heritage. A student often comes in and introduces, for example, an instrument he/she plays to the rest of the group, which is then followed with a discussion around dance, music and Indonesian culture in general. All of these clubs should not be mistaken for dividing up the Indonesian community as a whole, since the Indonesian Embassy invites all Indonesians to come together on special events such as the Indonesian Independence Day on 17 August.

These clubs are also not isolated from the public in Finland. An Indonesian group named Banyu Pethak regularly teaches music and dance from Bali. The teacher, Ketut Sudaneyara, has passed on the traditions of Indonesian music to many of his nationals, as several Indonesians have then performed under Sudaneyara’s expertise in a series of events across the country and in Estonia that even the former Estonian president attended! Attending one of these events is all it takes to get a glimpse of the Indonesian community and culture in Finland!

Sarrah Kassem