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Entries / Swedes


Categories / Population/Ethnic Groups

SWEDES, an ethnic community forming a part of the St. Petersburg population. Believers practice Lutheranism. The Swedes attempted to take control of the Neva Region from the 13th century onwards (see the Battle of the Neva 1240, Landskrona). In the 17th century when Ingria (Ingermanland) was a Swedish province, Swedes made up a significant portion of inhabitants of Nyen (Nyenschantz). In St. Petersburg the Swedish population has existed since the 18th century. Swedish prisoners were among the first builders of the city. In the 18th century, however, some volunteer immigrants also appeared, mainly artisans. Traditionally many of the St. Petersburg Swedes were engaged in metal and woodworking, shoemaking and jewellery. Since the 2nd half of the 19th century Swedes performed administrative functions in enterprises as well. In 1869, the Swedish community consisted of 5,100 people (of them 1,257 were Swedish subjects, and the rest came from the Grand Duchy of Finland), in 1897 - 4,600 people (including 941 Swedish subjects). Swedes resided mostly in Kazanskaya Part, where Swedish Church of St. Catherine was located, and also on Vasilievsky Island and Vyborgskaya Side. There was a school attached to the church, and since 1905 the Swedish Youth League operated there. In 1910 the Swedish Society appeared in St. Petersburg, and in 1911 - the Choir-singers’ Union. Among the representatives of the Swedish community the most well known are the Nobel family, architect F.I. Lidval, and General C.G. Mannerheim, who later became the president of Finland. After October 1917 most members of the Swedish community emigrated, and those who decided to stay had to conceal their nationality and origin. In 1991 the descendants of St. Petersburg Swedes re-established the Lutheran community. The memory of Swedish settlement remains in the name of Shvedsky Lane (literally Swedish Lane).

References: Шведы на берегах Невы: Сб. ст. Стокгольм, 1998; Янгфельдт Б. Шведские пути в Санкт-Петербург: Главы из истории о шведах на берегах Невы. Стокгольм; СПб., 2003.

A. Y. Chistyakov.

Lidval Fedor (Iogan Friedrich) Ivanovich
Mannerheim Carl Gustav

Shvedsky Lane/Saint Petersburg, city
Выборгская сторона

Шведы на берегах Невы: Сб. ст. Стокгольм, 1998

The subject Index
Neva Battle (1240)
St. Catherine’s Swedish Church

Foreigners in St. Petersburg (entry)

FOREIGNERS, from the 18th to the early 20th century, foreigners were an important element of the St. Petersburg population. Foreigners appeared in the city from the moment of its foundation

Population (entry)

POPULATION of St. Petersburg is the second largest in the Russian Federation after Moscow. From the 18th to the start of the 20th centuries the population continually grew: in 1725 - 40,000 people, in 1750 - 74,000; in 1800 - 220,000; in 1818 - 386