Åbo Akademi University

Åbo Akademi was founded by private donations in 1918 as the third university in Finland, both to let Turku again become a university town and because it was felt that the Swedish language was threatened at the University of Helsinki. The Finnish University of Turku was founded in 1920, also by private donations and for similar reasons. Åbo Akademi was a private institution until 1981, when it was turned into a public institution.

As the only uni-lingually Swedish multi-faculty university in the world outside Sweden and consequently the only one in Finland, Åbo Akademi University is responsible for higher education for a large proportion of the Swedish-speaking population. This role has many implications for education and research as well as for the social environment. As there are few students in most subjects, cooperation between faculties and with other universities is very important.

A minority of students are Finnish speakers who have passed a university entrance Swedish language test. While Turku itself is a bilingual city, the university provides a strong Swedish environment. Most of the students, regardless of their original language, will be functionally bilingual when finishing their studies.

In addition, there are several other units and joint programs, such as:

When the university was turned into a public institution the foundation Stiftelsen för Åbo Akademi remained. Besides maintaining many of the university buildings, it is also a significant donor. Because of new legislation regarding higher education, it is planned to turn universities in Finland into semi-private institutions.