Finland’s Swedish School Museum

Storsvedintie 66950 Munsala


Before the elementary school system was established, priests, sacristans and self-taught teachers were in charge of teaching either in homes or in ambulant schools. Anders Svedberg (1832–1889), and ambulant school teacher from Munsala, founded Finland’s first permanent Swedish-speaking elementary school in the village of Storsved in 1862. He went to Helsinki to share his school plans with, for instance, Zachris Topelius and Uno Cygnaeus, which led to an allowance granted by the senate. The school building was constructed according to the designs of provincial architect Carl Axel Setterberg.


Svedberg’s teaching methods were practical, the school subjects comprising geography, natural history, history, physical education, music, algebra and agriculture. The school was attended by children as well as by adults who studied to become teachers. The school was very popular: in just over the first decade, it had hundreds of students, who came from different parts of Finland. Many of the students became village school teachers, and many of them continued their studies at the Uusikaarlepyy teacher seminary. Svedberg wrote poems and published several schoolbooks that he had written.


In addition, Svedberg was influential as the founder of the newspaper Österbotten and as its editor from 1861 to 1878. He also worked as a journalist for the Österbottniska Posten and wrote for other papers as well on, for example, popular education. He represented the peasants four times at the Diet, in addition to teaching at his own school until his death.


Svedberg’s school library was among the largest in Finland, and a significant part of the books and old teaching tools have been preserved. The well-preserved building has served as a school museum since the mid-1970s.




Anders Svedberg is said to have been interested in literary studies already as a child. His father had a library of his own, and even though Anders did not attend school, he learned to read, write and do arithmetic at home. He started to work at the ambulatory school as a self-taught teacher in the 1850s.




Finland’s Swedish School Museum 



A classroom


The school library


A classroom


Head teacher’s desk


Age-old bridge