Scandinavian Brazilians

Scandinavian Brazilians
Escandinavo Brasileiro
Regions with significant populations
Rio de Janeiro, Curitiba, Sao Paulo
Predominantly Portuguese
Protestantism (especially Lutheranism), Roman Catholicism
Related ethnic groups
Other Brazilians, Danes, Norwegians, Swedes, Finns, Icelanders, Faroe Islanders

Scandinavian Brazilians (Portuguese: escandinavo-brasileiro) refers to Brazilians of full or partial Scandinavian ancestry, or Scandinavian-born people residing in Brazil.

The Scandinavian settlement in Brazil began in the mid to late 19th century and was predominant then: when Scandinavians people arrived in Brazil. Many Scandinavians came to Brazil for economic reasons and to start a new life.[1]

In recent years, many Norwegians and Swedes have migrated to the littoral zone of the State of Rio Grande do Norte (mainly Natal) and Ceará, attracted by the beaches and the tropical climate.[2]


In 1768, the scientist Daniel Solander, disciple of Carl von Linné, was the first known Swede to arrive in Brazil.[3]

The relations between Brazil and Sweden were rooted in the family ties between the Brazilian and Swedish Royal Families, and in the Swedish emigration to Brazil at the end of the 19th century. The wife of King Oscar I of Sweden and Norway, Queen Josephine (of Leuchtenberg), was a sister to Empress Amelia (of Leuchtenberg), wife of Emperor Pedro I. Diplomatic relations between Brazil and Sweden were established in 1826. In the Riddarholmen Church in Stockholm, where many Swedish royals are buried, there are commemorative plaques of Emperors Pedro I and Pedro II as well as of President Epitácio Pessoa (who were recipients of the Royal Order of the Seraphim).

Diplomatic relations between Brazil and Sweden were established in 1826. The first Swedish emigrants arrived in Brazil in 1890, and in 1909 the first sea line between the two countries was initiated.

Mass emigration from Norway started circa 1865–1866, after the civil war was over. Several ship-owners saw the opportunity to earn good money by transporting migrants to the New World. United States, Canada and Brazil received many Norwegians.

In Curitiba, one of the first Scandinavian of note to arrive was Alfredo Andersen, an artist who arrived towards the end of the 19th century and painted well into the 1930s. The Museu Alfredo Andersen contains much of his work, located in Paraná (state).[4] In addition, Icelandic immigrants settled there in 1863 and again in 1873.

Probably the largest concentration of Swedish immigrants in Brazil is located in the area of Missões in the southern state of Rio Grande do Sul, where in the late 1800s 200 Swedish families moved to the city of Guarani das Missões.

Examples of this immigration is the Karlson House (Casa Sueca) in Guarani das Missões, the Svenska Kulturhuset in the district of Linha Jansen (Farroupilha, RS), the Mission of Örebro in Venancio Aires, RS. Swedish cultural groups include the Ovenska Danser ballet of Ijuí, RS and the Ballet Patrícia Johnson of Bento Gonçalves, RS.

In April 2010, the City of Nova Roma, RS celebrated the 120th anniversary of the Swedish immigration to the city. Earlier, in 1991, the city of Ijui, RS celebrated the immigration of the Scandinavians to their city (mainly Swedes) with the opening of a Swedish Cultural Center in the city.

There was also significant immigration of Swedish and Danish citizens to São João da Boa Vista, in the state of São Paulo.[5]

In the 1920s, Danish immigrants in rural parts of Aiuruoca laid the foundation for the modern Brazilian cheese production.[6]

Religion and culture

The Scandinavian Church in Brazil is a part of The Swedish Church Abroad (SKUT) - which belongs to The Swedish Church. They offer services for Scandinavians or persons with Scandinavian related interests. They have churches in Rio de Janeiro and São Paulo.[7]

The Norwegian Church Abroad or The Norwegian Seamen’s Church is located in Rio de Janeiro. The Norwegian Church Abroad or The Norwegian Seamen's Church (Norwegian: Sjømannskirken) is a religious organisation serving Norwegians and other Scandinavians travelling abroad. Founded in 1864, The Norwegian Seamen’s Mission – Sjømannsmisjonen – was established to secure the moral and religious education of Scandinavian seafarers, but also to give them a "breathing room" where a fellow countryman was available to lend an ear and give some attention. Today, the churches and their staff together with travelling pastors around the globe represent a "resource center" for all Norwegians travelling internationally.

Also, over time, many of the Scandinavians have converted to Roman Catholicism, or more recently, other forms of Protestantism.

Scandinavian Association in Rio

In 1933, the 50 "Ars Pokalen" was created, to travel within the Swedish and Norwegian Colony, to be given to a male member on his 50th birthday, having lived at least 2 years in Rio de Janeiro. In 1947, The Swedish Association was created. Some of the first Swedish companies were established as early as before the World War I. In 1950, The Danish Association (Den Danske Klub) was established and is still running. In 1951, the Scandinavian golf tournament started and is still running. The winner receives a challenge cup. In 1955, The Norwegian Association (Det Norske Samfund) was established.

In 1994, The Norwegian Association was put on "hold" since there had been a notable reduction of Norwegians in Rio during the last three years and few Norwegians who remained had the possibility to keep the Association up and running. In 2001, The Swedish Association transformed into the Scandinavian Association and are since then including all the Nordic countries: Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway and Sweden.[8]

Notable Scandinavian Brazilians

See also


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