Finns are prepared to take on the responsibility but reject nuclear weapons

In anticipation of the NATO Summit in Vilnius, the report compiled by researchers from the University of Helsinki, the University of Turku and Åbo Akademi University, examines Finn´s expectations related to the NATO membership based on extensive survey data collected in June.

Finns expect NATO to provide first and foremost military security against the threat of Russia, and are ready to send Finnish troops to aid other NATO countries in the case of a military invasion, the new report of the research project Dynamic Democratic Support for Finnish Defense finds.

Setting up a NATO base in Finland divides opinion

It appears that in Finland, the basic principle based on reciprocity has been well internalized: to receive the security guarantees, a willingness to defend allies, when necessary, is required. The preparedness of the Finns to take on the responsibility, also illustrated by the willingness to expand military conscription to include women and people with non-binary genders is supported by a majority.

The attitudes towards nuclear weapons in Finland are almost unanimously critical. However, the possible abolition of the demilitarization of the Åland Islands, which has generated much debate during the past spring, is supported by the majority of the respondents. Setting up a NATO base in Finland and the placement of foreign troops on national territory, however, divides opinion.

A majority support expanding the military conscription to include women and people with non-binary genders

It appears that, on average, the Finns have relatively little knowledge of other NATO missions such as the mitigation of the threats of terrorism or climate change. The range of political frames that Finnish citizens associate with NATO is rather narrow, which largely reflects the political and public debates surrounding the defence alliance in Finland.

The newly published report “Top gear security: Finns’ expectations for NATO membership” is based on the survey material that was prepared by the NATOpoll research project and gathered by Taloustutkimus Oy during the period of June 8-June 19, 2023. A total of 2,877 Finns between the ages of 15 and 79 responded to the survey. The survey was conducted through the permanent panel of Taloustutkimus Oy, from which the sample selected for this study was formed according to age, gender, and region. The project was funded by Kone Foundation.

The lower willingness of younger age groups to participate was taken into consideration in the preparation of the survey by inviting more representatives of this age group to participate. Regarding the geographical area aspect, the panel focuses on cities and urban areas. As to the socioeconomic status of respondents, those who had vocational education and those working in manual labour are underrepresented. Moreover, there are less entrepreneurs within the respondents than their share of the population. These material biases were taken to account by weighing these results to correspond with the population statistics on age, gender, and place of residence. The margin of error is approximately +/- 1.8 percentage points.


For more information:

Adj. Professor, Politics, S.M. Amadae:

Adj. Professor, Politics, Hanna Wass, University of Helsinki:

Doctoral Researcher, Albert Weckman, Åbo Akademi University: