National stereotyping has applications in international politics as well as in
business contacts between countries. This case study of stereotypes about Finns
and Swedes illuminates the varying extents to which national character traits are ascribed to any particular group. A total of 187 retired Finns living in Sweden were presented with a list of national character traits and then asked which ones they thought were more appropriate for Finns than for Swedes – or the opposite. The answers to each question have been elaborated with reference to other studies of the two national groups. Stereotyping is finally discussed in general terms. It is suggested that national stereotypes are based on (I) generalisations of the individualis own impressions, (II) hearsay i.e. stereotypes presented by others, including media, and (III) individually held values and cultural norms.