Finland’s key Arctic region and a major tourist destination

The Lapland province covers a 98,984 square kilometer area and is Finland`s northernmost region. It borders on Murmansk Oblast and the Republic of Karelia in the east, the Norwegian Finnmark County in the north and the Swedish Norrbotten County in the west. It is Finland` biggest but least populated area. The region Lapland is rich in natural resources and has several metal and mineral ore production sites, a well-developed forestry industry and as major tourism industry.

The region is administered from Rovaniemi, the regional capital, which also is the site for regional key institutions like the Lapland University.

Lapland is Finland`s key Arctic region and a major share of the country`s Arctic research.

Lapland has a well-developed infrastructure will an extensive road grid, airports, as well as sea ports and a railway connection. The region has two border crossing points to Russia, the Raja-Jooesepii and Salla.

There is a significant Sami minority in the region and indigenous rights issues are addressed by the Sami Parliament in Inari.

Inari is also the municipality which borders on both Russia and Norway. The municipality includes the great Lake Inari, one of Europe`s biggest inland waters.

The region in the mid-war period of 1919-1944 included also Pechenga, the area which today is part of Murmansk Oblast.


Regional stories

Northern Finland in the wind, boosts power generation
The two regions of Lapland and Northern Ostrobotnia has the quickest growing wind power industry in the whole northern Scandinavia.
By Atle Staalesen, The Independent Barents Observer

Figures assembled by Patchwork Barents show that the regions of Lapland and Northern Ostrobotinia in 2014 produced respectively 368 GWh and 340 GWh, a year-on-year growth of 22 percent and 47 percent respectively. That is the quickest growth in wind power generation in the whole northern Scandinavia and Barents Region, BarentsObserver reports.

Industry opts for new Arctic railway
The lion’s share of processed goods in the Barents Region is out-transported by rail. Now, Finnish industrialists eye a new line to the Norwegian Arctic coast.
By Atle Staalesen, The Independent Barents Observer

Business interests in northern Finland have long lobbyed the project, and are now increasingly successful in lifting it up to the national agenda, BarentsObserver reports.

In a Northern Finland Strategy Paper written by two northern county adminstrations and handed over to the Finnish government in spring this year, the railway project is presented as a key priority in national Arctic policy.  The paper reads that  "Finland has to make a strategic alignment together with Norway of a railway...

Cross-border trade and tourism in decline
On the backdrop of political chill, trade between Finland and Russia is dropping sharply. Also tourism between the countries is in a downswing. That hits hard on the the region of Lapland.
By Atle Staalesen, The Independent Barents Observer

Figures from the Finnish Customs show that exports and imports to Russia the first three months of the year dropped 16 percent and 18 percent respectively.

According to a new report, all main export goods to Russia are on the decline. The biggest export product groups, chemical products and motor and machinery dropped 22 percent and 20 percent respectively. The total value of the exports in the period amounted to €1,06 billion while imports was €2,33 billion, BarentsObserver reports.

Significant is also the trend in Finnish tourism, a sector highly dependent of Russian visitors. Figures from Statistics Finland show that the number of Russian tourists in Finland is decreasing...

Mining sector expects 20 golden years in Lapland
Barents gold is currently mined in several parts of the region, although Finland stands out as the leading European goldminer. With an annual output of five tonnes, Lapland is expected to produce gold for at least another twenty years.
By Elizaveta Vassilieva, Barents Secretariat

As the price on gold has reached record heights, the Barents Region brings its noble riches to the fore, BarentsObserver reports.

Gold is produced in several parts of the Barents Region. In Norrbotten and Västerbotten gold has been mined for years. The Swedish metals company Boliden operates production at the Aitik mine (Norrbotten) and the Boliden Area (Västerbotten). The combined annual production in these two mining areas amounts to about 3.5 tonnes of gold.

The Swedish mines have been producing gold over a relatively long time, although their output is significantly smaller than Finland’s. Lapland is considered as the number one goldminer not only in the Barents Region, but also in Europe...

In the bottom of the bottle, a story about Arctic excess
Northern Russians and Finns are the by far biggest drinkers in the Barents Region. They are also the ones with the highest homicide and suicide rates, figures from Patchwork Barents show.
By Atle Staalesen, The Independent Barents Observer

The Barents Region is topping international statistics on alcohol consumption. And the further north you go, the more frequent are the toasts.



Thirsty northerners

In Finland, people in the northernmost region of Lapland consume almost 30 percent more alcohol than the national average. In 2012, the average per person consumption of pure alcohol in the region amounted to 10,7 liters, which is two liters more than in the neighboring...

Rudolph and Santa soon billion euro business
NiinaKörkkö welcomes tourists from around the world for a ride in Rudolph’s sleigh. Winter tourism in Lapland could soon have a turnover of €1,5 billion.
By Thomas Nilsen,

“That will be €100,” says booking clerk NiinaKörkkö to the couple from Russia that together with their two children want the 1000 meter reindeer sleigh ride. The man cashes out the €100 without blinking. Santa Claus and Rudolf is big business in Lapland.

Some 500,000 overnights will visit Rovaniemi this year. Santa Claus’ home cavern is just north of the city, strategically placed on the Arctic Circle. A glossy Santa Park is nearest neighbor.  

“The season started earlier this year,” tells Niina. She notes that more tourists are lining up for a ride with Rudolph this winter. “Especially from Italy, Japan, England and even from Australia. Some Russians also, but the majority of Russians will come in early January when they celebrate Christmas”

CEO TimoRautajoki in Lapland Chamber of Commerce believes tourism will grow...