Lapland is the northernmost county of Finland with 179 371 inhabitants (2012). About 4500 of those are Samí people. The total area of the county is 99 000 km2, which equals 30% of the whole of Finland. Lapland share borders with Sweden, Norway and Russia, altogether 1642 km. There are two international border crossings to Russia, six to Sweden and six to Norway.
Rovaniemi is Lapland’s administrative capital with 61 245 (31.12.2013) inhabitants. The other cities in Lapland are Kemi (22 120 inhabitants), Tornio (Tornio and Haparanda in Sweden make up an international twin city that altogether has 32 500 inhabitants) and Kemijärvi (7 981 inhabitants).
Nature and climate
The region lies mostly within the Arctic Circle. However, its climate is relatively mild for its location. The average temperature in January is -15 C, while the temperature in July averages +14 C. The temperature can drop to -40 C in winter and reach +30 C in summer.
Ten percent of Lapland is covered with lakes and marshes and more than half of the region is forested. Conifers do not grow in the northernmost part at all; instead, groves of stunted birch trees and tundra covered in ground-hugging vegetation dominate the landscape. Some 27,000 kilometers of the province of the total are, is in nature reserves. About half of this is officially designated wilderness and a quarter national parks.
Lapland is well integrated into Finland´s road, railway and air networks. There are 8,000 kilometers of public roads, in addition to many more built for private and forestry. Lapland has two ports, in Kemi and Tornio. They handle a tenth of Finland´s total exports, the main categories of good being kraftliner, paper, pulp, sawn timber, ore and mine concentrates. Icebreakers ensure that the ports remain open all year around. Lapland has five major airports. There are air service to many points further south.
The livelihood is based on both nature and high technology. On the one hand, there are wood processing, steel and building materials industries that export to markets all over the world, in addition to energy producers. On the other, there are companies whose very existence depends on scenery and an unpolluted environment, like those running the large tourist centres or producing foodstuffs of extraordinary purity. Sophisticated consumer electronics and aerospace technology are examples of the special fields represented by industry in the province. Year 2004 70,9 % of the population worked in the services sector, 20,5 % in refining and 6,2 % in primary production. Rate of unemployment was 16,7% (2005).
Lapland is Finland´s biggest and most important recreational travel destination, whose attractions are the natural environment, tranquillity, and unique culture. The number of overnight stays was 1.968 million year 2005, with foreign visitors accounting for about a third of this total.
Lapland has its own university with faculties of social science, education studies, law and arts. There are 30 research institutes in Lapland, including the Arctic Centre with unique Arctic science centre (www.arcticcentre.org ). The center promotes international education, science communications and research.
Statistics on Lapland can be found from the web pages of the Regional Council of Lapland.
Napapiiri tourist resort
Lapland is the most attractive destination of tourism in Finland. The city of Rovaniemi is famous not least for Santa Claus and Christmas tourism. Levi, Saariselkä, Ylläs and Pyhä-Luosto are other increasingly popular tourist resorts. The county has vast nature reserves. National parks and other protected areas constitute about 25% of the total area. Lapland is easy to reach through five airports with regular flights or by train.
Major companies with modern industrial production can be found in the southern part of Lapland. Stainless steel production and paper industry provide jobs to thousands of workers. Icebreakers to the ports of the cities of Kemi and Tornio guarantee open seaways all year round.
Lapland offers many opportunities for higher education, such as the University of Lapland and the Polytechnic university in Rouvaniemi as well as the Kemi-Tornio Polytechnic university. Within Natural Sciences you find many research stations.
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