Lapland (Finland)

For the province in Sweden, see Lapland (Sweden).
Lapin maakunta
Lapplands landskap

Coat of arms
Coordinates: 67°N 026°E / 67°N 26°E / 67; 26Coordinates: 67°N 026°E / 67°N 26°E / 67; 26
Country Finland
Capital Rovaniemi
  Total 100,366 km2 (38,752 sq mi)
  Land 7,699 km2 (2,973 sq mi)
  Water 92,667 km2 (35,779 sq mi)
Population (2016-08-31)
  Total 179,997
  Density 1.8/km2 (4.6/sq mi)
Time zone EET (UTC+2)
  Summer (DST) EEST (UTC+3)
ISO 3166 code FI-10

Animal Reindeer
Bird Bluethroat
Fish Salmon
Flower Globe-flower

Lapland (Finnish: Lappi; Northern Sami: Sápmi; Swedish: Lappland) is the largest and northernmost region of Finland. The municipalities in the region cooperate in a Regional Council. Lapland borders the region of Northern Ostrobothnia in the south. It also borders the Gulf of Bothnia, Norrbotten County in Sweden, Finnmark County and Troms County in Norway, and Murmansk Oblast and the Republic of Karelia in Russia.


The area of Lapland region is 100,367 km², which consists of 92,667 km²of dry land, 6,316 km² fresh water and 1,383 km² of sea areas.[1] In south it borders Northern Ostrobothnia region, in west Sweden, in north and west Norway and in east Russia. Its borders follow three rivers: Tana, Muonio and Torne. The largest lake is Lake Inari, 1,102 km².[2] Highest point is on Halti, which reaches 1,324 m (4,344 ft) on Finnish side of the border.[3]

There are eight national parks in Lapland: Bothnian Bay, Lemmenjoki, Oulanka, Pallas-Yllästunturi, Pyhä-Luosto, Riisitunturi, Syöte and Urho Kekkonen National Park.

The very first snowflakes fall to the ground in late August or early September over the higher peaks. The first ground-covering snow arrives in average in October or late September. Permanent snow cover comes between mid-October and end of November, significantly earlier than in southern Finland. The winter is long, approximately seven months. The snow cover is usually thickest in early April. Soon after that the snow cover starts to melt fast.[4] The thickest snow cover ever was measured in Kilpisjärvi in 19 April 1997 and it was 190 cm.[5]

Due to the warming effect of the Arctic Sea, the coldest spot is not located in northernmost Lapland but in the north-western corner. The annual mean temperature varies from a couple of degrees below zero in Northwest to a couple fo degrees above zero in the southwest (Kemi-Tornio area).[6]


The area of Lapland was split between two counties of the Swedish Realm from 1634 to 1809. The northern and western areas were part of Västerbotten County, while the southern areas were part of Ostrobothnia County (after 1755 Oulu County). The northern and western areas were transferred in 1809 to Oulu County, which became Oulu Province. Under the royalist constitution of Finland during the first half of 1918, Lapland was to become a Grand Principality and part of the inheritance of the proposed king of Finland. Lapland Province was separated from Oulu Province in 1938.

During the Interim Peace and beginning of the Continuation War the government of Finland allowed the Nazi German Army to station itself in Lapland as a part of Operation Barbarossa. After Finland made a separate peace with the Soviet Union in 1944, the Soviet Union demanded that Finland expel the German army from her soil. The result was the Lapland War, during which almost the whole civilian population of Lapland was evacuated. The Germans used scorched earth tactics in Lapland, before they withdrew to Norway. Forty to forty-seven percent of the dwellings in Lapland and 417 kilometres (259 mi) of railroads were destroyed, 9,500 kilometres (5,900 mi) of roadways were mined, destroyed or were unusable, and 675 bridges and 3,700 kilometres (2,300 mi) of telephone lines were destroyed. Ninety percent of Rovaniemi, the capital of Lapland, was burned to the ground, with only a few pre-war buildings surviving the destruction.

After the Second World War, Petsamo municipality and part of Salla municipality were ceded to the Soviet Union. The decades following the war were a period of rebuilding, industrialization and fast economic growth. Large hydroelectric plants and mines were established and cities, roads and bridges were rebuilt from the destruction of the war. In the late 20th century the economy of Lapland started to decline, mines and factories became unprofitable and the population started to decline rapidly across most of the region.

The provinces of Finland were abolished on January 1, 2010, but Lapland was reorganised as one of the new regions that replaced them.[7]


Economic facts and figures (2012)[8]
Jobs 73,300
GDP (million euros) 5,600
GDP (per capita) €30,635

(84% Finland average)

Private and public offices 10,400
Private sector revenues (million euros) 10,000
Exports (million euros) 3,400
Private and public sector workers 64,800
Unemployment 15.3% [9]

Lapland's economy (2012)

  Public sector (33%)
  Retail/Lodging/Restaurants (15%)
  Industry (14%)
  Business services (14%)
  Construction (7%)
  Traffic and transportation (6%)
  Primary production (6%)
  Household services (5%)


Lapland is the home of about 3.4% of Finland's population, and is by far the least densely populated area in the country. The biggest towns in Lapland are Rovaniemi (the regional capital), Tornio, and Kemi. In 2011, Lapland had a population of 183,320 of whom 177,950 spoke Finnish, 1,526 spoke Sami, 387 spoke Swedish and 3,467 spoke some other languages as their mother language.[10] Of the Sami languages, Northern Sami, Inari Sami and Skolt Sami are spoken in the region.

Lapland's population has been in decline since 1990.

Population of Lapland
Year Population
1950 169,211
1955 189,176
1960 208,788
1965 221,162
1970 197,429
1975 195,131
1980 196,288
1985 200,571
1990 201,652
1995 200,579
2000 189,288
2005 184,935
2010 183,484
2015 180,858

Regional Council

The 21 municipalities of Lapland are organised into a single Region, where they cooperate in the Lapland Regional Council, Lapin liitto or Lapplands förbund.


Lapland has seven seats in the 200-place parliament of Finland. In Finnish parliamentary election, 2015 four seats went to Centre Party , and True Finns , Left Alliance and Social Democratic Party got one seat each.[11]

The votes were distributed as follows:

Sami Domicile Area

The northernmost municipalities of Lapland where the Sami people are the most numerous, form the Sami Domicile Area. Sami organization exists in parallel with the provincial one.


The region of Lapland is made up of 21 municipalities, of which four have city status (marked in bold).

Municipalities by population (cities marked as bold)
Municipality Population
(pop. per km²)
Rovaniemi 61,568 8,016.84 8.02 Rovaniemi
Tornio 22,333 1,348.85 18.84 Kemi-Tornio
Kemi 21,939 747.51 232.23 Kemi-Tornio
Sodankylä 8,825 12,415.48 0.76 Northern Lapland
Keminmaa 8,474 647.23 13.69 Kemi-Tornio
Kemijärvi 7,889 3,930.91 2.29 Eastern Lapland
Inari 6,818 17,333.54 0.45 Northern Lapland
Kittilä 6,469 8,262.94 0.79 Fell Lapland
Ylitornio 4,454 2,212.38 2.22 Torne Valley
Ranua 4,093 3,694.80 1.21 Rovaniemi
Kolari 3,842 2,617.77 1.51 Fell Lapland
Salla 3,789 5,873.08 0.68 Eastern Lapland
Pello 3,674 1,863.68 2.17 Torne Valley
Posio 3,636 3,544.81 1.20 Eastern Lapland
Simo 3,299 2,086.39 2.34 Kemi-Tornio
Tervola 3,238 1,592.04 2.12 Kemi-Tornio
Muonio 2,375 2,037.80 1.25 Fell Lapland
Enontekiö 1,892 8,391.35 0.24 Fell Lapland
Utsjoki 1,259 5,372.01 0.25 Northern Lapland
Savukoski 1,100 6,495.95 0.17 Eastern Lapland
Pelkosenniemi 949 1,881.57 0.53 Eastern Lapland
Total 181,815 100,366.93 1.97


The Regional Council of Lapland uses the Finnish variation of the coat of arms for Laponia. The coat of arms for the Province of Lapland was composed out of the coats of arms of Laponia and Ostrobothnia.

Lapland's impact on Finnish numismatics

Most of the gold used to mint Finnish gold coins comes from Lapland. Lapland itself has been the main motif for a recent commemorative coin, the First Finnish gold euro commemorative coin, minted in 2002. On the reverse side, the midnight sun above a lake in Lapland can be observed.


See also


  1. "Suomen pinta-ala kunnittain 1.1.2016" (PDF). National Land Survey of Finland. Retrieved 21 November 2016.
  2. "Lake Inari". Encyclopedia Britannica. Retrieved 21 November 2016.
  3. "Mount Halti". Encyclopedia Britannica. Retrieved 21 November 2016.
  4. "Snow statistics". Finnish Meteorological Institute. Retrieved 21 November 2016.
  5. "Sääennätyksiä" (in Finnish). Finnish Meteorological Institute. Retrieved 21 November 2016.
  6. "Present climate - 30 year mean values". Finnish Meteorological Institute. Retrieved 21 November 2016.
  7. "New regional administration model abolishes provinces in 2010". Helsingin Sanomat International Edition. Sanoma Corporation. 31 December 2009. Retrieved 1 January 2010.
  8. "Lapin suhdannekatsaus 2013" (PDF). Lapin liitto. 19 August 2013. Retrieved 22 December 2013.
  10. Statistics Finland – Statistical databases
  11. "Candidates elected Electoral district of Lapland". vaalit. Elections website of the Ministry of Justice. Retrieved 21 November 2016.

External links

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