Our Land – Meänmaa

The Tornio Valley from the Gulf of Bothnia to the north has formed its own cultural area and united people for centuries. The borders of the states were later drawn to the Tornionjoki river, but the people are still united and call the region Meänmaa (Our Land), which also has its own flag.

Own language and flag

The father of the Meänmaa concept is the author Bengt Pohjanen. The main language, Meänkieli, which has been spoken in the region, has gained the status of an official minority language in Sweden, of equal value alongside Finnish. However, outside Sweden it is considered to be one of the Ostrobothnian dialects of the Finnish language. Meänmaa was a unified territory until 1809, when it was divided between Sweden and Russia in the peace of Hamina. In practical and everyday life, the border was hardly visible and e.g. land holdings survived even though families were divided between the two countries.

On July 15, 2007, the flag of Meänmaa. The flag has three horizontal stripes, yellow, white and blue. Blue and yellow reflect the two states governing the region and white the frozen Tornio River between them. The frozen river is not a geographical barrier between different shores. Day July 15th became Meänmaa’s National Day. Source: Wikipedia

The year changes twice in Sea Lapland -Happy New Twice!

In the twin-city TornioHaparanda, at the border on the Victoria Square, we celebrate the New Year according to a long pattern. The event has been named Happy New Twice. Due to the one hour time-difference between Finland and Sweden you see the spectacular fireworks twice in the night. The festivities include music and performances from both countries, topped with sparkling wine.