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
Traditional fishing in Kukkolankoski has been recognized as a significant cultural heritage that is protected in the spirit of UNESCO. The rapids fishing culture of the Tornionjoki River is on the Living Heritage wiki list, which is a list of intangible cultural heritage. From the National Living Heritage List, it is possible to make proposals for the UNESCO International Lists of Intangible Cultural Heritage. The Tornionjoki rapids fishing culture will be considered for inclusion in the Intangible Cultural Heritage List in the coming years. In Kukkolankoski, fishing is practiced using a centuries-old method. Tradition has moved forward in the transformation of culture, while retaining its fundamental form. It has stayed alive so it is living cultural heritage.
Kukkolankoski’s unique culture is presented in a mini-documentary
Kukkolankoski rapids – Village protected by the fish
Welcome to explore the site!
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.