Facts about Åland
The Åland Islands constitute an autonomous and monolingual Swedish region of Finland, situated in the northern part of the Baltic Sea between Sweden and Finland. Åland has its own flag that is blue with a yellow/red cross. It also has its own stamps and internet top-level domain (.ax).
Åland has about 28,500 inhabitants and about 11,000 of them live in Åland’s only town, Mariehamn. The town was founded in 1861 and today it is the commercial and political centre. It is also Åland’s seat of government.
Trade and Industry
The islands’ main industries include shipping, trade, banking, farming and the production of food items. Shipping has always been a particularly important activity for the region and, in terms of characterising the Ålanders, there is no other industry like it.
Visit the Maritime Museum, the Museum Ship Pommern and the Maritime Quarter in Mariehamn to find out more about the islands’ fascinating maritime history.
The things that make Åland unique are its unspoiled archipelago and the beautiful bedrock, worn smooth by glacier ice, that gets its red color from the area’s rapakivi granite. Åland’s 6,700 islands have a world to offer where the sea is always nearby. Did you know that Åland has more sunshine hours than anywhere else in Northern Europe between May and August?
Another of Åland’s distinctive traits is the midsummer sight of maypoles, colorful garlands and olde worlde windmills. You can see some of them in the Jan Karlsgården open air museum in Kastelholm where you’ll also get to see what a typical Ålander farm looked like around the end of the 19th century.
Åland in brief
Currency: Euro € is the official currency, and many service points also accept Swedish krona
Time: Eastern European Time (+ 2 GMT)
Total area: 6,787 km2
The total of more than 6,700 islands of which 60 are uninhabited.
Did you know that…
- 23% of the electricity on Åland comes from wind power? Today there are 22 wind power stations but the number is growing.
- There is 912 km of public roads on Åland? 30 bridges? And with eight local ferry services between the islands you can spend several days traveling around entire Åland.
- Finland’s oldest and biggest chips factory is situated on Åland? That there is a vineyard on Åland? There is not one McDonald’s? (But several other hamburger restaurants and delicious food).
- As you might know Swedish is the language spoken on Åland. Though, as you might think, it is not the Finnish-Swedish but a Swedish that more resembles the Swedish spoken in Uppland, Sweden.
- After a heated debate in 1953 an own flag was chosen. The day of Åland’s flag is celebrated the last Sunday in April.
Facts are from Visit Åland.