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Landskapet Åland
Åland Islands
Åland flag
Åland coat of arms
flag coat of arms
Official language Swedish
Capital Mariehamn
Head of state Sauli Niinistö ,

Peter Lindbäck

Head of government Veronica Thornroos
surface 1580 km²
population 30,286 (May 31, 2021)
Population density 19.2 inhabitants per km²
currency Euro
National anthem Ålänningens sång
Time zone UTC +2
License Plate AX
ISO 3166 FI-01 , AX , ALA, 248
Internet TLD .ax
Phone code + 358-18
Aland in its region.svg
Template: Infobox State / Maintenance / NAME-GERMAN
Åland Varsinais-Suomi Uusimaa Kymenlaakso Südkarelien Nordkarelien Südsavo Päijät-Häme Kanta-Häme Kainuu Satakunta Pirkanmaa Mittelfinnland Nordsavo Österbotten Mittelösterbotten Südösterbotten Nordösterbotten LapplandLocation of Åland in Finland
About this picture

Åland  [ ˈoːland ] , also Landskapet Åland ( Finnish Ahvenanmaa , also Ahvenanmaan maakunta , in German Åland Islands ), is a region of Finland endowed with extensive political autonomy . It consists of the archipelago of the same name in the northern Baltic Sea at the entrance to the Gulf of Bothnia between Sweden and the Finnish mainland. Swedish is the only official language in the region, as a result of a decision by the League of NationsPlease click to listen!Play from 1921 it belongs to Finland as a demilitarized zone , but its internal affairs are largely managed autonomously. Finnish nationals also have limited political and economic rights. Today the economy of the islands is determined by tourism and shipping. The latter is favored by special tax regulations that enable tax-free shopping when traveling with Åland.


Municipalities in the Åland Islands; the archipelago consists of 6757 islands, 60 of which are inhabited.


The archipelago consists of over 6700 islands and skerries and forms an archipelago at the southern entrance of the Gulf of Bothnia in the northern Baltic Sea. Åland is about 40 km from the Swedish coast and 15 km from the Finnish coast. The main island of Fasta Åland with around 90% of the population is located in the west, 40 km from the Swedish and 100 km from the Finnish coast.

The islands have a total land area of ​​1552.38 km². Including the water areas of the Baltic Sea, the region reaches a size of 13,517 km². The total number of islands is 6757, assuming the minimum size of an island is 0.25 ha. The total population of 30,074 people distributed over 60 islands results in a population density of 18.4 inhabitants / km².

Åland is a relatively flat archipelago. The highest mountain is the Orrdalsklint in the north of Fasta Åland (Saltvik municipality) with a height of 129  m .


The Åland Islands are mostly made up of metamorphic and igneous rocks, which often appear as rocks. They are Precambrian in age (around 1.6 billion years) and belong to the Baltic Shield . Gneiss is particularly important in the eastern part of the archipelago . Granites are mostly found on and around the main island . The reddish granite variety Rapakiwi that occurs on the islands is known to geologists and is also found very often in northern Germany as glacial debris .

The landscape was shaped by the glaciations of the Ice Age . Round hump landscapes and archipelago are typical . In the last ice age the land was completely pushed below the water level by the ice masses, so that after the glaciers melted the Åland Islands were almost completely covered by water. For about 13,000 years, the land has gradually risen from the sea, starting with Åland's highest point, the Orrdalsklint. Over time, the land continued to grow and more and more islands were formed. This process continues to this day: Åland rises from the sea at a speed of about seven millimeters per year.

After the post-glacial uplift, agriculture is possible where sea deposits (mostly fine sands and silts ) have been able to settle in greater thickness (a few meters) . The areas on which the glaciers deposited thin sediments on the rocks when they melted are also agriculturally usable .


Due to its island location in the Baltic Sea, the climate in Åland is temperate compared to the Swedish and Finnish mainland. The Baltic Sea warms the cold northeast winds in winter and cools the hot southeast winds in summer. The annual rainfall averages 541 mm per year, which is less than on the Swedish and Finnish mainland.

The annual average temperature is 5.5 degrees Celsius . The highest temperature ever recorded in Åland was 31.3 degrees Celsius, the lowest -32.4 degrees Celsius. The average values ​​for the individual months of the year from 1971 to 2000 can be found in the climate table below.

Climate table for Åland
Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec
Temperature ( ° C ) −2.5 −3.7 −1.2 2.7 8.6 13.0 15.9 15.0 10.5 6.4 2.4 −0.6 O 5.6
Precipitation ( mm ) 40 24 30th 27 24 42 55 73 65 61 62 38 Σ 541
Rainy days ( d ) 10 6th 7th 7th 5 6th 7th 9 10 10 12th 11 Σ 100
Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec
  Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec
Source: Finnish Meteorological Institute, Meteorological Yearbook 2003, years 1971–2000

Flora and fauna

Forest, meadow and elk on Kumlinge.

Åland is part of the boreal coniferous forest vegetation zone . In addition to the predominant fir and spruce species , there are also numerous deciduous trees , in particular oak , ash , elm , maple and linden . Many species of orchids also grow on the islands, most of which are among the fifty or so protected plants.

Åland is home to 25 species of mammals , including many rodents , but also red deer and roe deer . Due to the sea location and the relatively mild climate, there is a richer bird life than on the Finnish mainland. Over 130 species of birds breed on the islands, including endangered waterfowl such as the scallop . The white-tailed eagle , which was practically extinct across Finland in the mid-1970s, can be found in large numbers in Åland after successful conservation and reintroduction efforts. With the exception of game, almost all of Åland's animals are protected .


Åland's population has grown slowly but steadily since 1970. While 20,666 people were still living on the islands in 1970, there were a total of 28,916 at the end of 2014, which corresponds to growth of around one percent per year during this period. Most of the population growth comes from residents born in the rest of Finland or abroad. In 1970 they made up around 20%, today it is around 35%.


The only official language in Åland is Swedish , according to Section 36, Paragraphs 1 and 2 of the Local Government Act . The vast majority of the Åland population, currently 88.3% (as of the end of 2014), state that Swedish is their mother tongue. However, this share is falling slightly: in 1990 it was 94.5%.

The Swedish dialect spoken in Åland , Åland ( åländska ) , is closer to Imperial Swedish spoken in Sweden than the Finnish-Swedish spoken by the Swedish-speaking minority in Finland .

There are also a few different dialects within Åland. The inhabitants in the west of the archipelago (in the municipalities of Eckerö and Hammarland) speak a dialect that is more similar to Imperial Swedish than other Åland dialects. In the eastern archipelago, Swedish is spoken with a slight Finnish accent (especially in Brändö).

The Åland dialect has a number of independent words that do not exist in mainland Sweden or in Finnish-Swedish. Examples are:

  • inga instead of inte (not)
  • blystra instead of vissla (whistle)
  • byka instead of tvätta (wash)

A minority of 4.8% of Åland's residents state that their mother tongue is Finnish . This has long been by far the largest minority language; until around 2010 it had more native speakers than the other languages ​​combined. Meanwhile, native speakers of other languages ​​combined make up 6.9%. The languages ​​most represented in this group at the moment (as of the end of 2014) are Latvian and Romanian with 1.0% each, followed by Estonian 0.7%, Russian 0.5% and Thai 0.5%.


As far as the Ålanders profess a religious community, they belong almost exclusively to the Evangelical Lutheran Church of Finland . The Åland Islands have belonged to the Borgå diocese (also Porvoo ), which looks after the Swedish-speaking regions of Finland, since 1923 . The Åland provost of the Borgå diocese consists of ten parishes. Today (as of the end of 2014) 78.3% of Ålanders belong to this church. Only a minority of 1.2% belong to a free church or another religious community (Jehovah's Witnesses 0.2%, Roman Catholic 0.3%, Greek Orthodox 0.3%, others 0.3%).

The number of people with no religion has risen in recent years, from 4.7% in 1990 to 20.5% in 2015.



Roese from the late Iron Age in Godby, Finström municipality

In the Stone Age , the first fishermen and seal hunters settled on the emerging archipelago ( Jettböle ). The first bronze objects , initially jewelry, soon also weapons, reached Åland during the 1st century BC. And marked the beginning of the Bronze Age - late in this part of Europe . The period lasted until the 4th century.

For the next 200 years or so, no traces of human life could be detected; the islands were apparently uninhabited. The reasons for the depopulation are unclear. A new wave of settlers reached the islands from the west in the 7th century. It represented the ancestors of today's population. During the Iron Age and the time of the Vikings , the islands were relatively densely populated. Numerous burial grounds and six hill forts , of which the Wallburg Borge is the largest, are reminiscent of this time .

Swedish time

When the Swedish Empire was founded in the High Middle Ages between 1000 and 1300, Åland was under the rule of the Diocese of Linköping . Åland became part of the newly formed Swedish Empire long before the empire's sphere of influence expanded into what is now Finland. The islands were also Christianized during this period . The history of Åland ran synchronously with the history of Sweden . Because of its location, Åland was of strategic importance. This already led to the construction of Kastelholm Castle by Bo Jonsson Grip († 1386). The castle was first mentioned in a document in 1388.

Kastelholm Castle on Åland was an important power factor in the Gulf of Bothnia in the Middle Ages.

During the turmoil of the Kalmar Union , the castle changed hands several times. It was conquered in 1440 by Karl Knutsson , who temporarily secured the Swedish royal crown. Svante Nilsson († 1512) took over Kastelholm in 1480 for the Danish king. However, after Svante had changed sides, he handed the castle over to Sten Sture the Elder in 1497 , from whom the castle in turn passed to Gustaf Wasa . After violent attacks by the Danes, the ownership was first decided in 1502 by a duel between the Danish general Lyder Frisman and Wasa's representative Henning von Brockenhus in favor of the Danes, who gave up the castle after two years.

In the centuries that followed, Åland moved out of focus. The castle district increasingly lost its importance. The people of Åland felt the effects of the war efforts of the expanding empire. They had to pay high taxes and deploy soldiers, mainly for the Swedish fleet. As a result of the Great Northern War , most of what is now Finland, particularly Åland, came under Russian occupation in 1714. The violent rule of the Russian Navy, which lasted until 1721, meant that a large part of the Åland population fled to Sweden during these years. Another war led to the reoccupation of Åland from 1741 to 1743. Again, many residents fled, but this period of occupation was marked by fewer attacks.

Russian time

The Åland Castle District went to the Tsarist Empire together with mainland Finland in the course of the Peace of Fredrikshamn in 1809 and became part of the autonomous Grand Duchy of Finland . Russia built the Bomarsund fortification on the islands . During the Crimean War , French troops landed on Åland on August 8, 1854. They besieged and bombed the fortress for eight days before the occupation surrendered. Before they left, the French destroyed the fortress.

After the war, the islands were demilitarized at the request of England and France. Russia committed itself in the Paris Peace Treaty in 1856 not to fortify Åland. During the First World War , Russia, with the consent of the allies England and France, again brought troops to Åland and began again with the fortification of the islands. Right-wing circles in Sweden took this as an opportunity to call for the German side to join the war and to join Åland to the Kingdom of Sweden.

Finland or Sweden?

The Russian February Revolution in 1917 led to turbulent political and social developments in Finland, which culminated in the Finnish Parliament's declaration of independence on December 6th of that year . At the same time, the discipline of the Russian armed forces stationed in Finland waned. In Åland there were increased violent attacks against the population in 1917. As a result, Åland was also openly considering joining Sweden. In the winter of 1917/18, activists in the archipelago, which has around 21,000 inhabitants, collected over 7,000 signatures under an address calling for the annexation to Sweden.

The outbreak of the Finnish Civil War at the end of January 1918 ushered in a period of turbulent events for Åland. The white protection corps from Uusikaupunki , which operated in the hinterland of Red Finland at the beginning of the war, withdrew to Åland on February 7 and, while the Russian troops remained neutral, took control of the islands. Swedish warships arrived on February 20 and said they had been sent by the Swedish government to protect the Åland civilian population. The Russian troops left the islands as did the Finnish protection corps. The Finnish ambassador in Stockholm had apparently given his consent to the disarming of the latter . In fact, an opposite telegram to the ambassador from the Commander-in-Chief of the White Army in Finland, Carl Gustaf Emil Mannerheim , had been intercepted by the Swedish Minister of the Sea, Erik Palmstierna .

The Swedish presence in Åland was short. Bourgeois Finland had meanwhile turned to the German Reich for help in the civil war. With the consent of Edvard Hjelt as the representative of the white government in Berlin , German troops landed in Åland on March 5, 1918 and quickly occupied the islands (see: Finland Intervention ), while the Swedes withdrew immediately.

The German troops disappeared after the collapse of the German warfare in November 1918. Åland initially remained unoccupied. As part of the old Finnish Grand Duchy, Åland was formally part of Finland. However, the connection to Sweden was continued. The leader of the separatist movement in Åland was newspaper journalist Julius Sundblom . In Sweden, the takeover of Åland found prominent support from King Gustav V and the government under Prime Minister Hjalmar Branting . The Swedish side relied primarily on the Ålanders' right to self-determination , a principle that the Finns themselves referred to during their simultaneous eastern war expeditions to Karelia .

In 1919, Sweden tried twice, unsuccessfully, to put the Åland issue on the agenda of the Versailles Peace Conference . Finland, for its part, passed a law in the spring of 1920 that gave Åland extensive self-government, but also sent armed forces to the islands. After Finland was admitted to the League of Nations in December 1920 , the Åland question was finally submitted to it for decision on a British initiative. After his decision on June 24, 1921, the islands were to remain in the Finnish state association. However, various guarantees had to be given to safeguard the nationality, language and culture of the Swedish-speaking population of the islands. Furthermore, the demilitarized status of the islands should be restored.

Finland accepted the conditions and put them into effect as a supplement to the self-government already granted in 1920. On October 20, 1921, an agreement on the demilitarization and neutrality of Åland was concluded in Geneva , which all countries bordering the Baltic Sea signed with the exception of the Soviet Union . The fortifications on the island had already been dismantled in 1919.

Autonomous Region of Finland

Åland flag
Åland license plate

The first elections were held in Åland in 1922, and on June 9, 1922, the Åland Parliament, then called Landsting (now Lagting ), held its first plenary session. Since then, June 9 has been Åland's national holiday.

From 23 to 26 September 1941, the so-called Baltenflotte of the German Navy under the command of Vice Admiral Otto Ciliax cruised on the battleship Tirpitz in the Åland Sea to prevent the Soviet Red Banner fleet from breaking out of the besieged Leningrad .

At the end of the Second World War (1944), the German Navy planned a landing company to occupy the islands in the fight against the Soviet Union (company Tanne West) . However, it was not carried out after the landing on the Baltic Sea island Hochland failed ( Operation Tanne Ost ).

On April 3, 1954, Åland received its own flag , which refers to the historical relationship with Sweden: a red cross on a yellow cross with a blue background. The blue background with a yellow cross represents the Swedish flag, the red cross on the yellow cross represents the old Swedish colors for Finland (colors of the Finnish heraldic lion). Åland has had its own postage stamps since 1984 and its own postal company, Åland Post, since 1993 .

The majority of Åland's residents are still aloof from the Finnish mainland, but they are usually satisfied with the current autonomy status. The idea of ​​an independent Åland has never been a big issue, although the idea is slowly gaining support (see table below). Reunification with Sweden is also no longer an issue, although Åland is mainly based on Sweden.



Åland is one of 19 landscapes ( maakunta / landskap ) in Finland, but has a special role due to its autonomous status. Åland's right to self-government is guaranteed in Section 120 of the Finnish Constitution . The details are regulated in a separate self-government law, which is in force today in the version of August 16, 1991 and has the same status as the constitution. Åland has its own parliament, the Lagting 'Landtag', as well as its own landscape government for decision-making in self-government matters . The state parliament is elected every four years in general elections. The Åland Landscapes Government (Ålands landskapsregering) is appointed by the Landtag.

The most important body of Åland self-government is the Lagting (Landtag), which meets in this building in Mariehamn.

The state parliament has legislative competence for matters that are subject to self-administration. These matters include practically all regulations relating to internal administration, local economic life, social welfare and internal order. The Finnish state retains the competence in foreign policy, most of the civil and criminal law, the organization of the courts as well as customs and tax matters.

The political parties operating in Åland are organizationally completely independent of the groups operating in the rest of Finland. Election results of the last five elections:

Political party Political orientation 2019 2015 2011 2007 2003
proportion of Mandates proportion of Mandates proportion of Mandates proportion of Mandates proportion of Mandates
Åland Center (Åländsk Center) social liberal 27.94% 9 21.6% 7th 23.6% 7th 23.5% 08th 24.1% 7th
Liberals in Åland (Liberalerna på Åland) liberal 19.64% 6th 23.3% 7th 20.3% 6th 31.6% 10 24.1% 7th
Moderate Collection for Åland (Moderat Samling for Åland) 1 liberal , conservative 13.82% 4th 17.9% 5 13.9% 4th 09.5% 03 13.6% 4th
Unbound Collection (Obunden Samling) conservative , sovereign 13.57% 4th 09.6% 3 12.6% 4th 11.9% 04th 09.4% 3
Åland's Social Democrats (Åland's Social Democrats) social democratic 09.10% 3 15.8% 5 18.5% 6th 11.5% 03 19.0% 6th
Sustainable initiative (Hållbart initiative) Green politics 08.33% 2 00.8% 0 - - - 0- - -
Åland's Future (Åland's Framtid) secessionist 04.64% 1 07.4% 2 09.9% 3 08.1% 02 06.5% 2
Åland Democracy (Åländsk Demokrati) national conservative , right-wing populist 02.95% 1 03.6% 1 - - - 0- - -
Electoral association for Henrik Appelqvist (Valmansförening för Henrik Appelqvist) - - - - 01.1% 0 - 0- - -
Sustainable Development Group ( Gruppen för hållbar utveckling , abbr.HUT ) Sustainable development - - - - - - 01.2% 00 - -
Progress (Åland's Framstegsgrupp) - - - - - - - 0- 03.4% 1
1in the 2011 election Moderaterna på Åland , until 2011 Frisinnad Samverkan

Åland is a member of the Nordic Council . On September 5, 2007 , the Åland Document was adopted there , which is intended to enable the autonomous regions of Åland, the Faroe Islands and Greenland to have equal membership in the Nordic Council.

Relationship with Finland

Åland, like all other parts of Finland, takes part in the general elections held in Finland, in particular the elections to the Finnish Parliament and the European Parliament, as well as the direct election of the President . In the elections to the Finnish parliament, Åland has its own constituency. According to Section 25 of the Finnish Constitution, the autonomous archipelago is entitled to one of the 200 seats in parliament regardless of the size of the population. Regardless of party affiliation, the representatives of Åland Parliament Finland regularly enters the fraction of the Swedish People's Party of. Since the 2015 election, Åland's seat has been taken over by Mats Löfström from the Åland Center .

Åland residents are nationals of Finland. Due to the self-administration law, there is also a so-called home law ( Hembygdsrätt ) , which is similar in its functions to an Åland citizenship. Only people with Åland homeland rights are allowed to participate actively and passively in the elections to the Landtag . The acquisition of real estate on the islands and the commencement of business activities also generally require the law of one's own country. The Åland homeland rights can only be acquired by Finnish nationals who have lived in Åland continuously for at least five years and who speak Swedish.

Connecting element between the national government and the autonomous region is the Ålandabordnung ( Ålandsdelegation ) . This is chaired by the governor ( landshövding ) , who is appointed by the Finnish president in agreement with the state parliament. The Finnish government and the Åland parliament each send two further members.

Administrative structure

Åland consists of 16 municipalities . The main town and only town in Åland is Mariehamn . The archipelago municipality of Sottunga is the smallest municipality in Finland with 101 inhabitants.

  1. Brändö (449 inhabitants on December 31, 2020)
  2. Eckerö (958)
  3. Finström (2603)
  4. Foglo (526)
  5. Geta (511)
  6. Hammarland (1599)
  7. Jomala (5386)
  8. Kökar (225)
  9. Cumlinge (307)
  10. Lemland (2114)
  11. Lumparland (372)
  12. Mariehamn (11,705)
  13. Saltvik (1806)
  14. Sottunga (101)
  15. Sound (1007)
  16. Vårdö (460)

The towns and cities of Åland

Åland's municipalities are grouped into three administrative communities ( ekonomisk region ) . The municipalities on the main island except Mariehamn belong to the Ålander Land Community ( Ålands landsbygd ) , the municipalities on the secondary islands to the Åland Archipelago Community ( Ålands skärgård ) . Mariehamn forms its own administrative community.



Åland and Finland are part of the European Union . However, due to Protocol No. 2 of the Treaty of Accession of Finland to the European Community, Åland is exempt from the application of the Community rules on the harmonization of sales and consumption taxes . As a consequence, there is a tax border between Åland and the rest of the European Union, including mainland Finland. Goods transport to and from Åland must therefore go through customs clearance. Due to the tax limit, you can still shop tax-free when traveling from Finland or Sweden to Åland . As in the rest of Finland, the official currency is the euro , but the Swedish krona can often be used to pay in Åland .

The large ferries that run between Stockholm and Turku, Helsinki or Tallinn, dock in Mariehamn to allow tax-free sales on board. Here the Silja ferry Silja Europa .

Åland's economy is characterized by a high proportion of small and medium-sized enterprises . About 2600 companies are active. Of these, around 700 belong to the traditional agricultural sector . Around 90 percent of the companies have fewer than ten employees . The unemployment rate has been very low for years and is often the lowest in Europe in the summer months. At the end of September 2007 it was 2.0 percent. Because of the great importance of tourism, the labor market is partly characterized by seasonal jobs in summer , which means that unemployment is regularly the lowest during this period.

Transport and tourism

Small ferries operate in the local traffic between the islands, here a landing stage in Överö (Föglö).

In addition to the traditional main industry of agriculture, tourism , especially ferry traffic, has become the most important industry in Åland . Thanks to the possibility of tax-free purchases, shipping now produces 40 percent of Åland's gross national product . More workers are needed in this area than are available on the Åland labor market. Therefore, many workers from Finland and Sweden work on the Åland ships.

In 2004 Åland was visited by 224,800 guests. Most of the guests came from Sweden with 111,400, the second largest group came from Finland with 92,500 visitors, and in third place is Germany with 6,700 guests.

Ferry traffic

From Helsinki , Turku , Stockholm or Tallinn the big ferries of the shipping companies Viking Line , Rederiaktiebolaget Eckerö and Tallink operate with the Silja Line . There are also ferry connections to the Swedish towns of Kapellskär and Grisslehamn . From the Finnish side you can also take the archipelago ferries from Osnäs, Kustavi and Galtby , Korpo to Åland, operated by Ålandstrafik . Ålandstrafik also operates their ships between the islands of Åland.

air traffic

The Mariehamn Airport is located 3 km north-west of Mariehamn . The airfield Kumlinge with a helipad is located in the administrative community Åland archipelago .

In 2005, under the leadership of the Åland Regional Government, with broad support from the Åland economy, a separate airline, Air Åland , was founded. In 2012, flight operations were discontinued and taken over by the airline Nextjet . On May 16, 2018, NextJet declared bankruptcy and ceased flight operations. The parts of Nextjet became the Swedish Air Leap , which resumed flight operations at Mariehamn Airport in June 2018. There are regular connections from Mariehamn Airport to Helsinki-Vantaa , Stockholm and Turku .

Road traffic

The islands have a dense road network with a total length of 912.7 km, of which 646.8 km are paved. In 2016, the motorisation rate in Åland was 799 (passenger cars per 1000 inhabitants). The bus routes in Åland are operated by Ålandstrafik.

Agriculture and Forestry

The traditional agricultural industries have recently receded in importance to the service sector, but they continue to play an important role in Åland's economic life. In 2004, 5.3% of employees were employed in agriculture or forestry. Åland's industry, in which 9.8% of the workforce is employed, is also largely related to the processing of agricultural and fishery products. Of Åland's land area, 9% is arable land , 4% is pasture and 58% is forest .

The main products of Åland's agriculture are sugar beet (44,514 tonnes in 2004), potatoes (15,969 tonnes), onions (5669 tonnes), barley and oats (5597 tonnes) and wheat (4836 tonnes). In the livestock industry, milk production predominates (14,433 tons). The Åland fishermen brought in a total of 3300 tonnes in 2004, mostly herring (2541 tonnes). The 36 fish farms in the region produced a yield of 3,210 tons in the same year.


Sailing ship Pommern in Mariehamn, today a museum ship
Finström Church is one of Åland's best preserved medieval churches.
Midsommarstång at Kastelholm Castle in Sund
Windmill in Björsby, Jomala parish

Åland has a lively cultural life in terms of population. This is primarily supported by private associations. Fifty of these associations are supported by the income of the state (Åland) gaming company. Midsommarstång is typical of Åland - a tall mast that is erected in every village in summer, resembles a maypole and is decorated with ribbons in the colors of the Åland flag. The origin of this custom, which was first mentioned in writing in 1795, is unknown. The numerous small windmills are also typical of Åland, around 100 of which have survived to this day - each farm originally had its own windmill.

Cultural life in Åland is also supported by the activities of the Nordic Åland Institute (Nordens Institut på Åland) , an institution supported by the Nordic Council of Ministers to promote Åland culture. Among other things, the institute has made numerous extensive theater productions possible in which both professional actors and laypeople have participated. The rural culture of the islands is presented in the Jan Karlsgarden open-air museum .

The Åland Music Institute plays an important role in Åland's culture and has around 300 students. There are also many choirs and music groups in Åland outside the institute.


Åland's architecture has hardly any noteworthy peculiarities compared to Finnish and Swedish architecture . In terms of cultural history, however, the high density of old buildings by Finnish standards is significant. Six wall castles from the Iron Age have been preserved, of which the Borge Wallburg in Finström is the largest. As the archipelago was under the influence of the Swedish Empire early on, Åland has preserved a large number of medieval buildings. These include the 14th century Kastelholm Castle , one of only seven castles in what is now Finland, and the archipelago's 13 stone churches. The medieval church continued in Åland earlier than in mainland Finland. Jomala Church, built between 1275 and 1285, is probably the oldest surviving building in Finland. The churches of Lemland, Sund, Hammarland, Saltvik and Eckerö are of a similar age. While the remaining medieval stone churches in Finland are Gothic , the oldest Åland churches still show Romanesque influences. In contrast to mainland Finland, the churches on Åland mostly have a steeple, modeled on the Gotland country churches . The interior of the churches is decorated with secco paintings, some of which are of high artistic value.


Åland has a well-developed educational network. Each of the 16 municipalities has a primary school in which the pupils spend the first nine years of school and thus the entire duration of compulsory schooling .

All secondary schools, especially upper secondary school, are concentrated in the capital Mariehamn. Numerous vocational training courses are also offered in Mariehamn. At Åland University of Applied Sciences (Högskolan på Åland) students can obtain various technical college degrees.

For further university education, universities outside Åland have to be visited, with the vast majority of Åland students, around two thirds, opting for Swedish universities.


There are two local daily newspapers in Åland. The slightly larger Tidningen Åland , founded in 1891, with a circulation of around 10,000 copies , traditionally appeared on five working days in the afternoon, until it switched to morning publication and six weekly editions in 2007. The competitor newspaper Nya Åland , which has existed since 1981 , has always appeared in the morning and also switched from five to six issues a week in 2007.

In 1984 Åland's first radio station was founded, Radio / TV Åland. Previously, the Ålanders only had access to Finnish national television and radio programs, which also broadcast programs in Swedish, and Sweden’s programs. Radio Åland started operating in 1984. Since the late 1990s, Steel FM, which is primarily aimed at younger people, and Soft FM have also established themselves. You can also receive the Swedish radio stations, some of which have their own local radio for Åland. Since October 2007 there are two private TV channels in Åland, TV Åland and Åland 24 .


Just like culture, popular sport in Åland is also funded by the state gaming company (PAF). About sixty sports clubs from all summer and winter sports are active on the islands. Åland also takes part in the Island Games . In the summer of 1991 and 2009, the Iceland Games took place in Åland.

In football , the IFK Mariehamn recently caused a sensation by being promoted to the top Finnish league (the Veikkausliiga , Swedish: Tipsligan ) in 2004 and has been able to hold the class ever since. In 2013 and 2016, the club was even able to qualify for the UEFA Europa League , but failed in the first round. This success story has sparked a great deal of football excitement in Åland. Åland United women's team won the Finnish championship in 2009, 2013 and 2014 .

Other Åland football clubs play partly in the lower class Finnish and partly in the Swedish leagues.

The largest football stadium and home to both IFK Mariehamn and Åland United is Idrottsparken , which was renamed Wiklöf Holding Arena in 2005 . The new main grandstand, built in 2005/2006, has 1650 seats, a total of 5637 seats and a restaurant area with 120 seats. The stadium complies with UEFA requirements for international competitive and international matches.

The athlete Janne Holmén became European marathon champion for the Finnish team in 2002.

On December 13th, 2008 the men from the volleyball club Jomala IK, one day later also the women, made it to the top Swedish league "Allsvenskan".

Another popular sport is floorball (Swedish innebandy ) from Sweden . There are several indoor bandy clubs and leagues on the island.

View of Hamnen, between Geta and Dånö


  • Eija Mäkinen: Åland and its special status. In: Yearbook of Federalism. Nomos-Verlagsgesellschaft, Baden-Baden 2005, ISSN  1616-6558 , pp. 350–362.
  • Markku Suksi: Åland's constitution separately bilaga med författningstexter. Åbo 2005, ISBN 952-12-1566-6 .
  • Markku Suksi: The Åland Islands in Finland. In: Local self-government, territorial integrity and protection of minorities. Edited by Council of Europe. Ed. du Conseil de l'Europe, Strasbourg 1996, ISBN 92-871-3173-2 , pp. 20-50.
  • Birgitta Roeck Hansen: Township and territory. A study of rural land-use and settlement patterns in Aland c. AD 500–1550 (= Acta Universitatis Stockholmiensis. Stockholm studies in human geography. Volume 6). Almquist and Wiksell, Stockholm 1991, ISBN 91-22-01445-4 .
  • James Barros: The Aland Islands Question. Its settlement by the League of Nations. New Haven 1968.
  • Norbert Burger: The self-government of the Alands Islands. A study on the solution of a minority issue through real autonomy. With comparisons to the South Tyrol question . Mondsee 1964.
  • JO Söderhjelm: Demilitarization et neutralization des îles d'Aland en 1856 et 1921. Helsingfors 1928.
  • Robert Fillips: Åland Special 2019 Stamp Catalog . Cataloging of all postage stamps, special cancellation from Åland. Kornwestheim 2018, ISBN 978-3-928470-22-3 (408 pages).
  • Franz Schausberger : Regional elections in Åland 1979–2007 (= Institute of the Regions of Europe . Kurzstudien 2/2007). Salzburg, ISBN 978-3-902557-03-2 .

Web links

Commons : Åland  - collection of images
Wiktionary: Åland  - explanations of meanings, origins of words, synonyms, translations
Wikivoyage: Åland  Travel Guide
Wikimedia Atlas: Åland  - geographical and historical maps

Individual evidence

  1. Tilastokeskus.fi (Finnish Statistics Office), Väestörakenteen ennakkotiedot alueittain (Finnish) , accessed June 24, 2021
  2. Country directory for official use in the Federal Republic of Germany. (PDF; 423 kB) Federal Foreign Office , January 8, 2014, accessed on December 25, 2015 .
  3. a b Finnish Meteorological Institute, Meteorological Yearbook 2003.
  4. a b c d e Statistical Yearbook 2015, Ålands statistik och utredningsbyrå ( Memento of July 16, 2016 in the Internet Archive ) (Swedish and English)
  5. Kjell Ekström: Åland - skärgård i Östersjön. Mariehamn 2006, p. 68.
  6. a b c d Pentti Virrankoski: Suomen historia 2 . SKS, Helsinki 2001, ISBN 951-746-342-1 , pp. 778-780.
  7. ^ Pentti Virrankoski: Suomen historia 2 . SKS, Helsinki 2001, ISBN 951-746-342-1 , pp. 735, 778.
  8. ^ Pentti Virrankoski: Suomen historia 2 . SKS, Helsinki 2001, ISBN 951-746-342-1 , pp. 738 f.
  9. Hans H. Hildebrand, Albert Röhr, Hans-Otto Steinmetz: The German warships. Volume 7, Mundus Verlag, Ratingen 1993, ISBN 3-8364-9743-3 , p. 239.
  10. Swedish airline cancels all flights after filing for bankruptcy. In: thelocal.se. May 16, 2018, accessed September 30, 2019 .
  11. ec.europa.eu
  12. Kjell Ekström: Åland - skärgård i Östersjön. Mariehamn 2006, p. 90.
  13. ^ Kurt-Viking Abrahamsson: Åländska Kulturlandskap. Ålands Kulturstiftelse, 2011, ISBN 978-952-9848-21-8 , p. 92.
  14. Kjell Ekström: Åland - skärgård i Östersjön. Mariehamn 2006, p. 68.
  15. Ahvenanmaan sanomalehtien välinen kilpailu tiivistyy. In: Helsingin Sanomat. February 23, 2007, p. C4.
  16. Mariehamn city: Wiklöf Holding Arena. Retrieved February 11, 2021 (se).

Coordinates: 60 ° 15 '  N , 20 ° 22'  E

This article was added to the list of excellent articles on April 13, 2006 in this version .