Lapland (region)

Lapland ( Sami languages ​​, for example, Sápmi, or same Ätnam, Finnish Lappi, Swedish and Norwegian Lapland, or same country, Russian Лапландия ) is a landscape in Northern Europe, the demarcation is drawn differently. Often used to refer to the part lying north of the Arctic Circle in Scandinavia.

The greatest expansion has Lapland, when considering it as the settlement area of the Sami - the indigenous people of Lapland - understands. The area is 388,350 km ² in this definition. This area has a population of 2,317,159, but of which only about 70,000 seeds. According to this definition, Lapland is almost 10 % larger than Germany. Looking just above the Arctic Circle lying part of the Nordkalotte, the area is approximately 260,000 km ². Refers to the term only to the historical Swedish and Finnish existing province, the area is 217,193 km ². Regardless of the definition is the population density of around 2 inhabitants per km ², with the vast majority of the population lives in the cities on the coasts. Outside the cities, the population density is therefore factually close to 0

Coat of Arms of Swedish Lapland

Coat of arms of Finnish Lapland / Lapin lääni

The Sámi are an indigenous people, which was formerly called " rag ". Lapland never had its own law, and now divided between the four countries Norway, Sweden, Finland and Russia. In a resurgent national consciousness of the indigenous Sami flag is seen today more often. However, the seeds are only a minority of the population, which accounts for about 4%.

→ Main article: seeds ( people ) and Sápmi


The sparsely populated landscape rises from the Baltic Sea to the west over rolling hilly taiga areas gradually and reaches at the Swedish- Norwegian border in the Scandes mountain heights of over 2,000 meters ( Kebnekaise, Sarek, Akka ). The Kola Peninsula is in the western part mountainous and reaches Chibinen Mountains 1201 meters.

Lapland is traversed by numerous large rivers. These include the Torne älv, Muonio älv, Kemi, Oulujoki, Kalix, Luleälv, Piteälv, Ivalojoki and Tuloma.

The largest cities are Kiruna ( iron ore ), Rovaniemi, Jokkmokk, Arvidsjaur, Tornio, Pallastunturi Malmberget, Gällivare, Inari and Kirkenes. If the Kola Peninsula added yet counted to Lapland, then Murmansk is the largest city in the region.


The climate ranges from cool temperate in the warmed by the Gulf Stream, the coast of Norway, about cold - temperate coniferous forest in the areas to subpolar in the Fjällgebieten tundra and the northernmost regions. Due to the Gulf Stream, the ports of Norway (eg Narvik as the oldest Erzverladehafen ) ice-free all year round, while the Gulf of Bothnia freezes over in the winter. The climate in Lapland is sometimes very extreme: in the same place, it may in the course of the year will fluctuate between plus 30 and minus 30 degrees Celsius. Since Lapland is located in the west wind zone, the windward side of the mountains is considerably more precipitation than the leeward side. The further east you go, the drier and continental the climate. The current climate change ( global warming) takes place two times faster than in the south -lying areas in Lapland and accordingly bring about drastic changes. The partially occurring permafrost already show a significant trend towards reduction.


Up to the mountains over 600 m above sea level and the extreme north of the boreal coniferous forest with spruce on fresh soil and pine on drier soils is predominant. Hardwood deciduous trees are not found in Lapland. At softwood deciduous trees are found scattered birch, mountain ash, poplar, aspen and willows, where the birch is by far the most common deciduous tree in the coniferous forests. The Fjällbirke ( a sub-species of downy birch ) forms as forest-tundra transition from the taiga to the mountain tundra ( Fell ) to about 800 m asl and the tundra in the northernmost parts of the country Finnmark. In Fell and tundra grasses and dwarf shrubs dominate, mixed with mosses and lichens. The cloudberry ( fin. Lakka, swedish Hjortron ) among the inhabitants of the country, which grows in the numerous bogs, is a popular dessert and very popular in Finland in the form of Lakkalikööri.


The wildlife of Lapland is typical of the cold temperate and polar climate zone, so that amphibians, reptiles and insects are present only in small number of species. Particularly rich bird life with many wading bird, raptor and songbird species (typically the Lapland Bunting ). Like the insects enter the ( migratory ) birds, depending on the type, the favorable season in large numbers on. In mammals fall first on the great herds of reindeer halbdomestizierten who visit in the winter forest areas and in summer the mountain regions. All reindeer of Lapland are in possession of the seeds. Other mammals are unthreatened Lemming, moose and brown bear. The predator wolf, wolverine and lynx are rarely in Lapland. This also applies to the Arctic fox, the competition gets more and more due to climate warming from the red fox, migrates from the south.


Lapland has large deposits of minerals, especially iron ore in Sweden (eg Kiruna ), copper in Norway, as well as nickel and apatite in Russia. In addition, especially the forestry plays the biggest role in the economy of the Swedish and Finnish Lapland areas. A special feature is the traditional reindeer herding of the seeds.


The national parks and wildlife sanctuaries of Lapland form coherently the largest protected area complex in Europe. They are " Europe's last wilderness ".

Major Natural regions in Lapland:

  • World Heritage Laponian
  • Sarek National Park
  • National Park Padjelanta
  • Abisko National Park
  • Kebnekaise
  • Inari
  • National Park Pallas- Yllästunturi
  • Lemmenjoki National Park
  • Blåfjella - Skjækerfjella
  • Varangerhalvoya National Park
  • Laplandsky - Zapovednik


→ Main article: Seeds: Culture

In Inari, the museum siida 1998 dedicated the history and culture of the Sámi was opened.

The Swedish writer Ernst Didring has dedicated his main work Malm ( ore) railway construction in Sápmi and the mining of iron ore. The German artist Peter Gabrian employed in his painting repeatedly with the landscape in the north of Finland and the midnight sun.


The Swedish Lapland is crossed by three European roads. In Karesuando at the Swedish- Finnish border, the E 45, which leads even to Agrigento on the southern coast of Sicily southward begins. In the Swedish section of the E 45 ( to Gothenburg ) this is also the national road 45 ( Rv 45, Inlandsvägen ) - the only north-south alternative to E 4 on the Baltic coast. The E 10 ( Nordkalottenvägen ), Rv 95 ( Silvervägen ) and E 12 ( Blåvägen ) pass through Lapland in east-west direction. The traffic density is very low, the greatest accident risk in the encounter with reindeer or elk.

The ore railway ( Malmbanan ) Coming runs through the northern part of Lapland Luleå above ground (connection to Stockholm and Gothenburg ), Gällivare, Kiruna and Riksgraensen towards Narvik. In Gällivare also Inlandsbanan, on the shore of Lake Vänern leads over 1300 km to Kristinehamn southward begins. This route is now used almost exclusively for tourism purposes. In Bodø Norway's Nordland track and in Rovaniemi, the Finnish rail ends.