Fact about Aland and how to buy a home on Aland
The rules for you as a Swedish or non-Ålander to buy a home on Åland you can read about here: https://www.alandliving.ax/sv/boende/kopa
Åland is an autonomous and monolingual Swedish landscape in Finland with its own flag, the blue-bottomed cross flag with its yellow / red cross. Åland also has its own stamps, its own registration plates and its own top-level domain (.ax).
A total of just over 30,000 people live on Åland in 16 municipalities. About 12,000 of them live in Åland’s only city, Mariehamn. The city was founded in 1861 and is today the center of business and politics. Here is also the Åland government called the Landscape Government.
Smooth boulders, windswept pines and leafy meadows. The climate on Åland is mild due to the surrounding sea. In combination with a fertile soil, the species richness is great in both the flora and bird life.
The Åland rock’s characteristic red granite can be seen almost everywhere in the landscape. The red granite is used for paving and therefore both gravel roads and paved roads glow red.
The landscape on the main island varies between coniferous forests with a large element of deciduous trees; cultivated land with fields and pastures as well as deciduous meadows for which Åland is especially known.
Another type of nature, created by grazing animals, can be seen especially on the archipelago islands and in the nature reserve on Herrön in Lemland and Borgboda ancient monument area in Saltvik. Where the soil is drier, juniper bushes, bluebells, cat’s feet, red clover and carnations thrive.
In the archipelago there is often a sparse coniferous forest with windswept shrunken pines. The further out to sea you get, the less vegetation. At the far end of the sea band, there are only barren cobs with certain herbaceous plants. Read more at www.naturum.ax
On Åland, there are a total of 44 nature reserves, one of which is a seal protection area and other deciduous and coniferous forests; bogs and marshes as well as bird islands and gravel islands. They are all part of Natura 2000, which is the EU’s network of protected nature in order to protect habitats and species.
However, deciduous meadows and pastures require care with old methods for the species to survive. Among other things, mowing and leaf extraction are conducted in several reserves during the summer.
In the archipelago, shipping, trade, banking, agriculture and food are among the most important industries. Shipping in particular has always been important to Åland and no other industry has probably influenced Ålanders as much as it has.
Feel free to visit Åland’s Maritime Museum, the sailing ship Pomerania and Sjökvarteret in Mariehamn to find out more about the exciting maritime history.
TYPICAL FOR ÅLAND
Unique to Åland is the untouched archipelago and the beautifully cut rocks that get their red colour from the Åland rapakivan granite. With its 6,700 islands, Åland offers an archipelago where the sea is always close. Did you know that Åland has the most hours of sunshine in the Nordic countries from May to August?
Characteristic of Åland are also the midsummer poles with their colourful midsummer crowns and the old-fashioned windmills.
THE JOURNEY TO ÅLAND
There are plenty of departures and various travel options daily both from Sweden and from Finland. The actual trip to Åland is an important part of the whole travel experience – the boat trip to Åland goes through the beautiful archipelago and there is a lot to do during the trip. Eat well and enjoy both the entertainment on board and the beautiful views of the unique archipelago with thousands of islands and skerries.
The shortest boat trip to Åland is from Grisslehamn and Kapellskär. The ports are about 1 to 1.5 hours drive north of Stockholm and the boat trip to Åland takes about 2 hours.
THE APPLE KINGDOM
As you approach northern Finström, something happens to the landscape. On both sides of the road to Geta, rows of apple trees spread out in large undulating fields.
In early summer the trees are white with apple blossoms, in late summer red with fruit and in late autumn next to autumn leaves against the grey day.
Finland produces about five million kilograms of apples. 270 hectares are cultivated by about 45 apple producers. The majority of Åland’s apples are sold on the Finnish market. At present, more than 70% of apples produced in Finland come from Åland.
Åland Quality Living is proud of our collaboration with Åland’s apple growers – a warm welcome to our office and taste the fantastically good apples and apple juice.
It is a bit too vague to compare “Åland” with “Finland” or “Sweden”. Or with “Helsinki / Stockholm” etc.
If these are the points of comparison, some things that are positive and others that are negative will be asked upside down. If instead the comparison is made between living in Kramfors, Mora or Jyväskylä, the answers will be completely different.
In relation to its size, I would say that Åland is quite unique in the world (!).
People, language, the social and society at large are a bit like living in a small town a little north of Sweden. No crowds, close to nature, people spend more time at home and less in pubs, and due to short travel times to work and schools have time to spend time, work with their cottages, hunting, fishing, sports etc. More boat than snowmobile, of course, and short distances in general. People with money do not have bacon frills, sports cars and designer clothes but a house by the sea, a nice boat, tractor, excavator, a nice rifle, etc. Relaxed and without an outward-looking culture to impress.
Economically, it is clearly better than in the corresponding smaller town in Sweden or Finland. The range of most things is HUGE, and those who say otherwise do not compare at all with comparable cities and regions, but unconsciously with big cities.
The sports and youth side is enormously well organized and the economic effects of the PAF money are obvious wherever you turn. Absolutely world class.
The public sector is a large part of the island. Approximately one in three employees is employed in the public sector or private companies with the public sector as owner / partner. This means that it is good service, easy to talk directly with the right official directly, a lot of staff in schools and kindergartens etc etc. But you should not hide that odd needs or situations arise, it is not the access to structure as in a capital region.
Same with healthcare, absolutely world class for its size. But luckily, you send the cases that cannot be handled to Turku or Stockholm, etc. The worst is probably then with things there that are a bit in between. The care then does it itself, and with good intentions and commitment, better than most places, but there is only a certain bandwidth. So you get very good help, but it is clear that not all specialists and machines of all kinds are on the island in the same way as in big cities. But clearly (!) Better than in all comparable places.
There is an incredibly thriving business and entrepreneurship here. The range is fascinating, not just taverns and nightclubs. Have basically never failed to find what I was looking for or need help with. The price situation is strange. Cheap things are expensive and expensive things are cheap. That is, the many small everyday expenses are expensive (but you do not notice it after a while). Strangely enough, the more expensive things are often possible to get at quite ok prices. But it often requires that you both look around and negotiate.
Unemployment is low. But very many workplaces outside the public sector are very small. For natural reasons, then the employee pyramids are also few and pointed. This means that there is good turnover at work, but that the number of higher positions and specialists is few, and precisely those positions have a lower rotation and are often filled through personal networks.
The pride of the region is clear and well-deserved, but the downside and intimacy of the intimacy is that the networks are clear but not always so easy to navigate for an outsider. Not at all so that it is corrupt or exclusive, just that people normally know everything about whose father people have and where everyone lives and who is married to whom and what the kids are called etc. Just like in the interior north :-)
I sometimes have the feeling that Åland as a region, in terms of supply and accessibility, is fully in class with a half-sized city that is perhaps 3 times larger. But at the same time, the lukewarmness of everyday life is like living in a smaller city in the north, but with better finances and close to both Stockholm and Helsinki.
Then it takes time to really understand the political system and how the extremely clear local democracy is both an asset and a problem.
But it does not matter. As a whole, it’s amazing. The quality of life here is high, both weekdays and weekends. :-)
But it is also based on the fact that what you yourself value and seek is exactly what exists here, because what exists, is instead in abundance and of a high class.