Ostrobothnia is situated on the West Coast of Finland and is a breathtakingly beautiful region with the international, bilingual city of Vaasa as its centre.
Inhabitants: ~ 180,000
Regional Centre: Vaasa > 65,000 inhabitants
Average Age: 41
Life Expectancy: The highest in Finland
Employment Rate: The highest in Finland
15 Municipalities, Large and Small
Fifteen municipalities, four sub-regions and a population of ~ 180,000 – this is Ostrobothnia in a nutshell. Vaasa, the regional centre, has a population of 65,000. The smallest of the municipalities, Kaskinen, has a population of a mere 1,500. Some 51 per cent of the population speak Swedish as their native language. However, many people are bilingual, using either Finnish or Swedish flexibly according to the situation. In addition some 100 other languages are spoken in this international region.
One of the sub-regions – Kyrönmaa and its two municipalities Isokyrö and Laihia – is thoroughly Finnish. The municipality of Korsnäs, on the other hand, has one the highest concentrations of Swedish-speakers in the world, including – surprisingly enough – Sweden. More than 95 per cent of the population of Korsnäs are native speakers of Swedish.
Ostrobothnia is literally rising from the sea.
Ostrobothnia is literally rising from the sea. Land uplift is a unique natural phenomenon, which continuously alters the coastline of the region. Land is rising from the sea at a speed of eight millimeters a year and it will keep rising some 100 - 150 meters. The Kvarken Archipelago was listed as UNESCO World Heritage in 2006. It is the first World Natural Heritage site in Finland.
Read more about the World natural Heritage site.
Social Capital, the Key to Welfare
Summer theatres, festivals, barn dances and museums of local history and culture. Music, art and sports. There are always a lot of activities going on in Ostrobothnia. These bring people together, adding to the already substantial social capital of the region. When analysing the reasons for the fact that the Ostrobothnians are such a happy, flourishing and long-lived people, the social capital of the region has been offered as an explanation. Basically, it is about people caring for each other.
Browse through all the different types of events and happenings in the region in the events calendar.
A Region of Dialects
Ostrobothnia is known far and wide for its living and sometimes quite difficult dialects. The Swedish dialect of Närpes can, for instance, be something of a hard nut to crack, even for native speakers of Swedish. The Finnish dialects of the Kyrönmaa sub-region and of the neighboring region of South Ostrobothnia are equally well known throughout the country.
Knowledge and Skill
The level of education in Ostrobothnia has for a long time been rising steadily. Within eight universities and polytechnics about 12,000 students, in more than 30 different study programmes, make their way towards the professions of tomorrow. The University of Vaasa, the Åbo Akademi University and the Swedish School of Economics and Business Administration offer education and scientific research able to withstand any international comparison. Due to the high frequency of smaller businesses and the industry of the region, also the employment rates are among the highest in the country.
Competitiveness through Specialisation
The concentration of industrial enterprises operating in the field of energy technology in Ostrobothnia is one the most distinct industrial concentrations in the country, representing a share of more than 20 per cent of the Finnish energy technology export. The metal and forest industries have also gained a firm foothold in Ostrobothnia. When an Ostrobothnian gets an idea, quitting is not an option. Persistence is perhaps the key explanation of the emergence of highly specialised production in Ostrobothnia: greenhouse cultivation, fur breeding and boat building. Greenhouse cultivation is something of an Ostrobothnian trademark: some 70 per cent of all the tomatoes and 40 per cent of all the cucumbers produced in Finland come from Ostrobothnia. The traditions of boat building are so long, that one could easily claim that the craft is now part of the people's genetic inheritance. This is true especially in the northern parts of Ostrobothnia, where the most magnificent sailboats in the world are built.
Centrally Situated, Good Communications
Ostrobothnia is situated right in the middle of the Nordic Countries – this is one of the aces the region has got up its sleeve. Communications with the other big centres – e.g. Tampere, Oulu, Turku, Helsinki and Stockholm – are good, as are communications on the Kvarken to Scandinavia. The ports of coastal Ostrobothnia – Vaasa, Kaskinen, Jakobstad and Kristinestad – are gateways to the world for trade and industry throughout Central Finland.
In the Front Line of Regional Success
Throughout the entire history of Finnish independence, Ostrobothnia has always been in the front line of regional success. The international character of the region, its living bilingualism and strong competitiveness leave us confident that the region is going to maintain its leading position.