ISLANDS I Got A Strange Message … ( No. 42)

Posted by on 9. Juni 2013
Aland

That's where the archipelago lies: Between Sweden and Finland ...

Aland

... the vista of the capital Mareiehamn ...

Aland

... and the Åland flag

This strange place is situated between Sweden (only 38 km or 25 mi away) and Finland (to which it belongs politically, but the official language is Swedish) in the Northern Baltic Sea. An place against any modern reality: 30 000 inhabitants only live on 6500 islands and skerries, all in all smaller than one sixth of Manhattan! The Ålands even have a land border, because the island of Märket is divided, they share it with Sweden! Finland belongs to the European Community (EC) – but not the Ålands really. They fly their own flag, have two currencies, the Euro and the Swedish Krona, and a pretty independent parliament! Their special status makes them the 20th wealthiest spot of the 268 regions within the EC. There is no military conscription, the ships touching the archipelago still run taxfree, the only ones in the EU, and basic Community’s rules are not valid here. For instance: Foreigners can’t by property and their home laws don’t apply in case of a legal breach. Strange? Very much so. A bit like in the past: The Åland’s capital of Mariehamn was the last harbour in Europe where „Windjammers“, the big commercial sailing ships, sailed into and from. One is still there, the „Pommern“. Should you ever get close to the archipelago, visit it. Very few have. It might register in your records as another country!

Oh, by the way: There is small circle on top of Ålands first A; therefore you must pronouce it with a very dark or deep sound, like a foghorn …

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