Rovaniemi, Finland : Looking for the centre of Europe

Uploaded by Europeanregistry on 03.06.2011

... I'm carrying around the centre of Europe...
- We are now actually in the Arctic Circle area,
in Rovaniemi City in Finland
This Christmas Fantasy show is telling about the Finnish culture,
how we celebrate Christmas, what kind of stories we have.
And of course the biggest story, the story about Santa Claus.
- You can say our factory is the official knife factory of Santa Claus.
Finnish children go to the boyscouts, for example,
and they all have their own knives.
And they do really go outside into nature and they really use their knives
to make their fires and such.
- It's part of our mental structure. We are living within forests,
our economy is quite a lot based on forests and forest products.
- In Rovaniemi the nature starts, well, mostly 5 minutes from your door.
People are going fishing and also hunting.
And just like me, for example, going out hiking in nature.
So then you need to be able to make your fire, carve your wood and prepare your lunch,
your sausages and everything with the knife.
- The type of music that is very popular is Death Metal - Heavy Metal and Hip-hop.
Those are the 2 big things and those bands have the best ways to make it.
- Our institute is quite unique, at least in the size and the wideness of the scope.
We study or do research on everything related to forests and forestry.
We start from the biological issues,
but also forests as a product for example for tourism and things like that, recreation.
- It is very important that people really understand what are the issues in the North.
Because they are affecting the life in other parts of the globe in many ways.
And this is a very unique environment,
and very fascinating, with Santa Claus, Northern lights,...
- In winter time, the days are shorter.
But because we have the snow, and we have a bit of light,
we've got this thing called 'blue light'.
So, during the day you can see all the different tones of blue.
That's something very special here.
- You know, there's some darker twist in the music.
Dark... No light!
Yeah, darkness from morning 'till night.
- Rovaniemi is a really fast growing city,
and that's mainly because of our education and universities.
- I want to make a perfect song. That's what I'm chasing for...
Make it better. Better and better every time.
I don't have some bigger goal like I want to make a living out of it or something.
I'm pretty happy with the way things are right now.
- There are pressures that you at first may not notice when you come here.
With mining, forestry, the land use...
So we have to find ways to combine these hot land use issues.
- Most of the money is coming from the pulp and paper industry,
and the timber industry.
- The policy of Finland has been for decades
that there must be more new forest growing than you can cut.
So that's how you make it sustainable:
That you plant more than you cut.
- This sustainability is, in a way, the basic line there.
- Most of the knife handles that we make are made of Curly Birch.
And Curly Birch is a special kind of Birch that grows in certain places only.
And it has this unique texture, so that they always look different.
You can never have two of the same.
- We are cutting 70 million cubic metres annually, or even more than that.
And our forests are still growing with 100 million cubic metres annually, so...
- The scientists claim that the change in the climate
can be seen stronger in the Arctic than other places.
- And also the climate change, together with globalisation,
it's opening up new economical activities, economical possibilities.
- The ice is melting in the Arctic ocean.
So it will be possible within the next 20 years,
to sail via the northern sea route from Europe to Asia.
That will put us a lot closer to the world markets than we have actually ever been.
- Out of Finland. That might be difficult, yeah.
There's so many bands out there.
- Most part of our knives go to export, so...
Even though Finland is a heavy using country, we can say, but...
But we've got some important clients and countries in Europe.
That's a big reason to be marketing it with a .eu sign as well.
- Here in Lapland, this area combines the European Union and the Arctic.
- And, since we have an university here with international ambitions,
and an Arctic research and information institute,
it's a very good combination. And it really matters.
- What we believe is that Rovaniemi is the right place to have the Arctic capital city of Europe.
So, this is also the right place for the Arctic Information Centre.
- We can play a big role in this discussion. We can help, we can facilitate it.
- I'm probably a Lappish girl, yeah.
That's because I was born here and this is my home, so...
I'm a Lappish girl, yes.
- because he Union is our enlarged home country,
I say it's our enlarged independency.
- It's, well, the way of life, the attitude towards everything and...
We are not in a hustle and bustle hurry and all that.
We are laid back, relaxed, happy people here.
- We are both citizens of our own countries, and citizens of the European Union.
- I'm European as well. I love languages and I speak them, many of them, so...
- Well this is the Post Office, so we're mainly Post Elves.
And we receive all the letters that people send to Santa Claus.
We reply to as many as we can,
and last year we answered about 40 to 50.000 letters.
From the Western countries, children usually ask for toys, and they might have big lists of toys.
But from more poor countries,
children usually ask for good health, or that their parents would get a job,
or that they would get a bike so they could go to school...
This place is the centre for Santa Claus, and of fairytales and everything like that.
Because here are a lot of elves. And also Santa Claus of course