Åland is a Swedish-speaking autonomous part of Finland with about 30,000 inhabitants. The region consists of over 6,000 islands and is located between Finland and Sweden in the middle of the Baltic Sea. The geographic location of the Åland archipelago makes it a perfect place for shipping, which has led to the development of a rich maritime heritage that has developed and evolved through history.
The people of the Åland Islands have always found ways of benefitting from the sea and they have developed a variety of skills in shipbuilding, navigation and commercial shipping, which still has a huge influence on Åland society.
The level of English spoken on the islands in general is good, so communicating in English should not be a problem.
Mariehamn is the capital of the Åland islands and is the seat of the Åland Parliament and Government. The town was founded in 1861, when Åland and Finland were under Russian rule. It was named Mariehamn (Maria’s port) in honour of Tsarina Maria Alexandrovna, wife of Tsar Alexander II.
Mariehamn is located on a peninsula, providing the town with two natural harbours. perfect for all types of shipping. Today Mariehamn is a regional transport hub for car. And passenger ferries going across the Baltic between Finland, Sweden and Estonia.
The status as a capital makes the town - despite its modest population of 12,000 people - feel larger than it is. There is a good selection of restaurants, bars, cafes and shops. Mariehamn has a variety of museums with the maritime museum and the Pommern being the most popular.
Facts about Åland:
Currency: euro (most places also accept Swedish crowns)
Time: Eastern European time