Does Sweden still want the Aland islands

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11-05-2013, 12:07 AM
 
993 posts, read 1,631,713 times
As the title of the thread says, what do you think?

Some quick facts:

- the Åland Islands is an autonomous and self-ruling archipelago between Sweden and Finland, only 2 hours from Stockholm

- they are under the sovereignity of Finland, but has their own laws and their own government, a right that was granted to them by the League of Nations, and is still in force

- Finnish military is banned from entering the islands in any kind of way

- the official and only language of the Åland Islands is Swedish, which means that road signs and everything official is in Swedish only

- mainland Finns hardly considers them as a part of Finland

- most Ålanders themselves does not consider themselves as Finns or Swedes at all

- Ålanders lives in a mainly Swedish culture, watching almost only Swedish TV, reading Swedish newspapers etc

- most Ålanders can't speak a single word in Finnish

- the population is around 28,000, making it internationally insignificant without having sovereignty

- the Åland Islands largely substain themselves, with very little handouts from Finland


I think it would be great with a new Nordic or Scandinavian country, and this is a good possible example. There is already pretty big movements to make the Faroe Islands and Greenland independent, but the Åland Islands is something that most people outside Scandinavia has never heard about, not even those who are into obscure states and countries.

There is movements for independence within the Åland Islands. I think independence would be great for international recognition of the Åland Islands as a new extremely small Scandinavian country, albeit having the population of a small town. And there is not any particular reason why they should be part of Finland or Sweden, and it does not consider itself as part of either.

As for tourism, there is alread lots of tourists from Sweden and Finland, and additionally I think many people around the world would like to visit a new Scandinavian country. Shipping is still the central part of the Ålandic economy though.

Anthem of the Åland Islands:

Ålänningens sång (Song of the Ålander) Åland Islands Anthem with lyrics - YouTube

Capital city Mariehamn, the largest and only city in the Åland Islands

(from wikipedia)


(creds to Hej Åland)


(creds to Happy Tellus)


(creds to Emilia-Ontheroad)


(creds to Emelia-Ontheroad)


(creds to Staedte Fotos)


(creds to World Snapshots)


(creds to Visit Åland)

The Åland Parliament (Lagting)

(from wikipedia)

The flag of the Åland Islands

(from Wikipedia)

Last edited by Helsingborgaren; 11-05-2013 at 01:03 AM..
11-05-2013, 04:14 AM
 
5,823 posts, read 10,385,640 times
Next poll : should the Isle of Wight declare "independence"? or the Scilly isles ? or the Shetlands? or the island of Lundy ? utterly ridiculous.
11-05-2013, 08:37 AM
 
Location: Gatineau, Québec
23,018 posts, read 28,601,871 times
It's up to them but I don't really see the point.

They seem to already have their cake and are eating it too at the same time. The best of both worlds.
11-05-2013, 09:34 AM
OP, I know you are new, but these kinds of threads have been done to death
11-05-2013, 10:58 AM
 
824 posts, read 1,087,363 times
What we think does not matter. The inhabitants of the islands should do whatever they want.
11-05-2013, 11:21 AM
 
24,257 posts, read 19,582,824 times
Originally Posted by MagnusPetersson
- Finnish military is banned from entering the islands in any kind of way

- the Åland Islands largely substain themselves, with very little handouts from Finland
A few clarifications on these.

- The Finnish military isn't banned from entering, only from building permanent fortifications or garrisons, and the Finnish military is responsible to defend the islands in a possible war.

- Actually the Åland islands gets the largest government handouts per capita in Finland, even more than the poorest outbacks in Kainuu and Lapland. The islands could probably manage on their own, but in reality they are still partly dependent on government subsidies.


If they want to go, let them, but they are on their own then. On the other hand, I'm not sure if anybody would be very happy with a tax haven between Helsinki and Stockholm.
11-05-2013, 11:56 AM
 
Location: Gatineau, Québec
23,018 posts, read 28,601,871 times
Originally Posted by Ariete
A few clarifications on these.

- The Finnish military isn't banned from entering, only from building permanent fortifications or garrisons, and the Finnish military is responsible to defend the islands in a possible war.

.
The ban on military facilities is interesting and would be extremely rare. In many cases countries are ok with granting autonomy for local affairs, but a military presence (on the level that the central government determines alone) is usually one of things they never want to give up.

At whose request has this been agreed to? The islanders? Sweden?
11-05-2013, 12:21 PM
 
24,257 posts, read 19,582,824 times
Originally Posted by Acajack
At whose request has this been agreed to? The islanders? Sweden?
It was declared a demilitarized zone in the peace treaty after the Crimean war. The League of Nations and Finland ratified this again in the 1920's. There were troops on the islands during both the world wars, but de jure Åland has been demilitarized since 1856.
11-05-2013, 05:49 PM
 
993 posts, read 1,631,713 times
Originally Posted by Acajack
The ban on military facilities is interesting and would be extremely rare. In many cases countries are ok with granting autonomy for local affairs, but a military presence (on the level that the central government determines alone) is usually one of things they never want to give up.

At whose request has this been agreed to? The islanders? Sweden?
There is actually a local political party, Ålands Framtid, who has the target to turn the Åland Islands into a sovereign nation, that party has 8.1% of the votes, and are in the Åland Parliament (the Lagting). Their votes has increased since 2003 when they only had 6.5%.

The League of Nations, during a time when there was a possibility of a conflict between Sweden and Finland over those islands, during the Åland crisis. The crisis was solved when the League of Nations declared that the Åland Islands should continue being a part of Finland, BUT with it's own government and the right to preserve it's Swedish culture and language
Åland crisis - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Here you can read more about this odd part of Europe:
Ahvenanmaa, but please call it Aland | Eastern Europe | Travels | Francis Tapon

(I totally hate that that website has labeled Finland including Åland as "Eastern Europe", though)

Last edited by Helsingborgaren; 11-05-2013 at 06:03 PM..
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