A Map of Åland-Island


Background: Åland is an autonomous, demilitarized, Swedish-speaking region of Finland. Åland consists of more than 6,500 islands and skerries, of which 6,400 are larger than 3,000 m2.
Climate and Terrain: The Ålandic landscape was forged many millennia ago by powerful natural forces, which are still at work today, into a distinctive archipelagic landscape consisting of thousands of islands, holmes and skerries.
People: The population of Åland is currently at an all-time high. According to a travel memoir written by F.W. Radloff in the 18th century there were 11,000 people in the Islands at this time, spread across 80 different islands. In 1905 the number had grown to 22,000, living on 150 islands. Over the centuries many islands have been linked to each other or with the main island through bridges and embankments while others have been depopulated. The current population of 26,200 live on only 65 islands. Over 40 per cent live in the only town, Mariehamn.
Government: The Åland Government, which may have up to eight members, is headed by the Chairman, lantrÅdet. The Åland Government is appointed by the parliament according to parliamentary principles after negotiations among the various political factions.
Economy overview: Åland's economy is dominated by the service sector, particularly the maritime industry, which accounts for 40 per cent of local GDP. The capital-intensive shipping industry helps to raise Åland's GDP per capita, but income levels in Åland are not higher than the average for Finland.
Statistics: Because of Åland's geographical location, the local economy, and the people who live here, are very dependent on good communications. In winter-time 20 ferries depart from Åland to Sweden and the Finnish mainland every day, but in summer the number rises to almost the double. As of spring 2004 there will also be a service to Estonia. Although ferries are the dominating form of transport to Åland, there are also flights between Mariehamn and the Swedish and Finnish mainlands.

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