Exploring cultures and communities – the slow way

hidden europe 39

by hidden europe

The number of Russians making cross-border journeys into northern Scandinavia to go shopping leapt by over a third last year. They head for small towns in northern Finland and some even continue into Sweden to visit the world's northernmost branch of IKEA.

article summary —

We have over the years used the pages of hidden europe to report on the world’s most northerly stray cat and all manner of other notable extremes. But we have somehow neglected to mention the planet’s most northerly IKEA. Welcome to Haparanda, population less than five thousand souls, a town in northern Sweden just on the border with Finland. Lenin came through Haparanda, twice, but never stopped to go shopping. Lenin was never big on shopping, though he did once famously go shopping during a nine-hour stopover in Stockholm.

The arrival of IKEA in Haparanda has boosted the local economy. Russians come to Haparanda for bookshelves and köttbullar.

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About the authors

hidden europe

and manage hidden europe, a Berlin-based editorial bureau that supplies text and images to media across Europe. Together they edit hidden europe magazine. Nicky and Susanne are dedicated slow travellers. They delight in discovering the exotic in the everyday.

This article was published in hidden europe 39.