Tornio is a town
A town is a human settlement larger than a village but smaller than a city. The size a settlement must be in order to be called a "town" varies considerably in different parts of the world, so that, for example, many American "small towns" seem to British people to be no more than villages, while...

 and municipality in Lapland, Finland. The municipality covers an area of km2 of which km2 is water. The population density
Population density
Population density is a measurement of population per unit area or unit volume. It is frequently applied to living organisms, and particularly to humans...

 is PD/km2, with a total population of . It borders to the Swedish
Sweden , officially the Kingdom of Sweden , is a Nordic country on the Scandinavian Peninsula in Northern Europe. Sweden borders with Norway and Finland and is connected to Denmark by a bridge-tunnel across the Öresund....

 municipality of Haparanda
Haparanda is a locality and the seat of Haparanda Municipality in Norrbotten County, Sweden with 4,778 inhabitants in 2005. It is adjacent to Tornio, Finland...

 (in ). Tornio is unilingually Finnish
Finnish language
Finnish is the language spoken by the majority of the population in Finland Primarily for use by restaurant menus and by ethnic Finns outside Finland. It is one of the two official languages of Finland and an official minority language in Sweden. In Sweden, both standard Finnish and Meänkieli, a...



The delta of the Torne river
Torne River
The Torne River , is a river in northern Sweden and Finland. Approximately half of the river's length is a part of the border between these two countries. It rises at Lake Torne near the border with Norway and flows generally southeast for a distance of into the Gulf of Bothnia...

 has been inhabited since the end of the last ice age
Ice age
An ice age or, more precisely, glacial age, is a generic geological period of long-term reduction in the temperature of the Earth's surface and atmosphere, resulting in the presence or expansion of continental ice sheets, polar ice sheets and alpine glaciers...

, and there are currently (1995) 16 settlement sites (boplatsvallar) known in the area, similar to those found in Vuollerim
Vuollerim is a locality situated in Jokkmokk Municipality, Norrbotten County, Sweden with 800 inhabitants in 2005.-Famous people:*Zemya Hamilton*Jakob Hellman*Jokkmokks-Jokke*Birgitta Svendén*Lars-Göran Nilsson-External links:*...

 (c.6000–5000 BC). The Swedish part of the region is not far from the oldest permanent settlement site found in Scandinavia. A former theory that this region was uninhabited and "colonised" from the Viking Age
Viking Age
Viking Age is the term for the period in European history, especially Northern European and Scandinavian history, spanning the late 8th to 11th centuries. Scandinavian Vikings explored Europe by its oceans and rivers through trade and warfare. The Vikings also reached Iceland, Greenland,...

 onward has now been abandoned.

The church spire at Tornio was one of the landmarks used by de Maupertuis in his measurements. The church was constructed in 1686 by Matti Joosepinpoika Härmä.

Until the 19th century, inhabitants of the surrounding countryside spoke Kemi Sami
Kemi Sami
Kemi Sami is a Sami language that was originally spoken in the southernmost district of Finnish Lapland as far south as the Sami siidas around Kuusamo...

, a language of the Eastern Sami group similar to Finnish, while those of the town were mainly Swedish-speaking.

Tornio was named Torneå in Swedish after Torne å, an alternative name of the river, and later fennicized Tornio.

The town received its charter from the King of Sweden in 1621 and was officially founded on the island of Suensaari (literally "Wolf Island", probably named after one of the main landowners of the past). The charter was in recognition of Tornio being the hub of all trade in Lapland throughout the 16th century. It was the largest merchant town in the North at the time and for some years ranked as the richest town in the Swedish realm. Despite the lively trade with Lapland and overseas, the population of the town remained stable for hundreds of years at little over 500.

During the 18th century Tornio was visited by several expeditions from Central Europe who came to discover the Arctic
The Arctic is a region located at the northern-most part of the Earth. The Arctic consists of the Arctic Ocean and parts of Canada, Russia, Greenland, the United States, Norway, Sweden, Finland, and Iceland. The Arctic region consists of a vast, ice-covered ocean, surrounded by treeless permafrost...

. The most notable expedition (1736–1737) was led by a member of the Académie française
Académie française
L'Académie française , also called the French Academy, is the pre-eminent French learned body on matters pertaining to the French language. The Académie was officially established in 1635 by Cardinal Richelieu, the chief minister to King Louis XIII. Suppressed in 1793 during the French Revolution,...

, Pierre Louis Moreau de Maupertuis, who came to take measurements along the Tornio river which would show that the globe is flattened towards the poles.

The Lapland trade on which Tornio depended started to decline in the 18th century, and the harbour had to be moved downriver twice as a result of the rising of the land (post-glacial rebound
Post-glacial rebound
Post-glacial rebound is the rise of land masses that were depressed by the huge weight of ice sheets during the last glacial period, through a process known as isostasy...

), which made the river too shallow for navigation. However, the greatest blow to the wealth of the town came in the last war between Sweden and Russia in 1808, which saw the Russians capture and annex Finland. The border was drawn through the deepest channel of the Muonio
Muonio is a municipality of Finland.It is located in the province of Lapland. The municipality has a population of and covers an area of of which is water. The population density is...

 and Tornio rivers, splitting Lapland in two parts, hurting the trade. Tornio ended up on the Russian side of the border on special insistence by the Russian czar. The Swedes developed the village of Haaparanta (present day Haparanda
Haparanda is a locality and the seat of Haparanda Municipality in Norrbotten County, Sweden with 4,778 inhabitants in 2005. It is adjacent to Tornio, Finland...

) on their side of the border, to balance the loss of Tornio, and Tornio became unilingually Finnish.

During the Russian period Tornio was a sleepy garrison town. Trade only livened up during the Crimean War
Crimean War
The Crimean War was a conflict fought between the Russian Empire and an alliance of the French Empire, the British Empire, the Ottoman Empire, and the Kingdom of Sardinia. The war was part of a long-running contest between the major European powers for influence over territories of the declining...

 and the First World War
World War I
World War I , which was predominantly called the World War or the Great War from its occurrence until 1939, and the First World War or World War I thereafter, was a major war centred in Europe that began on 28 July 1914 and lasted until 11 November 1918...

, when Tornio became an important border crossing for goods and people. During the First World War Tornio and Haparanda had the only rail link to connect the Russians to their Western allies.

After the independence of Finland in 1917 Tornio lost its garrison and saw further decline although its population increased steadily. The town played no role of importance in the Finnish Civil War
Finnish Civil War
The Finnish Civil War was a part of the national, political and social turmoil caused by World War I in Europe. The Civil War concerned control and leadership of The Grand Duchy of Finland as it achieved independence from Russia after the October Revolution in Petrograd...

, but was the scene of some fierce street fighting at the onset of the Lapland War
Lapland War
The Lapland War were the hostilities between Finland and Nazi Germany between September 1944 and April 1945, fought in Finland's northernmost Lapland Province. While the Finns saw this as a separate conflict much like the Continuation War, German forces considered their actions to be part of the...

 between Finland and Nazi Germany
Nazi Germany
Nazi Germany , also known as the Third Reich , but officially called German Reich from 1933 to 1943 and Greater German Reich from 26 June 1943 onward, is the name commonly used to refer to the state of Germany from 1933 to 1945, when it was a totalitarian dictatorship ruled by...

. The quick liberation of the town
Battle of Tornio
The Battle of Tornio was the first major engagement between Nazi Germany and Finland in the Lapland War; although hostilities had already begun elsewhere .- Background :...

 by the Finnish forces probably saved it from being burned down like so many other towns in Lapland. As a result the beautiful wooden church from 1686 can still be admired today.

After World War II, the town created new employment with the success of the local brewery Lapin Kulta
Lapin Kulta
Lapin Kulta was a brewery in the Lapland town of Tornio, Finland. As of August, 2010, it is only brewed in the southern Finnish town of Lahti. It was founded in 1873 under the name Torneå Bryggeri Aktiebolag...

 and the stainless steel factory Outokumpu
Outokumpu is a group of companies headquartered in Espoo, Finland, aimed at stainless steel. The company has approx. 8 000 employees in about 30 different countries worldwide...

. Tourism based on the border has been a growing industry too. The town is a centre of education for Western Lapland with a vocational college
Vocational school
A vocational school , providing vocational education, is a school in which students are taught the skills needed to perform a particular job...

 and a university of applied sciences
Kemi-Tornio University of Applied Sciences
Kemi-Tornio University of Applied Sciences is a Finnish Ammattikorkeakoulu located in Kemi and Tornio. It was founded in 1992 as Kemi-Tornio Polytechnic, a merger of several institutes of higher vocational education in the Kemi-Tornio region of Finland....


Tornio and Haparanda have a history as twin cities
Twin cities
Twin cities are a special case of two cities or urban centres which are founded in close geographic proximity and then grow into each other over time...

, and are set to merge under the name EuroCity. A new city centre is under construction on the international border and several municipal services are shared. The towns also have a common golf
Golf is a precision club and ball sport, in which competing players use many types of clubs to hit balls into a series of holes on a golf course using the fewest number of strokes....

 course, situated astride the border. The new IKEA
IKEA is a privately held, international home products company that designs and sells ready-to-assemble furniture such as beds and desks, appliances and home accessories. The company is the world's largest furniture retailer...

 store in Haparanda has signposting in Finnish as well as in Swedish, and all prices are signposted in two currencies.


Tornion Palloveikot, or just ToPV, has become Finnish bandy
Bandy is a team winter sport played on ice, in which skaters use sticks to direct a ball into the opposing team's goal.The rules of the game have many similarities to those of association football: the game is played on a rectangle of ice the same size as a football field. Each team has 11 players,...

 champions several times. They play their home matches in Haparanda, which was the venue for games at the 2001 Bandy World Championships
Bandy World Championships
The Bandy World Championships are a competition between bandy-playing nations. The tournament is administrated by the Federation of International Bandy....


Teemu Tainio
Teemu Tainio
Teemu Tainio is a Finnish footballer, who currently plays for New York Red Bulls in Major League Soccer.He can play both as a defensive and attacking midfielder and out wide. Tainio also played at right-back under Juande Ramos at Tottenham.-Early career:...

, footballer was born in Tornio.


A break of gauge occurs at Tornio between the Finnish and Swedish railway systems. A bogie exchange and variable gauge axle track gauge changing facility are provided.

Kemi-Tornio Airport
Kemi-Tornio Airport
Kemi-Tornio Airport is an airport in Kemi, Finland. The airport is located near the district of Lautiosaari, east of the Kemijoki , north of Kemi city centre and east of Tornio city centre.The airport is owned and operated by Finavia....

 is located in Kemi
Kemi is a town and municipality of Finland. It is located very near the city of Tornio. It was founded in 1869 by royal decree, because of its proximity to a deep water harbour....

, about 18 kilometres (11.2 mi) south-east from Tornio city centre.

The highway 29
Finnish national road 29
Finnish national road 29 is a highway in Finland between Keminmaa and Tornio. Most of its length is part of European route E8. It is long and it is the world's northernmost motorway/freeway , with Alaska Highway 3 in Fairbanks, Alaska being the second northernmost. Road 29 has four lanes...

 (part of the European route E8
European route E8
The European route E 8 is a European route that goes from Tromsø, Norway to Turku, Finland. The length of the route is .* E 8: Tromsø – Nordkjosbotn – Skibotn – Kilpisjärvi – Kaaresuvanto – Muonio – Tornio – Keminmaa – Kemi – Oulu – Liminka – Raahe – Kalajoki – Kokkola – Vaasa – Pori –...

) between Keminmaa
Keminmaa is a municipality of Finland.The municipality has a population of and covers an area of ofwhich is water. The population density is.-Villages:...

 and Tornio is the world's northernmost
The world's most northern
This is a list of various northernmost things on earth.- Cities and settlements :See also: Northernmost settlements, Northernmost cities and towns-Geography:-Animals:-General:-Shrubs:-Trees:-Culture and music:-Sport :- Religion :...

 motorway. Tornio is also the northern end of the European route E4
European route E4
European route E 4 passes from north to south through Sweden from the border with Finland, total length . The Finnish part lies entirely within Tornio in northern Finland, and is actually only long...


Twin cities

Tornio's closest economic and cultural ties are with its immediate neighbour: Haparanda
Haparanda is a locality and the seat of Haparanda Municipality in Norrbotten County, Sweden with 4,778 inhabitants in 2005. It is adjacent to Tornio, Finland...

, Sweden

Tornio also has links with: Devizes
Devizes is a market town and civil parish in Wiltshire, England. The town is about southeast of Chippenham and about east of Trowbridge.Devizes serves as a centre for banks, solicitors and shops, with a large open market place where a market is held once a week...

, England Hammerfest
is a city and municipality in Finnmark county, Norway. The municipality encompasses parts of three islands: Kvaløya, Sørøya, and Seiland. Hammerfest was established as a municipality on 1 January 1838...

, Norway Ikast
Ikast is a Danish town in the Region Midtjylland. It has been part of the municipality of Ikast-Brande since 2007. It was the seat of the former Ikast Municipality.-External links:*...

, Denmark Kirovsk
Kirovsk may refer to:*Kirovsk, Leningrad Oblast, a town in Leningrad Oblast, Russia*Kirovsk, Murmansk Oblast, a town in Murmansk Oblast, Russia*Kirovsk, Ukraine, a town in Luhansk Oblast, Ukraine*Kirawsk, a town in Belarus...

, Russia Szekszard
Szekszárd is a city in Hungary and the capital of Tolna county. By population, Szekszárd is the smallest county capital in Hungary; by area, it is the second smallest -Location:...

, Hungary Vetlanda
Vetlanda Municipality
Vetlanda Municipality is a municipality in Jönköping County, in southern Sweden where the town of Vetlanda is the seat.The municipality was created in 1971, when the City of Vetlanda was amalgamated with the surrounding rural municipalities to form a unitary municipality...

, Sweden

External links

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