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Fun facts about Lapland

Stashed up in the Arctic Circle and often covered in snow, Lapland isn't always on everyone's holiday radar. And we don't necessarily blame you – this winter wonderland is more than a little mysterious. But it only takes a little peek through the icy curtains and you're bound to fall head over boots for Finland's northernmost region.



Nature and animals

To get you started, here are a few fun facts that'll help demystify this snowy landscape.

• The number of reindeer in Lapland roughly equals the region's human population. On the whole, Lapland is only home to about 3.4% of Finland's population, and is the least densely populated region in the country.

• Finland abides by the Everyman's Right Law, which means in Lapland, you're allowed to roam, frolic and pick berries wherever you want so long as it doesn't harm the natural environment. And Lapland is home to seven national parks, so you've got a lot of roam-worthy space.

• Lapland is one of the last places in Europe where you can still pan for gold and actually find something. Professional gold prospectors are not uncommon here, as are gold-panning excursions in some of Lapland's national parks.

• The midnight sun is alive and kicking in Lapland. On average the sun is visible in this part of the world around the clock for about 73 days during the summer.

• The oldest known tree in Lapland is found in the region of Inari. It's a pine tree, and clocks in at 529 years old.

Santa Claus and ice attractions

• Lapland might not technically be the North Pole, but it's still Santa Claus' official headquarters. There are a few Father Christmases found around Rovaniemi and beyond, so it's up to you to decide which one is the real deal.

• Though Santa's official home is Lapland, it's believed that he was originally born in Turkey, where he got his name, St Nicholas.

Culture and traditions

• Speeding tickets in Lapland are income-based. A millionaire caught speeding was once charged €116,000.

• The national costume of Lapland is called gakti, which is primarily bright blue and red and worn with reindeer-skin boots, colourful shawls and hats. The costumes can be used to symbolise everything from where you're from to what family you're from or whether or not you're married.

• The native people of Lapland are known as the Sami people. Nowadays, they mostly live in urban areas, but some still live in villages high up in the Arctic. About 10% are reindeer herders. There is still a Sami television channel and radio station to provide Sami people with the local news.

Food

• Lapland's top cheese is known as Finnish Squeaky Cheese, likened to halloumi. It's typically made from cow's milk – but can also come from goats or reindeer – then baked into a pie shape and cut in wedges. It's best served with cloudberry jam.

• In Lapland, the sale of liquor is strictly regulated, and can only be purchased in special state shops. In Finland, they're called Alko. Beer, on the other hand, is widely sold in supermarkets.

• While we typically know reindeer as Rudolph, Dasher and Prancer, reindeer is a big food source in Lapland. Reindeer can be dried, cured, smoked and served in steaks – brave foodies can sample it at restaurants across the region.

Miscellaneous

• Finnish Lapland is about as big as Belgium, Switzerland and Holland put together.

• Most of the gold used in Finnish coins comes from Lapland.

• he city of Rovaniemi is actually – and fittingly – shaped like a reindeer's head, antlers and all. About 90% of Rovaniemi burned down in World War Two, leaving architect Alvar Aalto a blank canvas to recreate this snowy city largely from scratch.

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