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Finnmark, Norway – Home of Sami



Finnmark

Finnmark

 

Finnmark, Norway – Home of Sami

Beyond Sleep is filmed in the picturesque Finnmark, the Norway's northernmost county. Here are a few facts about this intriguing land.

Lying at the very top of Europe, Finnmark is the northernmost part of Norway that reaches around Sweden and meets Finland. By land, it borders Troms County to the west, Finland to the south, and Russia to the east; and by water, the Norwegian Sea to the northwest, and the Barents Sea to the north and northeast. This is the heart of Norwegian Lapland, where Karasjok is the cultural and political seat of Sami life. Though Norway's biggest county by size, Finnmark has the fewest people. Alta, the biggest city with just 17,000, is called the Town of Northern Lights for its great views of the phenomenon.

Multi-cultural communities are no novelty in Finnmark where, for centuries, Sami, Finns, Norwegians and Russians have left their mark, but today this is home to Sami people. Once, the Sami people lived all over Northern Scandinavia, most of Finland and the Kola Peninsula. In most areas, however, they have been assimilated or they live in small pockets surrounded by the majority populations. Maintaining the language and culture is an uphill struggle. However, in the Finnmarksvidda, the Finnmark Plateau, the Sami are still the vast majority of the population. Age old Sami handicrafts like cutting grass to fill up the winter shoes and making knives are still a part of everyday life, living side by side with Sami rap groups and cutting-edge Sami artworks.

The Sami language is spoken by almost everyone here, and both age-old crafts and more contemporary cultural expressions live side by side in communities that are both traditional and modern at the same time. All of this is surrounded by the enormous Finnmarksvidda, the vast Finnmark Plateau, a wilderness that seems totally untouched. However, these are pastoral lands for reindeer herders, and as such a cultural landscape.

The nature varies from barren coastal areas facing the Barents Sea, to more sheltered fjord areas and river valleys with gullies and tree vegetation. About half of the county is above the tree line, and large parts of the other half are covered with small Downy Birch.

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