Even though Vaasa is a Finnish town, it is located close enough to Sweden, 45 nautical miles in fact, for that country’s cultural influence to be rather strong, so a Vaasa trip will present you with a very dual city, a place where a quarter of the population speaks Swedish, not Finnish, as their first language.
Thanks to this mingling of cultures and languages, on your stay here you’ll oftentimes hear conversations between people shifting from Finnish to Swedish and back again, sometime during the same sentence. It is interesting to note that it has been this way for many-many years, with no one influence being decided as a complete winner, it’s like a city made of two entities, but they are not in a struggle, they’re in a very well-maintained balance.
The original town began its life in the 14th century, under a different name, the name of Vasa was given to it by the 17th century Swedish king Charles IX, but then it changed hands and became part of Finland, and in the tradition of all great Finnish wooden settlements, the thing completely burned down in a massive fire.
Vaasa is a very northern city, actually if it were to be set in the Southern Hemisphere, it would be in Antarctica. Its positioning creates an interesting perspective different, because the city is not large, not by average European dimensions, however it feels like a metropolis when you compare it to the surrounding settlements which are markedly smaller.
Despite the latitude, the city however exists, and not only that but also thrives, it takes a special kind of individual to live here on a constant basis and making a life here, and that individual is a rather lively sort, because Vaasa is a very popular family holiday destination during the summer – it features an adventure park and thanks to the nearby coast, plenty of activities.
Besides the coast, the surroundings are very accessible, and so are the islands, during the spring the nesting waterbirds overflow the shorelines and there’s a sense of wilderness never being too far away.