Sep 17, 2015

Learn about life and livelihood in the Finnish Archipelago online!

This is a post about an exiting online-class which is arranged by the Open University in Turku. The course is intended for adult students. No previous knowledge of the subject or previous degree or academic studies are required, but a good demand of English is needed. The course awards 5 credits which can be included as part of an academic degree in history, anthropology or ethnology.

1. Hunters from Iniö with eider ducks after a succesful hunt.

The area of the Baltic Sea between Sweden and Finland boasts the world’s largest
archipelago. There sea between the Swedish capital of Stockholm, Åland and the medieval
Finnish town of Åbo (Fin. Turku) is dotted with some 70 000 islands. There is an
abundance of birdlife and the sea is teeming with Baltic herring. The people living in
the archipelago area have enjoyed the bounties of the sea and planted crops on the
fertile islands.

2. Winter dragnetfishing for herring in Nagu.
Economic activities ranged from cattle and sheep breeding on the larger
islands to small scale farming and fishing on the smaller ones. Boatbuilding and sailing
were important for the people living on the islands. Islanders would annually fill their
boats with agricultural produce and herring and sail to either Stockholm or Åbo to do
trade, sometimes even venturing as far as to Tallinn in Estonia. Autumn storm gales and
broken ice would isolate communities for long periods of time.

3. Boathouses and a pier at Högsåra.

The material culture and the social structure of this predominantly Swedish speaking area remained relatively unchanged well in to the 20th century. Primitive economies such as sealing, bird hunting
and egg collecting remained important in the outer archipelago up until the Second World
War. Nature dictated the terms how people would live and sustain themselves in the

The online course starts on October 5th 2015, enrolments no later than September 28th. More information about the course is available here;

1. Image 376,  Iniö Local History Photo Archive.
2. Nagu Local History Photo Archive.
2. SM004584B.

1 comment:

  1. Hey Marcus, love the blog. Several colleagues of mine as well as myself would love to see any new posts or projects you're working on. Perhaps a brief history of the puukko (featuring examples from some different puukko makers) would be interesting to make, and/or a demonstration on how to make a traditional styled puukko out of an old file. Just some ideas!
    Best regards,


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