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Those wrathful Ålanders on their demilitarised islands
By Jaakko Lyytinen
To mark Finland’s Independence Day on Sunday last, the university student publication Ylioppilaslehti used statistical information to identify in which parts of the country the greatest number of mortal sins are being committed.
The southern province of Uusimaa had the questionable honour of grabbing the most "deadly sinner" accolades.
The most envious (the greatest number of crimes against property), the most avaricious (the greatest income disparity), and the proudest (the total sum of all the sin statistics) people in Finland all happen to live in Uusimaa.
The most lustful (the highest chlamydia infection rate) area of the country is Lapland.
The smost slothful Finns (the highest percentage of pensioners among the over 16-year-olds) are to be found in Southern Savo, while the most gluttonous (the most overweight) Finns reside - or waddle - in the Province of Northern Karelia.
But the real surprise came when the envelope was opened for the winners in the "wrath" category. Proportionate to population, the highest number of capital and violent offences take place in the Swedish-speaking and tranquil Åland Islands.
Hur är det möjligt? How is this possible?
Do the Dr. Jekyll residents of the demilitarised “islands of peace” turn by night into remorseless Mr. Hyde savages, wreaking havoc at the local hotdog kiosks?
No. As it happens, they don't.
The explanation is far less titillating.
It has to do with the strange booking practice used in Finnish crime statistics.
All the assaults and other crimes committed on the passenger ferries between Finland and Sweden (presumably by nasty individuals from the mainland or by Swedes) are entered into record as having been committed in Mariehamn, the capital of Åland Islands.
So the people at the League of Nations can sleep easy: they have not created a monster.
Helsingin Sanomat / First published in print 6.12.2009
JAAKKO LYYTINEN / Helsingin Sanomat