Kemi (Northern Sami: Giepma; Swedish (historically):Kiemi) is a town and municipality of Finland. It is located very near the city of Tornio and the Swedish border. It was founded in 1869 by a decree of the Russian Emperor Alexander II because of its proximity to a deepwater port.

Kemin kaupunki
Kemi stad
Clockwise, from top left: Kemi Railway Station, Kemi City Hall, Karihaara School, Café at the inner harbour, and Kemi Church

Coat of arms
Location of Kemi in Finland
Coordinates: 65°44′10″N 024°33′49″E
Country Finland
Sub-regionKemi–Tornio sub-region
  Town managerTero Nissinen
  Total747.28 km2 (288.53 sq mi)
  Land95.34 km2 (36.81 sq mi)
  Water652.1 km2 (251.8 sq mi)
Area rank300th largest in Finland
4 m (13 ft)
  Rank49th largest in Finland
  Density220.17/km2 (570.2/sq mi)
Population by native language
  Finnish98% (official)
Population by age
  0 to 1414.2%
  15 to 6466.5%
  65 or older19.3%
Time zoneUTC+02:00 (EET)
  Summer (DST)UTC+03:00 (EEST)
Postal code
Municipal tax rate[5]20.75%

Kemi is situated on the Bothnian Bay, at the mouth of the river Kemijoki, and it is part of the Lapland region. The town has a population of 20,991 (31 January 2019)[2] and covers an area of 747.28 km2 (288.53 sq mi) of which 652.1 square kilometers (251.8 sq mi) are water.[1] The population density is 220.17 inhabitants per square kilometre (570.2/sq mi).

World War II hostage crisis

During World War II, after Finland signed the Moscow Armistice and found itself involved in the Lapland War against its former German ally, German forces at the beginning of October 1944 captured 132 Finnish civilian hostages in Kemi (as well as 130 in Rovaniemi) and threatened to kill them unless the Finnish army released the German POWs captured in the Battle of Tornio. However, Finland refused to comply and threatened to retaliate by killing the German POWs. The hostages were released unharmed on October 11, 1944, near Rovaniemi.


Kemi has a claim to fame as the home of the world's largest snow castle[6] (reconstructed every year to a different design). The SnowCastle of Kemi is usually built in the inner harbor of the city.

A model of The Crown of Finland (the original was never made for the King of Finland) is kept in the town's gemstone gallery. It also houses replicas of the Imperial State Crown of Great Britain, the scepter of the Czar of Russia, the Orbs of Denmark, and the diamond necklace of Marie Antoinette, among other items.

Additional attractions include:


The main economic activity in Kemi is centered on two large paper and woodpulp mills and on the only chromium mine in Europe (which supplies the Outokumpu ferrochrome plant in Tornio).

The Chinese company Kaidi has announced plans to build the world's first second-generation biomass plant in Kemi, scheduled to begin operations in 2019.[7][8]

In April 2007, the city of Kemi laid off all of its municipal workers for 2 weeks due to the failing economy of the city. Spiraling specialist healthcare costs and a fleeing industry tax base are stated as the cause for the firing.[9] These are the most drastic temporary dismissals to take place in Finland since 2000.


A polytechnic university of applied sciences is situated in Kemi.


Kemi is the hometown of the power metal band Sonata Arctica.


Results of the 2019 Finnish parliamentary election in Kemi:[10]


Kemi railway station is an intermediate station on the railway between Lapland and Helsinki. It is operated by VR. The junction of the Kolari and Rovaniemi lines lies to the north of Kemi station.

Finnish national road 4 and European routes E8 and E75 run through the town.

Kemi-Tornio Airport is located 4.5 kilometers (2.8 mi) north of Kemi city center.

Town manager

Town manager Term
Olli Nylander 1930-1956
Risto Hölttä 1956-1966
Taisto Jokelainen 1967-1980
Juhani Leino 1980-2000
Kalervo Ukkola 2000-2005
Ossi Repo 2006-2012
Tero Nissinen 2012-

International relations

Twin towns – sister cities

Kemi is twinned with:

Notable residents

See also


  1. "Area of Finnish Municipalities 1.1.2018" (PDF). National Land Survey of Finland. Retrieved 30 January 2018.
  2. "Suomen virallinen tilasto (SVT): Väestön ennakkotilasto [verkkojulkaisu]. Tammikuu 2019" (in Finnish). Statistics Finland. Retrieved 15 March 2019.
  3. "Population according to language and the number of foreigners and land area km2 by area as of 31 December 2008". Statistics Finland's PX-Web databases. Statistics Finland. Retrieved 29 March 2009.
  4. "Population according to age and gender by area as of 31 December 2008". Statistics Finland's PX-Web databases. Statistics Finland. Retrieved 28 April 2009.
  5. "List of municipal and parish tax rates in 2011". Tax Administration of Finland. 29 November 2010. Retrieved 13 March 2011.
  6. "Pictures of the day: 4 February 2011". The Telegraph. February 4, 2011. Retrieved 25 March 2018.
  7. Nilsen, Thomas (February 10, 2017). "Chinese company to build giant bio-diesel refinery in Kemi". The Barents Observer. Retrieved April 1, 2017. The Chinese company Kaidi announced the plans on Wednesday. The refinery will be the world’s first so-called second generation biomass plant [...] 75 percent of the fuel will be biodiesel and 25 percent biogasoline, the company says. Energy wood will be the main feedstock, but also harvesting remains and leftover bark from Lapland’s forest industry will be utilized. The plan is to have commercial production by 2019 and means a huge boost to local employment in the Kemi region with over 150 permanent positions.
  8. Gudjonsson, Heidar; Nielsson, Egill Thor (March 31, 2017). "China's Belt and Road Enters the Arctic". The Diplomat. Retrieved April 1, 2017. A reported $1.1 billion investment by China’s Kaidi into a biodiesel plant in Kemi, Finland is significant.
  9. "Northern city of Kemi to lay off all municipal workers for two weeks". Helsingin Sanomat – International Edition. Helsinki: Helsingin Sanomat Oy. 2007-04-24. Retrieved 7 January 2009.
  10. "Eduskuntavaalit 2019, Kemi". Oikeusministerö - Tieto- ja tulospalvelu. 23 April 2019. Retrieved 27 April 2019.
  11. Bozsoki, Agnes. "Partnervárosok Névsora Partner és Testvérvárosok Névsora" [Partner and Twin Cities List]. City of Székesfehérvár (in Hungarian). Archived from the original on 2012-12-08. Retrieved 2013-08-05.
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