End of kaamos: Utsjoki wakes up from winter

Finland's most northerly municipality hasn't had a sunrise for seven weeks - but local residents say it's not nearly as dark as you might imagine.

Midday in Kemijärvi, Lapland, 26th December 2017 / Credit: News Now Finland

Finland’s most northerly municipality is waking up from darkness on Friday and briefly experiencing its first sunrise.

The sun last set in Utsjoki on 25th November and for most of the last two months local residents have been going through a period of winter where there’s no sunrise.

That all ended on Friday when the sun peeked above the horizon at 11:56 in the morning; but then set again less than an hour later at 12:49.

The dark weeks are known as Polar Night in English, kaamos in Finnish and skábma in the Northern Sámi language, but local residents say it’s not as dark as you might expect.

“Living here in kaamos it’s quite awesome. Immediate when the snow comes and when there is a full moon you can see from Finland to the other side of the river to Norway. You can see the trees and everything, it’s not that dark” Aslat Jon Länsman told us in a December 2018 interview.

He’s a resident of Finland’s most northerly village Nuorgam, separated from Norway by a river and an international border.

Länsman says that when he visits the capital during winter, more than 1300km south of Nuorgam, the darkness can seem worse.

“In the city in Helsinki when it’s all asphalt, and still if there are street lights it’s really dark and depressing” he explained.