Arctic logistics

Even if logistic is not your thing, like in my case, you cannot avoid this challenge if you have to move in this northern area between Finland (Lapland) and Norway (Finnmark). After hours and hours of surfing in internet you come to one result – there is no public transport between Kirkenes and Finnish border and vice versa. In the winter time the Finnish post bus can bring you almost to the Norwegian border – Näätämö. Be prepared that it will take ages, because the bus makes a stop every kilometre. The driver opens the window and from few meters distance makes a master shot with the post into the hole of the post box. You may be the only passenger in the bus and you have ideal conditions to use the bus as an anthropological tool (for example, for the cross border research).
The bus from Inari (Finland) can bring you to the last point on the Finnish site, Näätämö. There is a border supermarket established for the Norwegian customers (good opportunity for the research on ‘border as resource’ issue, see also Stammler-Gossmann, Anna. 2012. ‘Winter-tyres-for-a-flower-bed’: Shuttle trade on the Finnish-Russian border. Chapter: Finnish-Russian border In: Bruns, B. and J. Miggelbrink (Eds.). Subverting Borders.Doing Research on Smuggling and Small-Scale Trade. Wiesbaden: VS VerlagfürSozialwissenschaften, pp. 225 – 247).

In the winter time the post bus brought me to this place almost at midnight. In May-June the bus from Inari arrives after 7pm. Unfortunately, the ‘K-market’ is closed at this time and the place is empty. However, there are still 55 km between Näätämö and Kirkenes.

My fieldwork is over and I am leaving Norway, but how to go back to Finland? No car and limited budget? There are the same 55 km until the Norwegian-Finnish border and no public transport for this distance. Informal arrangement is the keyword for the Arctic logistic and seems to be that it works…

Anna Stammler-Gossmann