The inhabitants of Swedish Haparanda and Finnish Tornio – two towns from different countries that have joined together to create a borderless “Eurocity” – are bilingual and use both the euro and the Swedish krona; roughly half of the children in Haparanda have either a Finnish mother or father. Services are also shared between the two towns: everything from central heating to post delivery is centrally coordinated. If a fire breaks out in Tornio, for example, Swedish fire crews from Haparanda will cross the border to help put out the flames. The shared tourist office (see p.000) has two phone lines, one dealing with calls from Sweden, the other with enquiries from Finland; staff switch effortlessly from one language to another depending on which line is ringing.
To get to Tornio simply head towards the “Finland” signs on the bridge; there are no border formalities, and so you can simply walk over the bridge to Finland and wander back whenever you like. It’s worth remembering that Finnish time is one hour ahead of Swedish time and that Haparanda and Tornio have different names in Swedish (Haparanda and Torneå) and Finnish (Haaparanta and Tornio).