Österbotten (Swedish)
Pohjanmaa (Finnish)
Region of Ostrobothnia
Landskapet Österbotten
Pohjanmaan maakunta
Coat of arms of Ostrobothnia
Ostrobothnia on a map of Finland
Ostrobothnia on a map of Finland
Historical provinceOstrobothnia
 • Total7,932.36 km2 (3,062.70 sq mi)
 • Total180,445
 • Density23/km2 (59/sq mi)
Time zoneUTC+2 (EET)
 • Summer (DST)UTC+3 (EEST)
ISO 3166 codeFI-12
Regional birdCommon swift (Apus apus)
Regional fishCommon whitefish (Coregonus lavaretus)
Regional flowerEuropean meadowsweet (Filipendula ulmaria)

Ostrobothnia (Swedish: Österbotten; Finnish: Pohjanmaa) is a region in western Finland. It borders the regions of Central Ostrobothnia, South Ostrobothnia, and Satakunta. It is one of four regions considered modern-day Ostrobothnia, hence also referred to as Coastal Ostrobothnia to avoid confusion.

Ostrobothnia is one of two Finnish regions with a Swedish-speaking majority (the other being the constitutionally monolingual province of Åland); Swedish-speakers make up 51.2% of the total population.[1] The region contains thirteen bilingual municipalities and one that is exclusively Finnish-speaking. The capital of Vaasa is predominantly inhabited by Finnish speakers, whereas smaller towns and rural areas are generally dominated by the Swedish language. The three municipalities with the largest number of Swedish speakers are Korsholm, Jakobstad and Pedersöre.

Geographically, Ostrobothnia has little topographical relief, because it is mostly former seafloor brought to surface by post-glacial rebound and the accumulation of alluvial sediment. Ostrobothnia has both vast expanses of cultivated fields (lakeus) as in Southern Ostrobothnia, and the archipelago of Kvarken (Finnish: Merenkurkku). Glacial transport has deposited large quantities of rocks in the area.[2] Like elsewhere in Pohjanmaa, rivers are a prominent part of the landscape. The major rivers that discharge into the Gulf of Bothnia in Ostrobothnia are Kyrönjoki, Lapuanjoki and Ähtävänjoki.

Kaskinen, a coastal town located in the southern part of the region, is the smallest town in Finland in terms of both area and population.[3]

Name and symbols

Prior to the officialization of the names of the Finnish regions, Ostrobothnia was also known as Vasa kustregionen in Swedish and Vaasan rannikkoseutu in Finnish, both of which translate into "[the] coastal region of Vaasa". The Institute for the Languages of Finland recommended that the region be named Kustösterbotten in Swedish and Rannikko-Pohjanmaa in Finnish, meaning "coastal Ostrobothnia" in English. However, upon the confirmation of the names of the Finnish regions on 26 February 1998, the current name of the region was officialized instead, according to the wishes of the regional government. The central government cited the Swedish language's prevalence in the region, as well as the lack of a common consensus on an alternative name the reasons for its decision.[4] In local circles or communities, Ostrobothnia is often referred to as "Pampas". The word derives from the similarities in the flat landscape with the Pampas area in South America.[5]

The regional tree is the black alder (Alnus glutinosa), the regional mammal is the common elk (Alces alces), the regional stone is Vaasa granite and the regional song is "The march of Vaasa" (Swedish: Vasamarschen, Finnish: Vaasan marssi).

Coat of arms

Gules, a sheaf Or; on chief countercharged four ermines 2+2 courant.

The sprouting wheatsheaf is a symbol of the Royal House of Vasa; a Vasa king established the city of Vaasa, the capital of the region. The running stoats are a symbol of Ostrobothnia.

Municipalities and languages

The municipal border sign of Närpes, with the Swedish name coming first before the Finnish name.
The municipal border sign of Närpes, with the Swedish name coming first before the Finnish name.

Main article: Municipalities of Ostrobothnia

See also: Swedish dialects in Ostrobothnia

The region of Ostrobothnia is made up of 14 municipalities, of which six have city status (marked in bold), and the links are only in the majority language names. The greater Vaasa region has about 40% Swedish native speakers and a Finnish majority, whereas the Jakobstad region has about 70% and the southern region about 57% Swedish speakers. The rural part of the Vaasa region has a sizeable Swedish-speaking majority, with the majority of native Finnish speakers in Ostrobothnia as a whole living in Vaasa city proper. Isokyrö is a former unilingually Finnish municipality of the region, but was transferred to South Ostrobothnia in 2021.

Ostrobothnia is similar to German-speaking South Tyrol in Italy, in that the main language spoken in its capital is the majority language of the country, but the main language spoken in the region as a whole is a minority language. The main difference is that Swedish is an official language throughout Finland, but German is an official language only within South Tyrol.

Name in
Name in
Population[6] Swedish
Pietarsaari Jakobstad 19,096 56.4% 40.2% Jakobstad
Kaskinen Kaskö 1,288 28.1% 68.1% Sydösterbotten
Mustasaari Korsholm 19,529 70.2% 28.7% Vaasa
Korsnäs Korsnäs 2,050 91.2% 3.2% Vaasa
Kristiinankaupunki Kristinestad 6,375 56.6% 42.2% Sydösterbotten
Kruunupyy Kronoby 6,439 83.3% 15.6% Jakobstad
Laihia Laihela 7,916 1% 98.3% Kyrönmaa
Luoto Larsmo 5,626 92.5% 6.5% Jakobstad
Maalahti Malax 5,486 88.2% 9.1% Vaasa
Närpiö Närpes 9,570 88.4% 5.8% Sydösterbotten
Uusikaarlepyy Nykarleby 7,493 89.3% 8.1% Jakobstad
Pedersören kunta Pedersöre 11,171 90.1% 9% Jakobstad
Vaasa Vasa 67,631 24.8% 69.8% Vaasa
Vöyri Vörå [6] 84.6% 13.6% Vaasa

Former municipalities:


Ostrobothnia is located in the borderlands between the humid continental and subarctic climates (Köppen Dfb/Dfc). Its winters are moderated by prevailing westerly winds from the mild North Atlantic Current travelling across Norway, Sweden and the Bay of Bothnia. Although the sea tends to easily freeze over in winter during prolonged spells of cold weather due to the low salinity, winters seldom get severely cold.

In general during latter decades, the southern Bothnia Bay coastlines of central Norrland in Sweden across the strait and Ostrobothnia mostly range from slightly above 20 °C (68 °F) average highs in summer to about −3 °C (27 °F) highs and −10 °C (14 °F) lows in winter. Due to the vastness of the region from north to south, this will vary by a bit from one place to another depending on latitude.

Precipitation is quite variable but is enough to build up a reliable snowpack all through the region during winter months. In summer, Ostrobothnia experiences perpetual civil twilight due to its high latitude with the sun angle never falling below -3° at summer solstice in Vaasa and -2° in Jakobstad.[8][9] During that time of the year, daylight remains bright enough to permit daytime outdoor activities without artificial lighting especially under clear skies. As a result, days are short during winter although all areas of Ostrobothnia are far south of the Arctic Circle.


Results of the 2019 Finnish parliamentary election in Ostrobothnia:

See also


  1. ^ Väestö iän ja sukupuolen mukaan alueittain[permanent dead link] 31.12.2008. Tilastokeskus: demography.
  2. ^ "Aika, kallioperä ja jääkaudet » Merenkurkun saaristo". www.merenkurkku.fi. Retrieved 15 April 2018.
  3. ^ "Island town | Visit Kaskinen". visitkaskinen.fi.
  4. ^ "Valtioneuvosto nimesi Suomen maakunnat". The Finnish Ministry of Internal Affairs (in Finnish). 26 February 1998. Archived from the original on 24 May 2011. Retrieved 22 September 2020.
  5. ^ Lång, Fredrik. "Författarnas Österbotten: Pampas eller Plattlandet" (PDF) (in Swedish). KulturÖsterbotten. Retrieved December 3, 2021.
  6. ^ a b "Preliminary population structure by area, 2021M01*-2021M12*". StatFin (in Finnish). Statistics Finland. Retrieved 2 February 2022.
  7. ^ a b "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.
  8. ^ "Sunrise and sunset times in Vaasan Lääni, June 2021". Timeanddate.com. Retrieved 9 January 2021.
  9. ^ "Sunrise and sunset times in Jakobstad, June". Timeanddate.com. Retrieved 9 January 2021.

Media related to Ostrobothnia at Wikimedia Commons

Coordinates: 63°N 22°E / 63°N 22°E / 63; 22