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Kemi facts for kids

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Kemin kaupunki
Kemi stad
Clockwise, from top left: Kemi Railway Station, Kemi City Hall, Karihaara School, Café at the inner harbour, and Kemi Church
Clockwise, from top left: Kemi Railway Station, Kemi City Hall, Karihaara School, Café at the inner harbour, and Kemi Church
Coat of arms of Kemi
Coat of arms
Location of Kemi in Finland
Location of Kemi in Finland
Country Finland
Region Lapland
Sub-region Kemi–Tornio sub-region
Charter 1869
 • Total 747.44 km2 (288.59 sq mi)
 • Land 95.27 km2 (36.78 sq mi)
 • Water 652.17 km2 (251.80 sq mi)
Area rank 161st largest in Finland
 • Total 22,285
 • Rank 42nd largest in Finland
 • Density 233.91/km2 (605.8/sq mi)
Time zone UTC+2 (EET)
 • Summer (DST) UTC+3 (EEST)

Kemi 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 decree of Russian Emperor Alexander II because of its proximity to a deep water harbour.

Kemi is situated by the Bothnian Bay, at the mouth of river Kemijoki, and it is part of Lapland region. The town has a population of 22,285 (25 June 2013) and covers an area of 747.44 square kilometres (288.59 sq mi) of which 652.17 km2 (251.80 sq mi) is water.

World War II hostage crisis

During World War II, after Finland signed the Moscow Armistice and found itself involved in the Lapland War with its former German ally, German forces in the beginning of October 1944 captured 132 Finnish civilian hostages from Kemi and threatened to kill them unless the Finnish army released German POWs captured at the Battle of Tornio. However, the Finns refused and eventually the hostages were released unharmed on October 11, 1944.


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

A model of The Crown of Finland is kept in the town's gemstone gallery. It also houses replicas of the Imperial State Crown of Great Britain, the Sceptre of the Czar of Russia, the Orbs of Denmark and the diamond necklace of Marie Antoinette, among other items.

Additional attractions include:

  • Kemi church: The church is located in the centre of the town of Kemi and was built in 1902
  • Icebreaker Sampo: Finnish icebreaker built in 1960 in Helsinki which now has travel on-board for tourists
  • The sailship Jähti: Passengers are guaranteed an enjoyable and safe sailing experience with old time style


The main economic activity in Kemi is centred on two large paper and woodpulp mills and on the only chromium mine in Europe. The Chinese company Kaidi has announced plans to build the world's first second-generation biomass plant in Kemi, which will produces electricity and heat, it is scheduled to begin operations in 2019.

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. These are the most drastic temporary dismissals to take place in Finland since 2000.

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