Learn about snow (and more) at Rovaniemi’s Arktikum

A good friend is heading to Finnish Lapland this week, and specifically to the Arctic Circle town of Rovaniemi – a place I spent a fantastic (but cold) Christmas a few years ago. Of course, now it’s far from winter and I was wondering what I could recommend for her to do, since snowshoe walking won’t quite work out this time of year. And then I remembered that I’d spent an afternoon in a truly great museum in Rovaniemi: the Arktikum.

Arktikum Museum

Just the architecture of the building housing the Arktikum is amazing enough to start with, but the content of the museum is also fascinating, especially if, like me, you’re not at all familiar with the way of life in super-cold climates. For example, I remember learning about the 25 different words the local Inuktitut people used to describe various different kinds of snow (snow’s just snow, for me!) and I also discovered that there are some 3000 collisions every year between elks and cars in Finland. So drive carefully!

If you’re staying in downtown Rovaniemi, the Arktikum is a short stroll away, and its distinctive igloo-like building style makes it easy to spot. It costs €12 for adults to get in – not particularly cheap, but nothing is in Finland, and it is truly an interesting museum. During most of the summer season it’s open every day, but closes on Mondays at other times of year.