The Concept and Impact of the Åland Aland Islands’ Regional Citizenship and its Impact on the Inclusion of Migrants

A3 Book section, Chapters in research books

Internal Authors/Editors

Publication Details

List of Authors: Heidi Öst
Editors: Karl Kössler et al.
Place: Leiden
Publication year: 2016
Publisher: Brill
Book title: European Yearbook of Minority Issues
Volume number: 13
ISSN: 1570-7865


The Åland Islands is an autonomous province of Finland, with special guarantees for the protection of the population’s Swedish culture and language. This protection stems from the League of Nation’s decision on the status of the Åland Islands in 1921. This article explores how the minority protection regime affects immigrants in the Islands, focusing on the institution of regional citizenship. Is the inclusion of migrants in the Åland Islands of Finland affected by the lack or possession of regional citizenship? Does the institution of regional citizenship on the Åland Islands result in the exclusion or inclusion of individuals and groups with migrant backgrounds in the social, political, and economic life of the Islands? The article reviews the historical foundations of the minority protection regime, its legislative development, and contemporary debates surrounding the Åland Islands’ institution of regional citizenship. It argues that the right of domicile of the Åland Islands should not be considered a barrier to inclusion for immigrants, though it is in part tied to political rights, as well as to the right to acquire property and to trade in the Islands. Contemporary debates on the link between the right of domicile and Finnish citizenship attest to the contested nature of this marginal regional citizenship, which, to the extent it performs an exclusionary function, depends on the construction of national citizenship.

Last updated on 2020-28-03 at 05:40