11 March 2013The Arctic Council Ministerial Meeting will be held 15 May in the small town in Swedish Lapland. The venue is special not only for its beautiful nature, but also for its exceptional future: in a few years the whole town will be moved to a new location a few kilometers away. The oasis in the wilderness Kiruna is the northernmost town in Sweden with about 18 000 inhabitants. The successful iron ore mine, multiple research activities and flourishing tourism make Kiruna a lively centre, attractive to both international tourists and skilled employees. The town also hosts a rich cultural scene and a lively Sami community. In addition, each winter an entire hotel is built out of only ice and snow on the banks of the Torne river about 18 km from Kiruna. The Icehotel is a popular attraction that draws many visitors, although not everyone dares to spend the night in the cold rooms. Kiruna was established in a resource-rich but remote area in northern Sweden in 1900. To make living in the wilderness as comfortable as possible, the town was built on a hill. It was undoubtedly a smart choice - during the long winter season it can be up to 15 degrees colder in the valley than it is up in the town. The entire town in moving boxes The world’s largest underground iron ore mine, LKAB, was established in Kiruna already in 1890. To this day, the mine boosts the local and national economy and produces enough iron ore to build four Eiffel-towers a day. However, the success has its price. Crack formations, caused by the mining, are spreading on the ground and the clefts reaching the city centre have already made it necessary to reroute the railway and some roads. Residents are also beginning to move to new homes further away from the mine. Despite this period of transition, the future for Kiruna looks bright, and the community welcomes the Arctic Council delegates to get to know the town! Meeting delegates and press are encouraged to visit the Kiruna meeting webpage for information about the meeting and registration. Photo: Kiruna Municipality. Photo caption: Overview photo of the town of Kiruna.