Kiruna (Sweden) - Narvik (Norway)


The towns of Kiruna and Narvik lies both north of the artic circle in Sweden and Norway. Kiruna came into existence in 1900 as rich iron ore fields were discovered in the region. Currently, Kiruna is experiencing an economic boom due to the rise in iron ore prices that has resulted relatively low unemployment rate (6.4%). Narvik is traditionally an industrial town with railway connection to Kiruna that also was the background for the establishment of the town. Transport has been the main industry, and still is, but in new forms. Kiruna and Narvik are closely connected through the iron ore production and trade. However, Narvik in relation to Kiruna enjoys relative prosperous conditions because of Norwegian government subsidies. Challenge in both towns is the reliance on iron ore production and there is a need to diversify the local economies. Various cross-border projects have so far concentrated mainly on developing transport linkages between two towns. There has not been particular projects for instance in the field of tourism industry of which importance is vital for local economy. However, there is a need to focus also on “soft factors” which may better equip the population and businesses to survive within their challenging environment.

Research team:

Petri Kahila, Senior Research Fellow with expertise on regional development, cross-border policies, regional and local governance, urban-rural interaction and rural policy in Nordregio.

Lisa Van Well, Senior Research Fellow with expertise on European regional development, institutions and territorial cohesion, cross-border policies and territorial cooperation in Nordregio.

Aileen Espíritu, Director of the Barents Institute with expertise on cross-border research, transnational relations, and regional development.

Research area:

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Dr. James Scott
Project manager
Ph: (+358) 50366 0653
Project information
Project duration: 01.03.2011-28.02.2015
Lead partner: University of Eastern Finland
Total budget: 3 386 700 €
EU contribution: 2 644 090 €