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Kemijärven kaupunki
Kemijärvi stad
Kemijärvi Church
Kemijärvi Church
Coat of arms of Kemijärvi
Location of Kemijärvi in Finland
Location of Kemijärvi in Finland
Coordinates: 66°43′N 027°26′E / 66.717°N 27.433°E / 66.717; 27.433
Country Finland
Sub-regionEastern Lapland
City rights1973
 • Town managerPekka Iivari
 • Total3,930.91 km2 (1,517.73 sq mi)
 • Land3,504.39 km2 (1,353.05 sq mi)
 • Water425.84 km2 (164.42 sq mi)
 • Rank13th largest in Finland
 • Total7,030
 • Rank132nd largest in Finland
 • Density2.01/km2 (5.2/sq mi)
Population by native language
 • Finnish95.9% (official)
 • Swedish0.1%
 • Others4%
Population by age
 • 0 to 149.7%
 • 15 to 6450.3%
 • 65 or older40%
Time zoneUTC+02:00 (EET)
 • Summer (DST)UTC+03:00 (EEST)

Kemijärvi (Northern Sami: Giemajávri, Inari Sami: Kiemâjävri, Skolt Sami: Ǩeeʹmmjäuʹrr) is a town and municipality of Finland. It is located in Eastern Lapland sub-region.


The first permanent settler inhabitant of Kemijärvi was Paavali Ollinpoika Halonen, who moved from the region of Oulu, from Niskakylä, Utajärvi to Kemijärvi about 1580. His wife was Anna Laurintytär Halonen, and their children were Paavo, Olli and Pekka Halonen. Paavali's place of residence is known today as Halosenranta. As the first settlers moved to Kemijärvi, the area was no longer inhabited exclusively by the Sami people, but Ämmänvaara in the area of the municipality is an ancient sacrificial place of Samis.

The railway reached Kemijärvi in 1934. It was extended north to Salla and what is now Russia during World War II, though the line is currently moribund beyond Kemijärvi. Kemijärvi railway station has passenger train service to Rovaniemi, Oulu and Helsinki. The direct overnight train service between Kemijärvi and Helsinki was controversially withdrawn in September 2006, with VR (Finnish Railways) stating that its new sleeping car trains could not operate with the diesel locomotives needed for the (then) non-electrified railway north of Rovaniemi.[5]

However, a year later, the Ministry of Transport and Communications and VR reached an agreement concerning partial public funding of the service, which was restored in 2008 with a diesel generator car supplying head-end power to the passenger cars. The generator car disappeared from the train in March 2014 when the electrification extension from Rovaniemi to Kemijärvi was inaugurated, an event which also assured Kemijärvi a permanent place in the VR network.

On 9 May 1986, a BAE Hawk Mk 51 crashed in Kemijärvi whilst practising for a flight display due to loss of orientation.[6] The pilot, First Lieutenant M. Kähkönen, died upon impact.


Arctic Circle monument in Kemijärvi

Surrounding municipalities are Pelkosenniemi in the north, Salla in the east, Posio in the south and Rovaniemi in the west. Villages located in the area of the municipality of Kemijärvi are Halosenranta, Hyypiö, Isokylä, Joutsijärvi, Juujärvi, Kallaanvaara, Kostamo, Leväranta, Luusua, Oinas, Perävaara, Ruopsa, Räisälä, Sipovaara, Soppela, Tapionniemi, Tohmo, Ulkuniemi, Varrio and Vuostimo.

The Eastern Lapland area where Kemijärvi is situated is well known for the nearby skiing resorts Suomu, Luosto, Pyhä and Salla, and Ruka in Kuusamo region. The beautiful Lake Kemijärvi, next to the town of Kemijärvi, is much appreciated as a place to visit during summertime. Lake Kemijärvi is surrounded by hills and large forests. Common fish species found include pike, perch and brown trout. Also, currently, Kemijärvi is the northernmost known lake in Finland with an indigenous population of zander (also known as walleye or pikeperch). River Kemijoki flows from Lake Kemijärvi to Rovaniemi and, further, to the sea at Kemi. Other popular summer pastimes besides fishing are hiking, trekking, boating and hunting.


The municipality has a population of 7,030 (31 December 2023)[2] and covers an area of 3,930.91 square kilometres (1,517.73 sq mi) of which 425.84 km2 (164.42 sq mi) is water.[1] The population density is 2.01 inhabitants per square kilometre (5.2/sq mi).


The town is unilingually Finnish.



The town is served by Kemijärvi railway station, with direct (overnight) trains to Helsinki.

Notable individuals

This section does not cite any sources. Please help improve this section by adding citations to reliable sources. Unsourced material may be challenged and removed. (May 2024) (Learn how and when to remove this message)

Twin towns - sister cities

Kemijärvi is twinned with:[7]

Historical places

Name Place Description WGS 84
Joutsijärvi concrete bunkers Joutsijärvi A platoon bunker


  1. ^ a b "Area of Finnish Municipalities 1.1.2018" (PDF). National Land Survey of Finland. Retrieved 30 January 2018.
  2. ^ a b c "Population growth biggest in nearly 70 years". Population structure. Statistics Finland. 26 April 2024. ISSN 1797-5395. Retrieved 29 April 2024.
  3. ^ "Population according to age (1-year) and sex by area and the regional division of each statistical reference year, 2003–2020". StatFin. Statistics Finland. Retrieved 2 May 2021.
  4. ^ a b "Luettelo kuntien ja seurakuntien tuloveroprosenteista vuonna 2023". Tax Administration of Finland. 14 November 2022. Retrieved 7 May 2023.
  5. ^ Finnish Railway News
  6. ^ Ranter, Harro. "ASN Aircraft accident 09-MAY-1986 BAe Hawk Mk 51 HW-313". Retrieved 3 May 2016.
  7. ^ "Ystävyyskaupunkitoiminta". (in Finnish). Kemijärvi. Retrieved 10 December 2019.

Media related to Kemijärvi at Wikimedia Commons Kemijärvi travel guide from Wikivoyage

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