Cultural intelligence

 
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Lapland – home to Santa and his elves

Lapland is the largest and northernmost region of Finland and borders Sweden, Norway and Russia. It is a sparsely populated area, known for its vast wilderness, ski resorts and natural phenomena including 24-hour summer daylight, and the Northern Lights. The population of Lapland is just over 180,000 and the largest town (and regional capital) is Rovaniemi.

Perhaps Lapland is most famous for being home to Santa Claus and his reindeer. He lives in Korvatunturi (Ear Mountain) in the heart of the Lappish wilderness with Mrs Claus and the elves. Lapland’s snowy winters and warm summers provide the perfect climate for Santa’s reindeers. For most of the year they graze in the wilderness of Lapland, storing up energy for this time of year when they will have to work very hard pulling Santa’s gift sleigh all over the world.

The Laplanders learned how to build their sleighs and sledges by watching the actions of the beaver when building its winter next (called a lodge). The beaver holds onto large bunches of aspen twigs used to build the lodge and lies on its back while another beaver pulls it along to the construction site.

Tourism in Lapland is a vital part of the region’s economy. Winter sports holidays are popular but many people just come for a couple of days to visit Santa Claus. Agriculture is confined mainly to forestry.

Santa’s elves collect around 600,000 letters from the North Pole post office at this time of year (and Santa himself reads many more emails) from children around the world.  Deep within Korvatunturi is an open-plan office where the elves process all the wishes of the children and forward them to Santa Claus, Mrs Claus and the elves working in the workshop.

The business culture here is informal but hierarchical. There is a lot to do in a short space of time so everyone has their own allotted tasks and is expected to work quickly and efficiently. Gender bias has never been a problem; Mrs Claus is a strong believer in women empowerment and does not permit pay disparity or any type of discrimination based on gender among the elves.

 

Do you have any interesting stories to share about Lapland?

Sources: Wikipedia, www.lapland.fi, www.santaswebsite.com

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