An encounter with the Sámi

In northern Sweden, arctic reindeer are an important source of income for the indigenous Sami population. In Jukkasjärvi, just a stone’s throw away from ICEHOTEL, the Sami culture is a natural and living part of the daily life – and it hasn’t come about by chance.

Right where the river widens and stretches out after wiggling its way through the mountains, there is a section of land that has been an ancient Sámi market place for hundreds of years. This is where different groups of Sámi from the region met with other groups normally residing in areas far to the east and west; today known as Russia, Finland and Norway. They came together to carry out business between themselves and with traveling traders from the south. It was here that products were traded and bought such as hides and handicrafts, sugar and salt.

This is an ancient tradition that is very alive today, when Jukkasjärvi is a magnet which attracts people from all over the world. The name Jukkasjärvi derives from the Sámi word Côhkeras and means, fittingly, “meeting place by the lake”.