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Närpiö Becomes Magnet for Immigrants

The western town of Närpiö in Ostrobothnia has become a model for the successful integration of immigrants. Home to more than 30 nationalities, today one in ten inhabitants of this small town have foreign roots.

Erdin Majdanac
Erdin Majdanac arrived in Finland with his family three years ago. Image: YLE

Many newcomers to Finland have made Närpiö their new hometown. Erdin Majdanac, a metal worker from Bosnia, is one of them. After three years, even the biting cold hasn't changed his warm views on Finland and his newfound community.

"We want to stay. We like it here and have even bought a house."

Five of the 18 workers at Majdanac's job are foreign-born. His employer, Peter Mannfolk, has played a major role in the integration of foreign staff.

“We've stressed the importance of learning Swedish. It's our work language and people speak Swedish in Närpiö. Language is the key to integrating into society,” says Peter Mannfolk, Managing Director of Maxel Oy.

In Närpiö, inhabitants welcome work-based immigration. The town has a labour shortage and unemployment is just a few percent. But attitudes are equally positive towards refugees.

Mannfolk says the answer is easy.

“Treat others how you would treat yourself, and you'll have fewer problems.”

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