Nykarleby, Finland: where the rubber hits the road

If you grow up in a town where they don’t have subway trains you have to find something else to paint on.

Legendary German-Finnish artist Albert Braun has produced another great work in an ongoing series about the most-famous-small-town in this world: Nykarleby, Finland.

In the 90s a Finnish newspaper made an inquiry about the best place to live and statistically Nykarleby rolled out as happiest town in Finland. Pretty ironic, because with 2000 inhabitants Nykarleby would score pretty well on the ‘most boring town of Finland-list’ as well. Nonetheless, being small has its advantages and growing up in ‘NewKarlVille’ isn’t half bad at all. With a complete absence of police, the town basically governs itself and allows certain peculiar habits and traditions.

One of them is ‘painting’ large burnouts on the streets of Nykarleby on Friday and Saturday evenings. That’s where the rubber hits the road, Albert Braun must have thought when he made a photo report of these street paintings which are now on display at the Lufmuseum in Amberg.

In 2002 I visited an artists-residency in Nykarleby and filmed another peculiar event which takes at weekends during the winter. Youngsters from Nykarleby and surrounding towns gather with daddies tractor and take over the town. When the streets are packed with snow these kids literary go down a slippery road and drive around skidding and rotating their tractors like ice dancers. It’s a hallucinating view and you’ve never seen anything like it. Check out the video here. Furthermore, check out the exhibition Ciao Nykarleby, organised by Hidde van Schie and Natasa Heijdra. And of course, check out Nykarleby itself, unofficially but notoriously, the wildest-smalltown-in-the-world.

1 Response to “Nykarleby, Finland: where the rubber hits the road”

  1. 1 Jedi October 24, 2008 at 8:05 pm

    hi i was borne in nykarleby and now i live in australia it bein a long time ago love to keep in touch thank you jedi

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