Änän Munän Ylhä, Änän Ylhätuoli and Änän Täntaimon are three small Scandinavian islands totaling slightly more than 16.5 square kilometers. The islands are quite near one another and once were joined as one island.
The people, of Scandinavian roots, are ethically and culturally united, working in tandem with the islands in the group. The influence and reach of larger nations has been negligent over the centuries leading the people to function cooperatively in much the same way an independent nation would function. We write our own laws and function on a daily basis as an independent nation. We strive to maintain as much of an infrastructure with as many services as our small population can maintain while looking to nearby communities to supply what we cannot do for ourselves.
Today we are a quite modern community. While we maintain the old world charm, we have matched this charm with the products and services of today’s modern world. While a horse driven carriage might occupy the road, a modern equipped medical clinic, cell phones and high speed internet contrasts with this old world tradition. We know our neighbors, need not lock our doors and can count of neighbors in times of need. Even so, baring bad weather, any item we should desire from the world beyond our islands can be purchased by bank draft and delivered within days.
We, like the remainder of the world, hold to our traditions and culture. Some parts of our lives can be discovered in history books, recounting the generations prior, while here we keep these elements alive. While pride is a factor, the obvious lack of encroachment from the outside world has not prevailed here.
Today the islands have a population of 104. Over the years the population has varied from about 70 to almost 400. Through the years the people have farmed. By 1600 there were 16 farms and dropped as low as 9 over the years.
Residents are generally multi-lingual. Because of the level of off-island educational opportunities, many speak not only ‘Ylhäällä but Swedish, Finnish, English and German are spoken by a few on each island.
SERVICES Änän Munän Ylhä is the primary island in the group and the most populous of the three. It is home to the only port of entry for our island group. Almost all services are located here.
The only school for our islands is located on Änän Munän Ylhä. We provide an intense 10 year education allowing almost every student the opportunity of higher education off the islands.
Änän Munän Ylhä has the only medical facility, a clinic manned by a General Practitioner Doctor and nurse, complete with pharmacy. The clinic is open 9 to 11 and 1 to 3 weekdays. Regular visits by medical specialists provide additional care. In medical emergencies, one can be evacuated by helicopter to a well respected medical facility off the island.
The only church building is found here, holding three services per week from the facility that holds historical significance to the people. Services are held elsewhere but not in the formal setting of the Änän Munän Ylhä Church where weddings, baptisms, funerals and other important events are typically celebrated.
The Änän Munän Ylhä Library is found here, open two days a week for residents.
The Government Office has telephones for off-islands calls and a number of computers with free internet access. Hours are 11 to Noon except Sunday and 7 to 9 every evening including Sundays.
The only post office is found on Änän Munän Ylhä. Mail arrives and departs on Tuesdays and Fridays, weather permitting. The Tuesday and Friday hours are Noon until 3.
A small Museum is found on Änän Munän Ylhä, currently housed in a room at the Government Office. Manned by volunteers, tours are free and monetary support is provided mostly by the purchase of souvenirs. Many interesting local discoveries, some up to 500 years old, have been uncovered recently and the museum hopes to acquire additional space and monetary donations to properly house and maintain these recent finds.
Änän Munän Ylhä has a newspaper serving the three islands. The weekly publication contains news of the islands, government, church and school as well as adverts and announcements from individuals as well as the business community. By international standards the weekly edition is extremely small when compared to other international newspapers.
The islands are served by an FM band radio station located on Änän Munän Ylhä. It operates at peak times daily primarily with news, weather and local announcements. Islanders may phone the radio station to have messages of a personal nature aired by voicing their message onto the answering machine. The station is on the air 15 minutes at 7 in the morning, at noon and again at 7 in the evening every day with an extended schedule on Sunday evening that includes a 20 to 25 minute segment of the Sunday Service from the Church on Änän Munän Ylhä.
The bank is open daily 9:30 in the morning until 2 in the afternoon. A variety of financial services are offered including exchanging currency into the Suota. The Suota Exchange Rate is set daily based upon the closing London Silver Spot Price. The Souta is worth 3.75 troy grains of fine silver based on the day’s London closing price of the metal.
The only General Store is located on Änän Munän Ylhä. Open Noon to 5 weekdays and 9:30 to 1 Saturday morning, it is well supplied with merchandise a typical family might need as well as grocery items.
TOURISM Änän Munän Ylhä, Änän Ylhätuoli and Änän Täntaimon remain well-kept secrets. Few visitors come to our islands. Few services are offered. Visitors are put up in self-service cottages. On Änän Munän Ylhä there is a sauna and Café .
On Änän Ylhätuoli some families have cottages available, each with their own cooking facilities. There are no other services for tourists. some
On Änän Täntaimon there is one family with a cottage for rent.
Visitors come to our islands to experience the lovely scenery, to fish and swim, sunbathe and enjoy the relaxed lifestyle found here.
GOVERNMENT Änän Munän Ylhä, Änän Ylhätuoli and Änän Täntaimon maintain a functioning government comprising two representatives from each island elected by popular vote. The government, while having what some international experts describe as limitless power, chooses to be as minimal as possible, concentrating its efforts on sustaining the quality of life on our islands. Government is very democratic in nature and government business is conducted mainly on a monthly basis supported by a part-time clerk that tends to day to day operation.
The Council can require all able-bodied individuals to work on a community project in the event of an emergency situation affecting the quality of life on the islands. Even though the Council has such an option, it is quite non-invasive in its functions, likely because they are popularly elected and known to everyone.
Except for the government clerk who receives a salary, all council members serve without pay. All council members hold community meetings on issues of importance to the general public. Recently this included coordinating monetary standards and issues as well as the government budget and funding this budget.
All government meetings are open to the public and input from citizens, especially to their local representatives is encouraged. Council members pledge to vote the will of the people he serves.
Council members can be male or female and must have completed basic education. The member must be a resident of the island where they vote. While we have no formal criteria for citizenship, it is generally accepted that a resident of the island for several years is a permanent resident. Since a council member must attend the monthly meetings as well as local meetings, the people are careful to select a person they feel will be diligent in representing their views.
There are no political parties. Council members may be elected for as long as the community desires.
On a local level, the island’s respective council members oversee issues on a more local level.
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