There are business opportunities in war history

03.09.2011: Finish newspaper "Lieksa Lehti" reports about unused potential of tourism

ORIGINAL "Sotahistoriassa liiketoiminnan paikka"

Last Monday, I met three interesting guys on the road near Nurmijärvi. A coffee break in the cafeteria 'Annukka' with these Berliner university students convinced me that we would still have huge, unused potential of tourism on war related history in Lieksa.

Young men were cycling along the eastern border of Finland to south because of military history, or at least because of the Cold War. In Germany, already a decade ago, there was published a tour guide that introduces cyclists to the areas where the Iron Curtail previously divided world to socialist and capitalist world. These young men had been cycling along that route from the Arctic Ocean

Although these travellers are on the bike trip partly because of job task given by the author of the guide book, their interest towards the sites of Finnish war history was evident. Therefore, they are a little annoyed that the historic sites were often difficult to find. In this regard, we are on the right track in Lieksa, thanks to various associations and the enthusiasts historians.

However, there is still a long way on using the potential of war history tourism. Probably we will never get our war history as productized as in Berlin, where the Cold War is visible everywhere and the city celebrates when the construction of the wall, when its collapse. Neither do we have such a massive fortress as Ouvrage Hackenberg which is located on the Maginot-line at the border of France and Luxembourg. But I dare to say that tourism in our region would have a considerable boost if for example Jukola encirclement would be repaired to its original appearance one day.

Rebuilt Jukola encirclement would be a great centre for forest-war history. It could be accompanied with the fortresses of Salpa-line and the interesting collection of Rajaperinnetalo. The encirclement is not less valuable although it has to be build again from the very first stone. The same has been done with many war-torn sites in Central-Europe and the tourists have been content. Bringing out the history of war is good for business, but each of us should keep in mind the circumstances in which, for example 14. The division's men did their deed. Without the Finnish spirit the Iron Curtain that divided Europe, could have been much further in the west.

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