The ’battery belt’ by public transport

13.3.2023 11:02

NPE researcher Hanna Lempinen shares her experiences of travelling from Rovaniemi to Umeå by public transport.

East-West travel in the Nordics is notoriously hard. While public transport connections to the south are both frequent and affordable, making one’s way from one place to another within the Barents region without a private car is widely known to be a nuisance. Nonetheless, NPE researcher Hanna Lempinen decided to take on this challenge and travel from Rovaniemi, Finland to a kick-off meeting of the Peripheral visions research project held in Umeå, Sweden by public transport only. This blog post documents her 13+ hours of travel across the region that is – or at least is seen to be – on the brink of becoming the ultra-modern “battery belt” (Okonkwo, 2022) that should power Europe’s green energy transition.

(P.S. For reference, the shortest route between the two cities is only 511 km. The return, flying Umeå-Stockholm-Helsinki-Rovaniemi, also took only eight-ish hours door to door.)

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1: Breakfast on board the Rovaniemi-Kemi train around 9:30 AM

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2: A snowy wait for the bus from Kemi to Tornio-Haparanda

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3: Testing the new train connection from Haparanda to Boden

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4: A very chilly two-hour layover in Boden

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5: A comfortable sleeper car to Umeå (unfortunately not for me)

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6: The brave (and tired!) explorer arriving in Umeå at around 9 PM Swedish time


Okonkwo, E. (2022) An overview of the Nordic Battery Belt: an emerging network for cooperation within the Nordic battery cluster. Fennia 200(1) 52–67.