Elina's family enjoys their idyllic village life in the communal Vihanti

Elina and her family enjoy their lives in the countryside idyll of Vihanti. Clean nature, a peaceful environment in a safe village community and well-functioning basic services in your own church village – what more could you need?

Vihanti, which has been part of the City of Raahe since 2013, is known for its strong villages, its groundwater, which has been dubbed the best in Finland, and its railway station, which serves both passenger and freight traffic. The largest food plant in the region is also located there, from where the Mummon brand potato products are sent to markets, for example.

Moving to the municipality felt like a homecoming for Elina, who has settled into the village idyll of Vihanti.

It was 2015 when Elina moved from Riihimäki to Kuusirati. Changing her place of residence from a city of about 30,000 inhabitants to the countryside in Vihanti was easy, as Elina is originally from a similar place in Lievestuore, Central Finland.

The water in Vihanti is certainly the best in Finland.

Elina moved to Vihanti when she found her husband there. At the moment, she lives a new kind of everyday life together with her husband and her son, who will turn one in September. The everyday life of family in a peaceful and communal village is good.

“The nature here is pure. In the yard, the spruces are full of beard lichen. That is a sign that the air is really clean and good to breathe. And the water in Vihanti is certainly the best in Finland,” Elina says.

Both Elina and her spouse both work day jobs, but Elina's husband also works as a part-time farmer on his home farm. There are no production animals on the farm, but domestic animals such as chickens and ducks bring joy to everyday life.

“This is a very peaceful and safe environment for a family.”

Elina collecting plums in her home garden.
Collect and store vitamins from your own land. Elina gathering the autumn harvest in her market garden. Image: Elina Jaakola's home album.

Well-functioning basic services – Vihanti has everything a family with children needs

Elina praises the availability of basic services essential for families with children in Vihanti. The village has a well-functioning health care and wellbeing centre with maternity and dentist services. It also has a pharmacy, a library, and banking services.

The cooperative store is currently building a new commercial building in the centre of Vihanti. A couple of years ago, a new school centre was completed, which is an important attraction for families with children. In the academic year 2022–23, the Vihannin Yhtenäiskoulu school has 316 students and 24 teaching groups.

The new gym also means great new opportunities for indoor exercise.

A day care centre for four groups also operates in the new, spacious premises in connection with the school. One of the groups is the pre-primary education group.

“A new gym is about to be built next to the school, which is expected to be completed in May 2023. The new gym also means great new opportunities for indoor exercise.”

Three children with backpacks in front of the newly built school centre.
Children in Vihanti will be able to learn in a clean and modern school environment. Image: Tanja Marjala.

Communality and strong villages – voluntary work has gained national recognition

Vihanti is known for its strong and communal villages. Over the years, there have been recognition and prizes won for activity and voluntary work.

“The power of cooperation is really strong within the associations. Hats off to the fact that they manage to maintain operations year after year. And there will always be something new, such as the finely renovated Gunnarin Kartano (Gunnar Manor) in Lampinsaari, which is the most recent sample of forward-looking progress.”

Elina's home village, Kuusirati, is a so-called village in a village. It can be considered to be part of the larger village of Alpua. Both villages have active daily lives: Annual village events are organised in Kuusirati, from Easter parties to Christmas vendors. Alpua, on the other hand, is nationally known for its active and communal activities. The village of Alpua has been awarded both the Northern Ostrobothnia Village of the Year award in 2014 and the National Village of the Year award in 2015.

The power of cooperation is really strong within the associations.

For example, a network of hiking trails over a hundred kilometres long connecting the villages of Vihanti says a lot about the industriousness of the locals. Its routes have been maintained with a small budget and almost entirely through voluntary work. The agricultural and household women honoured the trail network as the 2021 Landscape Project of Northern Ostrobothnia.

Duckboards in the Lake Lumijärvi shore grass after the snow has melted.
You can enjoy Vihanti's trail network in the serene surroundings of Lake Lumijärvi, for example. Image: Tarmo Somero.

Recreational opportunities in the midst of pure nature: “There is plenty to do for an active person””

Vihanti has been part of the City of Raahe for about ten years and it offers new things to explore for the residents of Raahe as well.

“There is plenty to do for an active person. There is a really good ski trail here, and even people from Raahe come here to ski. There are different types of terrain and varied landscapes. Plenty of hiking opportunities and lean-to shelters. The beaches of Mäntylampi and Lumijärvi are very popular in summer.”

There is also a widely used frisbee golf course in Vihanti. Elina participated in local 4H activities when the building of the track began and brainstormed together with young people.

“We can offer a wide variety of hobbies here: There are facilities, terrain, and nature. The coronavirus pandemic has highlighted the positive aspects in a different way. Although the group activities were on a break for a while, it did not slow down people: in a spacious environment in the middle of nature, you can be at peace, go, and do what you like.”

The locals are a very receptive group.

Among Vihanti's annual event traditions, Elina highlights the annual Härkäjuhlat (Ox Festival), whose history stretches back to the 1960s, as well as the Vihanti market event organised by Vihanti's entrepreneurs in the spring and Vihanti's Christmas opening at the end of the year. In the summer, the home region is celebrated during Vihanti's Vesihelmiviikko event.

“The spirit of doing things together is also strongly visible in events. A new music event, AlpuanharjuRock, started this summer, and Copper Fest was organised in the old mining village of Lampinsaari.”

In seven years, Elina has made her home here, and she and her family have no desire to move elsewhere.

“Yes, we've settled here permanently. It has been easy to settle in Vihanti, the locals are a very receptive group.”

A wooden windmill on the shore of the summer-green Lake Kirkkojärvi.
The gorgeous windmill on the shore of Lake Kirkkojärvi is one of the landmarks of Vihanti. Image: Susanna Halonen.

Vihanti in a nutshell

  • The municipality of Vihanti joined Raahe at the beginning of 2013.
  • The main village of Vihanti is located approximately 36 kilometres east of the city centre of Raahe at the intersection of the national roads 88 and 86.
  • The villages of Vihanti are Alpua, Kuusirati, Ilveskorpi, Lampinsaari, Lumimetsä, Myllyperä-Perukka, and Möykkyperä.
  • Fast fibre optic connections enable smooth remote work from the villages of Vihanti.
  • The new Vihanti school centre was introduced for teaching use at the beginning of the spring term 2021.
  • The largest food production plant in the region, Pohjolan Peruna, has been operating in Vihanti for 60 years.
  • There is a waste reception point in Kuusirati, where small loads from private individuals are accepted.

Check out the City of Raahe's plot offering in Vihanti and elsewhere on the Raahe Stock Exchange (in Finnish). For more information on buying and leasing your own plot, visit the plots page.

Text: Tarmo Somero, 2022.