About the Kvarken Council

The Kvarken Council strives to promote and develop a strong and viable region with the help of cross-border cooperation. As a neutral cooperation platform, the Council serves all its members and actors in the Kvarken region.


13 M €

Generated EU funds
to the region’s projects since 2011



Completed projects



As an organisation 2022

The Kvarken Council
The Kvarken Council

From an association to a stable legal entity

The Kvarken Council was founded in 1972 during the first Kvarken Conference in Vaasa, Finland. The first years were dedicated to the organization’s formation and the cooperation’s anchoring in the municipalities, authorities, and organizations. In 1979, the Kvarken Council became a part of the official Nordic border-regional cooperation, with financial support from the Nordic Council of Ministers and its Nordic Senior Official’s Committee for Regional Policy (NÄRP).

The Kvarken Council’s operations have been administered by a non-profit association as of 2008. At the turn of the year 2020–2021, the Kvarken Council will change from a registered association to a stable legal entity when the Kvarken council EGTC begins its operations.


One of the official cross-border operators of the Nordic Council of Ministers. 

We are proud to be one of the cross-border operators funded by the Nordic Council of Ministers. The Kvarken Council’s operations are financed partly by the Nordic Council of Ministers and partly by membership fees from the main members.

Kvarken Council

Photo Esa Siltaloppi

Kvarken council flags

The Kvarken Council develops the region by:

  • providing a platform for cooperation for all the region’s actors
  • reducing and eliminating border barriers
  • increasing the region’s visibility at national and European levels
  • working actively in several European networks
  • utilizing the region’s strengths and supporting its development. Mainly within the following areas: business, education, tourism, research and development, health care, culture, environmental issues, sports, children and young people as well as communications and transport infrastructure

Over 100 cross-border projects in almost 50 years!

The Kvarken Council has worked actively since 1972 to propel various cross-border projects as well as initiate collaboration projects between different parties. These projects represent a wide variety. Below are examples of some. Read more about our ongoing and completed projects here

Examples of our wide variety of projects

· FAIR – The project promotes the Kvarken region’s future electric aviation
· Midway Alignment – The project’s purpose is to secure and develop maritime traffic across the Kvarken
· E12 Atlantica Transport – The project’s purpose is to create a mutual vision and goals for the whole Kvarken region and to map out a way to reach these
· Spotlight High-Low Coast – The project’s purpose is to attract more visitors to the High Coast / Kvarken Archipelago World Heritage Site and its surrounding regions in a sustainable way

Aurora Botnia


The Kvarken Council’s area of operations is called the Kvarken region

The Kvarken Council is a Nordic cross-border cooperation platform for three Ostrobothnian counties in Finland and the county of Västerbotten and the municipality of Örnsköldsvik in Sweden. Together they form the Kvarken region.

The distance between Umeå and Vaasa is 80km and only 25km between the nearest islands. The entire Kvarken region extends over a distance of 550km over Sweden and Finland.

Kvarken Council association´s Organisation

The Kvarken Council association´s Board prepares the Council’s meetings and functions as an operative management body. For instance, the Board processes project plans and applications and appoints executive committees and steering committees for various projects. The Kvarken Council association´s Board consists of six members from both Finland and Sweden. Finnish MP Joakim Strand is the Chairman of the Board and Umeå’s former Municipal Commissioner Lennart Holmlund is the Deputy Chairman of the Board.





Ordinary Members
Joakim Strand, City of Vaasa, Chairman of the Board
Kaj Suomela, The Regional Council of Ostrobothnia
Asko Peltola, The Regional Council of South Ostrobothnia
Stina Mattila, City of Kokkola
Erkki Välimäki, City of Seinäjoki
Jyrki Kaiponen, The Regional Council of Central Ostrobothnia

Tomas Häyry
Mikaela Björklund
Marjatta Eväsoja
Jonne Sandberg
Jaana Hurme
Kajsa Kouvo


Ordinary members
Lennart Holmlund, Region Västerbotten,
Deputy Chairman of the Board
Lilly Bäcklund, Region Västerbotten
Mathias Sehlstedt, Region Västerbotten
Åsa Ågren Wikström, Region Västerbotten
Mattias Larsson, Region Västerbotten
Per Nylén, Örnsköldsvik Municipality

Tomas Marklund

Kristina Fredriksson
Mikael Jakobsson
Veronica Kerr
Robin Thörnberg
Anna-Britta Åkerlind


The Kvarken Council’s Annual General Meeting is the association’s decision-making body. The association is registered with the Finnish Patent and Registration Office. The association’s Statutes are its steering document.  
The Statutes in PDF form here.

The Kvarken Council’s main members have the following number of votes at the association’s Annual General Meeting, which is held in May:

Main members:

The Regional Council of Ostrobothnia (Finland), 2 votes
The Regional Council of South Ostrobothnia (Finland), 2 votes
The Regional Council of Central Ostrobothnia (Finland), 2 votes
City of Vaasa (Finland), 2 votes
City of Seinäjoki (Finland), 2 votes
City of Kokkola (Finland), 2 votes
City of Jakobstad (Finland), 2 votes
Region Västerbotten (Sweden), 10 votes
Örnsköldsvik Municipality (Sweden), 2 votes

Other members:
South Ostrobothnia Chamber of Commerce
Finnish-Swedish Chamber of Commerce
Föreningen Norden i Västerbotten
Företagarna i Västerbotten
City of Kaskinen
City of Kauhava
Kramfors Municipality
City of Kristinestad
Kronoby Municipality
City of Kurikka
Larsmo Municipality
Lycksele Municipality
South Ostrobothnia Centre for Economic Development, Transport and the Environment
City of Nykarleby
Pedersöre Municipality
Pohjola-Nordenin Pohjanmaan piiri ry
Storuman Municipality
Suomen Sininen Tie ry
Svenska Österbottens förbund för utbildning och kultur
Umeå Municipality
University of Vaasa
Vilhelmina Municipality
Västerbotten Chamber of Commerce
The Ostrobothnian Fisheries Association
Ostrobothnia Chamber of Commerce


Founding members of the Kvarken Council EGTC
Region Västerbotten 
Umeå Municipality 
Örnsköldsvik Municipality 
The Regional Council of Ostrobothnia 
The Regional Council of South Ostrobothnia
The Regional Council of Central Ostrobothnia
City of Vaasa
City of Kokkola 
City of Seinäjoki
City of Jakobstad 


New main members (with voting rights)
City of Kurikka 
Korsholm Municipality
Storuman Municipality
Lycksele Municipality

Other members
Vindeln Municipality
City of Nykarleby
City of Närpes 
Nordmaling Municipality

 The work with EGTS has started Januari 1st 2021. The organization page will be updated.

Contact persons

Mathias Lindström

Mathias Lindström

Director, The Kvarken Council +35850 918 6462