Jakobstad (Pietarsaari) is a town and municipality in Ostrobothnia, Finland. The town has a population of 19,353.
The Culture And Resilience action plan for the BSR Cultural Pearls 2024 title year it says that the town of Jakobstad has many forms of cultural assets that hasn’t been fully utilized or coordinated as such by the town. There are lot of artists, amateurs, and enthusiasts from different fields. but one problem exists – the culture does not meet the inhabitants.
An important aspect is that Jakobstad is a bilingual town, where Swedish is the biggest language (55 %) and Finnish (32 %) the second biggest. The town has traditionally and historically been predominantly Swedish speaking and a lot of Finnish speaking people moved to Jakobstad around 1900 to work in the Tobacco Factory and during the 1960s–1970s as blue-collar labour to the prosperous forest and paper industry. This socio-economic division between Swedish and Finnish speaking residents is no longer dominant, but still lingers on in the hearts and minds of some people and some Finnish speaking people still feel marginalised and discriminated.
Fact to face – the foreign languages in the town amount to 13 per cent. In Finland in general the amount is 9 per cent. Jakobstad has received quota refugees since 1989 and since 2017 the Jakobstad region has been prepared to receive 100 quota refugees yearly. Since receiving the first refugees in 1989, mainly Vietnamese people, we have a tradition of integrating our refugees in our local society. However, we do also see that some refugees experience difficulties and challenges in finding their position in the Finnish society.
The vision for the BSR Cultural Pearls title year is to involve the citizens of Jakobstad in creating new life to the magnificent red brick building next to the townhouse, the Old Fire Station. It was built in 1913 by FBK, the voluntary fire brigade. The original meaning of the house was to house the fire brigade but also to be a haven for the town’s different associations. It is the perfect space, but the vision is to make it the perfect place. Operating environment is very similar to the so-called third-place concept. It’s neutral ground, not expensive and it’s near your home or job. Idea is to bring people together and create a platform for associations to market themselves to the residents.