Distinctive nature, shifting history and the mobility that characterizes life in an island form the background to the Ålandic literature, which is and has always been rich in abilities.
An early writer read on the islands was Hanna Rönnberg, who portrayed both folk and artist life in Åland. Two slightly later authors were Helle Hellberg and Georg Kåhre (pseudonym Stefan Sylvander). The former wrote tight countryside stories, e.g. the cut-out novel “The Gift of Gloria” (1923), the latter mainly lyric. In 1936, Sally Salminen from Vårdö won a Nordic prize competition with “Katrina”, a novel about an Åland woman who, despite poverty and other adversities, manages to create opportunities for her own. The novel is still being read and translated into twenty languages. Her name, the essayist and literary researcher Johannes Salminen, in her writing has emphasized strongly her Ålandic background.
Joel Pettersson, farmer’s son from Lemland, was a contemporary proseist in many respects, something that first emerged in the 1970’s, when his abandoned, previously unpublished texts were discovered and began to be published by Valdemar Nyman, himself author of historical novels. Anni Blomqvist, as well as Sally Salminen from Vårdö, made herself known through her autobiographical and psychologically astute novels about the life of Åland fishermen, among others. “The Storm Cutting Suite” (1–5, 1968–73). Ulla-Lena Lundberg from Kökar has been noted for her book on the home island (1976) and, above all, for her trilogy about an Åland seafarer family (1989–95) that depicts the development of Åland society through its people, from the mid-19th century to the present.
One of Åland’s first artists was Karl Emanuel Jansson, active around 1870, who during his short life became known for his interiors and human depictions. A little later, landscape painter Victor Westerholm appeared in Åland. He created here a colony of outdoor painters, the Önningby colony, which was very lively around the turn of the century. In our own time, Guy Frisk and Johan Scott have also been noticed outside of Åland.
The traditional folk culture in Åland has its roots in a population of farmers, fishermen and sailors, spread over an island world that served as a cultural bridge between Sweden and Finland. Åland also serves as a meeting place for Western and Eastern cultural expressions. The maritime touch has been strong; The seamen’s auditors have a central place in folklore and sailing ships belong to the shipping symbols in the numerous corn sticks (midsummer sticks) that are erected on Åland.
The older settlements are grouped into villages, and the farms lay around a yard like the North Swedish farm. The houses were divided into farms and farms. Among the economy buildings there were pillars and sheds for eg. men’s and women’s clothing, respectively.
The wedding customs were marked by grand ceremonies in which, for example, erected wedding trees and wedding gates.
The Åland peasant culture is especially nurtured in the open air museum Jan Karlsgården, near Kastelholm Castle in Sund. Black bread, now sweet, and the Åland pancake, previously made on seabird eggs, are included in the traditional diet of the Ålanders.