We have over the years used the pages of hidden europe to report on the world’s most northerly stray cat and all manner of other notable extremes. But we have somehow neglected to mention the planet’s most northerly IKEA. Welcome to Haparanda, population less than five thousand souls, a town in northern Sweden just on the border with Finland. Lenin came through Haparanda, twice, but never stopped to go shopping. Lenin was never big on shopping, though he did once famously go shopping during a nine-hour stopover in Stockholm.
The arrival of IKEA in Haparanda has boosted the local economy. Russians come to Haparanda for bookshelves and köttbullar.