Visiting R 153 29

This post is part of a bigger trip I made through Scandinavia with focus on Norway.

Gold in Finland

Most likely everybody heard of gold rushes somewhere. My first contact with it was in the stories of Dagobert Duck (German name)/Scrooge McDuck (English original) who made is first fortune as a gold digger in the Klondike region. Gold rushes for me were always something in far away countries.

I was very surprised to find out that Finland (the Lapland region) had its own gold rush.

Statue of a man panning for gold with a pan it his hand, on a stone, in the background trees and wooden houses

Gold in unknown places

I know that gold can be found in the ground and in rivers. And if it is in rivers and not taken out it obviously might end up in the ocean. Did you know that oceans contain more than 20 million tons of gold? I also wasn’t aware that we have gold in our blood. In average it is around 0,028 mg/10 kg. We can’t do anything with it, but it isn’t harmful.

Speed visiting a museum

Sometimes you can get some form of guide when visiting a museum, e.g., an audio guide. But typically, you would just walk through the museum. When you have less time you need to figure out on your own what to see and what to skip.

The Tankavaara Gold Museum has a special way of making sure you don’t miss anything, even if you have less time, like 20 minutes only or 40 minutes only. I appreciated this offer, as I only had 45 minutes. I think this is a very nice idea. However, it is obviously better to make sure you have enough time (and don’t forget that there is a 1 hour time difference between Sweden and Finland, just like I did).

Several small pieces of paper indicating round trips with 20 minutes and 40 minutes
Summary for different timeframes

There is a competition for everything

I should have known – there is a competition for everything, also for gold panning and Tankavaara is hosting such an event regularly.

Small wooden bridge with a sign above indicating the access to the goldpanning championships, empty space for putting a date there

I wasn’t able to figure out how that works while I was there but later I found more information online (see a video here). Everybody gets a bucket of sand/dirt with some very tiny gold nuggets in it. You need to find all of them. The time it takes will be stopped. For every nugget you missed you get a time penalty.

When saying “nugget” for me it looks more like a very small dot. I don’t know how they manage to find those. Looks like I should not try to make a living out of gold panning.

Some travel tips (from 2021)

  • There is a parking lot right next to the museum, overnight stay is explicitly not allowed.
  • The Gold Museum has a lot of written information boards about gold discoveries in different countries. Most of them are also available in English, some of them were even in German.
  • If you like you can try gold panning in the gold village.

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