The book “If we lose the Arctic” recounts where Finland’s Arctic visions stem from and what Finland has pursued as an Arctic country. The first part of the book, written in the late 1990s, is a unique eyewitness account of the beginnings of international Arctic cooperation. The second part brings Finland’s Arctic story to the present, to the moment when Finland is leading the Arctic Council.

The author Markku Heikkilä, Head of Science Communications at the Arctic Centre, is a former journalist who has closely followed the ups and downs of international Arctic and Northern cooperation for several decades and has written extensively on the subject. In this work, he summarizes Finland’s long time Arctic policy vividly and analytically.

The name of the book is borrowed from President Sauli Niinistö’s slogan “If we lose the Arctic, we lose the whole world”. With that, he reasoned the initiative for an Arctic Summit during the Finnish chairmanship of the Arctic Council. It is among the themes and development described and analysed in the book, among many others. Finland´s Arctic policy has seen periods of high activity and low interest and it has always struggled in finding a balance between expectations in trade and economy and the needs of sustainable development.

The pdf version of the book is available freely on Lauda portal of the University of Lapland.

Markku Heikkilä: If we lose the Arctic: Finland’s Arctic thinking from the 1980s to present day. University of Lapland 2019. ISBN: 978-952-337-134-7.

Book in English:
Book in Finnish:

For more information:

Markku Heikkilä
Head of Science Communications, Arctic Centre, University of Lapland
+358 40 484 4300


The University of Lapland has been a member of the University of the Arctic since 2001 and hosts the UArctic International Secretariat Office.