Watch live at 10.30: Toni Mathlin’s childhood “everyone” worked in Veitsiluoto, now the last roll of paper is done and the machines stop | Yle news

Much of the northern industrial history will disappear when the last paper machines are shut down at Stora Enso’s Veitsiluoto mills in Kemi. Veitsiluoto has been a source of livelihood for many chemists, for some for up to four generations.

The last paper machine stops in Veitsiluoto and the hundred-year history ends.

The last paper machine stops in Veitsiluoto and the hundred-year history ends.

A new chapter in Finnish industrial history is being written in Kemi, as the last paper machines are being shut down at the Veitsiluoto mill, which is currently being closed. The last roll came out of paper machine 3 this morning.

The factory has been an important source of work and livelihood for many chemical families. A chemist Toni Mathlin is a fourth-generation “sculptor.”

– Grandma’s father started before the wars, grandma worked in the canteen and grandpa in the sawmill. Dad was on a paper machine and I’m the last one here to turn off the lights, Mathlin in.

Mathlin remembers from his childhood how at least one of all the guys ’parents was working at the factory.

– By then, you already realized what it meant.

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Toni Mathlin from Kemi is becoming the last knife creditor of his family. Four generations had time to be on the factory’s payrolls before it was shut down. Photo: Tiinamaija Rantamartti / Yle

The last rolls of paper are rolling through the machines these days. Toni Mathlin is confident about the future, as she is studying electrical engineering at a polytechnic.

– It took a couple of weeks to melt. Then I started making new plans and this has also opened new doors.

Also read: Some of those being laid off from the Veitsiluoto factories have already found a new direction – Tero Lehtisalo: I thought I wouldn’t drive a truck all my life

The Veitsiluoto sawmill was established to compete with other sawmills in Kemi in 1921. It was completed the following year. Photo: Kemi Historical Museum

From a sawmill to the northernmost paper mill in the world

The silence of Veitsiluoto Island is gloomy for Kemi and the whole of Lapland, but in a way it is a matter of returning to the starting point. Next year, when the factory turns 100, the sawmill will no longer operate on the island, as it did in 1922 on the company’s initial meters.

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In a hundred years, the northernmost paper and pulp mill in the world grew on Veitsiluoto Island, which was the fourth largest in Europe. The long journey can take many steps and the most diverse products have been processed from wood in Veitsiluoto.

The fire in the barn in 1932 was a ferocious event. Smaller pieces also occurred in 1946, among other places. Photo: Kemi Historical Museum

After the sawmill, production expanded to pulp production, later wood alcohol production began. The sawmill industry’s products from doors and windows to entire wooden houses also had time to be manufactured under the Veitsiluoto brand for almost half a century.

In addition to pulp and paper, wood was processed in Veitsiluoto into houses, among other things. The picture shows the assembly hall of a house factory. The construction of the houses ended in 1990. Photo: Kemi Historical Museum

Museum worker at the Kemi Historical Museum Timo Hietalan According to him, a key part of Veitsiluoto’s production has been the processing of pulp on the same site into paper and board.

The first paper machine came in 1955.

– The development was fast, in ten years there were 4 machines, Fifth 1972. Now the machines are being driven down, Hietala sighs.

Paper has been a key factor in Veitsiluoto’s production. The machines have salted the world with millions of tons of newsprint, sheet paper and coated magazine paper. Photo: Kemi Historical Museum

In 1996, Veitsiluoto Oy’s story ended in a merger with Enso-Gutzeit. A couple of years later, the nameplates on the walls and on the backs of the overalls changed again, this time to the international Stora Enso.

The factory employed a maximum of three thousand people. Now, with the end of paper and pulp production, almost 700 people were left unemployed by Stora Enso and the maintenance company Efora.

In Toni Mathlin’s childhood, at least one of the parents of “every” guy was working at the factory. The maximum staff was three thousand. Photo: Kemi Historical Museum

Curator of the Historical Museum Janne Kuoppala believes that the end of a hundred years of industrial history in Kemi leaves traces that will be remembered for a long time.

– This is exactly the same intergenerational trauma as killing the Kemijoki salmon after the wars. I am sure that the closure of the plant will affect the Community for decades to come.

The three-spruce logo of Veitsiluoto adorned the wall of the pulp mill until 1996. Photo: Esko Kitula

What thoughts did the story evoke? You can participate in the discussion with Yle ID until Thursday 30.9. until 11 p.m.

Read more:

Will the jig of Veitsiluoto’s paper machines change to the hum of servers, is there a basis for pulp dreams? Many decommissioned factory sites will recover, but over the years

Even if Veitsiluoto is closed, Stora Enso’s responsibilities will not end – taking care of the plant site will take years and requires its own environmental permit