Monday. 02.10.2023

The word Neekerisaari (translated in English as the N-word Island), which gives its name to a small island that houses a traditional holiday area in the North Karelia province, will be removed from the maps of Finland.

According to the Institute for the Languages of Finland’s (Kotus) the debatable name will be finally changed.

In a press release, Kotus  explained that “the Institute for the Languages of Finland ​​has discussed with the National Land Survey the name of the island Neekerisaari, which contains a racist expression. No formal request for review of the name had been made to Kotus”

The institute and the National Land Survey of Finland - the official body subordinated to the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry which deals with cartography and cadastre issues-  objected to the name change proposal submitted in September last year by the island's owner, the North Karelian Journalists' Association.

Kotus previously explained the objection of the change and said the "unpleasantness" of the name was not reason enough for it to be officially changed.

"Derogatory and Offensive"

Taru Väänänen, chair of the North Karelian Association of Journalists told Yle that "the name of the island has caused a debate within our association and on social media in recent years. We find the name derogatory and offensive, which is why we wanted to change it."

The island is located in the Liperi archipelago of North Karelia, near Pyhäselkä, a traditional holiday area with a number of cottages.

Neekerisaari has been on the map of Finland since 1974.

According to Kotus, the island will not remain anonymous. The map will be marked with the less well-known name Seppänen

Neekerisaari is just one in the list of bizarre names that appear in the National Map of Places published by the National Land Survey of Finland.

Neekerisaari will disappear from the maps of Finland