Postal operations in Åland dates back to 1638, when the conveyance of mail started during the period of Swedish reign. Originally and for a long time, postal operations were limited to the obligatory conveyance of mail. It was not until 1866 that the post office in Mariehamn was added to the original two post offices in Kastelholm and Eckerö. As part of the Grand Duchy of Finland, postal operations in Åland fell under the Russian Empire as of 1809.
Part of the Finnish postal administration
Most of the post offices in Åland were established during the end of the 19th and the beginning of the 20th centuries. The routes of mail conveyance were reorganized in proper postal carrier routes during the 1920s. In 1917, the Republic of Finland assumed responsibility for the postal services. The postal and the telegraph services were joined in 1927.
Towards modern times
The Post was originally organised as a governmental department; Finland had inherited the tsarist system. In the 1970s, it was decided that operations were to be conducted according to ‘businesslike principles’. The name of the department was changed to ‘Post och Televerket’ in 1981. In 1990, the form of organization was changed into that of a state-owned public enterprise – ‘Post och Tele’ – no longer dependent on the state budget.
‘Postbanken’ was founded in 1888. As of 1 January 1989, it was converted into a public limited company, which under the name of Leonia Bank Abp supplied banking services as of the spring of 1998. As of 30 September 2002, the Åland Post no longer offers banking services.
The first Åland stamps were issued in 1984. The stamps were issued by the Finnish postal administration, ‘Post och Tele’, in cooperation with the Åland government until 31 December 1992. The network of post offices was re-organized in 1991 when one third of the offices were closed and another third were converted into postal agencies. The remaining offices had bank terminals installed.
By the middle of 1991, postal services in Finland were deregulated. Finland – including Åland – was the first country in the world to allow free competition on the postal market without any protection of the monopoly.
Independent postal administration 1993
A change in the Åland Autonomy Act allowed the province of Åland to take over all postal responsibilities and, consequently, Åland has had an independent postal administration since 1 January 1993. The postal business activities are laid down in the provincial law about the Åland Post and operated by a public enterprise which is subordinate to the Government of Åland.
New post terminal 2002
In 2002, operations were extended when a new post terminal was built in Sviby, municipality of Jomala, immediately outside Mariehamn. The centralization of the postal activities has had a positive effect on business in general. Since 2006, the post terminal serves as the Post’s headquarters. Over the years, several extensions have been made to the post terminal.
Åland Post Ltd as of 2009
On 1 January 2009, the corporate form of Åland Post was changed into a limited liability company. All shares of the limited company Posten Åland Ab are owned by the Åland government.
Åland Post changed its Swedish name from Posten Åland Ab to Åland Post Ab on 1 March 2016. The business profile was renewed and a new logo introduced reflecting the internationalization of the company.