The main community in Överkalix is Bränna, scenically located by the Kalix River. Bränna has a shopping street and pleasant areas for walking. All the schools and shops, the municipal hall, dental clinics and medical care centre are within walking distance.
Facts about the municipality
Size by area
The communications network is good, with easy access to both the coastal towns of Kalix and Luleå and to the mining communities of Kiruna, Gällivare and Pajala in the north. Extensive forests, mountains, rivers and lakes provide many opportunities for outdoor life. Fishing and berry-picking are popular activities.
Överkalixbostäder, a foundation, can provide flats with 1-4 bedrooms and kitchen. Most of the flats are in two-storey buildings without lifts, located in central Överkalix. There are also a few private housing companies that rent out flats. New arrivals who come under the establishment reform will receive help in finding accommodation from the municipal coordinator for refugees.
Language groups in the locality
After Swedish and Finnish, the biggest language groups in Överkalix are Spanish, Arabic, Dari, Somali and Thai.
Associations and organisations
Överkalix idrottsförening ÖIF is the biggest sports association. It has an ice hockey club, a football club and a basketball club for all ages. Girls and boys are equally welcome. ÖIF also organises an annual summer market where travelling salespeople known as "knallar" and local shopkeepers sell all kinds of goods and products in market stalls. The Överkalix website has a list of associations.
The Church of Sweden arranges activities for children and young people. There is also a Pentecostal congregation.
ABF, Studiefrämjandet and Studieförbundet Vuxenskolan, all adult education organisations, arrange study circles in a wide variety of subject areas and interests.
Almost all of the communities in the municipality have formed associations that have their own cabins where activities such as communal baking, wood-fired saunas, pizzeria, Walpurgis night celebrations, waffle-making and hunting festivities are arranged. The community associations also arrange jig fishing and angling competitions. Snowmobile driving is popular in winter, when snowmobile enthusiasts assemble at community cabins that stay open during the winter, such as the one in Kypasjärv.
Hushållningssällskapet (a householders' association), Överkalix konstgille (an art club) and Överkalix hembygdsförening (a rural culture association) are examples of other associations in Överkalix. Överkalix Teaterförening organises theatre performances of the best productions from Norrbottensteatern. A small selection of Riksteatern's touring repertory also visits Överkalix.
The En3 theatre association engages local talent and stages its own works to great acclaim. Annual competitions and exhibitions for dogs and horses are also arranged.
What is available in the immediate area
Bränna has an employment agency and a municipal office with refugee reception services. There are supermarkets, clothes shops, a pharmacy, a radio and TV dealer, a hardware store, a paint dealer, restaurants, a café and a Red Cross charity shop with second-hand furniture, clothes, household goods and appliances. The recycling centre, about 4 km outside Bränna, also sells quality used furniture, household goods, appliances etc.
Folkets Hus arranges film showings. Since October 2013 they also show live broadcasts of concerts and football and hockey matches.
Swimming pool and sports centre, ice skating rink and football pitch. There are also prepared ski runs and a slope for downhill skiing about 4 km from Bränna. In the summer there is an outdoor pool.
Överkalix has two preschools: Älvens förskola and Ängens förskola. There is also a preschool class, Björnen, and a day recreation centre, Ekorren.
Compulsory schools and upper secondary schools
Överkalix has a comprehensive school divided into Åkerskolan for years 1-3 and Strandskolan for years 4-9, and an upper secondary school, Överkalix gymnasieskola. There is also an independent comprehensive school, Överkalix Friskola, which offers preschool classes through year 9. It has a culture and environment specialisation.
There is also municipal adult education which includes upper secondary adult education and Swedish for immigrants (Sfi).
Civic information courses for new arrivals are offered once a week via video link. The 100-hour course is held on school premises.
Health and medical care
Region Norrbotten runs a health centre with a doctor's surgery and district medical care including child health care (BVC) and maternity care (MVC), ambulance services and an observation ward with five beds. The health centre also offers physiotherapy, occupational therapy, medical chiropody and phototherapy, and has a lab and x-ray facilities.
Dental care is available through the health centre.
There is the possibility of having an interpreter in all contacts with public authorities. Interpreting is usually by telephone.
There are bus connections to many communities in the region, including to Luleå, Gällivare, Kiruna, Kalix and Haparanda. These bus lines are run by Länstrafiken I Norrbotten.
Work and entrepreneurship
Överkalix municipality is the biggest employer. There are also many smaller businesses in various industries that may need to employ people. Many people commute daily to Kalix and others commute on a weekly basis to Luleå, Gällivare, Kiruna and Pajala.