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The Neste War 1970–1972: The First Victory of the Budding Finnish Environmental Movement



In this article the authors focus on the first major victory of the environmental movement in Finland—the so-called “Neste war,” 1970–1972. At the time, Neste was a state-run oil company planning a new refinery on the environmentally sensitive east coast of the Hanko Peninsula in Southern Finland. Neste’s project was forcefully opposed by a coalition of local and academic activists, and for the first time in Finnish history, a large-scale industry was seriously challenged by mass-mobilized environmentalism. The environmental conflict became politicized in an unprecedented way and ultimately ended the Finnish oil giant’s designs on the Hanko Peninsula.