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Europe In the middle of the Baltic Sea, a paradise for peacemakers

The Aland Islands were once contested by Finland and Sweden, their immediate neighbors. But the dispute's peaceful resolution has worked so well that Aland now serves as an example to other cultural conflicts.

Skoops and cutters tack back and forth against the summer sky. Peacocks mingle with the natives at the town beach along its graceful mile-long waterfront. Mariehamn, the capital of Aland, a Finnish archipelago in the middle of the Baltic, is as bucolic a place as one can find in or near Europe these days.

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