There is an old saying originating from Nakertaja, according to which “The only way to reach Nakertaja is in the summer, or if a devil” – referring to fairly primitive and humble beginnings of the community. It is not known when exactly the village was established, but its oldest known building, Kalliokangas, was built in 1906.

Local houses were built bit by bit, and building materials were brought in from the local paper mill, Kajaani Oy’s warehouse. The origin of the name ‘Nakertaja’ (Eng. gnawer) is thought to be linked to this method of building slowly, a bit at a time.

Electricity arrived in Nakertaja in 1945, thanks to the local electricity co-operative, Uudenkylän Sähköosuuskunta. The local telephone co-operative, Uudenkylän Puhelinosuuskunta, was established in 1948. Over time the local community has established 14 different associations or co-operatives –communal living is deeply rooted in the history of Nakertaja.

In the 1950s the locals wanted to adopt a new name, Uusikylä (Eng. New Village). However, on the initiative of the Village Association, the previous name of Nakertaja was reintroduced in the 1990s. The area of Hetteenmäki in turn has a much shorter history: the first houses in the area were built in the early 1980s, establishing an area of modern development in Kajaani.

The village association

The Village Association started out as a village community group in 1983, and became a registered charity in 1997. In 1989, the then community group entered a phase of strong development, building the foundation upon which all of today’s activities are based. In 1993, the group acquired the village hall, opened a recycling centre and started a care service for the elderly. Since 1998, the association has been project-led and run by full-time paid employees.

All village residents automatically become members of the association, and there is no membership fee. The villagers may contribute to the activities of the association, for example, by taking part in its annual meetings.The purpose of the association is to look after the best interests of the villagers, enhance the standard of the area’s shared spaces and environment, promote wellbeing and cohesion, and treasure local traditions. The association also provides services and organises events for villagers of all ages. It employs 7 full-time staff and about 50 part-time staff on state-paid employment grants. In addition, there are further staff members partaking in different types of apprenticeships, employment and rehabilitation projects and initiatives.