The Torne River (Finnish: Tornionjoki, Swedish: Torne älv, Torneälven, Northern Sami: Duortneseatnu, Meankieli: Tornionväyla), is a river in northern Sweden and Finland. Approximately a half of the river's length is a part of the border between these two countries. It rises at Lake Torne (Swedish: Torneträsk) near the border with Norway and flows generally southeast for a distance of 522 km (324 miles) into the Gulf of Bothnia. It is the largest river in Norrbotten both by length and by watershed area.
After Kurravaara, the river proceeds Laxforsen, where it is joined from the right by the Luossajoki. Here is the first bridge over the river for the road leading from the E10 to Laxforsen, Luossajärvi and Esrange . The river continues to Jukkasjärvi, where the Icehotel is built in winter from the river ice.
Shortly after Junosuando, the Piipionjoki joins from the left and at Palokorva, the 259.74 km long Lainio River joins from the left. In the Lainio River watershed are two more, smaller bifurcations: the lakes Goldajávri, Råstojaure flow toward contributaries of the Laino river as well as to the Norwegian steams Signaldalselva and Råstaelva respectively.
From here the river flows south along the Finno-Swedish border. This part is known as Torne Valley and is a popular tourist destination. Slightly south of Pajala is a border-crossing bridge for a road leading to Kolari, the eighth bridge over the main river from the source. The river proceeds to the village Kassa . At the village of Pello, which lies on both sides of the river, is a bridge between the two parts. The river continues south to Svanstein, crosses the arctic circle at Juoksengi and proceeds to Niskanpää and Kuivakangas. In Övertorneå (Finnish: Ylitornio) there is another bridge, the final road bridge before the sea. Here, the 127.43 km long Tengeliön River joins from the (Finnish) left side . The river continues to Hedenäset and Risudden.
At Karungi, the Liakanjoki departs from the Torne river and flows to the Bothnian gulf independently in Finland. From Karungi south, there are railways on both sides of the valley. At Kukkola is Kukkolaforsen, a rapids which is also a tourist attraction. Before finally arriving at the twin city of Haparanda/Tornio, it passes by the villages Vojakkala and Mattila.
In the twin city of Haparanda/Tornio are four more bridges: one for cyclists and pedestrians, one for local traffic, one for the E4 and the southernmost, last and 14th bridge over the Tornio river is a double gauge railway bridge connecting the Swedish and Finnish railway systems.
According to the treaty, the border shall follow the deepest part of the river. Once per 25 years a commission of Swedish and Finnsh representatives shall determine this border. This means that the border can move. In year 2006 such a border determination was made. Near Haparanda/Tornio the border has been fixed. There it goes along what has been the river, but in part now goes on land.
Historically, the language used on both sides of the river was Finnish. In the late 19th century, schools were installed in Sweden, also here. Then there was a decision to make the area Swedish speaking by teaching the school children only Swedish writing and allowing only Swedish talk during lessons, sometimes also during breaks. During the second half of the 20th century, Swedish was the dominant language on the Swedish side. The Finnish spoken language are similar for informal talk on both sides of the river, although some newer words differ. To support the traditional language on the Swedish side a new written language has been constructed, Meänkieli. On the Finnish side only Finnish writing is used. These two languages differ considerably in spelling.