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Finnish citizen 'first European woman to get driving licence' in Saudi Arabia

By Claire Heffron

A Finnish citizen has become the first European woman to obtain a Saudi driving licence.

The interior ministry in Riyadh issued a Saudi licence to Laura Al-Alho in replacement of her Finnish one.

She proudly posted photos of the historic event on her Twitter account and the “Blue Abaya – Discovering Saudi Arabia Through Nordic Eyes” travel blog she runs on the internet (also Saudi's first travel blog).

The positive impact on Saudi women becoming drivers has been widely acknowledged, and this is one of Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman's reform drives to steer Saudi towards a progressive future.

Last year, a royal decree announced the end of a decades-long ban on women driving — the only one of its kind in the world at the time.

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Driving licences were issued to 10 Saudi women last week, just weeks before Saudi Arabia's ban on female drivers is to be lifted on June 24.

The ministry of information said another 2,000 licensed female drivers would join their ranks this week.

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