Built heritage and cultural environment
Management and protection
The management and protection of Finland’s cultural landscapes and architectural heritage are controlled by national legislation and international agreements and recommendations.
Gate to the Porvoo Church.
Photo: Jussi Rautsi
The preservation of valuable landscapes and buildings is mainly ensured through local authority planning decisions. Culturally or historically significant buildings and built-up areas may also be protected under the Act on the Protection of Buildings.
Certain types of buildings, including many significant railway station buildings, are protected under other special schemes. Archaeological remains are protected under the Antiquities Act
Finland’s building stock is very young in European terms. More than 80% of the buildings in Finland have been built since 1945; and only around 5% of all buildings date back to before 1921.
Wooden churches and old districts with many wooden houses are characteristic of Finland’s architectural heritage. About a dozen entire wooden old town centres still survive, as well as several well-preserved wooden districts.
Seven Finnish sites are currently listed as UNESCO World Heritage Sites. These sites are illustrative of the key factors that have shaped cultural environments in Finland, including the harsh northern climate, and the widespread use of wood as a building material.
Four of the Finnish sites on the World Heritage List are architectural sites: the wooden church at Petäjävesi, the Suomenlinna island fortress off Helsinki, the old wooden houses in the centre of the town of Rauma, and the timber mill and board mill at Verla.
For more information
Ms Tuija Mikkonen, Senior Specialist, Ministery of the Environment
Tel. +358 400 143 970
Ms Anna Simola, Senior Officer for Legal Affairs, Ministry of the Environment
Tel. +358 40 8092 052