Safeguarding of cultural heritage

The UNESCO Convention concerning the Protection of World Cultural and Natural Heritage, adopted in 1972, responds to the concern about the conservation of the world’s threatened cultural and natural heritage and preserving this for the future generations. The 2003 Convention for the Safeguarding of the Intangible Cultural Heritage further complements it.

The national world heritage strategu "Our Common Heritage" and its implementation plan outline the Finnish policy on world heritage and the implementation of the UNESCO World Heritage Convention in 2015–2025. According to the strategy, Finland is a responsible world heritage actor whose world heritage sites act as a model for protection, maintenance and presentation to others. In Finland, the Ministry of Education and Culture (cultural heritage) and the Ministry of the Environment (natural heritage) are responsible for matters related to world heritage.

The objective of the 1972 Convention is to strengthen the appreciation for the unique heritage of different nations and to enhance its protection through educational and information programmes. The Convention sets the foundation for international cooperation efforts to save, cherish and restore cultural heritage when the resources of the nations themselves do not suffice.

At present the World Heritage List contains seven Finnish World Heritage Sites and one Natural Heritage Site:

  • Fortress of Suomenlinna (1991)
  • Old Rauma (1991)
  • Petäjävesi Old Church (1994)
  • Verla Groundwood and Board Mill (1996)
  • Bronze Age Burial Site at Sammallahdenmäki (1999)
  • Struve Geodetic Arc (2005)
  • Kvarken Archipelago (2006)

The Ministry of Education and CUlture is responsible for the implementation of the Convention for the Safeguarding of the Intangible Culture Heritage. There are three Finnish objects on the international list of intangible cultural heritage:

  • Sauna culture in Finland (2020)
  • Kaustinen fiddle playing and related practices and expressions (2021)
  • Nordic clinker boat traditions (2021, Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway and Sweden)