Buildings and environment
The buildings and environments of Helsinki from different periods are our common treasure. One of the duties of the city museum is to ensure that buildings of varying ages, interiors and environments are preserved also for future generations.
Buildings and built environments are most commonly conserved by means of planning which is based on the Land Use and Building Act 132/1999. Helsinki has approximately 4,000 buildings conserved based on the town plan. Conservation means that the building or the environment has to be retained in the condition required by the conservation. Any repairs and modifications shall be carried out without endangering the cultural historical value.
The city museum acts as the building conservation authority in Helsinki and in Central Uusimaa. This means that the museum prepares statements (in Finnish) and memos concerning city planning and renovation of buildings. The museum thereby tells its opinion on whether the planned changes are such that the valuable features of buildings and environments are preserved.
Division of work
The City Museum is responsible for the conservation of buildings and environments of cultural historical value owned by the city and private citizens in Helsinki and, in its role as the Central Uusimaa province museum, also in Hyvinkää, Järvenpää, Kauniainen, Kerava, Nurmijärvi and Tuusula. The protection of relics in Helsinki is also a duty of the city museum, see the section on archaeology. The Finnish National Board of Antiquities, on the other hand, supervises the conservation and repair of buildings owned by the state, the university and the church. The Finnish National Board of Antiquities is also responsible for the protection of buildings protected under the Act on the Protection of the Built Heritage.
Researched information about changes in Helsinki
To support its building conservation work, the city museum carries out various research projects and surveys on the city’s building stock and cultural environment. The museum studies the changing city by means of inventories (in Finnish), amongst others. An inventory refers to the documentation of the history, development and current status of a certain area or building type by means of photography and by studying old drawings and documents.
Inventories have been made in different districts, stairwells, allotments and post-war commercial buildings, for instance. Information about the cultural environment is also spread by means of books and lectures, and by arranging an archaeological bike trip in the summer, for instance.
Archaeology in Helsinki
The city museum focuses on the urban archaeological research of Helsinki. The museum’s archaeologists do a lot of site visits related to construction work and supervise excavations. Also more extensive archaeological excavations are needed at times. The museum’s archaeological collections focus on items ranging from the 16th century to the beginning of the 19th century.
The museum’s archaeologists give advice to companies, communities and private customers in questions related to archaeology. Their duties also include the provision of statements concerning relics for the purposes of planning and building.
Fixed relics are conserved based on the Antiquities Act. Relics and items over 100 years old found underground with no known owner are the property of the state. If you find such an item, contact the city museum or the Finnish National Board of Antiquities.
Advice on repairs and repair subsidies
Advice on repairs
The museum may provide advice on the planning of repairs and help in finding skilled contractors.
The Uusimaa Centre for Economic Development, Transport and the Environment gives out building heritage repair subsidies, and the Finnish National Board of Antiquities grants restoration subsidies. Helsinki City Museum – Central Uusimaa province museum supervises the repairs of sites which have been granted subsidies. The application period ends at the end of September.
Image: Helsinki City Museum / Jaana Maijala, 2014