Built heritage of the state

The history of the state’s built heritage is extensive. It expands from the castles and royal estates to the creation of the welfare state and information society in the concrete sense. The emphasis has been on beauty, sustainability and utiliy in the buildings’ intended purpose, but also on achieving architecture that reflects the building era and make the buildings innovative and prominent in nature.

State as an owner of built heritage

Facilities and environments for the state operators in transport, education, healthcare, defence and other functions have been built throughout the country’s history. The state facilities are located throughout the country. Many of the state’s organisations are still operating in the same locations and buildings as their predecessors. The state is committed to maintaining its built heritage in a responsible and systematic manner.

The state has been safeguarding its built heritage for centuries. The Finnish Heritage Agency is the main built heritage expert within the state administration. According to the state’s facility strategy, the management of the sites used and owned by the state has been centralised to the state’s property holder agencies. The most important of these include the Senate Properties, Metsähallitus and the Finnish Transport Agency. Together with these operators, the Finnish Heritage Agency is promoting the protection, sustainable reparation, maintenance and use of the state’s cultural heritage. Policies are developed at the level of individual buildings as well as all of the state’s land and property assets. The current challenges relate to the safeguarding of the built heritage produced during the second half of the 20th century, and the selling or transforming of state-owned buildings due to the decrease in the state’s duties and the changes in the way that the state operates.

The Finnish Heritage Agency functions as an expert authority on matters pertaining to the protection and restoration of state-owned facilities, and provides the necessary statements. Knowledge and insights on the state’s built heritage are accumulated through cooperation. The sites’ protection is kept up-to-date. The know-how and practices needed to maintain, restore and document the sites are also improved in cooperation. The Finnish Heritage Agency’s participation in the steering of repairs and maintenance work at protected and otherwise valuable sites is negotiated separately for each project and site.

The Finnish Heritage Agency and the organisations managing the state’s property have created a website Valtiolle rakennettu (‘Built for the state’) presenting the state’s built heritage and the principles of its maintenance and reparation.

The Senate Properties is the main holder of the state-owned buildings. Together with the Finnish Heritage Agency, Senate Properties has been developing models and methods to improve the reporting on the repairs and research concerning the history of protected or otherwise valuable sites. https://www.senaatti.fi/tietoa... (in Finnish)

Protecting the state’s built heritage

A significant number of the state-owned buildings, building groups and built areas are protected by the Decree on the Protection of State-owned Buildings (480/1985). Protection decisions made under the Decree will remain in effect regardless of ownership changes, even though the Decree was repealed with the adoption of the Act on the Protection of the Built Heritage (498/2010).

Currently, the protection decisions regarding state-owned built heritage are made as based on the same acts as all other built environment protection.

The Finnish Heritage Agency must be consulted on the applicability of the protection act in all planning concerning protected or otherwise culture-historically valuable state-owned built heritage. A statement must also be requested from the Finnish Heritage Agency when planning significant changes or repairs to such buildings.