Suomenlinna’s values

All work on the fortress is founded on the Suomenlinna values of a strong local spirit, multilayeredness and continuity, vividness and versatility, and harmony and diversity.

The protection, maintenance and restoration of cultural heritage – whether buildings, landscapes or activities – are based on values specific to each individual location. This page lists the values which are considered to be the most important for Suomenlinna. Suomenlinna sea fortress is a versatile, modern and historic whole that is realised through its multilayered values.

Outstanding universal values and significance as a World Heritage Site

To be included on the World Heritage List, sites must be of outstanding universal value. Suomenlinna’s universal value was described when it was added to the World Heritage List in 1991. According to UNESCO criteria, the Fortress of Suomenlinna is an outstanding example of general fortification principles of its period and showcases individual characteristics. Suomenlinna was built according to the bastion system prevalent in the 17th and 18th centuries, adapted to local geographical features. In the 19th century, the fortress was developed further using contemporary fortification equipment.

A full description of Suomenlinna’s outstanding universal values can be read on the UNESCO website.

Authenticity and integrity

World Heritage Sites must also display authenticity and integrity. The integrity of a World Heritage Site means that the property is of adequate size and in a complete and intact condition. In the case of Suomenlinna, integrity is formed by its defensive and utilitarian buildings from various periods and its architecture and functionality within the surrounding landscape. The World Heritage Site includes the islands upon which the fortress was built and forms a consistent ensemble extensive enough to preserve and present the values of the property.

Authenticity, in turn, has to do with cultural value. For Suomenlinna, it refers to the ensemble of fortifications and various buildings from different eras that have retained their special features, particularly with regard to building materials, methods and architecture.

What are Suomenlinna’s values?

The values of the Fortress of Suomenlinna have been determined on the basis of a network meeting held on the topic on 28 February 2018 and value discussions with the Governing Body of Suomenlinna personnel on 1 March and 31 May 2018.

  • Strong spirit of place
  • Multilayered and continuous
  • Vivid and versatile
  • Harmonious and diverse

Suomenlinna’s values are diverse and different. They are connected, but may at times be in conflict with one another. Diversity covers various elements: historical layers, the diversity of residents in terms of age and social class, the range of activities and the liveliness of the place, as well as the diversity of the landscape and green spaces. Central to Suomenlinna’s values are also their harmony and balance between nature and the built environment. Alongside historical values, Suomenlinna’s values include retaining its character as a living environment and vibrant city district with a school, library and daycare. Together, they make up the spirit of the place.