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Author Sjobe
#16 | Posted: 13 Jun 2020 06:34 
Whilst I wouldn't put it near the top 50 missing, the post war housing initiative is certainly interesting, as someone who grew up in and around the UK equivalent it certainly resonates with me, though I don't really know enough to comment on this proposals specific merits.

Interesting to hear that Ian. Settlement, housing, relocation, colonization... I don't even know what is a correct English word or translation to this issue, but it is still quite significant in Finland. Evacuation of Finnish Karelia was a big thing and it still has a big impact in Finnish society. So called Rintamamiestalo (War-front soldier's house) is a standardized house which were built in big amounts throughout the country, and that house type is particularly loved by Finns.

Author Sjobe
#17 | Posted: 28 Jun 2020 05:20 | Edited by: Sjobe 
Based on the tentative list report mentioned above I give some early tips for a World Heritage traveller who wants to visit sites for possible future Finnish TWHS or WHS, around the current WHS.

Helsinki area
- Paasitorni – Helsinki Workers' House (A Labor Movement site. Eat and drink in a legendary Juttutupa "Chat House" restaurant.)
- Alvar Aalto home and studio, and other Aalto buildings: Helsinki University of Technology campus, Finlandia Hall, Kulttuuritalo, among others (probably not TWHS sites but give an interesting background for this TWHS)
- Söderskär Lighthouse (regular day cruises from Helsinki Market Square, also accommodation in the island)
- Olympic buildings (many buildings, all functionalist style)

Turku area
- Paimio Sanatorium (absolutely will be a future Alvar Aalto TWHS site, a short drive or bus trip from Turku)
- Office Building for Turun Sanomat Newspaper (Maybe a TWHS site, Alvar Aalto early work in the very center of Turku. The first completely functionalist style building in Finland.)
- Laivateollisuus Residential Area, so called "shipbuilders village" (probably a TWHS "post-war settlement site", outside Turku center)
- Utö Lighthouse (If there is ever a site of Finnish lighthouses, Utö Lighthouse will be in it. It is the oldest lighthouse of Finland. A ferry to Utö leaves from Nauvo near Turku. There is also accommodation in the island.)
- Bengtskär Lighthouse (The tallest lighthouse in the Nordic countries. A ferry to Bengtskär leaves from Kasnäs near Turku. There is also accommodation in the island.)

Jyväskylä area
- Säynätsalo Town Hall (Very likely a TWHS in Aalto serial site. 20 minutes from Jyväskylä and Oravivuori Struve point. There is also a guest house in the building.)
- Muuratsalo Experimental House (Likely a TWHS in Aalto serial site. 20 minutes from Jyväskylä and Oravivuori Struve point.)

Vaasa area
- Valassaaret Lighthouse (inside a Kvarken Archipelago WHS, regular cruises from Svedjehamn during summers)
- Norrskär, Ritgrund, Strömmingsbådan (Other historic lighthouses inside a Kvarken Archipelago WHS. Occasional cruises, mainly chartered.)

Author Sjobe
#18 | Posted: 11 Nov 2020 15:19 | Edited by: Sjobe 
Saimaa ringed seal habitats in Lake Saimaa archipelago proposed to UNESCO World Heritage tentative list

About this site:
- Saimaa ringed seals are among the most endangered seals in the world, having a total population of only about 400 individuals. The only existing population of these seals is found in Lake Saimaa, the largest lake in Finland. They have lived in complete isolation from other ringed seal species for around 9,500 years and have diverged into a morphologically and ecologically different subspecies of ringed seal. The population is descended from ringed seals that were separated from the rest when the land rose after the last ice age.
- Big efforts have been made over the years for protecting Saimaa ringed seal population, and consequently Saimaa ringed seal is a symbol of nature conservation in Finland.
- Aim is that the Committee could decide on the inscription on the list of World Heritage sites at its meeting in 2024.
- This is Finland's first confirmed bid for World Heritage List since 2007 and Paimio Sanatorium.
- It is going to be a serial nomination.
- The core zones of this site would be around the cities of Savonlinna and Puumala.
- The area would probably include two Finnish national parks, Linnansaari and Kolovesi.

About new Finnish tentative list:
- The Ministries aim to submit the tentative list updated with the new sites to UNESCO in January 2021.
- Saimaa ringed seal habitats in Lake Saimaa archipelago will be the other of two new tentative natural sites.
- The new cultural sites will include at least two sites: The humane modern architecture of Alvar Aalto, and Areas created as a result of systematic settlement activities during and after World War II (1940–1954).

Author elsslots
#19 | Posted: 12 Nov 2020 03:48 
Good to see some activity here! Have you been there, Sjobe?

Author Sjobe
#20 | Posted: 12 Nov 2020 05:47 
Good to see some activity here! Have you been there, Sjobe?

It is indeed good to see WHS activity in Finland. The situation has been 'dead' for a long time. No, I have not been there but everyone in Finland knows what this is all about.

I'm particularly happy about this nomination. It is a natural phenomenon which is truly unique in Finland, and thus it should have good chances for inscription. And the setting of the site is a lake landscape that is essentially a Finnish thing.

Everyone in Finland knows and sympathizes saimaannorppa (Saimaa ringed seal in Finnish) and its importance to nature and conservation. For example Norppa Live livestream was hugely popular in Finland.

For this being a (T)WHS is a bit controversial thing though for average WHS traveller. Protection of endangered Saimaa ringed seals means strict restrictions for visiting seal habitats. It is possible that you can't go even near the core zones. It will be interesting to see what areas will be chosen to the nomination. At the moment the best options for "seeing" seals are seal safaris, a seal trail, and hiking at Linnansaari National Park.

Author elsslots
#21 | Posted: 12 Nov 2020 05:55 
Here's a short trip report. Cute seal!

Author FredericM
#22 | Posted: 12 Nov 2020 15:08 
Saimaa ringed seal habitats in Lake Saimaa archipelago proposed to UNESCO World Heritage tentative list

That's really interesting. To my knowledge, this is the first time a WHS would aim at protecting a single subspecies (even though isolation will probably leads to speciation). Am I missing something? I believe every species can claim some OUV, but do subspecies and populations as well? If every subspecies and populations can claim for OUV, then it opens the WH list to a lot of new possibilities.

For exemple, even if those are not as well known and symbolic as the Saimaa seals, Russia and Canada (and probably others) also have isolated fresh-water seal subspecies. Lagoda seal in Russia is another subspecies of fresh-water ringed seal isolated in lake Lagoda. Its population is declining and it is considered vulnerable. The Harbour seal Lacs des loups Marins subspecies is endemic to Quebec and endangered with maybe less than 100 individuals. Maybe this newly established national park could make a good TWHS as well.

Author Sjobe
#23 | Posted: 15 Nov 2020 15:07 | Edited by: Sjobe 
Since Els highlighted this topic on the blog, maybe I should give some local background information to the Saimaa ringed seals WHS project.

Zoology is not my expertise and I don't understand all the details of species / subspecies discussion, but I wouldn't dramatise this nomination too much. I guess it is always valuable to protect something that needs it, whether it is nature or cultural object. The aim of this (T)WHS will be to protect the Saimaa ringed seal habitats, and those habitats might have also some other natural values than just the seals. For example, in Lake Saimaa lives also other animal which was locked in fresh water after the most recent ice age – so called landlocked salmon (in Finnish järvilohi = lake salmon) which is also strictly protected in Finland. Someone just was fined 7,500 € for fishing landlocked salmon illegally.

Like usually, there is politics involved on the background of this TWHS project. Saimaa Lakeland area and the city of Savonlinna have pursued WHS for a long time. Saimaa-Pielinen Lake System TWHS was a total fail. The last turning point was when the city of Savonlinna lost its teacher education unit. Because of that, in 2019 the new government promised to the city Savonlinna a compensation package, a part of which was a promise to start a WHS project, a thing that business people of the area have wanted for a long time. Not that surprisingly there was a Minister of Culture and Science originally from the city of Savonlinna who promoted this.

Politics or not, it doesn't take anything away from this site. From nature point of view, it is one of the most valuable things Finland can offer to World Heritage List. Let's see what kind of nomination this will be, what is included to this site and what is not.

Author Jurre
#24 | Posted: 15 Nov 2020 18:37 
Apart from the animals, the Finnish lakes should figure on the WHL. If this TWHS might put some of that landscape on there, then why not, I say.

Author Sjobe
#25 | Posted: 10 Feb 2021 06:18 | Edited by: Sjobe 
Paimio Sanatorium will be opened for tourism – a "hotel room" will be available from the tuberculosis hospital designed by Alvar Aalto maybe next winter
- The Paimio Sanatorium Foundation will begin guided tours from the beginning of June 2021.
- Sanatorium will be open like museums, from Tuesdays to Sundays. A cafe will be opened.
- The foundation plans to start accommodation activities at the site. The aim is to create an international meeting place.
- The Paimio Sanatorium Foundation CEO believes that the Alvar Aalto works are on the World Heritage list in five years: "According to the optimistic schedule, it would happen in 2026".

So, for the first time in years Finland is aiming for inscriptions. This is the current estimation:

The Ringed Seal Archipelagos of Lake Saimaa

The Architectural Works of Alvar Aalto – a Human Dimension to the Modern Movement

Author Sjobe
#26 | Posted: 28 Sep 2022 06:03 | Edited by: Sjobe 
The Ringed Seal Archipelagos of Lake Saimaa is postponed to 2025.

– "The application process itself includes two pre-inspection stages. In the first phase that has now started the IUCN evaluates the TWHS and its characteristics as a world heritage site. The results of the preliminary assessment are expected in January 2023."
– "If the pre-assessment process goes well, it is possible to submit the actual application to the UNESCO World Heritage Center at the beginning of 2024. Then an evaluation cycle lasting more than a year would begin. The World Heritage Committee could therefore make a decision on the application in the summer of 2025."

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