Nationally Valuable Landscape Areas

There are 186 areas in Finland that have been classified as nationally valuable landscape areas (VAMA 2021). These are our countryside’s most typical cultural landscapes, whose value is based on their diverse, culturally-shaped nature, managed agricultural landscape and traditional building stock.

The sites in Northern Lapland are mainly Sámi cultural landscapes that represent landscape types typical to reindeer husbandry and other natural livelihoods. Marine sites include landscape types characteristic to archipelago livelihoods. They also include landscape types marked by forestry as well as historically and scenically notable attractions.

The purpose of identifying nationally valuable landscape areas is to both secure the preservation of typical and vibrant rural landscapes and to attract interest in landscape management.

Agricultural landscapes in the North Karelian Ylikylä Village in Nurmes. © Tapio Heikkilä

The identification of Nationally Valuable Landscape Areas is based on the Land Use and Building Act

The national land use objectives provided for in the Land Use and Building Act (132/1999) require ensuring that the values of nationally valuable cultural environments and natural heritage are safeguarded. In accordance with Section 24 of the Act, this shall be taken into account in the activities of state authorities, regional planning and other land use planning.

Authorities’ national inventories concerning nationally valuable landscapes, nationally significant built cultural heritage sites and nationally significant archaeological sites form the knowledge base for taking note of the cultural environment values in accordance with the national land use objectives.

Evaluation of the areas is based not only on the particular features and specialities of the areas, but also on the regional landscape division which was given its current form in 1992. Landscape areas are selected so that they represent the most important features of each region. Meanwhile, the division ensures the regionally versatile distribution of valuable landscape areas.

Landscape areas were inventoried in 2010–2015. The inventory was complemented based on feedback received in public hearings and in connection with consultation rounds carried out in 2016–2021. The preparation of reports on the landscape areas was tasked to the Ministry of the Environment.

The outcome of the inventory (VAMA 2021) was accepted by Government Decision as an inventory within the meaning of the national land use objectives under the Land Use and Building Act on 18 November 2021. VAMA 2021 replaces the previous inventory accepted based on the Government Resolution of 5 January 1995. It also reflects the objectives of the Council of Europe Landscape Convention (2000/2006).

Riisitunturi Fell landscapes facing Lakes Yli-Kitka and Ala-Kitka, Northern Ostrobothnia and Lapland. © Tapio Heikkilä

Landscapes change

Landscapes are in constant change as a result of both human activity and natural phenomena. Most of the changes are reversible short-term fluctuations caused by, for example, the seasonal cycle or weather phenomena. The changes may also be of long-term or permanent nature.

Changes in Nationally Valuable Landscape Areas are monitored by means of photography and videotaping. Photos and videos help examining phenomena occurring in the landscapes and the impacts of changes.

The River Halikonjoki Bridge, Salo, Southwest Finland. © M.L. Carstens 1908, National Board of Antiquities and Martina Motzbäuchel 2021, Rural Women’s Advisory Organisation
Kuninkaanlähde Fountain in Köyliö Village, Säkylä, Satakunta. © Sven Raita 1950–1959, Satakunta Museum and Martina Motzbäuchel 2021, Rural Women’s Advisory Organisation
Lake Maaninkajärvi in Haatala Village, Kuopio, Northern Savonia. © Suomen ilmakuva Oy 1967 and Martina Motzbäuchel 2021, Rural Women’s Advisory Organisation
Huittula Village, Sääksmäki and Tarttila, Pirkanmaa. © 1920s, National Board of Antiquities and Martina Motzbäuchel 2021, Rural Women’s Advisory Organisation


More information

Nina Ahola, Coordinator, Finnish Environment Institute, tel. +358 (0)2 95 252 232,

Tapio Heikkilä, Senior Environmental Adviser, Ministry of the Environment, tel. +358 (0)2 95 250 166,

Timo Turunen, Senior Environmental Adviser, Ministry of the Environment, tel. +358 (0)2 95 250 303,

Published 2021-11-18 at 13:55, updated 2022-02-25 at 15:04