The Finnish Lighthouse Society was founded in 2003 to secure the protection of the lighthouses and beacons at our cost and inland waters and of other navigational safety devices. The importance of lighthouses to the navigation started to decrease when the navigation techniques made progress. The lighthouses one after another were automated and were left alone, unoccupied. Humidity and mould started to damage empty cold buildings. Decay period of lighthouses had started.
At the Finnish cost there are in total approximate 60 lighthouses, of which one third are historically significant, also internationally recognized specimens of architecture of their times. A part of these lighthouses have been renovated in an exemplary way. For example, Bengtskär lighthouse outside Hanko city has got a new life, renovated faithfully to its traditions. Also Söderskär lighthouse in Sipoo archipelago has got a new opportunity under private ownership. A part of the lighthouses are still waiting for operations of protection.
The Finnish Lighthouse Society increases the awareness about lighthouses
The Finnish Lighthouse Society follows actively the decisions taken concerning the lighthouses and has impact on public debate by highlighting the alarming state of threatened lighthouses. The Society aims at promoting the foundation of a national lighthouse museum. The Society has reached, by active participation a significant position when discussing the protection of lighthouses.
The Finnish Lighthouse Society is working concretely for saving threatened lighthouses
In 2005 the Finnish Lighthouse Society hired from the Finnish Forest Service the fog alarm keeper’s house at Gustavsvärn lighthouse and Fortress Island outside Hanko city. The house is being renovated and restored mainly by voluntary work. In 2007, a project “Rädda Märket” was launched; it aims at saving and renovating the Märket lighthouse located at Åland Sea. The lighthouse building had fallen into decay during 30 years of period of staying empty. Tens of voluntary workers have been renovating the lighthouse during two seasons and the future of the lighthouse looks promising. Also this summer voluntary workers will occupy both Gustavsvärn and Märket lighthouses and the renovation works will continue. Both lighthouses will be kept open to the public.
More support needed to secure activities
The Finnish Lighthouse Society is funding its activities by membership fees and publications. The Lighthouse calendar will be published the third time and the profit collected will form the main part of the funding of the renovation works. The Society sells also postcards and the popular poster “Finland’s lighthouses 1910”, which was reprinted in spring 2009. The Society has received for its activities also assistance and donations. Increasing assistance from companies and societies would be needed to secure the long-term protection and renovation work.
The Most Shining Deed of the Year – commendation is given for the active work to save lighthouses
The Society gives every year The Most Shining Deed of the Year –commendation to a person or community selected by the Society for the work done previous year for the lighthouses or for whole life’s work. In 2008 this commendation was given to Ms. Susanna Seppä for her life’s work accomplished for saving, renovating and making open for public of the lighthouse ship Relandersgrund. Previous years the commendation has been given to Ms. Paula Wilson (2006) for her life’s work for Bengtskär lighthouse, to Mr. Ari Laamanen and Mr. Sebastian Lönnqvist (2005) for renovating Söderskär lighthouse and to Raahe city (2004) for saving Tasku beacon. In 2007 the commendation was not given.