New publication recounts the history of the Viapori-Suomenlinna fortress from the 1740s to the present day

New publication recounts the history of the Viapori-Suomenlinna fortress from the 1740s to the present day

The National Archives and the Ehrensvärd Society have published an anniversary volume describing the history of Suomenlinna, stretching from the Swedish rule to the present day. Edited by Jussi Nuorteva and Päivi Happonen, the volume pays homage to the activities of the Ehrensvärd Society, celebrating its 100th anniversary, and supports the exhibition “Suomenlinna – A fortress of three nations”, which will open at the Suomenlinna Museum and the National Archives on 12 May 2021.

The publication comprises around 30 articles, depicting the historic turning points of Suomenlinna, as well as life on the island and people who lived and made an impact there. Separate chapters focus on the transfer from Swedish rule to Russian command, as well as on events around the time that Finland gained independence and the fortress’s transformation from a prison camp to a navy and coastal artillery base, later becoming a tourist destination and a district of Helsinki. The publication also describes the military operations that the fortress was involved in during the wars of Gustav III, the Crimean War and the 1906 Sveaborg Rebellion.

The publication highlights individuals who have played a major role for Suomenlinna, such as Augustin Ehrensvärd, who planned the fortress, and Fredrik Henrik af Chapman, a shipbuilder and founder of the Viapori shipyard. The 300th anniversary of the latter’s birth will be celebrated in the autumn of 2021. Officers and high society beauties also feature prominently in the island’s colourful history. They lived a life of luxury, filled with balls and dinner parties, on the island and elsewhere in Helsinki, especially during the construction of the fortress in the late 1700s and early 1800s.

One of the articles has naturally been dedicated to the history of the Ehrensvärd Society, which celebrates its anniversary this year. The volume also gives a voice to the residents of Suomenlinna and organisations active on the island. The island is a world heritage site, as well as a tourist destination and city district. The articles in the publication examine how the different activities have been integrated and what measures have been taken to ensure that the unique cultural environment can be preserved for future generations.

The publication is available in Finnish and Swedish and can be found at the Suomenlinna Museum shop and the National Archives.

Additional information
Jussi Nuorteva, Director General, National Archives of Finland; Chair, Ehrensvärd Society, jussi.nuorteva(a), tel. +358 40 592 5131
Päivi Happonen, Director of Research, National Archives of Finland, paivi.happonen(a), tel. +358 50 468 8762

Orders for review copies
Merja Hykkönen, tel. +358 29 533 7002, merja.hykkonen(a)

Viapori-Suomenlinna – Kolmen valtakunnan linnoitus 1748–2021
Sveaborg Tre riken – en fästning 1748–2021

Edited by: Jussi Nuorteva and Päivi Happonen
Publishers: Ehrensvärd Society and the National Archives of Finland
ISBN 978-952-7323-10-6
Bidrag till Sveaborgs historia 9, ISSN 1455-9994
Kansallisarkiston toimituksia 26, ISSN 2489-7167
Price: €35 (incl. VAT)