Old Verla mill approved UNESCO World Heritage List

Archive 11.12.1996 0:00 EET

The old Verla groundwood and board mill, nowadays a museum, at Jaala in the Province of Kymi is Finland's latest addition to the prestigious World Heritage List maintained by UNESCO, the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation. The nomination was approved in December by the World Heritage Committee representing 21 countries at Merida in Mexico.
According to the World Heritage Committee, Verla is a unique industrial milieu dating from the turn of the century. It has, almost by a miracle, avoided demolition and the addition of incompatible buildings and looks much as it did when designed by Eduard Dippell a hundred years ago.
The unspoilt mill environment is even further enhanced by the well-preserved plant and equipment, thus giving the visitor an excellent insight into the lives, homes and milieu of the workers and their families in this small mill community surrounded by lakes and forests.
The Verla groundwood mill began operating on a humble scale in 1872. Ten years later a board mill was added, and by 1895 it looked much as it does today. The mill became the property of the Kymmene Company in 1922. Despite minor technical improvements, board continued to be made by the traditional methods right up to 1964, when the machines were finally switched off. The annual output of the mill was 2,000 tonnes of board and the same amount of groundwood. In 1972, on the centenary of both Verla and Kymmene, the old mill began a new lease of life as the first industrial museum in Finland. The popular museum is owned by the present UPM-Kymmene Corporation.
So far only few monuments of the industrial heritage have been included on the World Heritage List. The most recent additions are the Engelsberg iron works in Sweden and the huge Völklingen iron works in Germany. Verla is the first site on the List representing the wood-processing industry. Following the additions made at the meeting in Mexico, the List will contain 506 properties from over 100 countries. Among the best known are the Pyramids of Egypt, the Taj Mahal in India and the Great Wall of China.
Further information:
Pekka Kärki, National Board of Antiquities, tel. +358 9 4050 382
Margaretha Ehrström, National Board of Antiquities, tel. +358 9 4050 478
Eero Niinikoski, UPM-Kymmene Corporation, tel. +358 204 15 2100
Zabrina Holmström, Ministry of Education, Finnish UNESCO Committee,
tel. +358 9 1341 7386
Further details of UNESCO and the World Heritage List can also be found on the Internet: