16 March 2016: European Investment Bank lends its support to threatened Helsinki-Malmi Airport – one of Europe's 7 Most Endangered cultural heritage sites

Seppo SipiläFor the press, News archive

PRESS RELEASE
Friends of Malmi Airport
16 March 2016 1:00pm

European Investment Bank lends its support to threatened Helsinki-Malmi Airport

helsinki-malmi_01

Photo: Tuomas Kuosmanen

Helsinki-Malmi Airport has been selected as one of Europe’s Seven Most Endangered cultural heritage sites 2016.  The leading European cultural heritage organization Europa Nostra and the European Investment Bank Institute announced the selections on 16 March 2013. With the selection Helsinki-Malmi Airport will gain support from a high-level international team of experts that will visit Finland to search for a solution to the threat facing the Airport and to devise an action plan for saving it.

In operation since 1936, Malmi Airport is one of the world’s most authentic still active international airports from the early days of passenger aviation, which makes it a cultural heritage site of international significance. Tapani Mustonen, Chairman of Europa Nostra Finland,  sees developing the area of Malmi Airport based on its present activities as a great opportunity to the whole capital region. “It is regrettable and typical that the value of globally rare and still active Malmi Airport is understood better among leading European experts than among the decision-makers of Helsinki.”

The valuable cultural environment depends on continued aviation activity 

The City of Helsinki plans to take the Airport into residential use. According to the City, the cultural values would be preserved by leaving green areas in place of the runways between apartment houses. Mikko Härö, Director of Department of Cultural Environment Protection at the Finnish National Board of Antiquities, emphasizes that a city plan utilizing the runways or their directions would be just a recollection, not active cultural heritage: “The cultural heritage of aviation without the runways is just a pale inkling of what it’s all about.” The Board of Antiquities argues that the area is to be kept as an airport with aviation activities also in the future.

Chairman of Friends of Malmi Airport Timo Hyvönen considers the selection important. “The selection does great honour to the cultural history of Finland and Helsinki; our nation has never before received such a recognition. We hope that the citizens’ strong opinion on this matter combined with the international recognition and support will lead to the issue being resolved for the best.”

A press conference and interview will be held at Helsinki-Malmi Airport on Friday 18 March 2016 at 3pm. In addition to the media, representatives of Europa Nostra, City of Helsinki, State of Finland and Finavia Ltd have been invited to participate in the discussion. After the event, a guided tour of the Airport will be available. 

More information and requests for interviews:

Europa Nostra Finland
Tapani Mustonen, Chairman
tapani.mustonen@europanostra.fi
tel. +358 50 5695 704

Friends of Malmi Airport
Timo Hyvönen, Chairman
puheenjohtaja@malmiairport.fi
tel. +358 50 3748371

National Board of Antiquities, Cultural Environment Protection
Mikko Härö, Director of Department
mikko.haro@nba.fi
tel. +358 2 9533 6241

Links:

Europe’s 7 Most Endangered Programme: http://7mostendangered.eu/
Europa Nostra: http://www.europanostra.org/
European Investment Bank Institute: http://institute.eib.org/
Europa Nostra Finland: http://www.europanostra.fi/
Friends of Malmi Airport: http://www.malmiairport.fi/en