Heritage Alert Helsinki Govt. Palace and Quarter

Banner HeritageAlertHelsinkiICOMOS, together with its Finnish National Committee, is issuing a Heritage Alert, to stop planned demolitions in the courtyard of the Government Palace in the heart of Helsinki’s historic center and to prevent the implementation of current design and planning proposals that do not respect its heritage values and legal protection.

An already drafted design for a sizeable extension of office space threatens its integrity as it would necessitate the demolition of part of the Palace Quarter, namely the old printing works building, and denatures the courtyard that
has until today preserved its original Empire style spatial characteristics.
The proposed extension would irretrievably disrupt this timeline, breaking the exceptional historical continuum the Palace Quarter represents by removing historical layers in its courtyard, destroying the balance of volumes and disfiguring the historical roofscape.

The Palace is a functioning administrative building belonging to the Finnish government. Much of the Government Palace has recently (June 7, 2022) been protected by regulations of the Act on the Protection of the Built Heritage, but without mentioning the former printing works building situated in the courtyard of the Palace. The final decision is pending ratification by the Ministry of Environment. Until the ratification, an old protection decision made in 1980 is still valid.

The Senate Square 1



The focus of the Heritage Alert is on the inner courtyard of the Government Palace, where a former state printing works building from 1897-1904 is protected by regulations in the detail plan and is still standing, but for which the special legislation protection will be removed by ratification of the protection of the Palace and on which a development project has been prepared.



The Government Palace is an impressive neoclassical building complex with a Corinthian portico, domed interiors and monumental stairs. It was built in stages but stylistically in a unified way, mainly in the design language of St. Petersburg-inspired Empire style and Neoclassicism. The Government Palace is the country’s most important historical administrative building and part of the neoclassical ensemble of the Senate Square, which is an impressive demonstration of Engel’s design skills.

Carl Ludvig Engel was the creator of the heart and symbolic centre of the new city, the master of the contemporary urban planning and architecture, and the most important developer in construction technology. He took upon the major task of designing a new Finnish capital city.

Immediate action is necessary in order to postpone the ratification of the amendment of the protection decision that is currently being prepared by the Ministry of Environment.

téléchargementRead our press release

téléchargementRead the letter sent to the Finnish Ministry of Environment

téléchargementRead the background document


Photo Credits: Margaretha Ehrström / Helsinki City Museum

See also

Picto doigtCurrent Heritage Alerts

By using this website you agree to the use of cookies to recognize your repeat visits and preferences, the display of videos and the measurement of audiences.No cookies are used to track you for commercial or advertising purposes.

Your browser and online tools allow you to adjust the setting of these cookies. Learn more

I understand

Cookies Policy

ICOMOS informs you that, when browsing the ICOMOS website and all the pages of this domain, cookies are placed on the user's computer, mobile or tablet. No cookies are used to track users for commercial or advertising purposes.

A cookie is a piece of information stored by a website on the user's computer and that the user's browser provides to the website during each user’s visit.

These cookies essentially allow ICOMOS to:

You will find below the list of cookies used by our website and their characteristics:

Cookies created by the use of a third-part service on the website:



For information:

You can set up your browser to alert you of the presence cookies and offer you to accept them or not. You can accept or refuse cookies on a case-by-case basis or refuse them once and for all. However, some features of the ICOM website cannot function properly without cookies activated. 

The setting of cookies is different for each browser and generally described in the help menus. You will find more explanations on how to proceed via the links below.

Firefox   •  



Internet Explorer


Dowload ICOMOS Cookies Policy