Caving history in Finland and the Finnish Caving Society

Caving history in Finland and the Finnish Caving Society

Early Origins of Speleology in Finland (1666 – 1980)

The first cataloguing of Finnish caves began in 1666, under Swedish rule, for the Swedish crown. While under Russian rule in the 1800s, the Finnish Literature Society and the Finnish Antiquarian Society sent young students to collect folk tales, including information on caves.

Geographic and geological literature started featuring Finnish caves between 1870 and 1890. The first actual Finnish speleologist, professor J. E. Rosberg, published a series of short essays concerning caves starting 1910.

Science and Leisure (1980 – 2007)

In the 1980s caves were included as valuable nature sites for conservation studies. In 1985 four researchers from the Geological Survey of Finland including Aimo Kejonen started a systematic cataloguing of Finnish caves.

Finland has hardly any large caves or active systems, but nonetheless the researchers catalogued over 1000 holes in the rock. At the same time, recreational caving was getting started when Finnish climbers took trips to Norway to visit caves in Mo i Rana.

Due to the small size of Finnish caves, no real clubs were started and interest was very limited, although the climbing magazine Klettratiini published a short article by Kimmo Suomalainen.

First Steps of a Club (2007 – 2012)

Caving didn’t really take off until the Internet made it possible for interested people to contact each other. In early 2008 the first Finnish web page dedicated to caving was launched, and in the summer of 2010 the Finnish Caving Society was formed by enthusiastic novices who had been caving in Sweden, UK and Australia.

The society has since gathered some 50 members, including some veterans of 20 years, and goes caving both in the small holes of Finland and the bigger ones abroad.