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Verla Groundwood and Board Mill

Verla Groundwood and Board Mill


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The Verla Groundwood and Board Mill (Eilinen elaa Verlassa) is an excellent example of the industrial landscape of Finland’s Kymi river valley in the 19th century. In fact, the site has been listed as a UNESCO World Heritage site, a testament to its remarkable state of preservation, rarity and historical importance.

Whilst a mill was first established in Verla in 1872, the surviving Verla Groundwood and Board Mill dates to 1882, the previous one having been destroyed by a fire. This would continue to operate until 18 July 1964, whenit was closed down upon the death of its long-time owner.

Today, visitors to the Verla Groundwood and Board Mill can learn about its history and how it impacted the area as a whole. Separately, but on the same site, there are a set of prehistoric rock paintings near the car park believed to date back to 7000BC. This site also features as one of our top 10 Finnish tourist attractions.


Museum tour

The guided tour lasts 50&ndash60 minutes, depending on the size of the group. Tours in Finnish start on the hour (the schedule may change to accommodate special event and theme days). Tours in other languages are available by arrangement. We recommend arriving at Verla at least 15 minutes before the tour is scheduled to start.

The tour starts with a ten-minute documentary film showing the mill in full action during its last weeks of operation in the summer of 1964. The documentary commentary is available in Finnish, Swedish, English, German, French, Spanish and Russian. Subtitling is also available in Italian, Chinese and Japanese.

After the film, the mill tour continues with a step-by-step demonstration of how spruce timber was transformed into the off-white woodpulp board that became famous in its time.

Verla Mill Museum is not fully accessible for wheelchair users. However, visitors with reduced mobility can take part in a partial tour with the group.

Purchasing a museum tour online

Choose the date and the number of participants and then click Book. Your choice will be added to your basket. If you wish, you can add other products from the site to your basket. When you are ready, click Confirm in the basket and complete the purchase. The system will send you an email confirming your booking.


The Verla Groundwood and Board Mill

This blog entry is dedicated to the Verla Groundwood and Board Mill. It is one of the few places in Finland that is inscribed on UNESCOs list of World Heritage sites. Here you can visit the former production site of thick paper that was used for making boxes. The interior can only be visited on a guided tour, which is pretty interesting. Unfortunately it is not allowed to take photos inside, so you will only see the outside of the buidlings here on my blog. Anyhow I think it is quite an amazing architecture for an industrial building.

If you look at the two following photos you can see a large wooden part of the building. This was the area where the paper was dried after production.

There are several more buildings in the direct vicinity of the production. Some were storage for the ready made product, some was housing the tooling etc. Even the river closeby was used to bring the raw material wood from the surrounding forests.

For details please have a look at the official page of the Verla Groundwood and Board Mill and check out the official page of the UNESCO where they explain the reason for the inscription as World Heritage site.


Community Reviews

Japan / USA / Cyprus - 16-Oct-19 -

I couldn't justify going back to Finland just to visit Verla Groundwood and Board Mill and Sammallahdenmäki to finish the Finnish sites. So, after realizing the Finland's geological similarity to Canada, where I have seen the most massive color change of foliage in Autumn, I decided to go to Finland in late September.

This trip was originally planned in late September 2018, but I had to postpone it for 1 year. At that time there was bus running between Kouvola and Verla only on Tuesdays. But this time it was running on Tuesdays and also on Thursdays. So I went on a Thursday.

Last year when I planned this trip, I couldn't time myself on a Tuesday, so my plan was to take a bus that ran from Kouvola to Jaala several times a day on weekdays, to get off the bus at Selänpääntien risteys (61°02'25.8"N 26°33'14.7"E), and to walk for several kilo meters to Verla.

But this year the direct bus to Verla dropped me off right by the WH proper right before the visitor hut opened at 11 am, and I took a tour at 12 pm that lasted a little less than an hour.

But the only bus back to Kouvola left Verla at 5:30 pm, so I had to spend all afternoon at the WH proper, which wasn't so bad until the area closed at 4 pm.

Besides the cardboard-producing Mill, the site also offers the original owner's house, a new monument for pine seeds that will apparently sustain life in the surrounding forest, 3 local craft shops, a cafe and a large rock with "rock art" on the lake.

When I went to see the rock art, I was completely puzzled because I could not locate such rock art. Unlike some other WHSs in Scandinavia with rock engravings, these are just paintings on the rock that have completely faded away by now. A girl at the visitor hut stated that Astuvansalmi, which is a TWHS in Finland that she had visited, had the largest numbers of rock paintings in Finland where they were still clearly visible.

The hearty potato soup with salmon the cafe was serving for lunch may well be the best Finnish food I have ever had. I thought what was wrong with Jacques Chirac who declared back in 2005 that Finnish food was the worst in Europe? A few hours later I read in the news that Chirac passed away on that day. (A few days later I was surprised to find the same soup at a restaurant in Ukraine, listed in the menu as Finnish Soup.) I spent the remaining afternoon working online at the cafe.

The photo shows the 420,000 pine seeds at the monument. As far as the Autumn color goes, the pine seeds signify that many trees in Finland are evergreens.

Verla is a well-preserved example of a 19th century Finnish wood processing plant. The most renowned product in Finland was the cardboard that was used to print maps on display in Finnish schools. At least, that&rsquos what our resident Finnish traveler - Juha - mentioned over beers in Helsinki.

The mill remains in a mostly original, 19th century state. Because of size limitations, the owners never extended or modernized the mill. Instead, the company slowly phased it out. They continued to operate it in the traditional way until the last workers reached retirement age (1960s).

While interesting and somewhat fitting for a country, that produces loads of timber, Verla is not a great site. It&rsquos relatively recent (late 19th century) and of a rather small scope given the period. The comparison that came to mind is Engelsberg, but that site is a century older.

Getting There

In summer (roughly June to early September), and then only on weekends, there are two daily shuttle rides from Kouvola station to Verla. These continue to Repovesi National Park. Outside summer or on a weekday, I am not sure how you can manage. The only recommendation I found online was to rent a bike.

The bus itself is new and really comfy. It was paid for by the EU. The region tries to boost tourism. On summer weekends, the bus does a morning round (2019: 9:15-10:00, returning 11.40-12:25) and an afternoon round (13:10-13:55, returning 15:35-16:20). 1:30h is enough to visit the site, but the guided tours are not well scheduled with the bus arrival and departure times. To catch my return ride and not wanting to spend the remainder of the day in Verla, I had to cut the guided tour short and left half way through. If you plan to do the same, give the guide a heads up.

In Kouvola, the bus to Verla departs outside the train station and is easy to spot. In Verla, the drop-off point is also the pick-up point for the return trip. In my case the bus ran early, but at each stop we waited for the scheduled departure time. To pay for the ride, you need cash (5&euro each way).

To get to Kouvola from Helsinki take a train. These do not run hourly, so expect to spend some time hanging around the train station. After my visit, I continued - again via train - from Kouvola to Petäjävesi (two transfers). What should have been a relaxed trip was quite nerve-wracking because of a delay. I was worried to miss my connection and end up somewhere in the country side. Fortunately, Finnish Rail made an effort to ensure the connections and all worked out fine.

Final remark: Getting public transport information in Finland is harder than it should be. There is no central search engine available. You need to check bus connections and trains separately. Also note that Google Maps is incomplete. If you can choose between bus and train, I would opt for the bus.

While You Are There

In Verla you can also see a small rock art site. Repovesi National Park seems nice.


List of World Heritage Sites in Northern Europe

The UNESCO (United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization) has designated 37 World Heritage Sites in eight countries (also called "state parties") commonly referred to as Northern Europe: Iceland, Norway, Sweden, Finland, Denmark, Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania, i.e. a combination of Nordic and Baltic countries. [1] The Danish territory of the Faroe Islands doesn't have any sites. Greenland, lying on the North American continent, is not included in this list despite of its political ties with Denmark it is included in the List of World Heritage Sites in North America. The United Kingdom and Ireland are included in Western Europe even though they are sometimes listed in Northern Europe. [2]

Sweden is home to the most inscribed sites with 15 sites, two of which are transborder properties. Three sites are shared between several countries: the Curonian Spit (Lithuania and Russia), the High Coast / Kvarken Archipelago (Sweden and Finland) and the Struve Geodetic Arc (ten countries in Northern and Eastern Europe). [3] The first sites from the region were inscribed in 1979, when the Urnes Stave Church and Bryggen, both in Norway were chosen a year after the list's conception. [4] [5] Each year, UNESCO's World Heritage Committee may inscribe new sites on the list, or delist sites that no longer meet the criteria. Selection is based on ten criteria: six for cultural heritage (i–vi) and four for natural heritage (vii–x). [6] Some sites, designated "mixed sites," represent both cultural and natural heritage. In Northern Europe, there are 32 cultural, 4 natural, and 1 mixed sites. [7]

The World Heritage Committee may also specify that a site is endangered, citing "conditions which threaten the very characteristics for which a property was inscribed on the World Heritage List." None of the sites in Northern Europe has ever been listed as endangered, though possible danger listing has been considered by UNESCO in a number of cases. [8] [9]


The Verla Groundwood and Board Mill

This blog entry is dedicated to the Verla Groundwood and Board Mill. It is one of the few places in Finland that is inscribed on UNESCOs list of World Heritage sites. Here you can visit the former production site of thick paper that was used for making boxes. The interior can only be visited on a guided tour, which is pretty interesting. Unfortunately it is not allowed to take photos inside, so you will only see the outside of the buidlings here on my blog. Anyhow I think it is quite an amazing architecture for an industrial building.

If you look at the two following photos you can see a large wooden part of the building. This was the area where the paper was dried after production.

There are several more buildings in the direct vicinity of the production. Some were storage for the ready made product, some was housing the tooling etc. Even the river closeby was used to bring the raw material wood from the surrounding forests.

For details please have a look at the official page of the Verla Groundwood and Board Mill and check out the official page of the UNESCO where they explain the reason for the inscription as World Heritage site.


Verla Groundwood and Board Mill

The old ground wood and Board Millold groundwood and board mill have been the heart of this idyllic village since the 1870's, first as a working mill and since 1972 as a museum. This all makes Verla a truly spectacular place to visit.

There you can feel like stepping straight into the second half of the 19th century. Verla Museum's green gardens, architectonically valuable buildings and an old cardboard factory, with its original technical equipment, have been preserved unbelievably perfectly in their original state. It is as if the mill has just been stopped for a moment.

Although there are, of course, no actual mill workers, in many ways you can feel their presence in the museum. You really need to visit Verla personally in order to experience the unique atmosphere. The visitors can admire the original mill buildings and machinery, the idyllic workers' cottages and a prehistoric rock painting. It’s like travelling back in history!

A new dam has been built on Verlankoski, which borders the mill building, in order to protect the mill from the water. In summer 2014, an interesting new culture trail will be opened to visitors in the area between the dam and the mill. Along with this trail, you will be able to see the mill from a whole new perspective.

Verla Mill Museum has location 30 km from the Kouvola city and 160 km from Helsinki.
You can only tour the museum accompanied by a guide. Tours in foreign languages are given by appointment.

Verla Groundwood and Board Mill became a member of World Unesco Heritage List in 1996.


A history of recycling know-how

In the centre of the mill, there were eight wet-lap machines producing 70 x 100 cm board sheets. Thinner qualities were made for the packaging industry, while thicker qualities were made for applications such as book covers and picture mount boards. The annual output was some 2,000 tonnes of board, plus the same amount of groundwood too. Verla was well known for its high-quality output, which was exported to as many as 30 countries.

Spruce was the main raw material used for making mechanical pulp. Peeled bark waste was incinerated to generate heat in the drying loft. Damaged and unsuitable board sheets were reground into mechanical pulp, but the workers could also use them for insulating their homes. All materials were recycled until they reached the very end of their lifecycle.

&ldquoThe worn clothing from wet-lap machines was sought after because it was reused as children&rsquos clothes, and the old stones used in the grinder machines were cut into four pieces and used in the foundations of the workers&rsquo housing,&rdquo the mill tour guide Jussi Lemminkäinen explains.


Ordinary and therefore special

Verla is not only a locally significant entity representing typical industrial activity from the 19th century, but also a fine Finnish example of the early development of the country&rsquos business sector and wood processing industry. Verla is a rarity in itself, as it is the only World Heritage Site that represents the wood processing industry.

The buildings and machinery are from the late 1800s and early 1900s. The small and secluded mill was saved from expansion and modernisation and operated until the 1960s using 19th century technology.

At Verla, the foundry village surrounding the mill, the rapids with their power-generation equipment and mills, the workers&rsquo dwellings and the buildings and structures for log floating and sawmill operations make up a wonderful whole.

An international wonder Verla is an exceptional World Heritage Site, as its value lies in how typical it is. Verla is exceptional because it has been preserved untouched, and it is valuable because it represents a typical example of its own era and branch of industry.

In addition to the museum, Verla also has a lunch café and the shops of the foundry village. You can also spend the night in the area in the quaint workers&rsquo cottages built in the 1890s.


Tag: verla groundwood and board mill

This blog entry is dedicated to the Verla Groundwood and Board Mill. It is one of the few places in Finland that is inscribed on UNESCOs list of World Heritage sites. Here you can visit the former production site of thick paper that was used for making boxes. The interior can only be visited on a guided tour, which is pretty interesting. Unfortunately it is not allowed to take photos inside, so you will only see the outside of the buidlings here on my blog. Anyhow I think it is quite an amazing architecture for an industrial building.

If you look at the two following photos you can see a large wooden part of the building. This was the area where the paper was dried after production.

There are several more buildings in the direct vicinity of the production. Some were storage for the ready made product, some was housing the tooling etc. Even the river closeby was used to bring the raw material wood from the surrounding forests.

For details please have a look at the official page of the Verla Groundwood and Board Mill and check out the official page of the UNESCO where they explain the reason for the inscription as World Heritage site.


Watch the video: Minecraft Factory: Building my Version of the Verla Groundwood and Board Mill in Minecraft!! (May 2022).


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