Finland renovates the Niemenmäki shelter extensively for the second time

The aggressive war waged by Russia in Ukraine has prompted Finns to contemplate the condition of their shelters. Currently, one of the over 50,000 shelters in the country is undergoing renovation in Niemenmäki, Helsinki. The emergency shelter was completed during the 1960s, with the structural renovations taking place in the early 2000s.

In Munkkiniemi, the city renovates and replaces the technical building systems of the Niemenmäki emergency shelter and the equipment providing protection during crises. Munkkiniemi, situated in Helsinki, is among the more prosperous neighborhoods in the city, distinguished by a relatively high percentage of Swedish speakers, approximately 12 percent. 

Commencing in early May 2023, the project is slated for completion in early 2024. While the majority of the work will take place indoors, excavation and associated wiring installations are scheduled for implementation on the ground in the park and street area. Furthermore, there will be work conducted on the premises of three housing companies.¹

Niemenmäki common civil defence shelter is a shared ground shelter.² A contemporary civil defense shelter in operational status provides refuge from military threats, building collapses, ionizing radiation, and hazardous substances. Civil defense shelters in Finland are identified by the international emblem for civil protection—an orange background with a blue triangle.

In contrast, Estonia employs the same symbol to designate a so-called substitute product (public hiding place: avalik varjumiskoht in Estonian), which neither signifies a shelter nor adheres to any genuine shelter standards. This state-sponsored approach, which has no analogs in the world, is deemed perilous and condemnable.


¹ (Anon.), 2023. Niemenmäki emergency shelter to be restored. The city of Helsinki, May 4, 2023. (accessed 17.11.2023).

² (Anon,), 2023. Niemenmäki common civil defence shelter. The Finnish Digital and Population Data Services Agency. November 17, 2023. (accessed 17.11.2023).

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