Welcome to the Finnish historical organ website!
Nearly 40 organs were built in Finland before the year 1700; all but a few were destroyed during the period of Russian occupation known as the 'Great Hate' (1714-21). After the war, new organs were built and old ones repaired, and by 1809, when Finland became a Grand Duchy in the Russian Empire, there were over 30 organs in the land. In the 19th century, more organs were built in Finland than ever before, and by the turn of the 20th century there were over 400 organs in our country.
There were several reasons for this boom in organ building. The country was prospering, the national culture was developing, and the average level of education was rising. Church organist training steadily increased the professional skills of those playing the instruments, and many new churches were built. Many private individuals and institutions also acquired organs in the late 19th century. The Finnish organ-building industry became consolidated at about the same time.
At the present, there are some 1,400 organs in Finland. Three quarters of them are owned by parishes, the rest being divided among museums, educational institutions and private ownership.
All organs have been adapted and renovated over the years. Original condition has in these days become a value unto itself, but there is no reason why an instrument could not be vibrant and coherent even in an altered state. This website showcases some 140 existing organs dating from before 1917. Some have been preserved in their original state, while others have gone through varying degrees of change. If the structure and wind chests of an organ are replaced, it must be considered a new instrument built using old materials.
These preserved organs outline Finland's organ history. Knowledge of this history helps understand current organ-building trends and designs.
The collection may be examined chronologically, by builder, by region or by period. There are also special links with predefined groups.