UNESCO World Heritage Site in Kouvola

The short history of cardboard

You can hear interesting tales about cardboard and the people who made it, in this one of a kind World Heritage Site.

UNESCO World Heritage Site, Verla Groundwood and Board Mill, is situated to the north of Kouvola, about 30 km from the city centre. The mill was established on the banks of the Verla Rapids in 1882. The mill, which produced pale wood pulp board as its main product, gradually closed its doors in 1964.

Eight years later, it was opened to the public as Finland’s first factory museum. The mill buildings and the equipment and other movable items in them were left untouched in their original positions. The authenticity of Verla Mill was one of the factors behind its acceptance as a World Heritage Site in 1996.

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’s 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’ 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’ cottages built in the 1890s.