Burials

Regional State Administrative Agencies have a range of licensing, enforcement and cadastral responsibilities relating to cemeteries and burials. The Regional State Administrative Agency for Eastern Finland provides advice on the application of the Finnish Funeral Services Act free of charge. There is a processing fee for applications, and the same fee applies regardless of whether or not an application is successful. 

Cemeteries and private burial grounds

We can authorise registered organisations and foundations (such as registered religious communities) to start a cemetery.

Cemeteries are not permitted to be profit-seeking.

In order to be authorised to start a cemetery, you need to be able to demonstrate that you are capable of taking care of one. This involves, among other things, producing a realistic plan of how your cemetery will be managed in the long term.

The property manager must own the land on which the cemetery is established. If the property manager does not own the land, they must have

  • the landowner’s permission to start the cemetery and
  • a priority lease or other right to the property.

The lease or other right must be for a fixed term of at least 130 and no more than 200 years. The lease must cover the entire property.

The property must be free of all liens and encumbrances within the meaning of the Funeral Services Act. Any restrictions on the use of the property must be entered into the land register.

We can authorise the establishment of a private burial ground for a specific deceased person in special circumstances. The location must be suitable for the purpose, and the landowner or tenant must give their consent.

Yes. We inform the controller of the Land Information System of the establishment of any new cemeteries or private burial grounds in order to allow for the relevant property records to be updated. The existence of a cemetery or a private burial ground on a property affects its use.

Interment of ashes

No permission is needed if you are not starting a private burial ground. A grave without a headstone or other visible marker does not constitute a private burial ground.

If you want to erect a headstone or a visible marker of some other kind, you need to seek permission to start a private burial ground from the competent Regional State Administrative Agency, which in this case is the Regional State Administrative Agency for Eastern Finland. We have prepared a template for seeking permission.

You also need consent from the landowner before you can bury or scatter ashes on their property or in a body of water on their land. If the property is occupied by a tenant, you also need the tenant’s permission. It is best to ask for the permission in writing to avoid misunderstandings later.

You have one year from the cremation of your loved one to either permanently bury or scatter their ashes.

The crematorium must be told in writing where the ashes will be interred before the urn can be released. If the person responsible for interment has not dealt with the ashes within one year despite a reminder, the crematorium has the right to inter the ashes in an appropriate cemetery at the estate’s expense.

Exhumation and relocation

In Finnish burial culture, a grave is considered to be a final resting place and the inviolability of graves is important.

An interred body or cremated remains can only be moved to another grave in special circumstances. To relocate an interred body or ashes, you need permission from the competent Regional State Administrative Agency, which in this case is the Regional State Administrative Agency for Eastern Finland. We have prepared a template for seeking permission. 

Consent from health protection authorities is also required.

We examine each case individually to determine whether grounds for relocation exist. Relocation can be authorised, for example, if

  • it was not originally possible to bury the deceased in the location of their or their family’s choice,
  • the deceased was a refugee or an asylum seeker, and the situation in their home country changes so that their remains can now safely be moved there, or
  • moving the remains is necessary due to important health protection or land use reasons.

We recommend that you contact us as soon as you become aware of a reason to move interred remains to find out more even before you formally request relocation.

State aid towards grave maintenance

State aid can be granted for the maintenance of Finnish war and civilian cemeteries as well as the war graves of the displaced population.

Aid is also granted for the maintenance of cemeteries in the ceded territory. Cemeteries in the ceded territory refer to war graves as well as military and civilian cemeteries of Finnish soldiers in the territory that was ceded to Russia at the end of the Second World War.

The aid is granted for costs related to the maintenance and renovation of graves and cemeteries (wages, purchase of services, purchase of materials, supplies and goods), travel, transport and other necessary costs. No aid is available for planning trips or drafting the plans. 

The maintenance of graves may include e.g. the restoration of burial sites, their maintenance and preservation, the erection of monuments and statues, the setting up of memorial plates and planting flowers, and other measures related to the preservation of the memory of the deceased.


 

The application period is open once a year in spring.

The deadline for applications for Finnish war and civilian cemeteries is on 17 May 2022 by 16.15 o’clock. There are no state aid granted for the war graves of the displaced population in the year 2022.

Individuals, companies or organisations as well as public administration organisations can apply for the aid.

Submit the application on a form reserved for this purpose. Submit the application to the Regional State Administrative Agency for Eastern Finland by the deadline. You can find the contact information on the application form.

The aid can be used until the end of the year when it was granted. Submit a report on the use of the grant to the Regional State Administrative Agency for Eastern Finland by the end of March of the year following the application year.

It is possible to apply for maintenance aid for the maintenance of burial sites and monuments of Russian soldiers in Finland. This falls in the scope of preserving the memory of Russian soldiers who were killed in Finland as a result of the Second World War.

To qualify for the aid, you must first make a maintenance agreement on grave or memorial maintenance with the Regional State Administrative Agency for Eastern Finland. The contract may be concluded by a person, company or organisation as well as by a public administration organisation.

Aid is paid for the costs related to the maintenance and renovation of graves and cemeteries (work fees, purchase of services, purchase of materials, supplies and goods), travel and transport costs and other necessary costs in accordance with the maintenance agreement. 

The maintenance of graves may include e.g. the restoration of burial sites, their maintenance and preservation, the erection of monuments and statues, the setting up of memorial plates and planting flowers, and other measures related to the preservation of the memory of the deceased.
 

Links to legal texts