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 maintenance

State aid can be sought annually towards the maintenance of Finnish war graves and civilian cemeteries as well as war graves of the displaced population.

State aid grants are given out yearly. 

The deadline for applications in 2021 is 4.15 pm on 17 May 2021.

The competent authority is the Regional State Administrative Agency for Eastern Finland. 

Beneficiaries are required to report on the use of the funds to the Regional State Administrative Agency for Eastern Finland by the end of March the following year.

Cemeteries in the ceded territory include war graves as well as military and civilian cemeteries in the territory that was ceded to Russia at the end of the Second World War.

Yes. Reimbursement is available through us. To qualify for reimbursement, you must first make arrangements for grave maintenance with the Regional State Administrative Agency for Eastern Finland. Grave maintenance can be undertaken by non-governmental organisations, businesses and individuals alike.

We sign a contract with the maintenance provider and ensure that the contract is complied with in practice.