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Annual report 2022: The Baltic Sea is our sea

Annual report 2022: The Baltic Sea is our sea

John Nurminen Foundation Logbook 2022 cover

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The war in Ukraine, which broke out in the spring of 22, brought foreign and security policies to the centre of our attention. In September, gas pipe leaks further accelerated the discourse on security, at the same time reminding us of the poor ecological status of the Baltic Sea, worsened locally because of the leaks. Now our Sea is known globally.

The Baltic Sea is, however, so much more than a theme in security policies. It features a unique and fragile ecosystem, and an incredible shipwreck park. The Sea’s history is long and its culture is multilingual. Together with other stakeholders, our Foundation works daily to save the Baltic Sea and its vibrant cultural heritage.

We live in a time dubbed the decade of the seas, but still lack the ability to understand the needs of the sea, to curb discharges, and to restore it in a timely manner. UN’s Sustainable Development Goal number 14, Life Below Water, is the one that is making the least progress. In order to tackle this situation, we need to understand the opportunities created by the blue bioeconomy, and the ways the seas can help us in the green transition.

We pondered over the challenges faced by the Sea on Baltic Sea Day in August, when our research on what young Finns know about the Baltic Sea was published. We surveyed what the youth consider to be a Baltic Sea identity, and what the Sea means to them and to their identities. Alongside music, art, and food, the Baltic Sea Day was filled with discussions on the status of the Sea and its underwater life. The Baltic Sea was the topic of the day in six countries – and in 2023, we hope to see participants from all compass points around the Sea.

We celebrate the 30th anniversary of our work for the Baltic Sea. The Baltic Sea Talks reminded us of the power of knowledge, the written arts, and music. We thanked the everyday heroes, i.e. our project partners, with an adventure in Isosaari. Our supporters feasted with us at a gala dinner. Moreover, in her essay In Search of Marine Culture, published to celebrate our anniversary, Marjo T. Nurminen considered the true essence of marine culture, accompanied by the images of Hannu Väisänen.

We launched two new marine environment projects. We continued our work to curb nutrient discharges from agriculture by, together with Rädda Lumparn, starting the gypsum treatment of fields in Åland. Together with Traficom, we launched the Chemical Tanker project, which reduces discharges of harmful substances that enter the Baltic Sea when tanker holds are being washed.

With the goal of improving marine literacy, we published two books: Kalastajien kyydissä Itämerellä (On the Baltic Sea with fishermen), which surveys the status of fishing as a livelihood, and Meri ja Tove (The Sea and Tove), an environmental biography that describes Tove Jansson’s relationship with the Sea in the Pellinki archipelago.

In 2023, we continue our work to improve the ecological status of the Baltic Sea, and to strengthen people’s Baltic Sea identity. In our new Baltic Seagrass project, we dive underwater and plant common eelgrass, a key species of the Baltic Sea. We will in fact be protecting marine nature as we continue to reduce eutrophication. Climate change accumulates the problems of the Baltic Sea, but with far-reaching and new measures, we can restore the good ecological status of the Sea.

The Sea has a magnificent voice, and it is worth our while to create space for its story. With this in mind, I invite you all to the exhibition at Suomenlinna’s Levyhalli, opening on 17 May 2023, to experience how modern Finnish artists see their relationship with the Unknown Baltic Sea. Let’s pause, listen, and discuss by the Sea, of the Sea, and of us. A small Foundation with a huge task owes even greater thanks to all our partners!

Read our annual report online

The Annual Report includes a report on operations for last year, financial statements, and an up-to-date review of the Foundation’s projects and operations.

Contact us at to receive a printed Annual Report.

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