Historical Outline of Cadastral
The registration of holdings started for taxation purposes in
the year 1539. The king had decided to construct a list of peasants
and their taxes. Feudalism was never introduced in Finland and
the peasants always retained their personal freedom. The holdings
were numbered village by village. These numbers form even today
the base for the identifiers of the basic property units (as defined
by the UNECE/HBP/135:Guidelines on Real Property Units and Identifiers).
From the 17th century these books were accomplished with village
cadastral maps. The first surveyor was assigned to Finland in
1633 by the king.
A remarkable land reform started in 1762 and lasted for almost
150 years. The shape of private farms was improved and new peasants
were settled especially on the crown land of the eastern part
of the country.
In the beginning of the 19th century Finland became a part of
the Russian Empire and central administration was established.
The National Land Survey Board was established in 1812. There
was no radical change in the cadastral legislation that derived
from the Swedish rule. A register of basic property units was
completed in 1904. The number of units was about 120,000. The
cities became responsible for keeping the real estate cadastre
in city-planned areas.
The land titles have always been confirmed by local courts in
order to make it known that a property has changed ownership.
Written documents are available from medieval time. The land register
(register of titles and mortgages) was established in 1931 and
National mapping based on one unified geodetic system begun in
the 19th century. It was first carried out by the topographic
unit of the Russian army and from 1917 by the National Land Survey
of Finland and the Finnish army. Cadastral boundaries were also
collected to the topographic maps that were printed in scale 1:20,000
from 1947. The whole country was covered with this uniform base
map in 1977 and at the same time cadastral index maps were produced.
They were updated continuously in the scale 1:10,000 on the rural
areas and in bigger scales on urban areas.
The National Land Survey started the digitalization of the cadastre
in the 1970īs. The objectives were to improve the efficiency of
the activities and to promote the joint use of registers. The
land register was digitalized in the 1980īs by the Ministry of
In 2003 the Parliament decided that a unified Cadastre is created
and administrated by the National Land Survey. The system was
introduced in June 2005 and is the primary and legal register
for cadastral information.