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Footprints of Defence in the Archipelago

The project Footprints of Defence in the Archipelago has created a military history tourist attraction in the Baltic area that consist of the ruins of the fortress Bomarsund on Åland, the fortified island of Örö, the naval battlefield Korpoström in Finland and Gålö Seal Station in Sweden. Investments in infrastructure and safety, digital information solutions and marketing are some of the components of the project.

In the early 1940s, at the height of the war, a secret military experiment was initiated on Gålö under the code name Operation Palmen. Seals were being trained here to detect foreign submarines and torpedoes. With the aid of digital solutions, this exciting place with its interesting history has now been made accessible to a wider public.

Within the scope of this project, a car park has been built, the cottages have been renovated and decorated, and the original paths and walkways have been restored to the way they looked in the 1940s. A service building with showers, sauna and toilets has been built. The company Arelia AB leases the seal station and is now welcoming guests and day trippers. There are three cabins with a total of 12 beds, as well as a kitchen with dining room.

The digital app Coastal Past can be downloaded from the App Store and Google Play. It describes the history of not only the seal station, but also the other three destinations that have been developed as part of the project. Suggestions for visits to military history sights around the Baltic have been compiled in a brochure that can be downloaded, please see below. The project has also produced a number of inspiring marketing videos, see below.

As a result of the DefenceArch project, all the pilot destinations experienced a major leap towards the digital era with a mobile app, videos and a thematic brochure, all of which help reach new target groups. From joint attraction perspective, The Coastal Past -application is still operating and updated, offering enriched information and additional content on all the destinations. Also improvements in infrastructure have opened the destinations to visitors in a new way. The project has absolutely created an attraction and the numbers of visitors have increased.

Military historical visit

In the brochure Explore the coastal past there are suggestions for more military historical sites to visit around the baltic sea.

Stories of The Coastal Past


Official project website
Footprints of Defence in the Archipelago

Project manager (The Archipelago Foundation)
Pia Berg
Tel: +46 (0)8-123 124 20

Project period
01/09/2016 to 28/02/2019

Renovation report

Total funding: €1 500 000