The history of the association is linked to the push for a national maritime museum in Finland in the 1950s. The association was founded in 1963 as the Finnish Maritime Museum Association and later renamed as the Finnish Association for Maritime History (Suomen merihistoriallinen yhdistys ry − Sjöhistoriska föreningen i Finland rf) in 1975, after maritime history had been established as a separate field in the National Board of Antiquities (now the Finnish Heritage Agency). Initially, the association participated in collection work for the museum, notably historic maritime charts, miniatures, ship engines and other particulars as well as the S. Frosterus collection of literature. The association participated in research activities and the preservation of the last remaining Finnish state steam icebreaker Tarmo (meaning Vigour, built in 1907 at Newcastle-Upon-Tyne).
In 1975 the association adopted a new mission to uphold maritime history traditions, support maritime cultural heritage work at museums and research, and to function as forum for all interested in maritime history and cultural heritage. The association has edited and published the Nautica Fennica yearbook with the Maritime Museum of Finland from the 1970s onwards. The biennial Finnish congress for maritime history – Maritime History Days – have been held together with collaborating associations and partners from 2001 onwards.

Former Chairpersons, vice chairpersons and secretaries for the Finnish Association for Maritime History


Counter admiral Svante Sundman 1964−1967
Vice admiral Oiva Koivisto 1968−1971
CEO Aatos Erkko 1972−1973
PhD Nils Cleve 1974−1975
MA Pertti Koistinen 1976−1978
Counter admiral Jorma Haapkylä 1979−1995
Commodore Raimo Tiilikainen 1996−2002
Secretary general Sakari Lehmuskallio 2003-2011
Docent Tapio Bergholm 2012−2017

Vice chairpersons:

PhD Nils Cleve 1964−1971
MA Christoffer Ericsson 1972−1973
Commandant Tapani Mattila 1974−1975
MA Henrik Rosenius 1976−1996
Chief engineer Jouni Arjava 1997−1998
Professor Juhani Sukselainen 1999−2001
Professor Yrjö Kaukiainen 2001-2010
Administrator Anne Ala-Pöllänen 2011-2014
Ship master Yrjö Tiitinen 2015−2017


MA Christoffer Ericsson 1964−1971
BA Risto Halme 1972−1973
MA Christoffer Ericsson 1974−1976
PhD Valto Veltheim 1977−1981
DEng. Ora Patoharju 1982−1998
MA Tytti Nieminen 1999−2002
Student Essi Tulonen 2003
MA Miia-Leena Tiili 2004−2006
MA Aaro Sahari 2007−2009
Student Vilma Lempiäinen 2010−2014
Student Ville Honkanen 2015−2017