The Glosholm Lighthouse in Porvoo was the model for the Moomin House

At last they came to a small valley that was more beautiful than any they had seen that day. And there, in the midst of the meadow, stood a house that almost looked like a stove, very elegant and painted blue.

–Tove Jansson, The Moomins and the Great Flood

Glosholm was the fourth lighthouse built in Finland 

South of Porvoo, on the shipping route leading to the city through the Pellinge archipelago, is the Glosholm island. According to historical sources, the island has had a navigational aid since the 1700s to guide the heavy marine traffic in the area. In the early 1800s, it became apparent that a proper lighthouse was needed, and so, by the order of Tsar Nicholas I, a lighthouse was built. When it was completed in 1835, Glosholm was the fourth lighthouse built in Finland.

The designs for building a lighthouse on the Glosholm island in the Pellinge archipelago

The head of the Finnish pilot and lighthouse administration and the head of the Russian lighthouse administration could not agree on the location for the lighthouse. In the end, Glosholm was selected, but the location was considered poor even before the construction work was initiated. It was too deep in the inner archipelago and not visible enough to ships sailing in from the open sea. However, the lighthouse was still built. The round tower was made with granite and brick, and it was nearly 40 metres high when measured from the surface of the sea.

The lighthouse is turned into a lightless daymark

A few years after the lighthouse was completed, it was decided that the location was indeed not very good, and that the lighthouse had even caused some shipwrecks. As a remedy, the lighthouse was turned into a lightless daymark in 1863. The Söderskär Lighthouse was built in the outer archipelago of Porvoo as a replacement.

The Glosholm daymark marked on a sea chart from 1880.

After the lighting devices were removed, a roof was built in its stead that tapered to a point, and the daymark that served as inspiration for Tove Jansson’s Moomin House was born. Tove Jansson spent time on the island as a child in the 1920s, and ventured inside the daymark as well. Her family was in the habit of renting a summer cottage in the Porvoo archipelago, and a trip to Glosholm was always the main event of Tove’s summers.

A military base is constructed

Glosholm island was taken into military use during the Second World War. The island was fortified with coastal artillery and military buildings, for example, that were centralised in the northern part of the island. On the last days of the Winter War, the daymark was ordered to be destroyed, so enemy bombers could not use it for navigation.

On the first day of the Interim Peace, the engineer tasked with the demolition set his charges inside the daymark and blew it up out of fear of further acts of war from Finland’s enemies. What remained were the five-metre-tall foundations built with granite and a small part of the wall structure. During the Continuation War, a fire control tower was built on top of the ruins.

Today, the tower is open to the public as an observation deck, from where a visitor can marvel at the beautiful scenery of the Porvoo Archipelago.

Remains of the old lighthouse.

Glosholm as a trip destination

The Glosholm island has a long history as a lighthouse island and military base. The Gulf of Finland Coast Guard District had a coast guard station on the island up until just recently.

The island has many buildings of different sizes and conditions, and a small marina with a pier. The largest building is the main building of the coast guard station build in the 1960s.

The military fortifications and deactivated coastal artillery are still in place. The island has plenty of forest and beautiful nature, and it is sure to offer activities for a full day. It is close to the mainland, which makes it an ideal day trip destination.

Thanks to its eventful and long history, many cultural heritage destinations and ship wreckages from different time periods are located near it as well. See all destinations from the Kyppi service, a database on cultural heritage destinations in Finland (only in Finnish).

How and why is this destination protected?

The island’s buildings are not part of any official project aimed at protecting cultural heritage. The Glosholm Island and its surrounding sea areas are designated as a valuable landscape in the city plan of the area.  


Access to the island is currently only possible with a private boat. The trip from Pellinge only takes a few minutes. The island is a perfect destination for a self-guided tour.

Finnish Heritage Agency’s mapservice

N: 6672759, E: 435426 (ETRS-TM35FIN)