Fishermen founded a village at the tip of Marjaniemi Head

Located off Oulu, Hailuoto is Finland's third largest island. Fishermen were the first settlers of Hailuoto Island already by the 12th century. On the western edge of Marjaniemi Head, a small fishing village was formed. The small cabins built close together along narrow alleyways formed a sheltered unit against the sea winds. Although the village is still at the tip of Marjaniemi Head, the old cabins have been joined by newer cottages. Nevertheless, the village retains the mood of the past.

Pilots and the lighthouse guided seafarers into Oulu

Pilotage operations began at Marjaniemi Head in the 18th century. The first wooden daymark beacon was built at the tip of the head in the 1770s.

Finland's first lightship was also anchored off Marjaniemi in 1794. It was visible from afar to those coming from the sea, and showed vessels heading into Oulu the meeting point for pilotage. The lightship was decommissioned in the mid-19th century when the state established an official pilot station on Marjaniemi Head, due to the marked increase in maritime traffic.

At its peak, up to six pilots worked in Marjaniemi. As the marine traffic increased however, there was also a need for a lighthouse. Thus, in 1871, a lighthouse measuring about 25 metres in height was built to assist the pilots. In good weather, the signal light was visible up to 20 kilometres away. Residential houses were built around the lighthouse for the keepers, and there was plenty of hustle and bustle at the tip of Marjaniemi Head.

Marjaniemi village in 1912.

Today you can climb the lighthouse tower or stroll through the sand dunes

Constructed of Marjaniemi bricks, the round lighthouse is the best preserved brick-built beacon in Finland.

At the top of the tower, visitors can climb a narrow spiral staircase to admire the seascape of the Bothnian Bay unfolding before them. The lighthouse is surrounded by buildings of various ages. These were the dwellings of the lighthouse staff and the pilots, some of which have retained their original appearance, while others have been refurbished for use as restaurants and accommodation.

Marjaniemi Lighthouse.

There are also newer buildings in the village grounds that bring a modern touch to the old community. Although the fishing village is mostly inhabited only in summer, fishing still goes on in Marjaniemi and it remains one of the most important fishing ports in the Bay of Bothnia. As the ships enter the harbour, the gulls scream and the smell of fresh fish wafts over the village.

Marjaniemi Head has fine sandy beaches and dunes where you can stroll easily along boardwalk trails. The pilot station also houses a nature centre with an exhibition of the flora and fauna of the area.

Read more about the Marjaniemi Lighthouse from the Hailuoto Island webpages!

Why and how is this site protected?

The Finnish Heritage Agency has designated the entire island of Hailuoto as a nationally significant built cultural environment. Hailuoto Island is well protected thanks to its preservation as a whole. In terms of its pilotage and lighthouse operations, the Marjaniemi area is one of the most representative cultural environments in Finland.

Learn more about this location from the webpages of the Finnish Heritage Agency!

In addition, the Marjaniemi Lighthouse and buildings surrounding it are protected by the architectural heritage law.

Read more in the Cultural environment service window!

The sandy beaches and dunes of Hailuoto Island are designated nature protection areas.


Hailuoto Island can be visited year-round by car or a boat. There are both accommodation and restaurant services in the village of Marjaniemi.

Finnish Heritage Agency's mapservice

N: 7215131, E: 385206 (ETRS-TM35FIN)