About us



The mission of the John Nurminen  Foundation, established in 1992, is to save the Baltic Sea and its heritage for future generations.

The objective of the Foundation’s Clean Baltic Sea projects is to improve the status of the Baltic Sea with concrete measures that reduce the nutrient load and environmental risks faced by the sea. During the past more than ten years, the John Nurminen Foundation has launched over 30 Clean Baltic Sea projects, of which 20 have been completed. Through treating the wastewaters of St. Petersburg and reducing the discharges from the fertilizer factory by the river Luga alone, the annual eutrophicating phosphorus load of the Gulf of Finland has been successfully reduced by as much as 75%. In terms of environmental impact, the Foundation’s St. Petersburg project is one of the most significant water protection projects ever carried out in the Baltic Sea.

After the St. Petersburg project, launched in 2005, the Foundation has kicked off various other projects all through the Baltic Sea area, reducing the phosphorus load from wastewaters, and increasing the Clean Baltic Sea project activities also in Finland. Concrete Clean Baltic Sea projects are always planned with the goal of achieving as great an improvement in the status of the Baltic Sea as is possible with the funds invested. For each project, we calculate the price of one kilogram of removed phosphorus.

The Foundation’s publication and exhibition activities focus on the history of seafaring, exploration and cartography, and making them better known to the general public. The activities are supported by the Foundation’s extensive collections of marine art, maritime antiquities, and ancient maps. The Foundation publishes non-fiction books on related topics, and maintains the Loki online service, which is free for all.

Our operating principles: measurable results, targeted actions, cross-border cooperation, and independence

The Baltic Sea belongs to us all, and we need to work in the places where we can achieve the greatest results. The strength of the John Nurminen Foundation is in its cross-border, independent operations in cooperation with various experts, researchers, and authorities. Our concrete work has already brought results, and today, the Baltic Sea is clearer than it was in the beginning of the current millennium.  The nutrient load of the sea has been significantly reduced in the Gulf of Finland, and, at the same time, appreciation for our marine cultural heritage has increased.

Our story begins in Rauma

The Nurminen family business was established in Rauma in 1886, when Johan Matinpoika, the great-grandfather of Juha Nurminen, set up a store selling timber, ship supplies, and imported goods. Johan gave up farming and moved from the Rauma rural commune to the city of Rauma, settling down in Aaltola, a house he had built there. In connection with the move, Johan began using the name Johan Nurminen. In 1891, Johan Nurminen commissioned the construction of the schooner Uljas and became a shipping entrepreneur.

In the 1930s, John Nurminen Oy began assembling the collection of maritime art, antique maps and marine antiquities which today constitute the basis of the Foundation’s cultural activities. This was the time when maritime counsellor Matti Nurminen made an acquisition on behalf of the family firm – now a shipping company – in Paris, purchasing naval charts from 1764 that depict the territorial waters of Finland. These charts constituted the core of our current collection of antique maps. For more than 30 years Juha Nurminen, founder and chairman of the Foundation, has continued the work of his father by adding items to the collection.