Saimaa Canal Museum


Address: Sulkuvartijankatu 16, 53300 Lappeenranta      Map >>>

Inquiries: 040 149 

Other information: (03) 3140

Opening times:  8th of June -9th of August 2020: daily 11.00-18.00. Closed 19.-21.6.2020

Services:  Cafe, Museum shop. 

Admissions: free entry





The Saimaa Canal Museum is located in Lappeenranta, near the Mälkiä lock. The museum forms part of the Canal Museums Directorate (set up in 1980 and maintained by the National Board of Navigation) which includes six regional canal museums. The final link in this chain of museums, the Saimaa Canal Museum was opened to the public in 1995. The museum is managed by the Inland Waterways District.

The museum is housed in the former official residence of the canal’s senior district manager. The building dates from 1845; the small display in the porch of the museum reveals the different wall layers of the building. Outside, the visitor can admire the beautifully restored courtyard.




The permanent exhibition focuses on the many interesting facets of the history of the Saimaa Canal. An entire section is devoted to the construction of the canal, from the 17th century Pontus Canal to the present-day Saimaa Canal. On display is a pantograph, dating from 1844, which was used in the construction. You can also watch a video which illustrates the building process of the present Saimaa Canal over the period of 1963-68.

A separate exhibition area is devoted to the canal officials and their official residences. The displays include the uniforms worn by the district managers of the pilot district. The basic exhibition also features the furnished interior of the district manager’s office. Scale models illustrate the workings of the canal locks. Since tourism plays such an essential part in the canal’s operations, the permanent exhibition also dedicates a special area to tourism on the Saimaa Canal.

The museum also provides a base for open-air exhibitions. The so-called Pontus excavation from the 17th century (excavations begun by Pontus de la Gardie) represents the earliest attempts at striking a canal from Lake Saimaa to Vyborg Bay. Not far from the museum lie also the lock of Pien-Mustola and the Mälkiä lock system with its many sluice chambers. Between these locks there remains the so-called “Old Canal” which was under construction in the mid-19th century. Other points of interest include the Kansola culvert and roller bridge.

Museum’s canal towpath and nature trail invite the visitor to explore the wild flowers growing along the canal and admire the beautiful flower arrangements planted by the canal officials.

Print Friendly, PDF & Email