The area of Lasaretinsaari Island is one of the most significant cultural and historical sites in Northern Ostrobothnia in terms of its history, building stock and landscapes. The area is also a significant cultural milieu on a national scale.

The island of Lasaretinsaari has been an important place for Oulu ever since the 17th century. It was part of the donated lands that the Crown of Sweden assigned to the city in 1610. The adjacent river of Oulujoki was already a major trade route and waterway back then. There were salmon weirs next to the island, the tar barrels that were crucial to the economy were transported along the river past the island and into the city.

Lasaretinsaari Island has served as e.g. the Crown’s distillery (1776–1791), the governor’s residence (1791–1834), the county hospital (1834–1939) and a military hospital (1939–1999). The island has been called many different names depending on its use.

Rysänsaari, Polttimosaari, Maaherransaari ja Lasaretinsaari

The Rysä family established a private brewery and distillery on the island. The Crown banned private distillation in 1776 and founded the Crown’s distillery on the island. However, this distillery was short-lived, as just over ten years later, the state had to give up its monopoly.

Between 1791–1833, several Oulu county governors lived and worked on Lasaretinsaari Island. The first county

Lasaretinsaari Island received its current name from the county hospital, which moved to the area in 1834. The hospital had medical and maternity wards, a reception facility for the mentally ill and a ward for treating venereal diseases. Courses for nurses were also organised for several decades between 1896–1930. The county hospital moved entirely to Kontinkangas in the early 1940s.

Already during World War II, soldiers were treated on Lasaretinsaari Island. All of the facilities were handed over to The Finnish Defence Forces in 1945 and were used by the Defence Forces all the way until near the end of the 1990s.

Distinguished visitors and residents

The cultural and historical value of Lasaretinsaari Island is further enhanced by the dignitaries who have visited along the years, such as Gustav IV Adolf of Sweden and Alexander I of Russia. Finnish presidents K. J. Ståhlberg and Martti Ahtisaari have lived on the island in their youth. Other interesting individuals, such as Johan “Nukuttaja” Näyhä and Naima Kurvinen, bring additional colour to the history of the island.

Lasaretinsaari Island in the 21st century


The Organisation for Respiratory Health in Finland purchased Lasaretinsaari Island from the Defence Forces in 1998. The buildings on the island were renovated between 2000–2002 for Verve (formerly known as the Merikoski Rehabilitation and Research Centre) and for Lasaretti Hotel and Restaurant. In addition to Hotel Lasaretti, the island is home to Verve and a number of small companies.

The culturally and historically valuable and fully restored area of Lasaretinsaari Island was granted the Environmental Construction of the Year award in 2005 as a recognition of its versatile, high-quality environmental planning and construction. The award was granted by the Finnish Garden Association and the construction product industry of the Confederation of Finnish Industries RT.