Place names – a piece of our cultural environment
All the important places in our lives and system of communication have names. The traditional place names stem from the past, the language and culture of a region. In fact, names are part of the oldest documented evidence of our history – valuable cultural heritage. They are a message from the past to the future, a piece of the local culture and history. That is why they should be appreciated, protected, and preserved.
The majority of Finns live currently in population centres; even there, they are surrounded by names. The planned present-day names are born in different ways than the traditional ones, but even they are at their best when based on the old place names in the area. Familiar names help people accommodate and orient to the landscape even when the environment changes. A good new name takes into account cultural values and reinforces people’s feelings for their home district.