Permits for Film Productions in state-owned areas in Finland

Metsähallitus manages state-owned multiple-use commercial forests and waters as well as protected and wilderness areas of Finland. Film productions often require a permit in order to operate in these areas.

Filming in the areas of Metsähallitus does not require a separate permit in the case of a small-scale activities based on everyman’s rights. Everyman’s rights may, however, be limited in protected areas, which can include restricted areas where moving about is entirely prohibited or only allowed on marked trails.

A permit is always required for off-road traffic (for example, to transport filming equipment) in multiple-use forests as well as in protected and wilderness areas. Off-road traffic refers to the use of motor-powered vehicles in the terrain or official snowmobile routes.

When operating in a reindeer herding area, the special needs of reindeer herding (pasture areas, calving season, etc.) must be taken into consideration. The head of the reindeer herding cooperative can provide the best information about these matters.

How to proceed?

Permit applications related to filming must be submitted well in advance to the Metsähallitus registry office at the address kirjaamo(at)metsa.fi. The application must include the applicant’s name and contact information, the filming dates, a description of what will be filmed, the filming area with map attachments, and any needs for off-road traffic. The registry office will forward the application to the person, who can then advise the applicant regarding permit matters.

It can take at least two weeks for Metsähallitus to process some permits, and certain permits also have an appeal period of one month.

A lot of hikers are moving around in protected and other areas, and various events are also held in these areas. Filming may not always be possible without disturbances. If necessary, we can suggest a more suitable time or place for filming.

Temporary structures

Even temporary structures, such as sets, are always subject to a permit. The need for these structures must be described in the permit application. The application must also describe the need to use Metsähallitus´s hiking structures and huts.

Protected and wilderness areas

Protected areas include national parks and strict nature reserves as well as hundreds of other protected areas. Lapland has 12 extensive wilderness areas. Protected areas are established to conserve our country’s most valuable nature, while wilderness areas are intended to preserve a wilderness atmosphere and to ensure the conditions for reindeer herding and a viable Sámi culture. The laws and regulations that apply to protected and wilderness areas vary quite a lot. They specify the activities that are permitted in that particular area and what activities are subject to a permit or prohibited.

Park regulations have been issued for national parks, some strict nature reserves and certain other protected areas. The provisions in these park regulations can, for example, specify where and with which equipment people can move around in the area or whether there are time-related restrictions due to threatened species or nesting periods. The regulations can also apply to off-road traffic, camping, aircraft, and game and surveillance cameras.

Summary:

  • Permit applications related to filming must be submitted well in advance to the Metsähallitus registry office at the address kirjaamo@metsa.fi.
  • Filming must comply with any regulations and permit terms that apply to the area.
  • The filming may not cause any damage or disturbance to nature, cultural heritage or hiking structures.
  • The completed film/social media, etc. may not show anything in protected areas that is not permitted by the regulations or general instructions that apply to the area in question.
  • In case of a large co-production, we request that a joint plan be submitted by the production’s mutual contact person.
  • We also hope that the production will highlight nature in a respectful manner.
  • We are happy to help with, for example, permit matters and provide information about the areas under our management.

More information about state-owned areas: