The Building

After the Finnish War in 1808–1809, Sweden ceded all of Finland to the Russian Empire, including Åland. This made Eckerö the westernmost Russian outpost in the Baltic Sea. The new border  meant more bureaucracy and a need for more space to handle the flow of people and mail. A new building was erected as a workplace and residence for the officials in charge of customs and the post.

The Post and Customs House was Russia’s face to the west: the first official building to meet travelers crossing the Sea of Åland. It was thus critical that the building should be imposing and distinguished.

The Eckerö Post and Customs House is among Finland’s best-preserved buildings in the Empire style. It was designed by Carl Ludvig Engel, and its construction was overseen by the architects Charles Bassi and Anton Wilhelm Arppe. In its day the Post and Customs House was the grandest building on Åland. It was completed in 1828, during the reign of Tsar Nicholas I.

The building belongs to Åland since 1994 and is administrated by the Government of Åland. Today it is a tourist destination that is open during the summer months. The main building houses the Postmaster´s Office and a space for exhibitions and public events. There is also an apartment for visiting artists in the “Artist in Residence” programme. The north wing contains the Mail Route Museum, maintained by Eckerö´s local heritage association; Tsarevna Café och Bistro and Mercedes Chocolaterie and Butik Smått & Gott.