In summer 2006, The Kvarken Archipelago got listed on the UNESCO World Heritage list. The Kvarken Archipelago together with the High Coast in Sweden form a unique geological entity and a transboundary World Natural Heritage Site. The steep High Coast and the flat Kvarken Archipelago (the low coast) are topographical opposites. Together they serve as a unique example of ongoing geological and biological processes and ecosystem development in time and space.
The distance between the areas is 150 kilometres and consists of 7000 skerries and islets. The land rises by 8-8.5 mm annually and creates about 1 km2 new land every year. With this rate the land uplift will create a permanent gateway over the Kvarken in about 2500 years.
The Kvarken Archipelago is Finland's first World Natural Heritage and the 162 World Natural Heritage on the UNESCO World Heritage List. There are 31 World Heritage sites in the Nordic Countries. They include 4 Natural Heritage sites: High Coast/Kvarken Archipelago in Sweden and Finland (2000/2006), Geiranger and Naeroy fjords in Norway (2005), Ilulissat Icefjord on Greenland (2004) and the volcanic island of Surtsey (2008) in Iceland. In Swedish Lappland there is also a combined Cultural and Natural Heritage site, Lapponia (1996).
There are 6 Cultural Heritage sites and 1 Natural Heritage site in Finland.