Kilpisjärvi Biological Station owes its existence to Olavi Kalela’s research on the Norwegian lemming. Kalela, who completed his doctoral degree in the 1940s, held the title of docent of zoology. He launched his vole studies in a small cabin in Kilpisjärvi as early as in 1946. The building gradually became known as the Mouse Cabin. Kalela worked in very modest conditions: at the time, no one lived in Kilpisjärvi all year round except for the Malla Strict Nature Reserve park ranger. Kalela rented the Mouse Cabin from the park ranger’s family for the summer.
Kalela eventually submitted a proposal to the University of Helsinki to establish a biological station in Kilpisjärvi. The decision to found the station was made in 1963. The Kilpisjärvi Biological Station officially began operations the year after. At the same time, the first station building was constructed by Lake Kilpisjärvi, and the researchers stationed in the Mouse Cabin were able to transfer their activities to the new building, now known as Eurola. More buildings were erected over the following decade, including a lakeside sauna and kitchen, the Wallgren residential building and the current Main Building. The new Main Building was fully equipped with a laboratory, larger residential quarters, a kitchen and a multipurpose facility.
Nearby buildings have later been bought to supplement the station. In 1987, a timber building was acquired not far from the station and named Kalela after the station’s founder. In 2008, the station was expanded to include the old facilities of the Finnish Forest Research Institute, which were named Kiekula after vole researcher Asko “Kieku” Kaikusalo. Over the years, the buildings have been renovated many times. The most recent major repair and construction project was completed in 2003 to add lodging space, a larger kitchen and dining room area, a library and IT facilities.