Several Finnish natural scientists roamed the terrain of Kilpisjärvi as early as the late 1800s.

After the end of World War II, Professor Olavi Kalela of the University of Helsinki became interested in the migration of the Norwegian lemming and began studying voles in Kilpisjärvi in 1946. The biological station itself was founded at the proposal of Kalela in 1963 and has since served the students and researchers of the University of Helsinki and other Finnish and international universities without interruption.