Finland has a long history in monitoring external radiation. Regular monitoring began in the early 1960s when the first networks measuring exposure rates were established. Today the nation-wide network is fully automatic and consists of about 260 stations with Geiger-Muller (GM) tubes. Some 25 stations also have a LaBr3 spectrometer. In this article the authors describe the history, experiences and major development stages of the Finnish dose rate monitoring arrangements and also have a brief look at the possible future.