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Aerial photo of the harbour area in the Centre of Helsinki. Snow on the ground, the sea is not frozen.
photo: Ilmakuvaus Ruohonen

Exceptional financial basis raised for Finland’s new architecture and design museum

The project to create a new architecture and design museum has gathered at least 24 million euros of private funding. The donation is of exceptional significance in the Finnish cultural context.

The Jane and Aatos Erkko Foundation, the Finnish Cultural Foundation and the Swedish Cultural Foundation in Finland are committed to the capitalisation of the architecture and design museum, planned in the Helsinki South Harbour, by at least 24 million euros in total. The largest donor is the Jane and Aatos Erkko Foundation, which has made a conditional decision to capitalise the new museum foundation by 20 million euros. The donation is the largest private donation ever made to culture in Finland. 

“It is noteworthy that even in this early preparation phase of the project, we have been able to compile a private funding arrangement, which nearly fulfils the requirements that have been set for the project. This is a powerful indication of the project’s societal importance and it gives us confidence that this demanding project can be carried out successfully”, says Helsinki Mayor Jan Vapaavuori.

An essential element in the implementation model is that capital of at least 150 million euros is raised for the new museum foundation, of which the Government and the City of Helsinki will pay 60 million euros each, while at least 30 million euros is raised from private sources.

Preparation phase will run until 2023

A new foundation will be established for the new design and architecture museum during 2021 and it will gain possession of the collections of the current museum foundations. The foundation is in charge of the museum’s fund-raising and controls its capital. Museum operations will be coordinated by a limited liability company, to be established later, which will be fully owned by the foundation.

The feasibility phase started in March 2021 with the appointment of a steering group and a project director. The steering group, appointed by the Ministry of Education and Culture together with the City of Helsinki, is chaired by State Treasury Director General Timo Laitinen, and Kaarina Gould will act as Project Director starting from May, when she steps down from her position as Executive Director of the Finnish Cultural Institute in New York.

“Audiences, architecture and design communities in Finland, and the world, have been awaiting this museum for decades. Now the time is right. The past year can be seen as a catalyst for the work that lies ahead – the challenges the pandemic has put on cultural institutions form an obligation and an opportunity to reinvent the museum,” says Kaarina Gould.

The project preparation phase is expected to last until the end of 2023, when the financiers make their final funding decisions.

Read more about the project on the dedicated site through this link.