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At Ateneum, the Helsinki art museum, there is a major centenary exhibition presenting Tove Jansson’s career as an artist, illustrator, political caricaturist, author and creator of the Moomin characters and stories.

The building itself was completed in 1887 and the Finnish Art Society’s collections were first exhibited in 1888. Ateneum’s collections display Finnish art from the Gustavian period of the mid-18th century to the modernist movements of the 1950s. The is also a collection of international art, featuring works by Vincent Van Gogh, Paul Gaugin, Paul Cezanne, Fernand Leger and Marc Chagall.

It is quite an impressive building.

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I wasn’t the only one waiting to get in.

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Photographs were not allowed in the exhibition of the work of Tove Jansson. This is a photo of one of her Moomin illustrations from a postcard.

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The exhibition has lots of her illustration work and it is wonderful. I particularly liked the models that she created. You will have to go along to the gallery to see them.

She also did lots of self portraits. This one was on a poster outside the museum.

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I think she was a bit hard on herself here. There were lots of photographs taken throughout her life in the exhibition and she was quite lovely.

Tove Jansson was prolific and the exhibition is extensive. Allow yourself plenty of time to see it.

The Ateneum’s permanent collection is on the ground floor and photographs are allowed there. My favourite painting was the Wounded Angel. A good friend had suggested I look for it and I found it immediately. I am not the only one who liked Hugo Simberg’s painting completed in 1903. In 2007 it was voted the most popular painting in the Ateneum.

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Another popular work is the tryptich inspired by the Kalevala.

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Here is a small selection of the works on the ground floor.

The Tove Jansson exhibition is on until 7th September.

www.ateneum.fi/en

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Seurasaaren Park

Seurasaaren Park is a delightful open air museum not far from the centre of Helsinki. It was established in 1909 by Professor Axel Olai Heikel to help preserve Finnish architectural heritage. Buildings typical of the provinces and regions of Finland have been moved to Seurasaaren to exhibit the country’s historical culture of homes and public buildings. There are 87 buildings on the island.

A lovely white wooden bridge is the entrance to the island.

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The island is a haven for birds and animals. Gorgeous brown faced gulls and barnacle geese were the first to greet us.

The views from the bridge are lovely, even on an overcast day.

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Come for a walk around the island and discover some of the wonderful old buildings.

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The tar boat house. In the 18th century tar had become Finland’s most important export item alomg with the development of sailing-ship fleets. Tar barrels were transported by water from Paltamo to be sold in Oulu. The tar boat was built in the 19th century.

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The water mill is a so-called ‘leg mill’. The  water turned a horizontal paddle wheel that turned the upper quern stone. Mills were often jointly owned and in spring, when streams and small rivers were in full flood, they worked day and night. The mill was built in the 19th century.

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The granary dates from the 17th century and is one of the oldest buildings of the open-air museum. Its understructure prevents mice from getting in the granary and helps ventilate the bottom in order to keep the grain dry.

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The collection of buildings above belong to Kurssi Farm.

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An old church.

 

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The Magpie Mill is named because the upper section of the mill turns about a vertical axis with a spar resembling a magpie’s tail. The sails were set either with or against the wind. It is from the 19th century.

 

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The pole erected for the summer solstice celebrations.

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I was impressed by the wooden roof on this building.

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The summer house comes from Moisio Manor in Elimaki, Uusimaa. The Empire-style summer house was designed by C.L. Engel and built in the 1830s.

 

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The country store sold everything that the self-sustaining farms did not produce. It also functioned as a post office, bank and local news agency. The country store and its storehouses were built in the 19th century. Today the building also houses the museum shop.

The island is heavily wooded…and very beautiful. There are wild berries growing beside the walking paths.

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The squirrels were a bit too quick to get good photos.

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There are a couple of places to have lunch or a snack. We went to the Art Cafe opposite the bus stop. It has a lovely garden setting and we had a delicious salmon sandwich and coffee. They have just opened recently and will offer more in the near future.

Seurasaaren Park is easily accessible from the centre of Helsinki. Take the number 24 bus from outside Sokos department store in Mannerheimintie. The bus also takes you past the beautiful Sibelius Monument.

Finnair Plus

I joined Finnair Plus a little while ago and I have been very happy with the results. I have had one free upgrade to business class and on this trip I was offered and upgrade for a relatively small fee.

As a result I am now sitting in the Finnair lounge waiting for my flight home to Australia.

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I like Finnair.

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A lonely tribute

On a quiet and lonely part of Helsinki harbour is a memorial to to the brave men who cleared Finnish seas of the sea mines left behind after WWII.

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60,000 sea mines were left in the seas around Finland after the war. 2,000 men and 200 ships took part in removing the mines. 28 men were killed and 35 were disabled during the process.

Take the time to walk by the sea and remember them. It is on the path just past the casino.

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A working family

This impressive family is on the side of a building in the centre of Helsinki.

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Any thoughts on its origin?

Fazer café in Kluuvikatu does a great breakfast. There is a huge selection at the buffet table.

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The porridge is my favourite…and the rye bread rolls. Sunday is a very busy time for breakfast at Fazer, you should be there early.

Click here for more on Fazer.

Ombrellino

Ombrellino is one of my favourite shops in Helsinki. It was started in 1978. It is in Pohjoisesplanadi and I always stop and gaze in the window.

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They sell wonderful things for children…wooden toys and puzzles, The Little Prince and Babar items. I love the Tin Tin Tshirts.

I don’t need much of an excuse to buy something at Ombrellino.

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