• The Guggenheim Heads to Helsinki

    by  • December 8, 2014 • Architecture, Art, City Breaks, Helsinki

    The Finnish Capital is Earmarked for the Guggenheim Expansion

    Star attraction of Bilbao, beautifully located in a grand palazzo on Venice’s Grand Canal, on its way in Abu Dhabi and a flagship institution in Manhattan, the Guggenheim brand is synonymous the world over not only for its ground-breaking collections of modern and contemporary art, but also for the awe-inspiring, architecturally unique buildings in which they reside. And so the global expansion of this cultural brand continues, with the addition of a fifth Guggenheim institution – the third in Europe – in Helsinki.

    Situated at the crossroads where East meets West, the Guggenheim Foundation has lauded Helsinki as an up-and-coming city on the watch list, its ambitious regeneration project in recent years making it one of the fastest-growing metropolitan areas in Europe. A prominent waterfront site has already been reserved for the museum, positioning it in the South Harbour (Eteläsatama) area, not too far from the city centre and immediately visible and accessible to anyone arriving in Helsinki by sea. And from an architectural perspective, six designs were shortlisted from over 1,700 submissions for the new museum last week, with the winner to be announced in June next year. As yet, a date for opening is yet to be confirmed.

    Like its contemporaries, the Guggenheim Helsinki will centre its collection on artworks originating from the 20th and 21st centuries, with a particular focus and specialisation on Nordic art and architecture. This will complement the city’s existing artistic institutions including the Kiasma Museum of Contemporary Art (currently closed for renovations until March 2015), containing a collection of over 8,500 works drawn primarily from Finnish and Scandinavian artists, in addition to the Taide Halli, another showcase for contemporary Finnish art.

    There’s also the Ateneum, Finland’s National Gallery, currently celebrating the 150th anniversary of the composer, Jean Sibelius, with an exhibition exploring the links between his work and the artistic scene of his era (until 22nd March, 2015). And let’s not forget the tongue-twisting Taideteolisuusmuseo, also known as the Designmuseo, tracing the history of Finland’s design movement, with over 75,000 objects, 45,000 drawings and 125,000 photographs in its extensive collection.


    With a French grandmother, childhood holidays on the continent and a degree in French and Spanish, a love of languages and travel has always been in my blood. Fresh from university with an unfettered enthusiasm to show off my linguistic ability and first-hand knowledge of the world beyond the UK, I entered the travel industry and, 16 years on, I’m still there! With several years spent in the luxury sector planning escorted holidays across Europe for the American market, followed by an even longer tenure designing short breaks with a difference in the must-see cities of Paris, Barcelona, Rome, Amsterdam, Madrid, Prague, Florence, Brussels, Venice, Salzburg, Milan, Krakow and Berlin (to name but a few), it’s fair to say that Europe is my passion! Today my travels have taken me far beyond the boundaries of Europe with so many destinations still to discover, yet the continent abounds in such a wealth of treasures – historical and architectural, cultural and musical, gastronomic, artistic and linguistic – that its appeal, for me, will be eternal.