“ Kaivokatu 2, Helsinki 00100. Tel: +358 9 173361. Located in Centre (Kaartinkaupunki). Hours are: 9am-6pm Tue and Fri, 9am-8pm Thu and Wed, 11am-5pm Sat and Sun, closed Mon.. „
One of the museums I visited while in Helsinki was the Ateneum. The museum is situated right across from the main train station. While we visited, the front was covered with a white sheet and a big pair of antlers which promotes their newest exhibition. At first, we were actually unsure if the museum was open or not as it looked like it was being worked on so we didn't go for the first few days we were in Helsinki.
Admission/ Opening Times
Tue, Fri 10-18
Wed, Thu 10-20
Sat, Sun 11-17
Normal admission fee Euro10
Discount admission fee Euro8
Children under 18 years free admission
S Privilege Card holders Euro9
The discount price applies to students, pensioners, conscripts, non-military servicemen, teachers, artists and the unemployed as well as groups of ten or more. Free admission also for veterans, therapy groups, assistants for the disabled, and ICOM card holders.
Ticket sale ends 30 minutes before museum closing time.
No bags are allowed past the ground floor of the museum so you must put them in a locker. Lockers are available on the ground floor and cost Euro1 which is returned when you collect your bags. Photography is not allowed anywhere in the museum which was very disappointing for me. I love taking photos in museums because some things are just so interesting and the chance is, I'll never get to see them again so to not be able to take photos is a terrible thing for me.
Ateneum had a few different exhibits on when we visited. The biggest of them was the Magic of Lapland and it was also the newest, the one which was promoted on the front of the building. This exhibit showed Lapland from the 1800s until the present day in the form of paintings. Different seasons were shown in the paintings and showed what changes happened. I loved looking at these pictures of a place I can only ever dream of going to so for me, it was a bit of escapism. The paintings of the Northern Lights were by far my favourite of them all as so many different views of them were shown. Each painting was completely different to the next and it was amazing how so many artists could see the same thing so differently.
Another exhibit was Finland Calling by Aho and Soldan and unlike the previous, this was all done in photographs. The display showed every day Finnish life over a span of many years including The Great Flood and Industrialisation. This was my favourite exhibit mostly because of how much I love photography in general. Each photo was extremely beautiful in its own way and showed a very different and interesting culture compared to our own. Some of the photos were very basic, showing scenes of a street or a river but they were absolutely stunning in their simplicity. I could have stood looking at these pictures for hours and still been content.
One of the smaller exhibits was all about Japanese art. It only filled one tiny room but it certainly was fascinating. The exhibit was a mixture of art and video showing how Japanese pictures were carved/ cut out of wood and explained the techniques that were used. Around the sides of the room were the finished products of this technique and I loved being able to see the end product after learning just how long one of these things took to be made. The video also gave a very in depth history of who these artists were and why there were never many of these prints made. I would have really loved it if this section of the museum was bigger as there was so much more I would have wanted to see.
The shop mainly sells books although there was also a lot of postcards. Unfortunately, none of them were for any exhibition that was currently on show so I didn't really see the point in that. Tourists want souvenirs of the things they have seen, especially as photography isn't allowed and the shop doesn't really provide this. As the shop was mainly full of books, it was nearly impossible to bring anything back with me. They were all so heavy that there is no way I could have got them to be included in my luggage allowance. I did manage to get a few cute bookmarks though but they had nothing to do with the exhibits at the museum either.
I really enjoyed this museum. Each exhibit was so different from the one before it and there was a lot to see. As there is so much to see here, the Euro10 entrance fee is extremely fair and I would have happily paid it again. I do wish I could have taken some photos of these great exhibits though or to even get a few pictures in the shop and this was the museums biggest downfall. Other than that though, it comes highly recommended from me.
I did write the one opinion about Kiasma and Atenuem together, but the good people at dooyoo divided up the categories and I have been meaning to get round to splitting the opinion up, but you know how you put off the things you have to do, like going to the dentist perhaps? Well Finland has been voted most popular destination this year by a discerning bunch of people, those readers of the Guardian and Observer, with Helsinki being the first stop for many. I feel smug, albeit in a shallow and vacuous way, hey I went to Finland before it became so mainstream. Anyway on to the art gallery review Atenuem is located on Kaivokatu, the Railway station square. Admission is 25 FIMs for the main collection and between 25-45 FIMs for any special exhibitions. I am not sure how much the current ones cost as I visited on National Musuem day and admission to all the exhibits was free! Opening hours are between 9-6pm on Tuesdays and Fridays, 9-8pm on Wednesdays and Thursdays and 11-7 at weekends. It is closed all day on Mondays. The main body of the collection, is naturally work by Finnish artists. There is also an international collection with works by artists including Rodin, Cezanne, Goya and Le Corbusier. However, as there was work on a new exhibition I got the feeling that many of the works were in storage. At the moment there are 2 special exhibitions. The first is a collection of Japanese woodblock printings from the 18th century onwards. The second entitled 'Surface and Depth' is a collection celebrating early Finnish modernism. This is well worth seeing as although I didn't recognise many of the pictures this in some ways made you appreciate more some of the painting techniques of the period. For example, with Monet when you see an original the effect is lessened by 'Monet fatigue' i.e the fact you have seen so many prints, mugs and mousemats!of his paintings already. Though, this sometimes worked
against artists in my opinion, as a few paintings looked like very bad attempts at Van Gogh's. Besides all the art, there is a very nice cafe at this gallery. A cup of coffee is about 90p and there was a good selection of snacks and cakes at fairly reasonable prices. The salad is about £3.50 for an all you can eat type affair. It also appeared to be popular with Finnish people who were meeting each other during their lunch hour as well as us tourist. Behind the cafe there is also a book shop selling the usual collection of books and postcards. Here you will also find an information point were not only is there extensive information about other galleries, there is also general tourist information about Helsinki. You can get a very good free map of Helsinki here. Best of all there are 2 free computer terminals where you can check email and surf the net for free.