Helsinki South Harbour.

Exceptional financial basis raised for new architecture and design museum - at least 24 million euros of private funding

The Jane and Aatos Erkko Foundation, the Finnish Cultural Foundation and the Swedish Cultural Foundation in Finland are conditionally 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 project is of exceptional significance in the Finnish context.

The Jane and Aatos Erkko Foundation 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. Moreover, the Finnish Cultural Foundation and the Swedish Cultural Foundation in Finland have both preliminary agreed to participate by at least two million euros.

An essential element in the implementation model created by the Government and the City of Helsinki 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.

The feasibility phase started in March 2021 with the appointment of a steering group and a project director. The project preparation phase is expected to last until the end of 2023, when the City, the Government and the private sponsors can make their final funding decisions based on the necessary studies, and the actual implementation can start.

The museum foundation, which will control the capital of the new architecture and design museum, has not yet been established and the negotiations concerning the private funding have been held by the City of Helsinki on behalf of the project, according to what has been agreed with the Ministry of Education and Culture.

“I am really impressed with the enthusiasm with which the Finnish foundations have approached the opportunity of having an internationally recognised architecture and design museum in Helsinki. 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. The donation of 20 million euros by the Jane and Aatos Erkko Foundation is the largest private donation ever made in Finland. It is remarkable that Finland’s largest foundations participate in the project right from the start. 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.

New architecture and design museum

The preparation of the project is based on the report and the museum concept drawn up in 2018-2019 by the Ministry of Education and Culture and the City of Helsinki in collaboration with the foundation for the Museum of Finnish Architecture and the foundation for the Design Museum. During the feasibility phase, which started in March 2021, the Government and the City of Helsinki prepared a proposal concerning a model for the administration and financing of the museum. The new museum is a world-class entity in terms of quality, visibility and relevance and the nationally responsible museum in its discipline in Finland. 

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. A limited company, to be established later and wholly owned by the foundation, is in charge of the museum operations.

A new building for the museum will be built in the South Harbour of Helsinki as a part of the broader development of Makasiininranta. There are plans for a separate architecture competition concerning the realisation of the museum.

The project’s steering group is chaired by State Treasury Director General Timo Laitinen, and Kaarina Gould will start as Project Director as of 1 May 2021.