The foundation stone of the new annex of the National Museum of Finland was laid on May 17, 2024

20 05 2024

The largest building project in the over one-hundred-year history of the National Museum of Finland was celebrated on May 17, 2024, with the laying of the foundation stone for the museum’s annex. In addition to the extension construction, partial renovation of the historic main building is underway. The renewed National Museum will open to the public in spring 2027. The project is managed by the state’s real estate agency, Senate Properties. JKMM Architects is responsible for the main, architectural, and interior design of the extension, with SRV as the main contractor.

The new annex of the National Museum is one of the most significant cultural projects of our time. Since 1916, the museum has served as a symbol of our national culture. The ongoing extension of the museum brings new opportunities to fulfill the museum’s mission in a contemporary manner.

In conjunction with the laying of the foundation stone, the casting of a time capsule is a tradition aimed at leaving information about the current society for future generations. On Friday, May 17, 2024, the foundation stone was laid with President Alexander Stubb’s greeting to the future. In his message, the president describes our era amidst accelerating crises and escalating conflicts, also mentioning the uncertainty in our country’s cultural field.

“Hopefully, we did our best for Finland. So that you can now live in a safe, tolerant Finland where everyone has the opportunity to pursue their dreams,” Stubb concludes his letter.

Minister of Science and Culture Sari Multala emphasized the significance of culture in her speech. “The vitality of Finnish society stems from our culture. Museums are more popular today than ever, attracting visitors from near and far. Investments in culture and cultural heritage are indeed investments in the future, in a sustainable and prosperous society. This positive development must be collectively safeguarded.”

“Our vision is to create the most welcoming place to improve the world. History, culture, and art are a tremendous spiritual resource for society and for all of us,” says Elina Anttila, Director General of the National Museum of Finland.

“The shape of our cities and buildings repeats the ancient basic form, the form of being human. They want to become what we are at our core. The new building being built as part of the National Museum also wants to be like this. But it wants to be part of the whole, part of the entire building, part of the city, part of a human institution, part of the good life,” explains Samuli Miettinen, lead designer of the new annex of the National Museum of Finland and founding partner of JKMM Architects.

In addition to the President’s greeting, the foundation stone included a time capsule containing the building’s charter, current coins, the day’s newspapers, and the main drawings of the project. Drawings by students from Pasila Primary School depicting a good future, as well as a smartphone replacing several everyday items, were also included in the foundation stone.

The foundation stone of the iconic main building of the National Museum of Finland was laid on June 18, 1906, with great ceremony. The event was attended by a wide range of state leaders and media representatives. Designed by the architectural trio Herman Gesellius, Eliel Saarinen, and Armas Lindgren, the National Museum opened to the public in 1916.

Architecturally ambitious annex

The impressive, architecturally, and constructionally ambitious annex is located in the National Museum’s courtyard park, mostly underground. Underground, the new and old museum buildings are connected. Upon opening, the museum complex will be one of Finland’s largest museums and is likely to attract significant international interest.

The new building will bring plenty more public space to the National Museum of Finland, as well as an elegant glass-walled restaurant pavilion above ground. The additional space will enable international exhibitions and the hosting of large events. The extension has a total area of approximately 5,900 square meters, with around 2,500 square meters of cultural spaces open to the public. About 90 percent of the new spaces are located underground. The final height of the event space will be approximately seven meters. At the same time, the courtyard park will be returned to a green event area open to everyone.

Extensive excavations have been carried out at the site since last autumn, which is expected to be completed in the beginning of June. So far, there have been 142 blasts on the site, and about 2,500 truckloads of blasted stones have been removed.

“The construction site is located in a demanding location in the middle of Töölö, next to the historically valuable main building of the National Museum of Finland. Construction-wise, the annex is ambitious. We have minimized disruptions to the neighborhood and ensured that the work does not cause damage to the historical main building. The work has progressed on schedule and in good cooperation with the neighborhood. The new part is implemented by a network of top-class professionals,” says Jukka Lallo, Construction Manager at Senate Properties.

Further information:

The new annex of the National Museum of Finland has progressed over three government terms. Planning for the new part began in 2019 when the state allocated funding for the National Museum’s architectural competition. The competition was won by JKMM Architects. SRV serves as the main contractor for the new annex. The total value of the project, implemented as part of the Senate’s flagship alliance, is approximately EUR 55 million.

The main contractor for the renovation of the historic main building is NCC, and the main and architectural design is provided by the consortium of Architectural Office A-Konsultit Ltd, Talli Ltd, and Wilhelm Helander, Juha Leiviskä, Architects SAFA. The estimated cost is approximately EUR 35 million. The museum complex will open to the public in 2027.

More visuals and drawings at