One of Finland’s three ruling parties has ruled out government funding of the new Guggenheim museum in Helsinki, The Guardian reports. Last month, the economic affairs minister and Centre Party member Olli Rehn had suggested that the government might be able to provide almost a third of the €150m (c. £128m) construction cost with the view that, as with Bilbao, having a Guggenheim outpost in Helsinki would be beneficial for the country’s business and tourism industry. Shortly after Rehn made this statement, the leader of the Finns Party Timo Soini rejected the idea, responding in a blogpost: 'There will be no state money for this venture… The matter will not even be raised during coalition budget talks. I hope this is now clear for our coalition partners.'
Soini has made clear that while he does not oppose the idea of the new waterside museum for the capital, he stands against the use of government funding to build it at a time of economic austerity. The plan for the Guggenheim building, which is designed by French architects Moreau Kusunoki, has been supported by travel, hotel and tourism businesses such as Finnair and the cruise lines Viking and Eckerö. Ari Lahti, who heads a support foundation aimed at generating private sponsorship for the scheme, has said in a statement: 'It’s disappointing, of course…This is an important project and the state would be the biggest beneficiary in terms of tax revenues and employment. It’s a shame the Finns party doesn’t see that.' Although this decision is a setback for the Guggenheim Helsinki, proponents of the project will continue to seek alternative ways of gathering the necessary funds.
14 September 2016.